Sunday, July 31, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - July 29

July 29, 2011 Scouting Report

Record Wet July: Brown Patch Peaks, Pythium Blight, Physiological Decline of Bentgrass and Poa, Type 1 Fairy Ring Begins, Tim recaps Wisconsin's Turfgrass Field Day, and Peter sees and says Agrostis ipsilon

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org/Weather Blog

A week of plant health fallout. It was not entirely unexpected because as of last week we had just experienced our hottest air and soil temperatures. But one more thing happened that tipped the balance and on Friday, July 22 it began to rain. When the deluge was over, July 2011 had become Chicago's wettest since 1889. It was almost unbelievable since nearly all precipitation had occurred in just 6 days (9.75 inches at O'Hare). Not surprisingly strange things began to happen in the landscape and certain fungal diseases went wild. For example, brown patch development in fairways went beyond what seasoned superintendents had ever experienced. Then there's why overly wet rootzones are our worst enemy. Midsummer is never a good time for cool-season turfgrass because any additional downward spiral of turfgrass health can be difficult to reverse until cooler weather returns. Root biomass/length are at their lowest levels and what's left root-wise has impaired function because of high soil temperature. Turf plants in physiological decline display abnormal photosynthesis and respiration, yet concentrated wear continues on a daily basis (the life of a golf green). Often the only recourse is a well-timed cultural method such as needle-tine aeration. If it sounds as if I'm exaggerating or blaming the weather too much, guess again. Though today I did learn it could be worse. My colleague Dr. Megan Kennelly relayed Kansas had just experienced 11 of 14 days with highs of 100° or greater. I then checked and saw Wichita, Kansas hit a record high of 107° - even my mom is hot!

Click here to view the July 29, 2011 Scouting Report.

Hang in there as good news is on the horizon. The extended forecast is showing a slight cool-down (highs in mid-80s) is to begin next Tuesday.

Derek Settle, PhD
Director of Turfgrass Program
630-685-2307
dsettle@cdga.org
Weather Blog

Timothy A. Sibicky, MS
Manager of Turfgrass Research
630-685-2310
tsibicky@cdga.org
Research Blog

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Flood waters are gone, but....

The historic flood waters are gone, but the effects linger on.  Most notably are soft areas, slow greens and diseases.  Soft areas, especially on approaches should begin to firm in the coming days.  Green speeds will increase as we are able to return to our normal cutting schedule and soil moisture levels drop.  Most notable is the disease in fairways, called Brown Patch.  Brown Patch loves wet soils with warm days and nights.  We were unable to treat the fairways due to the flooded conditions, but this past Monday we were able to spray all fairways and things will begin to improve in the coming week.  Hopefully we can return to a more normal summer! 
Brown Patch pathogen became very active after this past weekend.
  

Hopefully the flooding rains are gone, and brighter days are ahead!
Cleome Sparkler Blush
 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Flood Follow Up - Saturday 5PM

Below are some videos I took of the course around 5PM - basically 12 hours after the rains ended.  By 7 PM Saturday just about all the standing water was gone.
#13/10 green area about 5PM on Saturday


Main discharge pipes by #15 which run ~2,000' up to the base of #9 green and to #6 fairway


Lift station by #15

CDGA Weekly Update - July 22

July 22, 2011 Scouting Report

One Hour at a Time: Record Heat, Brown Patch, Dollar Spot, Pythium blight, Take-All, Physiological Decline, Turf Dormancy, Worn Collars, Tim likes Fairy Ring Research, and Peter says MRTF

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org/Weather Blog

As predicted the week's weather was dangerously warm and golf playing sufaces now look a a tad bit wilted and possibly dormant in places. It was the combination of summer's hottest temperatures accompanied with humid air. What normally stays south in places like Texas and Kansas arrived in the Great Lakes. What the heck! At its peak, a heat advisory warning was in place for Wednesday and Thursday. The last time Midway Airport hit the century mark on two consecutive days was 1995. I know 1995 well, not that I experienced it on Chicago's golf courses, but because it is a point of reference for superintendents - possibly the toughest year to maintain turfgrass. It keeps our work in perspective and it also says something about 2011. For example, mid-week a superintendent sent a scouting report. It said, "Dollar spot, Pythium blight (in the rough), active fairy ring with puff balls (I am sure there is brown patch somewhere). Poa is starting to thin - raised mowing heights and no more double cutting. Dry areas are REALLY dry. We water for an hour and the soil is still bone dry. I'm just hoping to make it through the next few days, one hour at a time." I could sympathize as each midsummer I have my share of helping long faces. At season end I will think of this week - for the heat, the issues, and for the game. I also just happened to volunteer for a wonderful event where faces smiled no matter what.

Click here to view the July 22, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a good weekend and keep your fingers crossed - some forecasters are saying a return to 80s next week.

Derek Settle, PhD
Director of Turfgrass Program
630-685-2307
dsettle@cdga.org
Weather Blog

Timothy A. Sibicky, MS
Manager of Turfgrass Research
630-685-2310
tsibicky@cdga.org
Research Blog

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Flooding Update - 11:30AM Saturday

Water is starting to recede, but it will be several more hours before the standing water is gone.  Below are some pictures and video I took today.

Cart path near #14/ #11 tee
 

#18 Fairway at 11:30AM - compare to the photo below at 6:00AM



#13 Drain - ~10:15AM


#13 Drain - ~10:45 AM


#2 Trap - the rain came so fast it washed the sand down exposing the liner.




Major Flooding - Course Closed

Overnight we received nearly 4.5" of rain on top of the 1.72" the day before for a total as of 5AM Saturday 6.22".  Our weather station is now under water and we cannot communicate with it until the water goes down.  Honey Lake is full and any additional rain will cause more flooding.  Currently several greens are under water along with many fairways.
#18 fairway at 6AM Saturday.

#13 green under water after 6.22" of rain

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's all about Water..

Overnight we received just under 1" of rain.  We needed it, but we don't want heat with it.  The radar shows more coming.   It is a love hate, we want it (rain) but not this much all at once and with sunshine/ heat.  We are never happy.....

The deep well (780' deep) used to supply water for our irrigation system went down and today the pump assembly is off to the repair shop.  Soon we will know more about what went wrong and how long before it is back.

A view down the deep well (nearly 800' deep)

Warn pipes being removed and the pump assembly and motor (in background) being readied for transport to the repair shop.

For weeks we added water to the golf course, today we pump it off (drainage).  With both pumps running 16,000 gallons per minute leave the golf course.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Black Birds vs Cut Worms

So what are the birds looking for on the fairways?  Cut worms.  Cut worms come to our area as moths blown up on the prevailing winds from the deep south.  The moths lay eggs and the small green caterpillars hatch and begin feeding on the leaves of the grass.  Natural control does not get any better than this! 

Red Wing Black Birds searching for cutworms in the fairways.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HOT - Time to take precautions

The forecast for the next few days is hot and humid - not exactly what cool season grasses like.  Warm season grasses of the south would love this weather, but not bent, poa and bluegrass (all cool season grasses).

To help the turf make it through the next few days, we are being proactive in reducing stress on the turf.  Most noticeably golfers will see green speeds decrease because we have raised the mowing height 5/1000 of an inch and reduced rolling and double cutting of the greens.  Water will also be applied in the afternoons to help cool the turf. 

Unfortunately the deep well is down for repairs and we have to use the warm/ salty water from Honey Lake.  Hopefully the well repairs will be completed quickly.

To reduce stress on the greens, we have raised the height of cut slightly and reducing double cutting and rolling.

Use of water is critical during this hot spell.  You may see water on during the day to help cool the turf.


Monday, July 18, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - July 17

July 15, 2011 Scouting Report

It's Hot: 80 mph Winds, Physiological Decline, Brown Patch Wows, Fairy Ring on Greens, Rust Begins, Tim says Digiteria, and Peter Learns Rhizoctonia

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org/Weather Blog

The forecast has our attention. The '10 day' has all superintendents and staff gearing up. As far as the eye can see, for the next ten days, daytime highs are to be as hot as it gets. In Chicago that means highs will reach 90° or more. Midsummer is our worst enemy as far as management of cool-season turfgrass goes. It is just too hot for it's life to be normal. Our saving grace is that we are to remain dry (no scary thunderstorms). Believe it or not, to have control of water input by judicious measurement we have a better chance at maintaining plant health. Still, there is no way around the fact that physiological decline is now in place. High temperature causes shallow roots and an imbalance between photosynthesis and respiration. A slow starvation of plant carbohydrate fuels is now occurring.

This week Chicago courses adjusted by raising mowing heights and reducing rolling of golf putting surfaces. On the human side, the national weather service put out a warning. In part it said, "Heat and humidity will build this weekend. Heat indices will likely climb to around 100° and probably around 105° by Monday." That news spells trouble for all organisms that utilize and manage water for cellular life. That includes us. Folks outdoors need to show good diligence and take measures to stay well hydrated. Meanwhile, we'll spend long hours managing the greens. Midsummer is here and the heat is on.

Click here to view the July 15, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a good weekend and be careful...in the heat.

Derek Settle, PhD
Director of Turfgrass Program
630-685-2307
dsettle@cdga.org
Weather Blog

Timothy A. Sibicky, MS
Manager of Turfgrass Research
630-685-2310
tsibicky@cdga.org
Research Blog

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11 Storm

This morning a storm hit the golf course with high winds and rain.  We lost one tree (sycamore between #3 and #6 - near #3 tee) and many small to med branches.  It will take a few days for us to clear the course of all the debris.  The storm dropped 0.36" of rain, much needed rain!  It also knocked out power to all building at Biltmore.

Sycamore destroyed by the storm and will be removed.


Braches blown down near #2 green


Blowing the fairways of the small branches.


CDGA Weekly Update - July 8

July 8, 2011 Scouting Report
A String of Hot Days: Wilt Stress, Water Management, Physiological Decline of Roots, Summer Patch, Tim's Early Dollar Spot, and Peter says 'Zenith'

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org/Weather Blog

Part II begins. With peak turf quality experienced just prior to the Fourth of July, we were smiling as we battened down the hatches. It's midsummer after all and we've come to know it well. The first week of July was hot and the cloudy days which had provided a chlorotic (yellowish) look to our outdoor world suddenly went away. We entered a new week, and this one was all about water management and tanner skin. In my workday I began to move about the city on a more regular basis and the driving to provide diagnostic assistance gave me time to think. It was a season with two parts! Part I began with elements of 2010 having overly wet periods during spring into early summer. It interrupted the game of golf and shortened normal root growth (again). Part II began this week (sunny and dry) and in many instances the loss of turf health was releated to midday wilt and the usual green collars suffered the most. With the lowest humidities of the season it did make sense. The consistent new issue was decline associated with poor root characteristics and this meant physiological decline had begun. The wear and tear on golf surfaces might just overtake its ability to grow if adjustments aren't made. Welcome to Part II! With close monitoring of evapotranspiration rates and soil moisture our 2011 season continues. We're seeing more folks outdoors and 'some' began looking forward to fall (Part III).

Click here to view the July 8, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the warmth?

Derek Settle, PhD
Director of Turfgrass Program
630-685-2307
dsettle@cdga.org
Weather Blog

Timothy A. Sibicky, MS
Manager of Turfgrass Research
630-685-2310
tsibicky@cdga.org
Research Blog

Monday, July 4, 2011

What happens in the morning?

Part 1 - Changing Cups and Hand Watering:
Over the next few weeks I will detail what goes on in the morning on the golf course before play.  Some things you might expect, but others thing you might not. We have 21 employees on the grounds crew and early in the morning is a very busy time.  If you would like to see it in person what goes on, stop in but work begins at 5AM sharp. "Early is on time and on time is late."
Jesus (foreground) changing cups and Mike (background) hand watering #10 green.
Changing cups:
Sounds pretty straight forward, but how do we determine where the cups go and who makes the decision?  Jesus Rodriguez has been our cup changer for more than 10 years and has worked for Biltmore for more than 25 years.  He changes cups every day and only in rare cases will anyone else change cups.  The decision of the exact location of the cups is left up to Jesus (yes, it is true I do not pick the locations each day).  He takes into account green speed, location of other cups (equal amount in the front, middle and back), and who is playing (on ladies day for example, cups are placed in easier locations).  We receive very few complaints about cup locations and he takes great pride in his work.  He also sets the tee markers.  Cups are changed every day, except when the course is closed.

Hand Watering Greens:
This is a done by our more experienced employees because you have to be able to "read" a green and knowing  how much to water is an art.  To help with the decision of where and how much to hand water a green, we use two different types of soil moisture sensors.  One type is buried in the green and the other is a hand held device.  Based on how dry the greens are and the expected ET rates for the day, a soil moisture level (percent) is decided on prior to hand watering.  Each day every green is checked in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon.

The Fieldscout is used to determine soil moisture levels.  Several readings are taken around each green.

CDGA Weekly Update - July 3

July 1, 2011 Scouting Report
A Hot Summer Arrives: Turf Quality 9s, Signs of Fairy Ring, Japanese Beetles Emerge in Chicago, Tim Finds first Brown Patch, and Peter Likes Diagnostics

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org/Weather Blog

Summer has arrived. The calendar says it's so, and now the weather says so too. This week we gradually warmed and during the transition we were able to enjoy some of our nicest days this season. Several cloud-free days appeared and we learned the last time Chicago saw back-to-back clear skies was mid-February following our major snow blizzard. By Friday temperatures were to peak, but the Chicago forecast for one of the hottest days of summer didn't materialize. The heat stayed off to the south and west and another spat of turbulent weather hit the greater Chicago area to the north. Reports of tree damage on golf courses came to me from superintendents working in Waukegan, Ill. (Twitter) and Kenosha, Wis. (text). In addition, my work environment lost power for the third week in a row. It's just another summer.

Over all, it's been a good week. Though we saw a couple more pest arrivals in the landscape -Japanese beetles emerged in Chicago and reports of fairy ring have begun. Otherwise turfgrass health was observed to peak and during this week of research our visual quality ratings of golf surfaces seemed to be all 9s (a good thing). Here's to cloud-free days, 9's, and the Fourth of July!

Click here to view the July 1, 2011 Scouting Report.

Enjoy your Fourth of July weekend. May it be long and restful...

Derek Settle, PhD
Director of Turfgrass Program
630-685-2307
dsettle@cdga.org
Weather Blog

Timothy A. Sibicky, MS
Manager of Turfgrass Research
630-685-2310
tsibicky@cdga.org
Research Blog

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunrise on the course

Sunrise on the golf course is always a special time, one of the benefits to getting up at 4:30AM.  The course is doing well during this first stretch of hot and dry weather.

Herb Garden

This year we are growing herbs for the kitchen's use at the club.  They have begun picking the herbs so the next time you see some parsley on your plate, it could be from our very own gardens!

The herb garden located left of #18 fairway.