Thursday, April 29, 2010

Silver Maple Blues

What do you get when you cross a bunch of Silver Maples with a windy day in April?  A mess!

Today and tomorrow the National Weather Service is issuing a Wind Advisory for Central Illinois with sustained wind between 25 mph and 35 mph with gusts of 45 mph.  Combine that with a very warm spring that has produced a bumper crop of seeds and it makes for a frustrating day for both golfers and maintenance staff alike.  A Buffalo Turbine Blower behind a light duty cart is our only tool that has a chance at keeping greens remotely clean.  Despite our efforts however, this green will be covered with seeds again in about 15 minutes.

Fairways get covered just as quickly.  Keeping fairways clean in heavy wind is near impossible.  We will clean fairways once in the morning and concentrate on greens thereafter.

As we develop our tree plan you can be assured there will be no Silver Maples on the planting list...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Poa annua seedhead supression

According to the Forsythia blooms, Growing Degree Day counters, salesmen, other superintendents, and last but not least my gut, it is time to take action against Poa annua seedheads.  Annually here at CCC we enter into a many faceted battle against what many industry personnel have called the "super weed".  We begin the battle with an application of growth regulators to control the emergence of seedheads.  This application must be timed right in order for it to work, and the timing depends on a whole host of variables.  Unfortunately, the growth regulators do produce some negative side effects ranging from off colored turf to increasing susceptibility to certain diseases, to increased problems with worm casts.  Most of the side effects are related simply to the fact that we are slowing the growth of the turf (including the bent) during a time of year where we would like to have some good growth.

This year we are leaving #11 and #12 fairways out of the growth regulator application and will be observing the results.  These two fairways were treated last year with Velocity and we will be using seedhead production to gauge our results.  Once we have seedhead emergence, we will then treat with Velocity again to test its ability to "knock seedheads off" the plant.  If this proves to be successful, we may be able to avoid some of the negative side effects of the spring growth regulator application in the future.  The early Velocity application will segway nicely into the planned Velocity program that we will carry out throughout the 2010 season.

For a turf geek, these are indeed exciting times in our battle against Poa annua!

Please stay tuned to this blog to follow the many progress reports that will be coming this season...

Friday, April 2, 2010

What's With the Plastic??

I talk a lot about the golf course and how much work we do to keep it beautiful and playable, but I don't very often talk about the landscaping at the club that so many have grown to love.  It is entirely possible that the reason I don't talk much about the landscaping is because I don't have to think about it very often... I've got Carley for that.  Carley, as many of you know, is responsible for (among other things) all landscaping at the club.  She works incredibly hard to make sure I don't have to think about it.  This spring she's drawing some attention with her "green" weed control efforts.  She has selected several flower beds that have shown to have weed problems and sealed them in plastic.  This seal will effectively sterilize the top few inches of soil (where the annual weed seeds are) and greatly reduce the need for in-season weed removal.  We are hoping this experiment will prove successful and will free Carley's time this summer to tend to her many other tasks.