Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 22, 2012

Area thinned by Grey Leaf Spot

These past few weeks we have been challenged in some fairway areas and rough with a turf disease known as grey leaf spot. Grey leaf spot, or gls, primarily attacks perennial ryegrasses and tall fescue. It’s a fast acting disease, spreads easily, and can blight large areas of turf in a matter of a day or two from the time of the first infection. It is a hard disease to detect, and is usually only recognized after the damage is done. The telltale sign that it is or was gls are dead rye grass leaves twisted up like a corkscrew.

During the three days that we aerated the fairways the weather was wet with rains and showers from the remnants of hurricane Issac. The turf never got too many chances to dry out, and I believe that was when we were initially affected. I think that the drag matts and blowers helped spread the disease. Underneath the plugs and debris on the fairways, and with all the activity of the staff running in all directions focusing not on just the fairway aeration, but also on the greens aeration, we never saw it. Only when we got the fairways cleaned up, we were able to see areas that had collapsed.

As soon as we realized that the damage was from gls, we applied a fungicide to stop it from spreading any further, and began overseeding damaged areas. Our primary overseeding of the fairway areas was with bentgrass and the roughs with a low cut bluegrass. For the most part, we are finishing this up, but I am sure that there will be areas that don’t fully take and will need to be seeded again – nothing is perfect which is why God gave us patience.

Not that I am whining, but it is very challenging to seed and germinate grass seed in the best of conditions, but under the heavy cart traffic, which is the norm here, it will be an even harder thing to do. Spouts just dont take traffic!

So I am asking that everyone as much as possible avoid driving in any areas that look thin, and don’t knock down the ropes where we have put them up to protect some of the sensitive areas. Please drive carefully and don’t “nascar” the cart or go doing doughnuts or sharp turning when looking for your ball. Those tires are a gun to the head of sprouts and young plants. The other option, which I am ready to take if I don’t see cooperation, is to close off areas and entire holes to carts, making it cartpath only. I can put the seed in the ground, but after that, its up to all of us to get a good stand of turf.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012

After aeration, many members have told me that I must be happy that things are slowing down and that I can rest...

I wish!

Things never slow down! Although we were able to finish the green and fairway aeration last week, we still have a lot to do! Our season and work is far from over!

This week we began tee aeration, which we do “in play”, by doing just a few tee boxes at a time on each hole, shifting the tee markers back and forth to the ones we are not working on. This method is time and labor consuming, and will take us a few weeks to finish.

Meanwhile, we are re-seeding the rough areas that thinned over the summer, and overseeding the fairways with bentgrass. This too, is a slow, but methodical process. When we finish these we will overseed the tees with bentgrass.

We are beginning “spring” weed control! Most weeds are best controlled in the fall so that they won’t become a problem the next coming spring. We have started to spray out broadleaf weeds such as clover, plantains, dandelion, etc. We have to coordinate these sprays with seeding because the herbicide will also kill any new seedlings that we have seeded, so there is a lot of planning and timing involved.

When these are finished it will be time to aerate the rough – a job that takes 3-4 weeks.

We also plan to lime the fairways to bring our calcuim levels up.  This will be a huge job – spreading about 3 tons lime per acre!

Slow down? Rest? We probably won’t until there is six inches of snow on the ground!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September 1, 2012

It’s that time of the year again! Over the next few weeks, we will begin performing our necessary cultural practices to help maintain healthy turf. We started this week by verti-cutting the new Bermuda grass tees on #7, and the driving range tee.

Adan operating the Graden
Cleaning up the clippings
Justin breaking up the clippings
Max mowing the tee

Isidro topdressing the tee

Justin dragging in the sand
Ryan applying fertilizer
Watering in the sand and fertilizer

Next week, on September 4th and 5th, we will aerate the greens and fairways.