Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Firewood Available This Season

We have firewood available again for self-service pickup or delivery this season. Please contact me jwachter@gecc.org to communicate if you are picking up wood or schedule a delivery so I can charge your account accordingly. You do not have to be home to accept delivery. Staff will stack in where you need it. We will schedule deliveries between 8 am to 2 pm Monday thru Friday. Deliveries will not be available over the Christmas/NewYears holiday since most of our winter staff take vacation time during this period. All seasoned Oak split last winter.

Delivered wood is about 40% of a cord since my truck bed is 4x6x2 in dimensions.

Full pickup load for self pickup will be $ 75.00.
Smaller loads SUV for self pickup will be reduced to $ 40.
For delivery inside the 270 beltway, the charge for wood and delivery will be $ 100.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Driving Range Protective Net Nearly Completed

The staff has installed the wire border and put all the netting up on the Long Range Tee over the last 2 days. We have some additional work to do in the morning and hope to have the mats open by noon on Friday.
Netting rolled out and staff installing rope border.

Guys had to run the rope in and out of the netting so it can be attached to the wire.

Hanging netting on wire that was installed yesterday. 5/16" wire stretched across the top,down the poles and across the bottom where the net is attached to it using carbiner snaps that hold them in place.
Additional view of guys up on the lift. Skip and Russ doing this work.
Attaching more snaps in place. About every 3'.

The maintenance building side of the range that was finished for the most part on Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Greens Aeration, The Full Story

Our fall greens aeration is our most concentrated project each season which requires using every staff member to complete this task. It is our most important project because it helps to improve the health of our greens more than anything else we do to them besides watering.

As mentioned in the past, deep-tine aeration provides the following benefits:

  • Drainage through and improves water's ability to penetrate into the profile both to get through it and into the areas where water is needed by the root system.
  • Gas exchange, oxygen into the soil and the release of harmful carbon dioxide which can build up in the soil.
  • Space for roots to grow, expand and improve.
  • Allows us to modify the sand profile with a coarse sand that provides improvement in all the areas listed above.
  • Improves the biological health, good microbes in the soil.
  • Thatch reduction by mixing sand with the thatch helping to dilute or break down the thatch.
Our process included:
  1.  Placing the sand on the greens. Approximately 1-2 tons per green based on their size.
  2.  Aerating punching about 110,000 holes 8" deep, 5/8" channel in each green.
  3.  Applying a soil amendment product to the green. Earthworks Renovate Plus
  4.  Blowing the sand in the holes
  5.  Brushing the sand in the holes and helping to spread the sand uniformly across the surface. .
  6.  Rolling to close over the holes and smooth the surface as best we can.  
  7.  Applying organic fertilizer. Earthwork Replenish 5-4-5
  8.  Changing the holes since they were damaged during the process.
We will need to brush the greens again to help work excess sand into the profile. We will roll regularly to help smooth the surfaces until we mow again which will be in a few days once the sand has settled.



Greens Aeration Complete

With perfect drying conditions, we were able to complete all 19 greens on Monday. We will be rolling this week and brushing/mowing as well. Full report coming.
#1 green with holes filled.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Frost Delays/Aeration Videos From the USGA

The first light frosts are possibly going to hit the course this weekend. In most cases, it will probably only touch the rough grass in low lying areas. Right now our soil temperatures are high due to the lack of moisture in our turf. The warmer the soil, the less chance the dew will get cold enough to form frost but I expect if it gets down to 35-36 there will be some frost.

As we get closer to November and the potential for the first hard frosts of the season, time for a little refresher of why we are so concerned regarding not walking on frosted playing surfaces.

My goal is to get you out on the course as quickly as possible in the morning. No one wants to have a tee time at 8 in the morning and have to wait around until 10 to start playing golf and I know the pro shop staff wants you out on the course as well. In most cases, if you are delayed getting out on the course for frost, me and the staff are delayed in getting our work done so we can go home after our 6th day of work that week. I am pretty conservative when it comes to getting staff out to work on frost days.

The biggest issue for us right now is the lack of sunlight early in the morning. Sunrise this morning was at 7:10 a.m. We find with early season frost that it sometimes doew not fall until right at sunrise. As the sun comes up, cold air is pressed to the ground and frost sometimes forms. We have to be very careful sending staff out in the dark during colder weather. We are probably going to push our start time back this weekend to be on the safe side.

Light frost effects are usually not as severe but we don't want to do anything that can reduce the turfs ability to prepare properly for winter. Hard frosts can include plant cells being frozen. When walked upon or driven on by a cart, the cells rupture and are damaged. The plant must use its energy to repair this damage. Sometimes its too late in the season and the grass plants could potentially die or be injured severely enough that they come into spring in a weakened state.

When we say there is a frost delay, that is for all playing surfaces including the putting green and range tees. In many cases the mats are frost covered and slippery and it would be wise not be hitting balls from them until the all clear is given.

I attempt to give the pro shop an estimate when I believe the frost will lift. This is a general guideline. Sometimes its quicker, and sometimes it takes longer to get everything cleared.

I've also included a video regarding aeration which will be coming up next week. Most of the video is showing pulling a core but we will be doing a deep solid tine which I explained its purpose a few days ago. Full video on our work coming early next week so stand by.

Preparations For Greens Aeration on Monday, October 19th

Over the next few days, we will be increasing the watering of our greens to push moisture through the profile. I sprayed a couple of wetting agent/penetrate products that will assist with getting the water through the layers on our greens. This material will also suppress dew helping the surfaces dry quicker during aeration allowing us to get started quicker in the mornings. We are trying to get moisture to the soil layer which was the original surface of our greens when they were built many eons ago. If this layer is too dry, the tines stick and heaves the turf forcing us to shorten the depth of our aeration which we don't want to happen. The deeper we go with aeration, the greater the benefit for our turf. 

The original depth of our greens is 5-6" below the surface where you are currently putting on. Modern greens keepers have used sand to help smooth the surfaces and improve drainage. We have 18 of these greens at Glen Echo. With no rain and watering lightly to keep ball roll out long and smooth in the last 30 days, we have gotten drier down in this soil layer than we should be. We also fertilized our greens last week and have not applied the regulator we used over the last month that assisted us as well. All these things in combination will allow us to get our work completed in a timely and efficient manner and should assist us with healing. I would expect the greens to be in good condition in the next 10-14 days after we have aerated.   
The soil depth is about 2-2.5" deep at the bottom of the hole with the sand between 5-6" in depth . Right at the point of the arrow you can see an old aeration hole going down into the soil layer. Our goal with the aeration is to create channels down into the soil layer allowing moisture to move through the bottom of the green. This also creates channels for rooting and gas exchange with the good Oxygen entering the root zone and the bad when too much has built up Carbon Dioxide can escape from the soil. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Weather Stats for August/September

Some interesting statistics over the last couple of months.

Weather stats for August and September.
We've had .98" of rain in the last 34 days at Glen Echo's weather station.
5th wettest August on record.
8th warmest September on record with 75.1 degrees.
Tied for 5th longest streak of days (8) with the maximum temperature at or above 90 degrees between 9/1-9/8.
For the period May-September, avg days over 90 is 38.4, we've had 49 days over 90 so far this season.
2nd wettest summer June-Aug on record of 23.94". Wettest was 27.22" in 1915.
34th warmest summer June-Aug on record at 78.7 degrees. Warmest all time was in 1901 at 82.7

                               Observed Value    Normal Value   Depart From Normal   Last Years Value
Avg Max.                        86.7                       87.9                        -1.2                             89.0
Avg Min                          68.8                       69.4                        -0.6                            71.6
Mean                               77.8                       78.6                        -0.8                             80.3

13 days over 90 degrees

Avg Max.                       84.9                      80.2                          4.7                             80.3
Avg Min.                       65.3                      60.6                           4.7                             59.8
Mean                             75.1                      70.4                           4.7                             70.0

10 days over 90 degrees


                 Aug               6.67"                      2.99"                      3.68"                            5.06"
                 Sept              3.11"                      3,13"                     -0.02                              4.20"|

Friday, October 9, 2015

Tracking in Fairways

Green committee meeting last night and a question was posed regarding tracking lines or vehicle lines in fairways. Normal for this time of year with us blowing leaves off fairways on a daily basis. The fairways have not been mowed in over 10 days. Mowing will clear up traffic lines as well as the darker green color of the grass but no growth equals no mowing. Went out this morning to see if we would get any grass mowed but not tall enough to cut anything off. Depending if you are on the tee or the green and looking out toward fairway, the off colored grass is laying over and more pronounced in its look because of its lack of dark green color and its length.

No more traffic than normal. That is one of the issues we face with tree lined fairways and 3-4 rows deep in trees. Now if you remove more ..........., less leaves to blow, less traffic on fairways. Have a great day! 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Greens Aeration Scheduled Monday, October 19th

Its getting near that time of year to aerate our greens. I hold off as long as I can but we cannot delay any longer if I expect the greens to heal before winter sets in. I have the staff scheduled for October 19th and a rain date for the next Monday the 26th if conditions are too wet. We usually get 14-15 greens completed and do our other 4 over the next couple of days hopefully before play catches us. We utilize our Deep-tine aerator with a 1/2"diameter solid tine to a depth of 8". The holes are filled with sand to assist in the healing process and help with smoothing out the ball roll. More discussion on the benefits of this process once we get to the date. It should take a couple of weeks for greens to heal and sand to settle. I know the greens have been extremely quick over the last few weeks which is the most important reason for this delay. Dry/windy conditions, heavy growth regulator use, and regular rolling have given us extended ball roll out. I appreciate your understanding during this most important work we perform on our greens each season.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lift for Range Nets, Lift for Tree Management Plan

Hardware to install range netting is arriving in next couple of days. To install the hardware, we needed to rent a lift to assist us with the work. I decided to utilize the lift for a month and complete some tree management work a little early. Ground is dry/firm and grass has slowed a little allowing us to do some other work. 

Some of this work involved removal of a couple hazardous trees, Sweetgums which were nearly hollow at the base. A majority of the work will involve removal of deadwood and lower hanging limbs, especially with our Pin Oaks. These limbs are usually heavily shaded from the branches that shade them from above. The branches become weak and will usually die creating more deadwood issues for us if they are not removed. This will also assist us during the year when wind comes through Glen Echo and knocks dead branches from what seems like every tree on property. The branches must be picked up which takes labor away from more important areas of the course. It is difficult to pick up every branch when then leads to dull mower blades. 

The staff worked along right side of 1, between 18-1 and 17-18. Twelve hours of pruning for 2 people and an additional 64 hours cleaning up the debris. All brush was chipped for mulch since it was Oak and larger branches were saved for firewood to use in our shop or for members fireplaces once its seasoned. We try not to waste anything with this work.

Pin Oak along 18 between 17-18. Removing some of the lower limbs that will ultimately die from being shaded. Also deadwood that we can reach.
Skip on the platform a little closer to 18 green.
Some additional pruning along 18.
Sweetgum wounded pretty severely about 100 yards off the tee of 15 between 15-16. One of two Sweetgums removed in last couple of days.

She had to go.
Right side of 13 about even with 14 tee. Showed soft tissue along the bottom and poor growth over last couple of  years. Did not think it was completely hollowed out.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

White Pines Losing 2nd Year Needles

If you look out in your backyard or have been out on the course, you are beginning to notice the annual dropping of 2nd year needles of the white pines. This is a natural occurrence and nothing to be alarmed about. But if you see the tips of your branches or all needles turning brown, your tree is experiencing some other more serious issue. Contacting an arborist in this case would be recommended. 

As the turf mowing has been slowing, we have been in the process of removing some very weak smaller ash trees and other damaged trees I've identified to The Green Committee. My seasonal staff only have until the end of October until they are finished for the season. We are utilizing them to help with this removal while our year round staff are involved in turf renovation work. 
White pine beat 12 tee. You can see the inner needles turning brown.
2nd year needles at the red arrow. New growth at the tip on the right.

Rough Seeding Near Completion

Russ has been drill seeding our rough most of the week. We have about 6 bags of seed left to finish a few more spots. 

A couple interesting tidbits. There are 225,000 seeds in a pound. We will have sown 563 million seeds to improve our rough. In a couple of weeks you can begin to count them.

2 Weeks Left Before Grass Range Tees Close

You have 2 weeks left in our grass range tee season. In an effort to protect our range tees from long term injury, the grass section of the tees will close after October 18th. The turf is beginning to slow its growth and will not be able to recover from divots until next year. Excessive wear going into dormancy could lead to winter injury and delay opening next spring.

The grass portion of the tee will open again next spring when the turf greens up and is actively growing. We appreciate your understanding.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

End of Summer Blues, End of Summer Fairway Height

I guess we all get the end of summer blues with winter looming in front of us. With the cloud of winter facing us, Tuesday was the last day we mowed our fairways at their normal .625" summer height. The fairways are slowing their growth and its times to prepare them for the long winter and early spring ahead. We are raising our mower's height and reducing our mowing frequency to once per week while they are still growing. This will also include our tees and approach areas that are warm season as well. This will allow the turf to thicken and grow slightly longer as it prepares itself for winter. Part of the that preparation is that it is storing some extra energy to get it through dormancy and the cold weather ahead. This will also allow it to grow out of the chemical treatment that we sprayed a couple of weeks ago. It is tolerant to the chemical just like we are tolerant to drinking 6 Mountain Dews in a day but it is probably not the best thing for us if  you know what I mean.

At the same time the Bermuda is taking a substantial hit because of the lack of green leaves which reduces its ability in producing energy for survival. You've probably seen some intermediate in areas turning pretty brown aw well. Most will probably come back because it was only sprayed once but areas such as 10 were sprayed with both the fairway and rough product. Our goal is to remove some of these areas next spring and replace with Zoysia.

Adios summer fairways, you've been great this season. Time to take a well deserved rest!