Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From the golf course

This year has been a year of huge swings for us. First we had warm weather in March, cold in April, wet and cold in May, very wet in June and now the July heat. The turf does not know how to respond to all of these swings and the roots systems of our turf are shortened because of the wet conditions. This means we as a maintenance team have to work a little harder to keep the grass alive and growing well.

The height of cut changes we made to the roughs this year are paying some dividends now. The turf is healthier and thicker under the trees, it is also tolerating the heat much better than it has in the past. All of the tree pruning that we did over the winter is helping to get sunlight into the denser, shaded areas providing a better more uniform area to play from.

We are starting to see a lot of Japanese Beetles flying around the golf course.

They can do a lot of damage to trees and landscape plants. They are very easy to control and using a product like “Sevin” is a very effective application to use to protect your shrubs. Check out linden trees, crab trees, rose bushes. These are the plants that they go to first. Damage is always seen at the top of the shrub or tree and they work downward. Look at the leaves for areas that look like a skeleton, the beetles will eat the green leafy material and leave the skeleton of the leaf. Do not buy beetle traps; they have a pheromone chemical in the trap to attract the beetles. If you don’t have them, you will if you put out a trap. One other problem with the Japanese Beetle is they now are also laying eggs in the soil and these eggs become white grubs in the fall. So putting down a grub control in your turf is essential for protection against these insects. Merit is a very good grub control product to use to kill the larvae in the soil.

Divots and ballmarks have been a huge issue again this year for us. Please take the time to repair your ballmark on the green. Divots in the fairways and on our tees should also be repaired immediately. I have take a few photos to show you divot recovery. The first photo shows 3 divots that I took out of the fairway.

The second photo shows the one the left, it was repaired the way we would like you to do it. Replace the divot and then topdress around the divot. The middle divot was left attended. The divot on the right was just filled with the sand mixture from the divot bottle.

Now fast forward 4 days to the 3rd photo. You can clearly see the divot on the left is repairing itself even though we have had some extreme heat the last few days. The middle divot is not showing any lateral growth and can you imagine if your ball was in it and you had to hit your shot from it! The divot on the right is also not doing much. The sand mixture has been moved around from someone walking on it and it too will be awhile before it is playable.

Now we are 11 days after I took the original divot. We have been through some brutal weather. The divot that has been replaced is rooting down and is healing properly.

There is some dryness to one side but that would not effect your shot if you hit into it. The divot that had soil mixture put in it has not done any better than the one with no soil mixture in the center of the photo. Also notice someone did come by and try to fill it! Thanks to who ever did that. The true take home message is to replace the divot on our tees and fairways and topdress the edge of the divot. It will heal much faster.

Thank you.

Rick Tegtmeier