Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter/Passover

Happy Easter and a few days late for the Passover Celebration.  Course and club has been very busy since Friday.  A sellout of members, guests and families expected at the club today!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fairway bermuda eradication program

(Editors Note, I apologize about the dark print on the body of the message.  I'm posting from home and having a conflict with my normal browser I use and having to work between two browsers.  I copied and pasted from one to the other and it did not transition properly)

Made a video today to discuss the fairway bermuda eradication program.The zoysia grass is coming out of dormancy and in some cases where I sprayed bermuda grass, the zoysia that was mixed in the area is a little slow in greening.  It is green but just not as green as the non-sprayed areas.  Areas such as #1 from above the fairway on the cart path and #3 from the tee show the outlines of some of the areas where the sprayer was turned on and turned off.  The video was taken from the flat area of #7.
We are using a combination of Fusilade II at 5 oz an acre and Turflon Ester at a rate up to 32 oz per acre which has shown in university trials to increase the efficacy of the products than using Fusilade on its own.   The zoysia is tolerant of these chemicals but can turn slightly off color during the application for the first couple of weeks. I would expect the remaining zoysia areas that are off color to be back to normal in the next couple of weeks.  I apoligize ahead but toward the end of the video I must have been covering the mike so the sound does go down slightly so you might need to make an adjustment in your volume.

Sometimes it does not take a Scientist(Rocket) that is to solve a problem

We spend a great deal of time evaluating problems on the golf course based on scientific information.  Sometimes the answers can be found in your front yard or back yard and only require observation and common sense.  So goes the tree that was removed from the left side of #17 green.  The staff were finally able to remove the trunk of the tree earlier this week.  We could see a large cavity in the tree before the decision was made to remove it but was not sure exactly how deep it was into the tree.  Well, we found out with its removal.  Nearly 40% of the interior of the tree was gone.  The tree had an expansive canopy, one of the largest on property and was only supported by about 60% of its trunk system. 
Paint gun is 3 foot long so the cavity covered almost 9 sq ft.
Take a look under or near any shade tree in your home landscape, especially a tree that creates shade in the early morning.  In most cases a very poor grass growing environment, spindly, thin and many times non-existent turf grass.  As you get out further from the trees center and begin to enter parts of the yard with more sun, the turf increases in thickness and overall quality. The same thing goes with a golf green that is severely shaded, and especially shaded in the morning which was the case with #17. Below are a before and after of the sun field that is now provided for the 17th green.  The grass on this green is most appreciative of our efforts!

8:54 am in August.  Look at the shade on this green.  Deep shade on 17 green.
Taken about the same time today.  Realize there are no leaves on the trees but the sun is actually flatter this time of year and the green is almost in full sun.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Carts Off The Paths

Carts will be off the paths and restricted to fairways only effective Friday, April 18th as long as the rain stays away tonight. Please follow signage which will direct you away from seasonally wet areas.  Have Fun!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

15 bridge/spillway work

Today the staff poured the new flume or bottom of the spillway drain pipes at #15.    
The bottom of the galvanized pipes were rusting through and allowing water to potentially undermine the entire structure.  We intend to resurface the bridge a week from Monday since we have an outing this coming Monday.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tree Management Plan, Four Trees Installed

Over the last few days, the staff installed the four remaining trees that we had purchased for the course. An earlier blog showed the installation of three Merlot Redbuds along #17.

A Swamp White Oak was planted along the left side of #3 about 100 yards from the green.  There is a large Ash tree that is aged and is showing some significant wear in the main trunk area.  There is a second Ash below this tree that is not nearly as old but with the impending  Ash borer invasion, we thought a large hardwood should be started before possibly losing these trees.

The Swamp White Oak planted going up the hill on #3.  The large aged Ash in the background that this tree is replacing.  The Ash will be left in place until it dies or gets damaged by wind.  The next tree up the hill is a large Pin Oak with a great shape.
London plane tree was planted along the right of #16 less than 100 yards from the green just past the row of five Pin Oaks.  The Pin Oak on the end has some severe damage to the crown area where it branches out. I believe a large limb out of the center blew off exposing it to additional insect/carpenter ant damage.  I expect this tree will continue to weaken and will succumb to some wind damage over the next few years.  In the meantime, the London Plane tree that we planted will grow and will fill in this area when the other tree has to be removed.

We made some pruning cuts earlier in the spring but you can see the large damage in the V area that has been exposed and will subject the tree to more damage from pests.

Becky and Skip adding a couple of stakes to this tree.  Don't normally stake but its ball was not in the best of the shape so it needs some support for a year to help it establish.
Black Gum was the next tree that was planted closer toward 16 green just past the two large older crab apples on the right but it is set back and below the green and will not interfere with turf conditions on the green.
16 green is to the right for the Black Gum that was planted.  The two older crab apples are in the background.
The last tree is more of an ornamental variety but will give us good color in the club lawn and a back drop for #9 green.  A Butterfly Magnolia was planted on the club lawn side of 9 green cart path .  It will provide a nice display in the lower part of the club lawn, be visible to the main road and the 9th hole.

The Butterflies Magnolia blooming in the club lawn behind 9 green.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Welcome to Mr. Wachter's Neighborhood

On today's episode of Mr. Wachter's  Neighborhood members and guests,(boys and girls) we are going to emphasize a word SMOOTH and bury another word SPEED.   

With the fourth round and conclusion of the Masters Tournament, I thought it would helpful for all that I discuss a couple of words that at times are misunderstood(Smooth) in our great game and many times over used(Speed).  For a couple weeks each year, Augusta National puts on a show that most of us could only dream. The ball roll is off the charts, every blade of grass is perfectly trimmed and millions upon millions of pine needles are laid out under the tall Loblolly Pines and Azaleas. This is a site that hosts one of the four major tournaments year after year and have a formula for success that is impossible match.

My efforts going into the 6th year at Glen Echo will be geared towards continuing to create smooth rolling putting surfaces that will have extended ball roll out when the conditions allow us to do so without severely compromising the health of our turf.  At times, its a fine line to walk.

 We do many things to keep our greens as smooth as possible.
  • Regularly topdressing with sand which helps to fill voids in turf canopy and keeps crowns of plants protected.
  • Lightly brush greens to insure a good cut.
  • Rolling greens on a regular basis.
  • Keep mowers sharp.
  • Fertilize slow and steady to keep consistent growth with no flushes in growth except at aeration time to fill in holes.
  • Use growth regulators to keep the poa annua from out growing the bent grass.
  • Proper watering to keep surfaces drier which reduces ball marks and spike marks.
  • Decrease poa annua seed heads in spring using chemical treatment.
One of the things that I have to do as a turf manager is to curb my enthusiasm at times in regards to ball roll out.  Everyone including yours truly gets a little over excited hearing about faster ball roll out.  If ball roll out becomes excessive, hole locations become limited. A couple of locations I placed in yesterday's Opening Day could attest to that if you were on the wrong side of the hole. Extra ball roll leaves sometimes only 1/3 to 1/2 of a green that can accept a hole location which places added stress on this area of our already smaller than average sized greens.

New putting surfaces were grown in at Glen Echo in 1995.  The turf on our greens is only 19 years old but many of our greens themselves are 80-113 years of age.  No drainage and only a 4" cap of sand on top of the original playing surfaces.
The infrastructure alone makes it most difficult to achieve extended ball roll conditions for an long period of time.

Our efforts over the next seven months will be to give you the following;

A ball roll that will stay on track smoothly to the hole without deviation and adequate roll out if you strike it with the proper strength/touch and spot to insure it gets in the hole. 

Enjoy your day at Augusta and the rest of the golf season.