Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Little Bit Closer...

Although we began today with a good freeze, temperatures rebounded quickly and the guys were able to get out and make some progress.  Today marks the third greens mowing of the year (not including the rolling done prior to mowing) and the day we started in on bunkers. 
Steve Horsley mows #10 green

Carl, Alan, and Kenny get a bunker ready for the season

Over the next several days we will be working through the bunkers, working on general cleanup and Carley will be hard at getting her beds ready for the spring.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Congratulations Carley!!

The Crew had the privelage this past weekend of watching one of our own tie the knot.  Carley, our Club Horticulturist/ Arborist was married on March 6th to Marshall Cresap.  It's not everyday that our crew dresses up in shirts and ties, let alone wedding dresses, so I couldn't resist the photo op!  Our congratulations to Carley and Marshall and here's to a long life together!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wild Goose Chase??

Normally we try to avoid a wild goose chase, but with Lucy, we seek them out!  As is normal for this time of year, we have a flock of non-resident geese that have taken a liking to our #13 pond.  I haven't actually counted how many are in the flock, but I've been told there are about 70 individuals.  While the geese are a nuisance and messy, all but about four will soon move on and not return as they are likely in migration and just "stopping by" to use our open water.  Lucy has been working the flock and keeping them on the move the last few days, just making sure they don't get too comfortable at CCC! We recently received our 2010 Nuisance Animal Removal Permit that allows us to legally disrupt the nest of any mating pair that decides to call CCC home.  The DNR strongly encourages property managers in urban areas to aquire this type of permit and take measures to not allow nesting.  If geese are allowed to nest and hatch goslings, those goslings will likely attempt to nest in an area very near the spot they learned to fly.  Just a few nesting pairs can reproduce into a very large resident flock if measures are not taken to control the population increase.  I am hoping that Lucy's work will prevent any new pairs from nesting at CCC and possibly prevent our perennial nesting pair to move elsewear. 

During my trips around the course with Lucy this spring we not only have been chasing geese, but have been keeping an eye on a hawk who has been on our property for some time now.  This hawk is obviously quite mature and well fed as he is a very large bird.  He has kept a close eye on our wearabouts also, frequently appearing in nearby trees when Lucy is out working the geese.  We don't get too many opportunities to view wildlife other than squirrels here at CCC because of the urban nature of our location, so watching this hawk hunt has been quite a treat!

Monday, March 1, 2010

In Like a Lamb?

I seem to be spending a lot of time lately listening to my kids talking about how March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, but today seems more "lambish" than "lionish".  Either way, the passing of February into March does something to me.  It means the beginning of the NCAA Tournament ("March Madness" if you will), the gradual melting of snow cover, and the subsequent influx of last year's laborers checking in to find out when we will need them back.  Today seems to encompass all three of the aforementioned milestones:  we spent lunch determining that my assistant Mick will be handling the annual NCAA pool this year, one of my seasonal guys showed up at the shop to tell me how "ready" he was to get back to work, and I got a chance to drive the course and actually look at turf for a change.  What I found was predictable based on the winter we've had this year.

Based on data from the Illinois State Climatologist Office, we have had measureable snow cover since Christmas.  Around Central Illinois, that is a long time.  Any time there is snow cover for that long (65 days to be exact) us turf managers start to worry about snow mold.  During my drive around the course today, I confirmed my suspicion that snow mold will indeed rear its ugly head in 2010.  My observations were as follows:  Our greens (at least the sections that aren't still covered with snow) are generally clean.  I found a few small patches of what I believe to be Pink Snow Mold.  I am not terribly worried about the greens.  Our fairways and tees did not fare so well however.  I noticed areas of fairways, mostly areas with the highest Poa annua content, had multiple patches of most likely Gray Snow Mold (see top picture).  Gray Snow Mold forms under snow cover and has a Gray ring of mycellium around a dead patch of turf.  Gray Snow Mold is very familiar to turf managers up north of us, but generally is not much of an issue here in Central Illinois.  We usually do not have enough snow cover to allow its development.  Pink Snow Mold is more common, but historically has not been a big issue at CCC.  In addition to the Gray Snow Mold on our tees and fairways, we have a "patch disease" (see lower picture) that is present on some of our collars.  I will be doing a bit more observing to diagnose the exact fungus responsible, but it seems to be rather superficial in nature.  I will be watching all of these diseases in the coming week or so to determine if a fungicide treatment is necessary.