Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Addressing "the root" of the problem...

Having gone through a couple difficult summers in a row, we have noticed the full impact our trees have on the golf course, specifically through competition for both sunlight and water and nutrients.  This past year it was painfully obvious that where tree roots and turf are fighting for the same inputs, the trees prevail.  It has been shown that a mature tree can use in excess of 200 gallons of water per day, with Oaks, Elms, and Silver Maples being near the top of the charts.  This is not good news for the turf at Champaign Country Club.  These three species make up a large majority of our trees and in many cases we have 80' to 100' trees just yards off the fairways. 

To address this issue we have embarked (pardon the pun) on an aggressive tree root pruning program that will involve nearly every tree that is near a fairway, tee, or a green.  We accomplish the pruning through the use of a trencher that will physically sever the roots of the trees.  Having spoken to colleagues and other industry experts I am confident that the root pruning will not only improve the turf in the effected areas, but will not adversely effect the trees being pruned.  While we will address 90% of the root issues this winter, it is important to note that we plan on re-pruning many of these areas every three or so years to keep the invasive roots at bay.  Future prunings will likely be done with less damaging equipment.  Below are some pictures of the process.

 Some areas we "spot pruned" by individual trees that have
caused turf issues (above), while others we simply trenched
down the entire tree line (below).

Notice in the above picture the solid mass of roots along the
right edge of the trench.  Pruning these roots will eliminate thousands
of roots that have been competing with our turf!