Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Weeky Schedule for September 26-October 2, 2016

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Finish hand seeding and topdressing greens
-Move location of irrigation heads at #6 green
-Sod to Turf Type Tall Fescue #6 green surrounds

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Seeding of Greens

In order to promote full recovery on greens we are lightly seeding and topdressing areas of greens that lack turf coverage.

First we take a hand spike and make slits in two directions.

Then we hand sow the seed. This particular seed is coated in "Yellow Jacket" to improve moisture uptake which will lessen the time for germination and increase percent of germination.

Then the area is topdressed with sand and fertilizer.

Hope to see these areas germinate in 5-7 days. In the meantime expect seeded areas to be watered lightly more often than areas without seed.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

USGA Northeast Region Update-9.16.16

Truth And Consequences September 16, 2016 By Elliott Dowling, agronomist, Northeast Region and David Oatis, regional director, Northeast Region

Dry seasons highlight irrigation deficiencies and pinpoint where adjustments are necessary.
The summer of 2016 has been extremely challenging for golf courses in the Northeast Region; and it isn't over yet. The heat and humidity have been oppressive, and rainfall has been extreme or absent, depending on your location. In most years, turf managers anxiously wait for September, normally a month that favors turf recovery. Unfortunately, until very recently September has provided little relief from summer heat. Most golf courses have experienced some stress and turf thinning, if not total turf loss. Recovery is needed, but it has been slow to arrive because of the ongoing heat and lack of rainfall. Irrigation is not a substitute for natural rain, and the absence of rain is slowing germination and growth.
September also marks the unofficial start of fall projects. Golf courses rely on fall projects and cultivation to improve turf health and playing conditions for next season. Unfortunately, the unseasonably hot, dry weather has caused some courses to scale back cultivation programs and postpone golf course improvement projects. If your grass is too weak to sustain traditional fall cultivation, implement a less-aggressive approach by using smaller tines and less sand until the weather improves. When the weather breaks, perform additional cultivation if it is needed to promote long-term improvement.
The silver lining of a difficult season is that infrastructure deficiencies are highlighted such that they are difficult to ignore. This fall is a good time to think about turning some of your course's weaknesses into strengths.
  • Irrigation coverage—For courses that have experienced extremely dry conditions, now is a perfect time to document irrigation problems related to pumping, supply, control, coverage and other factors. Act soon before regular rainfall erases irrigation coverage problems that drought has exposed. If you haven't developed a drought emergency plan, this year has certainly shown why it is important to do so.
  • Drainage—Irrigation often gets top billing, but nothing is more important than getting rid of excess water when it arrives in copious quantities. Keep in mind that surface and subsurface drainage are equally important. If your greens don't have good internal drainage, implement a deep soil-modification program or install an internal drainage system.
  • Trees—Trees on a golf course can add beauty and strategy, but they also shade the turf, compete for moisture and can clog drain lines. Extremely wet or extremely dry, tree roots can cause problems.
  • Fans—Fan technology has improved tremendously in recent years. Having one or more portable, gas-powered fans will provide another level of protection when faced with difficult summer weather. Some courses may have been able to avoid turf loss this summer if they had used a fan for a few weeks.
  • Grass species—Breeding programs are continually developing new and improved turfgrass cultivars. If you have old “grass technology” it may be time to upgrade to a species or cultivar that can better withstand heat, drought, wear and disease.
The benefit of experiencing a challenging summer is that it highlights a golf course's strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully you can use this year to affect positive change at your golf course.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Well on hole #2

The beginning of the week saw our irrigation lake levels get so low that the intake pump that feeds the pumps for the irrigation system sucked in air and floated to the top of the lake.

This is not something you want to see during a drought. By pumping water back into the wet well of our irrigation pumps the intake pipe lowered. We were still without sufficient levels of water in the irrigation pond to irrigate.

After two extensive days meeting with well drillers, electricians and a geologist a decision was made to pull the motor and pump from the well that sits to the left of #2 fairway. The challenge with determining why a well is not producing water is that they are about 500 feet deep and 8 inches wide. The pumps and motors sit about 400 feet below the surface and are connected to a 3 inch galvanized steel discharge tube. Therefore special equipment is needed to be brought in for the job.

Once the motor, pump and discharge pipe was pulled it was easy to see the problem.

Due to the high iron and magnesium levels in our ground water the galvanized steel tube just above the pump had corroded causing a hole to form. Since this hole is located 390 feet below surface level the water did not have an opportunity to maintain enough pressure to make it out of the well.

Once the pipe was replaced everything was lowered back and we now have water coming from this well.

While re-installing the motor, pump and discharge pipe a smaller 1 inch drop tube was connected with it so we may lower certain instruments into the well and measure things such as water level. This way, if we are not getting enough water from this well we can make a better determination of what the problem could be. This experience has made me realize just how difficult it is to troubleshoot when the problem is hundreds of feet below the surface.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Weekly Schedule for September 12-18, 2016

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Sod areas that are prepped
-Mow bunker, tee and green surrounds
-Plug areas on greens
-Continue lowering height of cut on greens

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Plant Out of Place

WEEDS are defined as a plant out of place according to my college weed science professor. With that being said we have quite a few out of place plants on the golf course. Due to budgetary constraints a pre-emergent was not applied to our secondary roughs (also called by some native areas or fine fescue). Currently we are applying some post-emergent controls to large broadleaf plants around tee boxes and other high visibility areas. The tell tale signs that it is working is the curling up and bending over of these plants within 24 hours of application.

Pre-emergent products were applied in a timely manner this Spring to fairways, tees and rough. According to a recent United States Golf Association Green Section update many of these applications are not lasting as long as they should due to the higher than normal soil temperatures breaking down the product in the soil. A follow-up application was made but only works when there is adequate moisture in the soil and enough irrigation to move the product into the soil. With the drought, neither of these conditions were present and the second application was not as effective as planned. There are post-emergent products available to control these weeds. However, adequate soil moisture is needed for them to work effectively and temperatures need to be lower than what we have had to not cause damage to the turf we have on the tees, fairways and rough. A very tough situation which has led to hand-picking weeds as time and labor allows. Good news is the first frost will take out most of these annual summer weeds. On average this will occur in mid-October but can happen earlier in October.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cart Path Only Until Rainfall

Since July 31 Fieldstone has received 1.25 inches of rain versus an average during this time period of approximately 4 inches. During the past almost 40 days we have experienced above average temperatures. Lack of rain and higher temperatures have caused drought conditions here at the course. Due to lack of water in our wells (Water Supply for Irrigation System) our irrigation pond is quite low which has caused us to reduce our water use to only greens, tees and newly seeded/sodded areas.

Due to these conditions we have made the difficult decision to go cart path only until we have a rainfall event of 0.25 inches or more. The irrigation lake that supplies our irrigation system currently looks like this.

When the pond is full (1.2 million gallons) it looks like this.

When the fairways become too dry and carts drive on them damage occurs such as this.

The turf injury that has occurred in the above photo can take quite some time to recover.

July did produce an average amount of rainfall spread across the entire month. It takes approximately 90 days for that rainfall to reach our wells 500 feet in the ground.

We are currently working with a geologist to determine the best solution for our short and long term water needs.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Weekly Schedule for September 5-11, 2016

Weather and unforeseen conditions can/will change the schedule.

-Seed thin areas on greens, tees and fairways
-Topdress any empty aerification holes on greens that need it
-Slowly start lowering the height of cut on greens on a daily basis
-Make two fertilizer applications to greens
-Sod approaches and green surrounds where needed
-Focus on spraying broadleaf weeds around tee boxes in secondary rough
-Pray for rain

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Late Summer 2016 Fall Aerification Wrap-Up

As of 6 pm Wednesday night the greens and tees have been aerified and cleaned. Topdressing sand was applied to greens along with soil amendments. The staff worked 40 hours over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to complete the task. We even got a break in the weather after three hot days and received some much needed rain Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

The Greensweeps mentioned in last week's post were a success. Like anything it took us some time to get a system in place to maximize it's benefits. The results have been outstanding.

We used less sand, reduced any possible injury to the turf from brushing and have nicely filled holes with sand. This process did take longer than brushing. Am planning on purchasing two additional units to speed up the process for next year.

We will be applying fertilizer to the greens Friday morning to help with recovery. Next week there are several tees that we will topdress with sand. Also, on Tuesday we will begin seeding thin areas on greens and tees.