Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Frost, Turf Renovation and More

We experienced our first frost of the season today and it was heavy enough to create a slight delay. Be aware that this will occur more frequently as evening temperatures dip into the 30's and soil temperatures begin to cool. Excellent article on Frost Delays from the USGA and a video below. I'll give the Glen Echo Grounds Department's view on frost in the next week or two with another blog post.

Not good when your first hole is at a low point on the course
#10 as well


We have a number of turf renovations projects completed and taking place as I type these words. Over the years we have been replacing the false front approaches on the greens that are bent grass. We replaced #12 last week. It will sit dormant over the winter and will begin to grow in during spring. We intend to replace a number of other approaches next spring including 7, 10, 13 and 15. 
Guys finishing a corner of the intermediate near 12 green.

Single lap collar on #12. Saves club time in mowing, water since zoysia requires less water than bent grass and chemical applications.

Replacement of collar on practice green walk on.

Same area.

 As most of you have seen and can see from the pictures above, the practice green walk on area is not in great shape. We tore it out this morning and began the process of restoring this area.

  • First thing we did was strip the existing sod to Doctor Ott's clock.
  • Next we rented a large walk behind tiller and tilled the area as deep as it would go, 6-8 inches.
  • Bought 2 yards of compost and tilled it in. Also added some bagged compost that we had stored.
  • The next thing we will do over the next few days is to get some small irrigation heads installed that will only apply water to this area.
  • Once that is completed we will purchase some new fescue sod and let it rest over winter
  • We will install some human traffic control measures to spread the wear and tear. Provide proper cultural practices including multiple aeration over the season. Fertilizer and chemical controls will also be need to improve the overall health of this area as well.Pictures and video discussion of the work we are doing at this site.
    Working in the darkness of morning. Frost on the turf so we had this work to do.

    This is after sod was stripped. We do have mats for you to walk across the dirt area. After tilling below, the dirt is very soft and we don't want you tracking the dirt on your greens and into the pro shop.

    9 hp tiller I used to till up the pretty severely compacted soil and till in the compost.

    As you can see from the tracks, soft soil.             


Friday, October 5, 2018

Tree Removals

I wanted to inform you of a couple of tree removals which will be occurring in the next few days.
The green committee approved the removal of the red maple at the right front area of the 11th green.

Also, the dual sassafras between #1 green and #2 tee has become severely compromised. We will be removing the left tree as well in the next few days. We were going to prune off the dead wood but after looking at the tree closely, there is not much to salvage and the safety of our staff is of utmost importance when we look at partial or full removals.

There are a number of other tree removals that will be taking place over the next few months. There are some standing dead right now and others that are compromised and will need further evaluation. We intend to do this with the assistance of the green committee and an arborist to help us evaluate their health. As an organization, we do not have the resources to plan a major tree removal program but we do have an aged group of Pin Oaks that are being compromised from a number of different things. I've had discussions in the past with our arborist and I will invite him on site in the next couple of weeks to help us evaluate some potential remedies to slow this process down.

We also intend to move a tree from the nursery into the area on the left side of #1 where we have lost a couple of trees over the late summer.

A good Tree Management Plan includes planning/paying for ongoing maintenance of the existing trees, removal of the dead/damaged/out of place trees, and preparing for replacement trees.

Below is a link to an article which has some excellent information in it regarding a Tree Management Plan.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Collar Renovation

Over the last few weeks, the staff have been chemically treating our collars in an effort to weaken the bermuda grass that has invaded them. We've made 2 applications of a product called Pylex which is safe to use on collar height bermuda. Today, the guys are renovating the collars and planting some bent grass seed around each collar. The overall process will not be completed until next spring. It will take the bent grass plants time to mature and spread. We wll have to also continue our bermuda grass sprays next spring and will have to work our way off the greens to reduce the amount of competition that enters the collars in the future.

The process we used today is illustrated below and in video as well:

  • Used our Toro Walk behind aerator to place small and shallow holes one pass around each collar.
    10 small tines per holder. We are using 3 sets on our machine which is about the width of the collar.

    As you can see, my pinkie still dwarfs the tine. The tine goes into the surface no more than about 1/2" which provides enough room for the seed to drop in and be protected from a mower and adverse weather conditions such as high temperature.

    The remaining process will be illustrated in a couple videos below.
  • We then use our walk behind slit seeder to slice some lines into the collar creating a slight channel for the plants to germinate and mature.

  • We then take a drop spreader with some sand and bent grass seed and drop it onto the collar surface. This is to insure we get seeds into the open spaces and the job saver tine holes.

  • The collars are then hand brushed with a stiff broom and they are mowed without baskets to insure the bent grass remains on the green or collar edge.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Update on Fairway Bermuda Eradication Spray

Its pretty obvious the fairways that were sprayed with our bermuda eradication chemicals a few days ago. The bermuda has turned an off color red. There is one fairway, #8 which I noticed a skip in the spray which gives a good example of bermuda under attack and green and in good shape. Video is below.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Bermuda Eradication #5 Fairway

 Video from 5 fairway regarding our herbicide application on holes 4-5, 7-8, 10-13, 15, 17-18. Holes 1-3 were sprayed a few weeks ago at what amounted to a lower rate. Came back with an updated rate on the holes above which will show more damage to the bermuda.

2nd application went down the other day on our collars and we also hit some of the approaches missed by the first spray. Also did some backpacking where the zoysia came up next to the greens, mostly on approaches since the zoysia cannot handle the over spray of this material.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Spraying Collars with Bermuda Contamination As Well As Some Fairways

Last week, Tom sprayed the collars that had bermuda contamination in various stages. We still must backpack spray areas that have zoysia next to them because the chemical is harmful to zoysia so we will do it very carefully with our small sprayer where bermuda has contaminated the collars next to zoysia.

This week the bermuda has turned white if you have been out to the course the past few days. The chemical used (Pylex) disturbs the cartenoid biosynthesis. Carotenoids serve two key roles in plants. They absorb light energy for use in photosynthesis, and they protect chlorophyll from photo damage. By turning white, the chemical is disrupting chlorophyll production in the plant. We are applying this product at 1/2 ounce per acre because it is being applied over the top of bentgrass. It can damage the bent so we are going with lower rates to offset injury to the bent. Standard use rates on more tolerant species are only 1 to 1.5 ounces per acre so as you can see a highly effective product at low dose rates. We must do 3 consecutive applications over about 1 1/2 months to kill the bermuda. Of course, you must then go after the bermuda that is outside the collar so it is an on going process.

Collar on 10 turning colors from green to white. Part of the plant is still green. Successive sprays should for the most part kill it.

This is a section a few feet away in the approach that was not sprayed.
I also sprayed 3 fairways with our fairway eradication product last week. You are beginning to see some changes in fairways 1-3 and a little on 18. The bermuda in these areas will turn a little reddish as the chemical works its way into the plant. I'll have pictures of this over the next few days as the chemical begins to do some damage to the bermuda. I need to spray other fairways but rain and high heat have gotten in the way. I'll probably spray them right before Echofest so it does not disrupt the color until after the event is over. We also must get these sprays completed before the zoyia grass goes dormant which could effect its ability coming out of dormancy next spring.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

10 Very Full Years

Just completed my 10th full year at Glen Echo Saturday. My how time flies when you are having fun! The transition back to a full-time Superintendent role will be pretty simple except for the fact that I will be getting up a couple hours earlier. Of course over the last two years, my eyes have usually popped open at first light or the old wake up time but I've forced them back closed again and or turned my head away from the clock to try to go back to sleep.

Skip, Tom and the rest of the staff have had an excellent year on the course. We are already beginning to transition into preparations for next season. We are seeding some of the mowing equipment damage areas which we will continue to do through the next few weeks. We will be doing some quick slit seeding in areas around greens and high traffic areas. As you can see from the repairs around trees, seed is popping nicely right now with some timely rain and cooler temperatures. We will also be doing some additional slit seeding of fescue in the rough over the next month before the normal late summer early fall dry conditions set in. Of course this time of year is exciting for us because firm and quick ball roll out are the signatures to September/October at Glen Echo.

We will be spraying some bermuda grass on fairways and intermediate to get it going south before fall/winter sets in. In my travels around the course the last couple of weeks I'm beginning to see a little more bermuda coming back in the fairways so we want to keep it at bay and encourage the zoysia. We will be doing some slicing of our fairways and will be doing some solid tine work in some of our higher population fairy ring areas to improve water and air penetration. This effort will encourage some thatch reduction which is one cultural practice that could help is minimizing some of the damage from these rings.

We will also be going after some collar bermuda around the greens. We will chemical treat the  bermuda which will turn it white in color. It takes 2-3 applications every 3 weeks to get this stuff under control.(Of course I don't know if you truly ever get it under control) As we do this work, I will make some blog posts explaining what you are seeing as it is happening.

I appreciate what the membership has done for me and my family over the last 10 years. I look forward to assisting the operation anyway I can to provide a quality club experience to our members and guests. Will still see you in the clubhouse for a few more weeks but look forward to seeing you on the course in the future.