Friday, April 6, 2012

Very Dry!

The crew was hard at work today getting the course mowed and ready for the Easter weekend, but Assistant Superintendent Ben Christie and I spent most of the day chasing wilt.  Yes, we are hand watering dry spots in April!  Already I have run several full irrigation cycles on the golf course and I will be turning it up tonight in preparation for Monday's greens aerification.  Never before have I seen the golf course this dry so early in the year!  With the 10 day forcast showing little signs of any precipitation, we will continue to pump water to keep up with dry turf.  Keep your fingers crossed for rain in the next week or so... 

Below are some interesting pictures that sort of sum up the spring we are having.

A world map of temperature departures from normal.  According
to this map, we are the "hottest place on earth" when compared to
average temperatures for this time of year.

Already the State Climatologist is posting U.S. Drought Monitor
figures.  Champaign is on the edge of an "abnormally dry" area.
With no rain in the forcast, we will likely move into a "moderate
drought" in the next week or so.

Assistant Superintendent Ben Christie monitors and waters dry
spots on #16 green.  We are already having to spend afternoons
watching our turf for signs of wilt.

Goose Patrol

I couldn't resist posting this...

Lucy, my 2 year old Brittany, has been honing her skills as the resident "goose chaser." With her speed, tenacity, and increasing fearlessness she has been harassing the geese at every opportunity.  I took this video the other day when we came upon our nesting pair off the nest and in the #13 pond.

Apologies for the sloppy camera work, but you'll still probably appreciate the hard work that Lucy gives!  It's hard to believe that not quite 12 months ago she was recovering from achilles re-attachment surgery!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Spring of Plenty!

 During this unusually warm spring, the golf course seems to be moving in double time towards summer conditions.  We have already made our spring crabgrass preventative application, an application we normally wouldn't be making for another couple of weeks! Because of a potentially longer season, we will be following up our crabgrass application with a second application later this spring.  This "split application" will allow the herbicide to outlast the window of crabgrass germination.  Next on tap is a much earlier than normal grub control application. 

This warm spring has also brought with it plenty of "plenty's"!  Our flowering trees have come into full bloom and "plentiful" hardly describes them right now.  It has been rare to see our trees in such a showy bloom!  Our other deciduous trees have also decided to leaf out early.  Many of our maples seem to have almost come into their summer leaf out.  Last week I was noticing how many leaves were already on our silver maples, but when I looked closer I found that there were very few leaves, but "plenty" of seeds!  Not a good sign for the weeks to come!  We will have our blowers working overtime to keep up with what will surely be a bumper crop of maple seeds this year.

Last, but certainly not least, are the Poa annua seedheads.  This spring we elected to not make our spring growth regulator application to control seedheads, partly because the timing of the application came and went so fast, but also because of the fact that the seedheads came on so early that they will be finishing up before many golfers begin to play with regularity.  Allowing Poa to produce a seedhead helps in our longterm battle against Poa in that the plant expends a considerable amount of its stored energy producing that seedhead.  A weaker plant gives bentgrass a bit of a competitive advantage later in the growing season.  The amount of seed produced by the Poa does present a problem if it were to germinate, but it is merely a drop in the bucket when you consider the amount of Poa seed already in our soil.  My hope is to prevent the Poa seed from germinating through the use of pre-emergant herbicides, and continue to give bentrass the competitive edge through our cultural programs and our Velocity program.

Flowering crabs and a redbud near #17 green are in full display.

At first glance, our silver maples seem to be leafing out early.

Upon closer inspection, it is obvious these aren't leaves!!

The emergence of Poa seedheads is earlier and heavier than usual.