Thursday, April 1, 2010

From the Golf Course April 2010

From the Golf Course

As you know we are open and with the great weather the golf course is responding well. Golf course turf is in great condition and we feel it will only get better with the weather.

Clean up and tree pruning is still going on. We still have a lot of damaged trees to address over the next couple of weeks but we are making progress.

Each spring we do a solid tine aerification to all bentgrass areas, meaning greens, tees and fairways. We will be starting this process next week and you should see no disruption to play at all. We use a small tine on greens and the larger ones that we use on fairways heal over very quickly this time of year.

Just a heads up on the North Course, the female swan has decided to nest adjacent to the bridge on #12. So I ask you to please try and avoid her and her nest. Please when you cross over the bridge do not stop and try to get close to her. She is very easily spooked and we don’t want her to stand up and step on her eggs. Also remember the male swan will be very aggressive this time of year but he poses no threat to you. Just try and avoid him also if you can.

In our continuing efforts to be self sustaining and more conscientious of the environment we want to tell you about a new testing that we are doing this entire summer. We have partnered with a company from Ames called Powerfilm. They are the manufacturers of very thin solar panels used to power unique situations. They have asked us to install 2 of their solar panels on a Ranger cart and on a golf cart. We will then use them normally throughout the summer, there is a on board data logger to monitor several items as you are using it. It is our hope to give longer life to the batteries and to use less electricity to charge the carts. We will keep you informed as to the outcome of our tests.

Emerald Ash Borer is still not in Iowa! Great news for us, but it is still expected to move this direction. Even better news is a new insecticide called Safari has shown great improvement in the control of this pest. Safari can be loaded into a small sprayer, sprayed on the bark of the tree and it will be translocated into the entire tree to protect it against EAB and other borers. Right now there are many borers that affect ash trees and aid in their decline. We will be treating some key trees to protect them against Iowa’s normal pest and against EAB somewhere down the road.

Now for you homeowners, spring fertilization and crab grass pre emergent time is upon us. Here are a few things to remember:

April
1. Sharpen your lawn mower blade and keep it sharp.
2. If you choose to use chemicals, apply a combination lawn fertilizer/pre-emergent herbicide when the bright yellow forsythia is blooming. Very soon!
3. If you'd rather not use synthetic chemicals, check out corn gluten meal, developed by Iowa State University as an organic alternative to other pre-emergent herbicides.
4. Patch bare spots. Fill low spots with excellent quality topsoil and seed. Overseed if desired, though fall is the best time. (Just be sure you apply the pre-emergent well after the grass seed is up so you don't kill your grass seed!)
5. If you have compost, rake it over your lawn to feed it and to fill low spots. It's fabulous—improving soil texture and fertility.
6. Edge along drives and sidewalks, if desired.
7. Struggling with grass growing in a shady spot even after trying a grass seed mix specifically meant for shade? It's better to work with nature than against it. Grass is a full sun plant. Plant the low-light area with shade-loving groundcovers, hostas, and other plants or trim up the trees! Sorry.

May
1. When daytime temperatures start to regularly hit 85 degrees, raise your mower height to 2 ½ to 3 inches. Longer blades of grass shade the soil, keeping it cooler so it uses less water and prevents weed seeds from germinating.
2. Save your trees and shrubs from mower damage and other problems by mulching around them as far out as the branches reach, if practical. But also remember not to pile the mulch against the trunk of the tree, as mulch decomposes it can injure the bark by the heating of decomposing mulch.

Hope to see you on the golf course!

Rick Tegtmeier
rtegtmeier@dmgcc.org
Or visit my blog site at http://dmgcc.blogspot.com/