Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Fescue Sod around greens

We just replaced the intermediate zoysia/bermuda rough around greens #7, 11, 12 and 18.
The picture below is the big roll sod that we used to help speed up the process. There are less seams that need to heal and quicker laying and the material which allows staff to do other jobs. Jason is operating the tractor and Jose is pulling the plastic netting off of the sod as it is rolled out. We initially had to strip out the old sod and hand shoveled this material into the back of carts because of the soft conditions and narrow confines where we were working. A few weeks ago we were able remove the old sod using a tractor with box blade and the front loader and dump truck. A little more work this time.

The picture below is the left side of 12 green. We ran out of time to complete the right side. It will be completed in the next few days. The new work tied into the back of the green which was replaced this past spring.
The view below is from the back to the front along the left side of #11 green. We replaced four widths of sod along the green collar. This is next to the area of sod we replaced last spring. We also placed four strips of sod on the right side and back of the green as well. We do have some bermuda on the side hill and bank which we will begin to seed into and also do herbicide treatments to reduce the aggressiveness of the bermuda grass.
You will notice heads exposed with no sod on them next to a couple of the newly sodded areas. We will be digging these heads up in the next few days and raise the top of the head to the level of the new sod.
This is the walk off area of #7 green next to 8 tee box.
Standing in the same spot at the top of the walk off area on #7 but looking to the front of the green. We also replaced sod on the left side of the green as well to tie into the back of the green.
The right side of #18 green looking to the front. This work ties into the turf between #18 and PG sod which was placed last spring.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Eastern White Pine

We have a number of Eastern White Pines on our property. Every fall, the White Pine will begin to lose its 2nd year needles. This is a natural occurrence that the trees experience every fall.
I have experienced at other facilities a needle drop during the spring which normally occurs because of some type of environmental stress that effects the growth of the tree and causes the needles to drop early. Disease, insects, and or large swings in temperature or moisture that occur from time to time create this phenomenon.

The needles at the tip of the branch are this years new growth.
For additional information on the Eastern White Pine, check out the link below.

Additional Verti-drain Deep tine aerating

There are other areas of our facility that we are utilizing our deep tined aerifier to help relieve compaction other than our greens. The walk off areas of our greens receive a great deal of traffic over the season from equipment and golfers. 4" deep hole will assist in water penetration and will help exchange oxygen into the turf root zone. We will also do a core aeration in the next month or so as weather allows.
We also used the machine to aerify our cool season tees to help them with water penetration over the winter as you can see below.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Collar nursery seeding

A few weeks ago, I posted some initial pictures and information regarding the collar nursery we are preparing in the area of the 16th tee and 2 fairway. Well, we finally got the nursery seeded today. A few weeks late but it should sprout in the next couple of weeks and begin to grow.
A few pictures to explain our process. Asst. Mike is spreading some fertilizer and micro nutrient products on the surface. He then mixed some organic fertilizer with our Cato/Crenshaw bentgrass seed and spread it 2 directions onto the surface of the sand. Did you know there are 7,000,000 seeds per pound? We seeded 6#s of seed on this nursery with over 42,000,000 seeds planted. Six pounds of seed would fit in a large coffee can to give you some sense of the size of this very small seed.
Skip then used our bunker rake machine to help press the seed into the surface of the sand.

This process is called dimpling of the sand which you can see below.
Once this process was complete, the area is covered by a turf blanket which allows for light, water and air to penetrate and will help hold in some heat for the seed to germinate. You will notice over the next 4-6 weeks that the blanket could be off during sunny days and will be placed back on at night to help hold soil temperatures up to keep the green growing for a bit longer this season.
Additional information on Cato/Crenshaw bentgrass can be found in the following link.

Fall greens aeration

Our greens were aerified on Monday, October 12th. We used our Verti-drain deep tined aerifier with a 1/2" solid tine going 7-8" deep and spaced about 3" a part.

The pictures below are of our verti-drain aerifier in operation. We start at the back of the green and go through the front collar and or bentgrass approach. The operator, in this case Russ will then back over the non-aerated section of green and will start another row.

Below is the back view of our aerator with 4 tines per holder and 6 arms.

This view is the aftermath of the aerating process. The pin below gives you an idea of the spacing that the aerator makes in the surface of a green.

Once we aerated, we would then roll the greens to smooth the aerated surface in case the machine would heave the turf. Skip is rolling the green with our vibratory rollers in the picture below.

We then used our spin topdressor to place a complete hopper of sand on each green. During the season, we would put one load of sand on about every 3-4 greens in our frequent and light program. It is necessary a couple of times of year to place heavy amounts of sand on greens to help smooth the surface, fill aeration holes and increase the percentage of sand in the turf profile to help dilute our turf mat. The turf mat or thatch includes the turf surface and an inch or two of the living and dying stems and roots of a plant. Sand being continually layered into this living and dying process will not only help turf conditions on the surface but improve the environment for our microbial population to flourish in the soil. Microbes that are healthy and happy will help to reduce thatch materials and will gather nutrients as they pass through this area. As the microbes digest these materials, the turfgrass root system will absorb the byproducts of the microbes feast and turn it into energy for health and welfare. Too much thatch leads to greens that are spongy during wet conditions, excessively ball mark, and will not be smooth or roll true. The excessive thatch will hold moisture and tie up nutrients and will not allow the water to drain quickly through the profile. Of course, old soil greens with only a few inches of sand help to slow the moisture leaving the turf area as well.
Once the green is topdressed, we would use our drag brush and would go at least 3 different directions(front to back, side to side and 45 degree) on the green to smooth the sand and help move it into the aeration holes. The dragging will also help work the sand around the turf which forces the turf to stand up which would then allow for a tighter mowing of our greens surfaces. Less leaf blades means less friction and better ball roll. Assistant Mike is doing our dragging in the picture below.Once the sand was moved around on the green with the brush, the green is mowed.
Jason is doing the honors below. You can see the cloud of dust and sand out in front of the machine as he moves along the turf surface. We could substitute a second roll for this process but this insures that any turf that has been pulled up in the process from the brushing is cut off.
The greens were then lightly fertilized and watered to help settle the sand and begin to activate the fertilizer.
Even with cooler than normal temperatures, I expect the greens to be back in good condition by next week. The heavy sanding requires that we mow the greens once they have dried late in the morning for the first few days after this process and we should be mowing greens in the morning by this weekend.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Green Surround Sod, 10 and 13

We spent Monday stripping the warm season sod from the first cut on green surrounds of #10 and #13. In the picture below, you can see Russell using the sod cutter to strip off the material.

In this part of #13, Jose, Teddy, Arturo and Gionni are removing the sod by hand because our equipment is too large to fit in this area.

In our large sections of the surrounds, we moved the material from the edges so that we could push the material into our front loader.

Skip is pushing the material into piles.

Skip backing the tractor and box blade pushing the material into the front loader.

Front loader dumping the material into our dump truck.

Once the area was cleared, we had to dig up 16 of our sprinkler heads around our greens and raise them so that they will be even with the new sod.

Skip is rolling the 30 yard big roll of sod out onto #13. Nick is removing the netting that the material is rolled up to help keep it stable. We remove the netting so that it does not get caught on spikes in case the sod would become weak in spots and die. Once the sod is rolled out, we have to pull it into place to fit the area we are trying to cover. In the case of the green surrounds, we had a curved edge to work with which creates its own set of difficulties.
Arturo is filling in the gaps of sod.
Russell is filling in areas as well.
#10 Complete. We replaced about 10-12' around 10 green.
#13 Complete. We still have a little dirt to fill out some heads on 13 green.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fairway/rough bermuda eradication

In the last couple of weeks, we have made our last application of the bermuda eradication chemicals for the 2009 season. We have made our 5th application over 2 seasons on fairways 4, 7, 8, and 13. We also included our first cut of regular rough around all fairways and made applications to various tees to reduce the bermuda encroachment as well.(4/12, 6, 9, 11 blue, 13, 16, 17 and 18)
The green committee has been in discussions regarding additional applications to other fairways. Our concerns as a group are that the longer we wait to spray more fairways, the more severe the encroachment of the bermuda into our zoysia. Early this week, we made applications in spots on fairways 1-3, 10, 12, 15-18. These spots are smaller than the spot applications you will see in the pictures below from hole #13. We sprayed those areas at a reduced speed so that we would impact less zoysia turf. I also picked these spots because of the amount of zoysia turf in the spots which will help us with recovery of these areas. The spots will probably become visible to you in the next 5-7 days. The affects this season will probably be like the turf is going into dormancy which it is getting This application will probably not take out the bermuda but will reduce its vitality for next spring so that our zoysia will begin to move into some of these areas. We will also sod as needed in more severely affected areas. Additional applications will be made next season.

The picture below is of hole #13 with the application made about 10 days ago. The application was not made in total in the fairway but was spot sprayed to reduce the effects of the chemical on the non-bermuda areas of zoysia. Zoysia is tolerant to the chemical which means it will not be killed by the products but will yellow and will not be as vigorous during the first couple of weeks of application. We also sprayed the rough on the left side all the way to the cart path and on the right side about 30'. You can see some slight discoloration in these areas. Most areas of our first cut of rough were sprayed from cart path to about 30-40' on the opposite side of the fairway.

The next picture is from September 2008. During this application, we sprayed the entire fairway and the rough was sprayed with one of the two chemicals we were using. This application was made a couple of weeks earlier than the 2009 application which is why the rough is slightly more off color in last year's picture. We have made 3 applications on the rough on #13 and I believe we are beginning to make some very significant impact to this area. This view below is looking down 13 fairway and demonstrates the the effects that the material has on the zoysia and the bermuda. The zoysia turns off color/yellow and the bermuda turns red. As we continue to reduce the size of our bermuda contamination, the squares will be significantly reduced and our zoysia will fill in the voids left by the bermuda turf. The darker green turf in the fairway is where we did not spray the chemical mixture.

The picture below is from the most recent spray in 2009 on #13. You can see that the bermuda is very thin and soil is becoming exposed in the right side of the picture. The next picture is from September 2008 and you can see how strong the bermuda turf is and that there is no soil visible in this picture. Our applications are working and we are making progress as we attempt to push the bermuda out of our main play areas.

The last picture is between the forward tee on #11 and the fairway. The ride side of the picture is where we sprayed our bermuda eradication materials and to the left is rough that was not sprayed. We made two passes with our spray rig which covered 40'. We are seeding into these areas about 20' off of the fairways. As we continue to reduce the bermuda population, we will
expand the area of seeding over the next few years.