Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Collar nursery update

Some of you might have noticed last week that we covered our collar nursery with a white semipermeable cover.  I had the staff put the cover on last week because of the cold temperatures that were predicted.  The green had started to germinate but had not begin to fill in so the cover was put in place to artificially increase the temperature of the soil as well as protect the new seedlings from a hard frost which would slow the new growth.  With the warmer weather predicted this week, we have removed the cover to allow the turf to grow, add additional fertilizer and to apply a fungicide to protect it from disease which can occur during a new grow-in of a green.

Collar nursery under collar.

Collar nursery after the cover was removed.

An end to the Summer Ornamental Season

I love the weather of fall because our golf course is usually in great shape.  It also is an opportunity to see the final displays of color from our ornamental plantings which were outstanding this season.  A little slow at the start from the cold wet weather but everything looked great throughout the property by mid-season.  From what I heard, the ornamental peach tree at the field bar was a big talking point from a number of members.

Becky started the process of removing the ornamental plantings from this summer's displays over the last couple of weeks.  The frost of last week took care of the remaining beds that were displaying great color.   She has been planting fall material in the pots at the entrances, patio and pro shop. She's also busy planting in various high profile beds for some fall display as well as early to mid-spring color.  Becky has also brought in a 1000 new bulbs for planting in various areas as well.
New plantings along the flag pole bed.  Ornamental grasses, pansies, and Mums.

Tulips, daffodils and a few other surprises for next spring.

Driving Range Grass Tees Closing/Carts on Paths Coming Soon

We have closed the long range grass tee for the season.  The mats will be open for your use.  The short range grass will be closed after November 3rd.  It is my understanding that 4 new winter range mats will arriving soon.  The grass tees are closed because the turf is not actively growing and cannot repair itself.  We have overseeded 1/2 of the long range bermuda tee for early spring use next season.  The zoysia/bermuda part of the tees will be reopened  next spring when growth begins and we begin to mow the tees.

Every fall, we face the decision when to permanently place cart on paths for the winter(dormant) time of the year.  Carts on paths in the winter protects the turf from wear and tear when it is not actively growing.  This wear and tear can contribute to late break in dormancy.  Severe compaction can lead to weakened and or dead turf.  Carts also driving on fairways in the winter can flatten the dormant turf making for less than desirable playing surfaces in the winter season.

I plan to place carts on paths beginning November 12th.  If we have dry conditions, I will try to have carts off paths for our last event of the season for the Turkey Day Tournament to encourage a large group of players for one last fling on the fairways.  Red flags will be allowed during the winter season if conditions are dry enough to safely allow the cart to be used.  I would expect carts to be back on the fairways once the turf breaks dormancy and we begin to get growth which requires mowing next spring


Greens Aeration Complete

Our greens aeration was completed before the rain set in late Tuesday morning.  Due to the excessively dry conditions, we did not punch the front approaches to the greens.  The depth set for the project was too deep and would have damaged the approaches/collars due to the dry conditions we have experienced over the last few weeks.  We will punch the approaches as soon as the ground gets soft enough, hopefully in the next few days with the predicted rain coming in Wednesday night into Thursday.

We completed greens Pg, 1-3, 5-7, 9-16 on Monday.  Greens 17-18 were punched Monday but were not completed in total until Tuesday morning.  4 and 8 were initially skipped on Monday because they had gotten very firm over the last few days and needed an extra day of irrigation to reduce the potential for severe surface disruption.  They were completed Tuesday.  The rains came right at the time we finished the last green.

Our process included laying the sand on the greens first.  This prevented the heavy topdressor and hauler from leaving tire ruts across the green when it was already aerated and the surface softened.  We then used our Redexim 7316 Vertidrain punching holes on average 8" deep with 1/2" tines spaced about 3" apart.  This placed about 1.5 million holes and or channels in our greens surfaces and down through our aged soil profiles.  We normally use a spin attachment during our normal topdressing which we are able to apply a small amount of sand over about 4-6 greens.  We used our brush attachment during this process which laid a heavy band of sand much heavier than our standard topdressing layer.  About 1 to 1 1/4 topdressor loads per green.  We applied about 35-40 tons of sand to the 2 acres of green surfaces that we have.  It would take about 30-40 minutes to aerate each green depending upon the size.

We then applied a product called Renovate Plus from Earthworks which provides a number of products in one bag: Approximately 50 pounds per green more or less.

  • Dry Kelp Meal, seaweed is a great stress reducing product for golf greens.
  • Chicken Manure Compost is a great food source for microbes
  • Hard and soft rock phosphate
  • Sulfate of Potash
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Zeolite which posses the ability to hold plant nutrients for efficient plant uptake in our straight sand topdressing.
We then used our smaller pull behind blower to blow the sand into the holes as well as employees with backpack blowers to speed up the process.  This would take about 30-45 minutes dependent upon the amount of staff we had and the size of the green as well.

The greens were then brushed to smooth the remaining sand on the surface of the green.

We then rolled the greens surfaces to smooth over the holes and the surface of the green.

The aeration provides a number of benefits for the greens.
  • Allows water to penetrate more quickly into the green profile.
  • Exchanges gases with oxygen penetrating into the root system and Carbon dioxide which can build up in the green profile to exit.
  • New channel for roots to move into more freely.
  • Replaces the very fine sand that was originally topdressed with to a larger particled material which will allow water to move more freely through the profile.
  • Drier and firmer putting surfaces which improve ball roll.
  • Replaces and reduces thatch which can build up fron dying plant material.

Russ with the Verti-drain aerator.

Staff using pull behind blower and back packs.  A majority of the sand stays on the green and goes into the holes on the green.

Did not get the brush in action but the brush that is pulled behind the cart to smooth the sand on the greens.

Jeff rolling the completed green.
The finished product

Monday, October 28, 2013

Greens aeration

We were delayed by frost this morning but once we got going, the staff did a great job in completing 15 of our 19 greens.  Everything was completed except 4, 8 and 17.  18 was aerated but not topdressed.  4 and 8 were not aerated because the greens were too dry and could have been damaged.  We should get 17-18 finished tomorrow if the rain holds off.  4 and 8 will be completed as soon as we have sufficient moisture to prevent damage.
Completed green surface.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Frost/Freeze Delays, Here they come!

As mentioned in a email blast last Friday, frost delays are upon us.  Something none of us like to experience but a necessary requirement to protect our turf from damage.  Delays occur because of the frozen dew that attaches itself onto the plants.  

We ask that all golfers do not begin their rounds until after the designated tee times for this time of year. These times are put in place to protect your facility and create as little inconvenience for our membership as possible.  It is important for all golfers to check with the pro shop for the okay to use the ranges and or putting green before starting their day at the club.  Normally the putting green is one of the first surfaces to clear being at a higher elevation and near the parking lot which holds extra heat.  Guidelines for you to follow are when predicted temperatures are to be around 40 degrees or below, the chances for frost to occur are pretty good.  Especially since our first hole is one of the lower lying areas of the property.  We will try to give the pro shop an estimate on the frost delay if at all possible so if you look outside your window at home and see frost, more than likely there will be some type of delay.  

Below is a great video from the USGA regarding frost delays and the importance of staying off of the turf areas until the frost lifts.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Nursery update.

We've mowed the greens nursery 4 times since last week.  Currently mowing as needed(twice per week).  It is being mowed at a height of .210" with our walk mower.  It has been topdressed this week and fertilized weekly over the last 3 weeks.  

The collar nursery green has just started to germinate.  Took a couple more days longer than the greens nursery due to cooler temperatures.

Water just finishing on the greens nursery.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Long range tee overseeded for next spring

For the last two seasons, I have not overseeded the Patriot bermuda grass long range tee with ryegrass.  Poa annua had invaded the tee along with crabgrass and goosegrass.  In an effort to reduce some of the effects of these weeds, in the winter of 2012 we sprayed an application over our dormant bermdua like we do our fairways and tees.  The crab/goosegrass premergent and RoundUp application was very successful in reducing these weeds.  Luckily, the early warm up of spring allowed our membership early access to the bermuda because it had greened up so quickly from that early season heat. 

Last year, I decided to do the same thing but did not have good early spring conditions.  The cold damp spring caused us to keep the grass tee area closed since the turf was very slow in coming out of dormancy.  Conditions were very wet which would have allowed very few days on the tee but I decided this season we would get back to overseeding the tee.  .  

I sprayed a material in the early fall which should kill some of the early germinating poa annua and allow the ryegrass that we overseeded on the tee to flourish next spring.  Of course, we will get some poa annua to probably germinate and invade the area.  We seeded 1/2 of the tee that is closest to the parking area which should be enough teeing space for the earlier spring play.  I seeded this section of tee that has reduced sunlight and is usually slow to come out of dormancy anyway.  I wanted to keep the stronger area of bermuda ready for next spring in case we had an early warm up and it would grow faster and be ready to hit off of sooner if we received above normal conditions.  

Overseeding is stressful for bermuda.  We attempt to reduce the harm to the bermuda by only drop spreading the ryegrass.  My friends to the south who grind their turf down to near nothing when they overseed are beginning to post some nice pictures to twitter regarding reopening or how their rye grass is coming along.   Ryegrass can slow bermuda from breaking dormancy because it shades the bermuda and does fight it for nutrients and moisture 

So this spring you can look forward to having turf to hit from once the tee is dry enough to allow play. 

Deep Tined greens Aeration planned for the week of October 28th

I wait as long as I can before the greens are aerated at Glen Echo CC.  Fall putting conditions are usually the best of the year so I try to give you as many days as possible to enjoy but your time is running out.  One of the surprising aspects of greens aeration in it current form is that the disruption to the playing surfaces is not nearly as severe as it was years ago.  The equipment is so much better and our techniques have been refined to the point that disruption occurs for shorter periods of time and the playing surface is pretty good to play from considering what the greens will have been put through.  I think our healing will be very quick since the greens came out of summer in excellent condition.  

We will be doing our yearly Verti-drain deep-tine greens aeration beginning on Monday, October 28th weather permitting.  It takes us about 3 days to complete this project with a majority of the work occurring on that Monday.  We usually have about 4-5 greens left to complete on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We make every effort not to interfere with play but if you come out early on those two days, you might run into the end of our operation.  We will be using 1/2" tines and will go approximately 9-10" deep.  We will be filling the holes with about 30-40 tons of sand.  I expect the greens to be in good shape through that next week.  It takes about 10 days or so for them to be back into what I would consider normal shape for this time of year.  We appreciate your patience during this most important cultural practice for our greens.  

Fairway Bermuda Eradication

The spray applied a couple of weeks ago on our fairways has started to show some results.  It has turned the bermuda off color and it is injured.  With frost right around the corner, the injury put on the bermuda as it is going into dormancy should severely stunt it as it tries to come out of dormancy next spring.  It will then be decision time based on how much zoysia is in the area if I spray it right away.  If the area is completely void of zoysia, spraying it again could take out the bermdua completely which would then force us to sod the dead areas which can get expensive.  If the area has zoysia in it, we might hit these spots again which will encourage the zoysia to grow because it has less competition and we continue to injure the bermuda.  One of the techniques we can use is to spray edges of bermuda which will allow the zoysia some advantage and it would be able to grow back into these spots.  Realize that bermuda can out grow zoysia by at least 3 times its growth rate.  Mr. David Stone CGCS from the Honors Course in Tennessee told me one time that you will probably never get rid of the bermuda completely.  Drainage areas/wet areas or areas that are too shaded will not support healthy zoysia.  Bermuda enjoys excess water and can handle shade better than zoysia.

I will also be spraying some areas of the rough with an application of our bermuda suppression material which should hurt it going into winter.  We will probably do a spray in the spring to reduce its growth in early summer which should make your summer golfing next season not quite as difficult if the bermuda is not as aggressive.  

This is the area on top of #10 looking back toward the lakes.    
The area to the right of the brown bermuda extending about 10' or so is part of the fairway and intermediate that is probably 100% bermuda.  I did not want to spray all this area at once because if it all went out, we would have to replace it with zoysia.  My hope is to injure the reddish brown area giving zoysia the chance to fill back into these areas.  We still might have to replace some zoysia but I am trying to keep it to a minimum.
This is the area at the bottom of #13.  You can see the areas effected from the spray.

Drainage issue at start of #12 Fairway

We've had a significant wet area at the beginning left side of 12 fairway.  Yesterday we put a gravel dump with a pipe in it to drain the area.  We ran a solid pipe down to the cart path where an emitter was placed on the pipe allowing the water to go across the path into an existing surface drain.  The trench still needs to settle and it will then be smoothed and covered with sod.  About 100 yards from the left side of 12 we filled it with dirt to help smooth out a severe rut that formed from the irrigation lake splice at which runs to the property line.  We seeded and covered the area with a straw blanket to protect it from erosion.

Staff hand digging the trench out for the new drainage.  Area was to saturated for trencher.

Continuing to clean out trench.

Back filling trench line.

Water that had already accumulated at bottom of trench line this morning.
The right side it the pop up drain that is removing the water from the saturated area.  Water draining across the path and into drain line that runs under 3 fairway.

Stray blanket to protect new seeded are about 100 yards from #12 green.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Collar nursery finished and seeded

The staff finished the prep work on the collar nursery near 16 tee.  We reduced the size to make it more manageable.  It was seeded on Friday and should begin to germinate by late next week.  

The greens nursery was mowed for the first time on Friday.   We are mowing it at a little over a 1/10" higher than our regular height of cut.  We will be topdressing the green to help stabilize the plants and protect the crowns from mowing.  We will lower the height of cut  every week or so as growth warrants.  

Staff finished laying fescue sod on the old part of the nursery that was filled with dirt.

Collar nursery seeded and water running to help keep the seed bed moist.

Tom walking mowing the green nursery near 18 tee.  We will mow without baskets for a few weeks to help add a little thatch back to the green.  Also with extra fertilization to encourage growth, the clippings being returned back to the sand will provide some added nutrient value to the new turf.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

#3 spray damage improving

The damage to #3 is thankfully improving and beginning to grow.

Still off color but improving each day.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A mistake

Always hate to have to post a message about an error. 3-4' along the right side of 3 green was accidentally damaged from a spray application this past week.  I was spraying out Bermuda along the collar and inadvertently turned on the boom that was over the green.  At the time I did not realize this had occurred.  Spraying off an accidental mishap would probably have limited the damage.  We've rinsed the area and have placed a couple of products down to hopefully limit the damage.  It is obviously off color.  My hope is the incoming rain, cooler weather and not mowing that section of green for a few days will allow it to recover.   Normally I would not have a boom over the green to prevent the chances of an accident.  Long story short, a weed killer is causing this issue.  Il will probably know in the next 5-7 days.  

It is my hope that a majority of it will survive.  I will keep you posted.

Sorry for this mistake.

In the middle is the edge of the damage to the collar.  There is about 20-30" of collar which is showing damage as well.  The  zoysia/Bermuda intermediate  which was supposed to be sprayed is on the right and is slightly off color as it should be.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Drilling Fescue-Bluegrass mix into rough/Bermuda eradication in fairways

The staff over the next few days will be using a slit seeder to incorporate a Fescue/Bluegrass mix into the rough.  We will be concentrating our efforts around green complexes and first cut rough areas that come into play.  Some of these areas will include the back green surrounds of #5,6,8,16 which have substantial amounts of bermuda.  Last season, in an effort to reduce costs during the bunker project, I did not sod the back sections of these green complexes.  The slit seeding of these areas will give these complexes a more attractive look and will make the turf type consistent throughout the entire complex.  We will be keeping a 7' intermediate cut around #8 and #16 because of the severity of the slope of the greens.  You should see germination of the seed within the next couple of weeks depending upon the amount of moisture that we receive.  It is rather difficult to fully irrigate these areas because 1/2 the moisture goes onto the fairways.  We attempt to keep the zoysia relatively dry during the fall.  Drier turf reduces the onset of Large patch in our Zoysia fairways.

Speaking of zoysia fairways, I sprayed 7.3 acres of fairways with our bermuda eradication product today.  That is about 25% of our fairway acreage.  This includes parts of holes 1-5, 7-8, 10, 13, and 15.  This product will severely injure the bermuda as it goes into dormancy and will delay it breaking dormancy next spring.  We will then go into some of these areas and make another application next spring.
Russ slit seeding into the area in front of #4 tee and #11 green surround.

Jason dragging the left side of #3.  The drag helps to smooth over the slit and places the seed in better contact with the soil which assists in germination.