Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lift for Range Nets, Lift for Tree Management Plan

Hardware to install range netting is arriving in next couple of days. To install the hardware, we needed to rent a lift to assist us with the work. I decided to utilize the lift for a month and complete some tree management work a little early. Ground is dry/firm and grass has slowed a little allowing us to do some other work. 

Some of this work involved removal of a couple hazardous trees, Sweetgums which were nearly hollow at the base. A majority of the work will involve removal of deadwood and lower hanging limbs, especially with our Pin Oaks. These limbs are usually heavily shaded from the branches that shade them from above. The branches become weak and will usually die creating more deadwood issues for us if they are not removed. This will also assist us during the year when wind comes through Glen Echo and knocks dead branches from what seems like every tree on property. The branches must be picked up which takes labor away from more important areas of the course. It is difficult to pick up every branch when then leads to dull mower blades. 

The staff worked along right side of 1, between 18-1 and 17-18. Twelve hours of pruning for 2 people and an additional 64 hours cleaning up the debris. All brush was chipped for mulch since it was Oak and larger branches were saved for firewood to use in our shop or for members fireplaces once its seasoned. We try not to waste anything with this work.

Pin Oak along 18 between 17-18. Removing some of the lower limbs that will ultimately die from being shaded. Also deadwood that we can reach.
Skip on the platform a little closer to 18 green.
Some additional pruning along 18.
Sweetgum wounded pretty severely about 100 yards off the tee of 15 between 15-16. One of two Sweetgums removed in last couple of days.

She had to go.
Right side of 13 about even with 14 tee. Showed soft tissue along the bottom and poor growth over last couple of  years. Did not think it was completely hollowed out.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

White Pines Losing 2nd Year Needles

If you look out in your backyard or have been out on the course, you are beginning to notice the annual dropping of 2nd year needles of the white pines. This is a natural occurrence and nothing to be alarmed about. But if you see the tips of your branches or all needles turning brown, your tree is experiencing some other more serious issue. Contacting an arborist in this case would be recommended. 

As the turf mowing has been slowing, we have been in the process of removing some very weak smaller ash trees and other damaged trees I've identified to The Green Committee. My seasonal staff only have until the end of October until they are finished for the season. We are utilizing them to help with this removal while our year round staff are involved in turf renovation work. 
White pine beat 12 tee. You can see the inner needles turning brown.
2nd year needles at the red arrow. New growth at the tip on the right.

Rough Seeding Near Completion

Russ has been drill seeding our rough most of the week. We have about 6 bags of seed left to finish a few more spots. 

A couple interesting tidbits. There are 225,000 seeds in a pound. We will have sown 563 million seeds to improve our rough. In a couple of weeks you can begin to count them.

2 Weeks Left Before Grass Range Tees Close

You have 2 weeks left in our grass range tee season. In an effort to protect our range tees from long term injury, the grass section of the tees will close after October 18th. The turf is beginning to slow its growth and will not be able to recover from divots until next year. Excessive wear going into dormancy could lead to winter injury and delay opening next spring.

The grass portion of the tee will open again next spring when the turf greens up and is actively growing. We appreciate your understanding.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

End of Summer Blues, End of Summer Fairway Height

I guess we all get the end of summer blues with winter looming in front of us. With the cloud of winter facing us, Tuesday was the last day we mowed our fairways at their normal .625" summer height. The fairways are slowing their growth and its times to prepare them for the long winter and early spring ahead. We are raising our mower's height and reducing our mowing frequency to once per week while they are still growing. This will also include our tees and approach areas that are warm season as well. This will allow the turf to thicken and grow slightly longer as it prepares itself for winter. Part of the that preparation is that it is storing some extra energy to get it through dormancy and the cold weather ahead. This will also allow it to grow out of the chemical treatment that we sprayed a couple of weeks ago. It is tolerant to the chemical just like we are tolerant to drinking 6 Mountain Dews in a day but it is probably not the best thing for us if  you know what I mean.

At the same time the Bermuda is taking a substantial hit because of the lack of green leaves which reduces its ability in producing energy for survival. You've probably seen some intermediate in areas turning pretty brown aw well. Most will probably come back because it was only sprayed once but areas such as 10 were sprayed with both the fairway and rough product. Our goal is to remove some of these areas next spring and replace with Zoysia.

Adios summer fairways, you've been great this season. Time to take a well deserved rest!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Drill Seeding Rough

We've been attacking the first cut or two of  Bermuda in our rough with herbicides to reduce its competitiveness over the last month or so. With this reduction means we will need to start some new seedlings of Fescue in areas where we have less than adequate cool season turf, thus its time to start drill seeding our rough. We will be drilling in high traffic rough areas around greens and fairways in an effort to get a stand of grass before winter sets in. It is difficult for young seedlings to make it in our environment with a great deal of shade, mowing/blowing equipment and cart traffic. Hopefully we will get the turf up and growing before the main onslaught of leaves start to fall. By then it will have been fertilized and we should be in good shape for next season. We hope to get this grass up and growing in 10 days or so and look forward to it competing with the Bermuda that survives the winter and from the various chemical treatments it has received. Video below explains our process.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Are Those Lines On The Greens?

The lines on the greens are from vertical mowing(verticutting) we performed on the greens on Monday. The mower has approximately 32 blades on each unit with 3 units on the mower. These blades cut into the surface of the green at a setting that we chose. We set the mowers about 1/4" below the surface which is not real deep but will do its job.

Bentgrass from its name and nature grows upward and then sideways as much as we allow it. The bent over growth habit makes it difficult for our mowers to get a clean cut. Vertical mowing helps to improve our overall cut by cutting off longer blades and standing the turf upright. The reduction of longer blades ultimately reduces drag or friction on golf balls improving ball roll out. We topdressed and brushed the greens as well which also helps our mowers make a better cut. The brushing stands the blades up even more and gets the sand down into the surface of the green. The sand protects the crowns which are the place where roots and stems originate. The sand goes down into the channel, mixes with the thatch helping to dilute the total amount of thatch that is accumulated from leaves and roots dying. The verticutting also thins the turf slightly which encourages the plants to generate new leaves.

The excess blades piling up after the mower goes over it.

Longer blades being cut or stood up in preparation for brushing and mowing. As with all cultural practices performed on greens, speed might slow slightly for a couple of days but should improve as we mow and roll.