Friday, November 23, 2012

November 23, 2012

Last week I traveled to State College, PA and attended the Penn State Golf Turf Conference. This is annual three day event in which professors and researchers from Penn State and other leading research universities present the latest research on fine turf used for golf courses. Presentations are also given by the mid-Atlantic and northeast regional agronomists from the USGA. The conference is primarily attended by golf course superintendents and turfgrass students from throughout the United States and other countries. 

This year the presentations focused on summer weed control, biostimulants and hormone therapy, financing equipment, water quality programs, social media, disease management and suppression strategies, managing shade, research focusing on poa annua, fescue varieties, and bentgrass, and the USGA’s “Year –in - Review” which recapped the challenges that  courses endured through the year.

Another valuable part of the conference was simply talking with other superintendents, sharing experience and ideas.

Next month the New Jersey Turfgrass Association is sponsoring their annual Turfgrass Expo, which I also hope to attend. Attending these types of seminars and conferences helps me to keep up to date on whats going on in the golf industry, which helps me do my job better, and in turn, makes the golf course better and more fun for you.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8, 2012

Is anyone else tired of this weather? The year started out with a non winter, followed by record high spring temperatures, the “Direcho” storm at the end of June, record high temperatures again but with no rain, then a week of rain in September from the remnants of Hurricane Issac, then came Hurricane Sandy, and now this “snoweaster”... I wish that whoever is making the Gods angry would cut it out already!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 6, 2012

Today lime was applied to the fairways. Soil tests taken late summer revealed that the pH had dropped over the past few years and a correction was needed. The availability of certain nutrients to a plant is directly dependent upon pH. Acid soils tie up some nutrients while basic soils tie up others. Plants thrive with and/or without certain nutrients which is why the soil pH is very important to what particular plant is being grown. Turf – most turf – grows best at a pH of 6.5.

That seems simple enough, but an ideal pH is not always ideal. For example, some diseases, summer patch in particular, are more prevalent and destructive at a pH of 6.5 than a lower, or more acid pH. So we have to thread the needle very carefully to balance pH to get the best environment for the turf and the worst for the fungi. For our plants and disease history, a pH of 5.7 to 6.0 has continually given us the best growth and least disease pressure. This best case pH may be different for another course.

Not all lime is the same. There are two common types - high calcium lime, and high mag lime, which contains a high percentage of magnesium. The level of these nutrients found in the soil test will determine which type should be used. Sometimes the soil needs one or the other, or like in our case, we need to use both. To that end, today we are spreading high cal lime as half our lime requirement, and early next spring we will spread an equal amount of high mag lime.

What causes our soils to need liming every so often? Why does pH drop? Certain fertilizers and nutrients cause acidity, as well as irrigation water (yes, we keep an eye on that too!), rain, types of organic matter (like the mulched tree leaves), topdressing materials, etc. Soils are ever evolving, which is why it is so important to monitor them and make nutrient and pH corrections very regularly.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1, 2012

6:30 am Nov 1

I want to throw out a quick post to update you before the staff heads back out onto the course to continue the storm cleanup.

Overall we were very lucky with no major damages.  The entire course is littered with leaves and branches which are taking a great effort to clean up. Three trees came down – one each on 12 and 13 tees, and another on the 7th forward tee. The 3 to 4 tunnel had about three feet of water in it that needed pumped out.

The 9th green and surrounding area was flooded by the wetlands behind it. The 12th tee area and the beginning of the 12th fairway flooded from the adjacent wetlands that run beside it. The wedding garden and the lower practice putting green were also flooded with salt water. We will be treating theses areas with gypsum to help leach the salts from the soils, but will need irrigation to flush it out, and for the time being, the electric at the pumphouse is “out”. As soon as we get the pumps up and running we will be able to address the salt issue.

Our staff is being supplemented and aided by staff from the bagdrop/ proshop and clubhouse.

The 8th fairway... all the fairways were covered with leaves and debris.

9th green showing debris line  from flooding.