Tuesday, July 30, 2013

#2 Fairway Progress

We have installed several drain lines in the fairway to help with the saturated conditions.

As usual here at Fieldstone we found plenty of "stones" while digging these trenches.

The open end of a drainage pipe in the approach on #2 was discovered. It was not connected to anything and was allowing water to flow onto the approach.

The pipe is now connected and will no longer be flowing onto the playing surface.

Sod has arrived and will update with pictures once it has been laid.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekly Schedule for July 29-August 4, 2013

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Install drainage and sod low areas on #2 fairway.
-Repair and sod entrance to #4 fairway
-Sod low areas on #12 and #14 fairways
-Seed weak areas in rough with Turf Type Tall Fescue

Sunday, July 28, 2013

News and Notes for Sunday, July 28, 2013

-The insects that are flying inside some of the bunkers are harmless. They are very difficult to control and will be gone shortly.

-Have received several storms today, as long as the weather stays cloudy and the temperatures cool I do not expect a breakout of scald, wet wilt and Pythium as we did the previous week.

-Almost all the brown areas seen throughout the course are not due to dryness. Rather a combination of wet wilt, scald, Pythium and even some Summer Patch disease affecting Kentucky Bluegrass around the bunker surrounds.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Plugging Away

Today's weather has started off fantastic with the first time temperatures below 70 degrees have been recorded in about 4 weeks! This is great news for turfgrass growth and recovery. In order to get some oxygen into the soil we've started spot aerifying weak areas in tees, fairways and roughs.

Depending on the particular area we will either seed, sod or allow the plants to regrow.

Also, would like to explain how some tee edges became damaged through scald.

The red arrow represents an area of slightly higher elevation and the blue arrow represents a lower area. The water runs to the lower area and cannot move off due to the higher rough grass that surrounds it. Therefore the water sits inside the area outlined in black. The sun comes out and literally bakes the turf.

There are several things we can do to resolve this issue. Allowing an outlet for the water to move and disperse in the rough is the quickest and most economical solution. Then we will either seed or sod depending on the extent of damage to the turf.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Last week proved to be a difficult one for golf courses throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Excessive soil moisture along with blazing heat and high humidity made it a recipe for stressed turf. Unlike in previous years when there was a drought and we saw turfgrass health issues in high and dry areas, this time we saw turf decline in low wet areas. What a difference one year can make! Truly an amazing sight to see.

Why the turf decline? Take a look at this picture.

The canopy temperature of #2 green on Thursday, July 18th at 12:30 pm was 132 degrees!!!! Turf shuts down when temperatures reach about 105 degrees. South facing slopes especially take the brunt of this intense sun and heat. We try and "syringe" these areas by putting light amounts of water on them. This lowers the temperature slightly for a small amount of time. It is not a cure all as too much water will lead to the roots cooking in the soil.

When water sits in low areas in this heat it literally cooks the roots in the soil. On top of that a turf disease called Pythium sets in. While we do apply preventative fungicides for this disease these products cannot help when the disease pressure is much, much greater then normal.

With cooler temps and nighttime lows in the 60's we will see plants recover on their own. We will help speed this process up by applying small amount of fertilizer. Large amounts of fertilizer are not used since the plants do not have enough energy reserves to use the additional fertility.

We have already stripped the scalded low areas on fairway #2.

We will be adding drainage in these areas to prevent the water from ponding in the future. Rough and tees areas will be aerifed and seeded as well.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekly Schedule for July 22-28, 2013

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Cross tine greens on Monday
-Installation of drainage on #2 fairway
-Aerification of weak areas in roughs and tees

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

#2 Fairway-No Carts

Due to cart damage on #2 fairway we are asking that everyone play this hole as cart path only.

The picture looks very much like wilting of the turf from drought stress. However the wilt is not being caused by drought but by too much water. What is happening is the roots cannot absorb water fast enough for the plant leaves causing an internal water deficit. As this occurs the leaves collapse under any type of mechanical stress such as cart traffic. In order to get water in the plant leaves we will need to bypass the root system. Therefore you may see some light amounts (1-3 minutes) of water being applied to these areas.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Playing Defense

From the beginning of June until now we have received almost 20 inches of rain. This is about 3 times more then what we normally receive. What a difference a year makes in weather extremes! Currently we are in the midst of 21 straight days of not seeing temperatures below 70 degrees. Add on top of that temperatures in the mid-90's and high humidity we have a perfect storm for turfgrass stress.

Below is a list of turfgrass stresses that are occurring and the defensive measures we are taking to cope with them.

Fungus loves warmth and moisture and we have plenty of it! Therefore we are increasing the frequency of our fungicide applications to all areas of the golf course.

Certain weeds such as the nutsedge pictured in this photo thrive in moist environments.

While we do have effective herbicides for these weeds there is a high risk of causing damage to the surrounding good turf when applying them in high temperatures. Therefore we will hold off on applying control products until next week when the highs will be in the low 80's. In the meantime we will take a weedeater to these areas so they are not so unsightly.

Restricted Airflow, Traffic and Shade
Areas such as #3 tee and green, #4 tees, #6 green, etc have restricted airflow and sunlight due to their location. In some of these locations we also have high foot traffic and shade which makes it challenging to grow turfgrass. To combat this we will be using ropes and signs to help scatter the traffic to other areas. There is not much we can do about shade. To improve air flow on #3 green we have set-up a blower behind the green that will be moved several times throughout the day.

According to this article: Shade and Restricted Airflow good air movement across a putting green "promotes the cooling effects of transpiration, reduces soil moisture and promotes carbon dioxide exchange".

Next time you are playing notice the fans on #8 green and how much better the overall turf health is on this green.

For additional details on preparations for this week's Men's Invitational please be sure to follow Jim Larkin's blog: Men's Invitational Blog

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekly Schedule for July 15-21, 2013

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Apply plant protectant products to greens, tees and fairways
-With high heat and humidity this week we will be very conservative in what we do. Primarily focusing on grooming the course for this week's Men's Invitational

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Low Areas

With all the rain we have had in the past month some of the low areas, especially in fairway #2, are struggling.

As you can see from the picture of the moisture meter, the Volumetric Water Content (VWC) is 33% which means the water is not draining as it should.

What is happening is the water in the rootzone is cooking itself in the heat and humidity over this past weekend. Basically it becomes an oven and the roots are cooked. In order to prevent this in the future we will mark these areas on a map and add drainage as needed so the water does not stay in these low areas.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Weekly Schedule for July 8-14, 2013

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Star tine greens on Monday
-Repair of spring in #18 fairway
-Repair of green edges on #3 and #6
-Repair of walk on/walk off areas on #3/#6/#13 tees
-Mow bunker surrounds

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rain, Rain Go Away

We have received record breaking amounts of rain in June and as we begin July the rain continues. This is in direct contrast to the end of July and early August of 2012 when we had record long drought and heat. Each of these weather challenges affects the way we manage the golf course. Below is a list of items describing the effects the wet weather is having on the golf course.

-Disease pressure may be our greatest concern right now. Wet, humid and hot conditions are a breeding ground for the fungus that can attack turfgrass. What makes it even more of a challenge is that the fungicides needed to combat these diseases can not be sprayed in the rain or be watered in before they dry on the plants.

Here is a picture of Brown Patch on #12 fairway.

Greens are not as a concern since they receive our top priority when applying fungicides. However due to the amount of fairways and the length of time it takes to apply products to the fairways they do not receive the same level of protection as the greens.

Roughs are actually our area of greatest concern. Here is some Dollar Spot in the rough on #12.

Economically it is not always feasible to spray the rough with fungicides. Since they are behind greens, tees and fairways on the priority list of fungicide applications they often times receive the needed sprays last. The good news is that a natural selection process will occur over time and the more tolerant grass species will survive.

-Saturated soils are prone to traffic and wear issues.

-We cannot keep up with our desired frequency of mowing because we will cause damage to the turf with our equipment.

-Weeds such as sedges that thrive in moist conditions are more prevalent.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weekly Schedule for July 1-7, 2013

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Light topdress of greens on Monday
-Bunker edging and sand depth checking
-Cart path edging