Friday, January 31, 2020

Winter Play, Trees. and Sap, lots of Sap

We have not had many desirable golf days over the last few weeks. Warmer weather is predicted this weekend but we will remain closed through Saturday due to our greens being in various stages of thawing. Our greens should be thawed at least 3-4" before we allow play.

A couple things can happen with partially frozen greens. As you step on the surface of the green where the freeze/thaw line is very shallow, the green surface can shift or move as you take steps and the roots can tear at the demarcation line between thawed and frozen. This then forces the plants to use significant energy to grow back their to their full length into the late spring and early summer not allowing it to store energy reserves for the dreaded heat of summer. Also, the freeze line being too high will not allow moisture to drain deeper into the sand profile. The water trapped near the surface will make the surface act like a wet sponge. Foot imprinting will increase and plant tissue can be damaged from the extra soft conditions.

We understand the desire of members wanting to play but allowing a few golfers out when they should not be out could contribute to the loss of turf during the main golf season. I made a video below explaining our current situation.

Also in the video, I discussed our tree management plan that is taking place this winter. In the fall of 2018, I made a power point for the green committee regarding our plan for the next year or two. I put together a 3-4 minute power point showing the trees I was recommending for removal. We removed a number of the trees on approval from the committee but were not able to complete all of the removals due to time. I also felt like a few of the trees could go another year before removal so we delayed their removal to this winter. Through an arrangement that has worked well for us, we were able to get 2 more days of tree removal this winter than planned. The trees that were left from the year before declined significantly over the past year and needed to be removed. Many of our trees were planted in the 50's and 60's and are beginning to show some serious decline. Changes in climate over the last 10-15 years have not helped and has led to decline as they have aged. Record temperatures and high rainfall record years are the types of swings that don't help an aged tree population Pest issues including insects and disease along with lightning strikes and wind damage have been contributing factors as well.

I have also requested a number of tree removals over the last 11 years to improve tee and green turf. Our greens and tees have no infrastructure to assist in combating serious environmental issues. We have 1 green with modern drainage, the others only have a layer of topdressing sand that has helped us but is not adequate during severe wet conditions and heat.

Also, during the next couple of weeks you will see a few orange buckets hanging from our maple trees. Yes, yes, its time to start collecting maple sap to make some homemade Glen Echo Maple Syrup. Not sure what type of year we will have but if today's run is any indication, it might be pretty good. This next couple of warm days might slow down the production but next week with 30's and 20's should help us with our run. We need overnight temperatures below freezing and daytime temperatures to be above freezing to help the tree flow its sap properly for our collection. 43 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!

As your fairways, tees and zoysia green surround areas dry over the next week our two, we will begin spraying non-selective weed control and pre-emergent to our fairways. You will notice a little blue tint to the fairways which assists us in seeing the area we have sprayed to reduce over spray.  It will take the poa 2-4 weeks to begin to turn yellow, orange and then die. The pre-emergent will reduce the germination of crabgrass and goose grass in our zoysia surfaces.

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