Saturday, June 27, 2009

Japanese beetles

In the last few days, some of you might have seen a green metallic little critter flying around some ornamental plants(roses) or landing on our golf greens and burrowing out of sight. Well, that little critter is the Japanese Beetle which is beginning its mating process and laying eggs in our fine turf. No need to worry, our spray programs eliminate their little grub prodigy's.
We treat our fairways, first cut of rough, green surrounds and tee boxes for grubs which include
Black Turfgrass Aentenius, Northern Masked Chafers(the brown beetle that flies around your porch lights in June), Bluegrass billbug larvae and the Japanese beetle.

Below is a link from the Ohio State University which explains the life and times of this beetle in more detail.

A picture of a beetle. I place Abe beside the beetle to help you understand the scale or size.

Heat and poa decline #9 green

Managing water is the most difficult job our golf maintenance staff has when it comes to our golf greens. Last week, we experienced a total of 4.25" of rain over a 5 day period plus temperatures that went into the 90's for highs and above 75 for the lows which is quite unusual for June in Missouri. As we began the week, our greens were very wet and we were attempting to dry them down, basically not doing anything to them in regards to irrigation. On Tuesday, we were spot watering with a hose any potential areas that might pop up in regards to greens that were beginning to dry or drain. Some edges of greens and collars were spot or hand watered at that time. By Wednesday morning, #9 green was showing some wilt and we hand watered those areas. After watering, we took core samples to our turfgrass pathologist in Columbia, Missouri in case there were some type of disease that could have potentially created this issue. No disease was found. Heat stress created this issue. Looking at the sample under a microscope, we were able to see significant tissue that was alive in the crown of the sample. The crown is the growth area of the plant. As cooler weather arrives in the next day, we should get significant recovery of this green. Overall, the bentgrass on this green is doing well. I believe by the 4th of July weekend, there will be no visible signs of this issue.

View from the left side of the green. You can see the spots of poa that were affected.

The two pictures below give you an idea of the size of these spots in comparison to the camera case. The small holes you see in the turf are from our needle tine operation which we performed on 9 greens on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Driving range divot harvesting

In the summer edition of the "Echo", I posted a suggestion regarding proper divot removal from the driving range tee area when you are practicing.

Our bermuda turf is beginning to move and grow in from the heat over the last week to ten days. A majority of our turf is ryegrass which we seed on a regular basis and fill in the divots during the first half of the summer. Once we get into July, the summer temperatures make it very difficult to get ryegrass to establish from seed. Some of the slow growth of the bermuda is due to the lack of morning sunshine due to shading from large trees and probably some reduction in the overall bermuda growth because of the cool early season temperatures in which you saw all of our warm season grass struggle. With the slow start of our bermuda, it is going to be very important for our staff to keep the ryegrass alive and happy until the bermuda has come in full in which we will then allow it to transition out.(Allow the ryegrass to die or see a reduction in vitality.)

Here are a couple of examples of proper divot removal and what we would like to avoid

We've asked that divots be made from front to back in your practice area. The picture demonstrates this from left to right. After each divot is removed, the ball should be placed on good turf behind the divot and then struck again. A longer, slender divot is much easier to repair and will heal much quicker. You should then allow an inch or two inches between rows so that there is a small strip of turf between every row.

Below is a view of divots which are in a large group and the area covers between 1-2 feet. This is an area that is very difficult to get enough sand to transition between the removed area and the turfed area. Instead of filling this spot one time with sand and seed, it might take 2 or 3 times to get this area smooth. These are the type of areas on the tee that help to create high and low areas on the tee surface.

I've posted a link to a video that was completed at Des Moines Country by a long time superintendent friend Superintendent Rick Tegtmeier CGCS and their golf director.

It has some good thoughts on divot harvesting from the range.

Sodding zoysia on Hole 13, bermuda eradication areas

The following video was used in discussing potential removal areas of dead bermuda grass. I'm using it again to show you a before and after picture of dead grass and replacement with green zoysia grass. We replaced the bare spot yesterday with new zoysia from our fairway nursery.

Assistant Mike is stripping the dead sod out of place. Most of this material was a part of the intermediate rough.

New sod has been laid in the spot that was cleared. We will continue to work on the larger sections on this hole until we have replaced all that we believe should be replaced and will then move on to one of the other 3 test holes for additional replacement.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Classic visits the "Classic".

I was doing some work around the club lawn this morning in preparation for an outdoor wedding that is being held at Glen Echo this evening. As I looked up from my work, I saw this long, beautiful classic car enter the grounds of this classic course. I thought at first it was for the bride and groom to ride into after their marriage. Come to find out it is a classic car club that is holding a function at the club this fall and a couple of the members were doing a pre-visit. They were doing some photography work to use in sending out information to their members regarding the event.
I snapped a couple of pictures as well. It is a 1927 Rolls Royce. The gentleman who owned the vehicle said that he was doing some research about the club from back in 1927 and he found information regarding Glen Echo members from the 20's who were also involved in the club. It is a right hand drive car.

Tree comes back to life

Over this past winter, we had to remove a Silver Maple for safety purposes that was very hollow and near the road. Dr. Lol Barton gave me some cannas to plant on the property and I had a nice clump of 3 left to plant. I thought that they should be planted together and came up with the idea to use the old hollow long as a planter. On your next visit out on the patio at the club you can enjoy the old log and the plants that fill its center.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bridge repair

The bridges over our lake drain culverts continue to create some issues for us. Sections of the galvanized pipes used in creating the spillways have rusted in the bottom which allows water to get under the pipes and move the gravel which was filled around the pipes at installation years ago. As the gravel under the pipe erodes, the gravel which is over top of the pipe then drops down to the bottom creating potholes in our asphalt cart/walk paths. During the heavy rain last week we had another episode on #15. Our repairs since last fall which have been at least 2-3 have included concrete which is being pored into the holes which will reduce the amount of erosion around the top of the pipe. This will also keep our surface from breaking open and exposing small to moderate caverns below.

Lady as usual inspecting the work that needs to be accomplished for the day. The hole on the left is almost all the way down to the bottom of the pipe in depth. The hole on the right was a repair we made early last fall before we started to include concrete as our fill material. It was only about 1' deep.

Picture does not give the depth perception I wanted but you can see it is only about 1'foot wide but it dropped down at least 3-4'.

The repair completed and patched back over with asphalt.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

US Open comes to Glen Echo

We are not trying to give you the rough at Bethpage Black this week but Mother Nature is making it very difficult to get some of our rough cut. Most if not all of our fairways have had a few laps around them in the last 5 day but there are other areas of the course which have not been mowed since last Wednesday or Thursday which leads to the photo below. We have raised one mowers height up to 3" to reduce the negative impacts on the turf.
  • Removing too much turf at one time which can put the plants under some serious stress, especially in a high heat and ground saturated situation.
  • Grass clippings will be laying on freshly mowed turf in high temperature which creates disease, playability and is rather unsightly.
  • Uneven cut of the turf which can lead to disease and turf damage to the ends of the plant.

The 3" cut will take place in the deeper areas of the rough and will be lowered down to match the other mower once we can get caught up with our mowing in the next 5-7 days. As the heat begins to effect the cool season turf, we will plan a 1/4" to 1/2" increase in height overall for our rough to protect it from the stress of the middle summer heat. As the temperatures begin to cool in late August or early September and our cool season turf is beginning to recover, we will lower our height to assist in fighting the dreaded bermuda grass lies that we can experience in our rough.

Bermuda Eradication/Suppression program in fairways

I shot a few videos today to give you some of the examples of the work that is being done to reduce and or eliminate the impacts of bermuda grass on our zoysia fairways. 13 fairway has a number of different examples of small, intermediate and large patches of bermuda. Some of thes patches we will allow the zoysia to grow into the bermuda area as we reduce the bermuda competitively or kill it outright. Other spots will need to be replaced with sod from our nursery because they are simply too large and will take too long for the zoysia to fill into the spot. Poa, crabgrass and other weeds will then try to invade the voided spots. As we get a fairway back to near total zoysia coverage, we will still have to do some treatments on the fairway from time to time to kill back any spots of bermuda that will eventually try to rise up out of the ashes or a piece of bermuda that drops off of a mower, your shoes or a shot you hit out of the rough with piece of bermuda on it. It comes in contact with the soil, moisture allows it to form roots and the process starts all over again.

The first video explains in detail some of the larger patches and how we will handle their potential replacement.

The next video discusses a smaller area in the fairway with zoysia growing in parts of the area.

This video shows a section of rough that has good zoysia coverage with some bermuda grass mixed in with the zoysia. We would not replace this spot with zoysia.

The final video discusses a spot in which the bermuda has completely checked out. This will be completely replaced with zoysia grass as time and weather allow us to do the work. A lot of the bermuda in this spot checked out over the winter with some being killed back this spring.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chef Rob and some Glen Echo raised products

We've purchased some heirloom tomatoes and peppers for Chef Rob to do some magic with. We are probably looking at August or so before they will be ready. The varieties listed below are what we have growing in the green house right now.


Riesentraube 80 days -Indeterminate. This old German heirloom was offered in Philadelphia by the mid-1800's. The sweet grape-shaped fruit grow to one ounce in large clusters on the plant. The name means "Giant Bunch of Grapes" in German. It is probably the most popular small tomato with seed collectors, as many enjoy the rich, full tomato flavor that is missing in today's cherry types. Large plants produce massive yields.

Anna Maria's Heart New $3.00 70-85 days -- --Indeterminate 6-10 ounce fruits of very good flavor. Some growers consider this variety superior to “Pink Oxheart.” (seed courtesy of Carolyn Male)

Costoluto Genovese $3.0078 days - Indeterminate. Deeply ribbed Italian heirloom with a rich, full flavor. Hearty plants that do well in hot weather, but will produce even when the weather cools down. Delicious flavor.

Ludmilla's Red Plum NEW $3.0070-85 days - Indeterminate. Outstanding producer. Very flavorful, 3 to 5 inch, plum-shaped fruits, weighing 6 to 10 ounces. The variety had been grown for over 50 years by one Ludmilla, a “Kazakstan German,” who gave seeds to Reinhard Kraft. (Seed courtesy of Carolyn Male)

Ingegnoli Gigante Liscio (Large Smooth Tomato) $3.0075 days - Indeterminate.Giant fruit are smooth and very tasty, having more vibrant tomato flavor than many huge tomatoes; perfect for home gardeners. This historic Italian heirloom was developed around 1900 from varieties 'Ponderosa' and 'Saint Louis'. It is nearly extinct in the United States. Few seeds. Mid season. Said to be of American origin. Perhaps brought back to Italy by emigrants who returned home.

Riesentraube $3.0080 days -Indeterminate. This old German heirloom was offered in Philadelphia by the mid-1800's. The sweet grape-shaped fruit grow to one ounce in large clusters on the plant. The name means "Giant Bunch of Grapes" in German. It is probably the most popular small tomato with seed collectors, as many enjoy the rich, full tomato flavor that is missing in today's cherry types. Large plants produce massive yields.

Golden Jubilee This large, round, smooth yellow tomato has a mild flavor and is less acidic than many other varieties. Its vines are uniform and upright, making Golden Jubilee one of the easier varieties to manage. Matures in 80 days.


Purple Beauty 3.0075 days. Purple peppers are always a favorite, as they are so colorful. This variety produces loads of beautiful bells on compact, bushy plants. Crisp texture and mild, sweet flavor makes this one popular with everyone. Purple ripening to red.

Quadrato d' Asti Rosso 3.0080 days. Very thick brilliant red flesh. The fruit are huge. Delicious rich-sweet taste. Excellent for frying, salads, or stuffing. One of the largest red bells. Beautiful and blocky. A really choice variety. Produces large yields. Very popular with many fine markets in Italy. Superb!

Sweet Yellow Stuffer This amazing little pepper comes to us from Amish grower Ester Smucker of Indiana. The seed was passed down to her from her Grandmother, whom she fondly remembers growing these peppers in the 1950s in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The very productive plants produce the cutest little mini bell-shaped peppers, only 1"-2" across! Ester uses these to make wonderful stuff ed and pickled peppers!")

Pictures of our fresh lettuce and arugula and two flats of product that have been used at least twice are two flats on the right. We've been growing these outside since it is cooler outside than in our greenhouse.

The picture below are the tomatoes and pepper starting in the greenhouse. We wanted to get them started quickly and protect them from some cooler nights and the heavy rains. They will be moved outside the greenhouse once summer has officially arrived.
Also, a flat of broccoli sprouts which Chef likes to use in topping his salads.

Updated storm information

I was preparing to walk out of the shop this morning to check on our greens when I heard a yell and a loud crash. I had no idea what I was going to find when I went around the corner. One of our old native oaks came crashing down the hill hitting across part of our dump truck and slightly grazing the side mirror of an employees car. No one injured thankfully. The tree basically uprooted out of the ground from the wet conditions.
The tree resting on part of the dump truck.

The uprooted base of the tree. Note the lack of rooting for a tree that has a circumference of 7' and is about 2.5 feet in diameter.

Here is the real problem for this tree. Over 1/3 of the base was dead and decaying leading to less overall rooting holding the tree in place. Over the next few years, we will probably be making some tough decisions regarding weakened and or damaged trees that are potentially unsafe like this tree. Basidiocarps are mushroom type growths that you see at the base of Oak trees that have Root and Butt Rot. I found a good article from North Carolina State regarding this type of disease. Most trees with this disease are older trees that are in decline.

Here is a view of the tree where it split open to show a cavity inside. Bees have taken up residence in the tree with their queen which might potentially create a problem when we try to remove the tree. Maybe they will move on their own or we can get a beekeeper to come by and move them for us.

12 fairway where we had just laid sod last week. Oh well, we found the sod down on 3 fairway at the beginning and will try to lay the sod again when it dries out.

Interesting link

I like reading about anything I can get my hands on regarding the work that we do or in general anything having to do with the outdoors. In our jobs, we are not only concerned with turfgrass management but also, arborculture, horticulture, meteorology, soil science, and astrology.(Just kidding on the astrology part but I do look at the full moon phases for potential disease outbreaks)

I receive a weekly email blast from one of my vendors with information from Kansas State University Turfgrass extension service. The link below discusses a number of subjects which some of you might find interesting. Some of the discussion is golf course related but a number of the items are for general home owner use as well. The topics include:
  • lady bird beetles
  • grasshoppers
  • zoysia patch
  • prostrate spurge
  • drought stress or disease in turfgrass
  • pinching mums
  • accumulated stress to plants leading to death
  • Poison Ivy ID and control

Monday, June 15, 2009

I hope the algae microbes did'nt get washed out of the lake

A few pictures of the torrential rain we received this morning at Glen Echo. Over 2" in the gauge in which about 1.5" fell in about 30-45 minutes.
The irrigation lake on 15 over flowed its banks and dam. (Some of the pictures have script above them and toward the bottom the pictures have script to the side. Could not get the editing function to work properly)

The hazard is slightly wider than normal this morning. Looking from the spillway area back toward 15 tee.

The spill way has water coming into it from all sides.

Water over flowing the left side of the dam.

Looks like the Olympic rafting competition could take place here at Glen Echo.

Bottom of #3 fairway/rough.

New drain on #11 seems to be working pretty well. We do have water from above moving across the front half of the green but it is draining off of the green.

10 bridge just below the green. The water was going completely over the top of the bridge at #8.

Below 10 bridge going across to the bottom of #14.

Our small pond on 10 became pretty large pond.
It is over flowing its dam as well.
A pretty big torrent of water coming down the middle of our maintenance area.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

That Smell

No, I'm not speaking of that famous Lynyrd Skynyrd song "That Smell"
Here's the link to that song if you enjoy some classic rock.

No, what I'm speaking of is some material we put around the greens today. A little organic chicken litter fertilizer with some Ammonium Sulfate to try to kick in the zoysia a bit. The organic is good for soil building and is a slow release fertilizer and the ammonium sulfate is good for warm season turfgrass. If you would like more information, check out the link below.
We plan to put a little application on the greens in the next few days when we can water it
in so that smell might be around again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Planters water conservation amendment

We hope over the next few months that our various plantings in the urns and pots will help to enhance your experience here at Glen Echo. Last year when I arrived, the staff were watering the various urns and pots daily and sometimes twice per day. Hopefully, this year we solved that issue with the purchase of a absorbent hydrogel material. The name of the product is called Terra-Sorb and is made by Plant Health Care, Inc. Terra-sorb absorbs 200 times its weight in water and releases for your plants root system. You can place this in pots or as a soil amendment in your planting beds.

For additional information regarding this product, please click on the link below.

The picture below gives you an idea of the absorbent potential of this material. On the left side of the shop towel is the material in its dried state. To the right of the dime is the material after soaking in water for about 5 minutes. Its already 3 to 4 times or more the size of the original material. This material will run approximately $ 6-7 per pound but it is well worth the time and money it takes to water plants. We purchased a 50# bag but they do come in 10#. There are other materials out there available at garden centers including a product called Soil Moist that come in 3 oz. bags and will set you back about $ 4-5. One of the real benefits of these materials also is the air space that is created for the rooting systems. Our plants root systems in our urns are pretty extensive by now due to the water availability and the pore space created by this material. The pots on the patio were literally trying to push the plants out of the pot because I failed to leave enough room in the pot for the expansion of the material in the soil. Oh well, you live and learn.

After I posted this blog yesterday, I made up a couple of planters for the tennis courts. When I mixed up the material, a couple of piles of the Terra Sorb fell onto the pavement that I was not aware of. The rain overnight activated the product. The single particle below is almost the size of the round plug(about the size of a quarter). Pretty remarkable stuff.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bio-diesel at Glen Echo

After mixing our formulation of used waste oil from the kitchen, we have utilized 15 gallons of this product in our rough mowing machines that past few days. If you feel like your getting hungry out on the golf course, it must be the french fry or chicken tender aroma coming from the rough mowing units exhaust as it burns the blend of bio-diesel and regular diesel fuel. We currently have over 100 gallons of oil we will be mixing to use in our mowing units.

Our mixing station below includes an electric pump, filters to catch both particulates and water separator.


Well, the nutsedge(water grass) is trying to over run us but we are trying to fight back. We sprayed our intermediate cut the other day and already are seeing some pretty good effects on this horrible weed. Also did some hand spraying around the bunkers and have more areas to spray out throughout the golf course. We use a product called Sedgehammer(Halosulfuron-methyl) which was originally formulated by Monsanto and was called Manage.

Poor or weakened zoysia in fairways/intermediate

We are taking a number of steps to improve weakened zoysia turf in various spots throughout the golf course. Aeration, traffic control, sod replacement, reduction in mowing and water management are going to be important cultural practices to help improve these weakened areas of turf.

The picture below is where we have reduced traffic going up the hill on #3. We replaced some sod in this area, have done some smaller tined aerating and have some additional work planned for this area. As the turf continues to improve, we reduce the area that is roped off.

This is a close up of a weakened area on the golf course which was aerated. 3/8" solid tine about 3" deep. We are potentially looking at taking our verti-drain deep tined aerifier out into a few spots to help with water penetration. We will probably only set a depth of 4-5" which will be better than normal aeration of 3" or so which takes place in July. This will be of the solid-tined variety which will not be disruptive to play.

This is the same area but pulled back to show the general size of the area.

Left side of #12. Shade which leads to excessive moisture are contributing factors to this area. We will be replacing sod as weather allows in the next few days. Any assistance you can give when driving carts away from these areas would be most helpful. We are attempting to reduce mowing only as needed through spots like this area.

A wider view of the area from above.


A better view of the Yellow Crowned Night Heron that has been making Glen Echo home for a few weeks. This is a view from #9.(Disclaimer, I'm not 100% sure of the id but the Audubon Society's field guide has a picture that resembles the little fella or lady.

Poa contamination outside of collars/approaches

We have some contamination of poa out into our zoysia/bermuda areas outside the collars. When the poa is small, its not a problem from a playability standpoint but once it starts to grow and gets larger in size, there are issues with these clumps. A short term cure that we are trying is to reduce a walk mower to .75" which helps to cut off the clump and flatten it out. Our intermediate cut mower which goes around this area normally is set at an 1 3/8" which does not reduce the affect of the clump. We are also doing some spot spraying of these clumps to reduce their competitiveness. We also hope the work we are doing to improve some of the zoysia will help the zoysia grow allowing it to compete with the poa as well. Heat will also help reduce the competitiveness of the poa. Early August this season, we will be treating these areas to reduce the amount of poa that germinates from these areas.

The picture above shows the collar cut on the left 1/3, the 3/4" cut in the middle and the taller 1 3/8" cut on the right side. If you enlarge the picture, you can see how the mowing helps to reduce the clump of poa to a size that will help with playability.

We are getting closer to summer!

We are making our way to summer slowly but surely. Couple of views from this weekend's "Fred Clarkson Championship"