Sunday, February 17, 2019

Maple Tree Tapping

The process of making Maple Syrup began many years ago for me. My father was a do it all kind of man. He was teacher, coach, and owned a restaurant. During the period of owning a restaurant in the 70's, he had a teacher friend who owned over 1000 acres of land a few miles away from St.Clair. The land was actually closer to Meramac State Park in Sullivan. On this land, I hunted squirrels as a teenager and dad would take me and my brothers deer hunting. My brother Ed still hunts on that property today with family friends.

They had a great deal of Sugar Maple trees on property with that amount of acreage. Dad would tap the trees and would use large cooper cooking kettles to boil the sap down. It would take hours and hours to boil this sap down to golden brown delicious home made maple syrup. Great fun sharing time with his friend Martin telling stories and getting away from the day to day troubles that owning a business can bring.

My 2nd brother Delmar built a sap boiler in shop class. Just a side note Delmar works for an industrial sheet metal company and did a little work on our greenhouse shaping a small vent for the heat system. He's also worked on many District clubhouses installing new duct work in remodeling projects. The shop class was taught by his friend Martin who was the owner of the property dad would extract the maple sap from the trees. The boiler had a large rectangle container on top which would hold up to 100 gallons of sap. This was quite the apparatus. It would also not scorch the sap quite as easily as happened on the open flame and copper pots. Our most successful run of maple syrup involved using this boiler. We had over 4.5 gallons of pure gold made. Before he used the large boiler, we would open a bottle and tell mom the syrup didn't taste very good and mom would say well dad must of scorched this batch.

Okay, enough of the story telling, now on to present day. Both my Brothers Delmar and Superintendent Ed tapped trees with dad over the years and since on their own with dad being gone almost 27 years. I had never been involved in tapping trees. Finally got the bug when I came to Glen Echo and decided I wanted to do something for the membership and I've done it ever since.

There's a nice link to an article on how sap flow works in a tree for those of you who are interested. Tap the link below.

We normally have about a 2 week window to tap trees in our area. Temperatures need to be above 32 degrees during the day and below 32 degrees at night. The transition zone creates pretty big swings in temperatures which are different than the northern or eastern climates where maple syrup production are much higher. If we make a large enough supply, Chef will sometimes make it available for a breakfast buffet during the season or will prepare a entree or dessert with the syrup during the season.

We have about 12 trees tapped including a couple in my backyard which produce a great deal of sap.
Below is a video of the tapping process.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Weather Stats for January

The last few days of the month put us slightly below normal for the month 
temperature wise. We were running a few degrees above normal before the
last few days of the month.

15th snowiest January on record and we had 1 day January 30th 8 degrees 
which was the lowest high temperature for that date which broke the mark 
from 1965. February is trending a couple of degrees below normal temperature 
wise and above normal in moisture.

                 2019              Normal   Diff to Norm     Last Year

AVG. MAXIMUM     38.5              39.9        -1.4             39.6
AVG. MINIMUM     22.9              23.7        -0.8             19.6
MEAN             30.7              31.8        -1.1             29.6


                 2.93              2.40         0.53            1.23


                 12.5               5.6          6.9            1.2

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Verified Closed Thursday, February 14th

Happy Valentine's Day to all the Sweethearts out there. Did verify on a few greens the freeze that is still in the greens. PG, 18 and 2 are from 1" to 1.75" thawed. Checked 1 as well without a video and it is at 1.25".

We have some additional cold and moisture driven weather over the next 6-7 days and will then hopefully get the freeze out of the greens and will be ready to have some members and guests out on the course. On the email version I believe the video does not show up but you can hit the link for the green to see the video.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Same Story Different Week With Course Being Closed and Winter Dormant Zoysia Spray

Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but conditions remain  frozen and or thawing here at Glen Echo. Just beginning to thaw today and I only give it a 1/10 of 1% chance of playing on Valentine's Day so I guess some would say there's a chance. Looks like snow and some colder temperatures over the next few days so golf looks like a no go for a bit longer.

We were out spraying some fairways, tees and approaches with our dormant herbicide spray. The turf must be dormant because we are spraying a non-selective product that injures and or kills green weeds and or grass. We are trying to kill any poa annua that has germinated on these surfaces and it also will kill any knot weed that has germinated. It appears the knot weed is still sleeping from the cold weather. If allowed to grow in the fairways during the spring, poa annua seeds profusely adding the more plants and can get rather clumpy before the fairway units beginning mowing. It also can invade more shaded areas and slow the health and progress of the zoysia Poa becomes active pretty quickly during warmer, sunny weather in the winter to early spring. A few days in a row over 45-50 and it becomes active. The plants will absorb the spray from the warmer weather as it becomes more active. Even if the temperatures turn cold, the chemistry is designed to stick on the leave of the plant and when it becomes active a few days later it will begin to kill the plant. The spray will show up over the next 2-3 weeks by yellowing the plants and will turn orange, brown and then die. Poa annua has a long growing period and reproduces millions of seeds. It loves moisture and shaded areas for the most part but will live in full sun is well so it is very adaptive.

We put a second product in the tank that helps to prevent crab grass and goose grass which germinate into the spring and summer. The product we utilize binds itself to the soil which allows it to be sprayed now and is on the soil surface when needed during April,  throughout the summer. Microbial activity begins to break down the product by the end of the summer but the zoysia is rather tight and keeps the soil surface shaded. Thinner areas of zoysia can develop some weed infestations because the soil is exposed to light and more moisture which can germinate weeds. We try to place enough product on the surfaces that will prevent weeds from germinating through August into September.

We were able to spray holes 1-7 today and the tees associated with those holes.

Below is a video with discussion regarding this spray application.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Week of February 12th Course Conditions

I would expect the course to remain closed this week due to the excessive moisture we have received and the frozen conditions. The warming trend will be short lived with another cold snap beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend. We will continue to monitor conditions on a daily basis.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Course Closed Through Saturday, February 2nd

The golf course will remain closed through Saturday, February 2nd. We will evaluate Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to see if conditions allow for opening on Sunday. The Driving Range will be open to come out and hit some balls during the weekend. I've been in contact with others clubs in town and some are closed and a few others are open but are on temporary greens.

 I've posted 3 videos below which show our situation on various greens throughout the grounds as of 1 PM Friday.

Practice Green

7 Green

11 Green