Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Poa and Bent Control in Rough

To help improve the overall playability of the rough, the last few years we have been experimenting with a new product called Tenacity.  Tenacity bleaches (turns it white) the foliage of bent and poa and some bluegrasses.  The idea is to weaken the poa and bent so that the higher quality bluegrasses can take over.  Next week during aerification we will be inter seed the areas with newer varieties of bluegrass.  For a few weeks, the turf will be very white looking along fairways, green and tee banks.  Heavy shade areas are not treated because bluegrass does not do well in those areas.

Bent turning white next to #9 ladies tee.

Along all of the fairways they have been treated and next week over seeded with newer bluegrass varieties.

Monday, August 29, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - Aug 26

August 26, 2011 Scouting Report

August Was Great! One More 90° Day, Summer Patch, Dollar Spot, University of Illinois Turfgrass Research Field Day, and Tim says Kingpin

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

So, now are we happy? Happy? At the end of this week, I can honestly say it has been a good month - August. Although we hit 93° in Chicago on Wednesday that will be the last hot day we'll see this month. For the month it was only our third day above 90° on Sunshine Course in Lemont. Was it a hot summer? Yes, very. However, all the action was compressed into the single month of July. On average, it sounds like an 'average summer' because Midway scored 24 days above 90° and the 144 year average is 23 days. When you realize most of those days were compressed into one month you can begin to understand why so many golf courses were unanimous in one issue -turfgrass loss occurred somewhere on fairways or greens.

If you were unable to adjust cultural practices during July you were in big trouble. Worst case senario was aggressive cultural practices to produce fast greens stayed in place for that Big Tournament and that Big Tournament fell during the third week of July. Well then, hang on for that ride. The ride goes beyond the expectations of golfers and is the reality of accepting the fact that we are never in complete control when it comes to the weather. It is understanding that each season we must watch turf health suffer whenever a volatile summer weather pattern (heat + humidity) gets stuck above our heads at (Insert Name) Country Club. All I can say is that I really appreciated the final summer ride that simply said "August, 2011". I'll gladly wait in a long line for that ride.

Click here to view the August 26, 2011 Scouting Report.

Enjoy the rest of a month called August!

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, August 28, 2011

Aerification - Why do it?

Aerification of the greens, tees, fairways and some rough will begin Tuesday, after Labor Day (Sept 6-8).  The course will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, but will be open on Thursday.  We will be using the large tines and filling the holes with sand on the greens.  We will also be slit seeding the greens after aerification.  Below is a good video which explains why we aerify.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Soil temps and what does it mean?

The following is a partial list of soil temperatures (F) at the 4-inch depth that should be of the association with certain biological events.

Cool Season Grasses:

90F Shoot growth ceases.
77F Root growth ceases.
70F Maximum temperature for root growth of any consequence.
70F Time to plant grasses in late summer.
60-75F Optimum temperature for shoot growth.
50-65F Optimum temperature for root growth.

At Biltmore our soil temps at a 4" depth in the greens range currently between 70-80 degrees (2" depth 66-90 degrees) even with the recent cooler air temps.  In July, the soil temps were ranging from 75-90 degrees at 4" and 77-100 degrees at 2" daily.   Above is from research done at NC State University.

We are headed in the right direction, but still have some cooling that needs to occur before recovery kicks into high gear.  Typically the best recovery occurs during September, when high air temps are moderated.

Grass is germinating and starting to grow in the thin/bare areas.  Please avoid walking on these areas.



 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Flowers - what is it?

The flowers have done well this summer (they liked the heat) and I have received questions as to some of the more unusual ones.  If you have a question about a flower at Biltmore, feel free to email me a picture and Karen or I would be happy to ID for you. Click pictures to enlarge.

Amaranthus - we have two different types of Amaranthus on the course.  This particular ones comes in flats - Iowa State colors!

Amaranthus Love-Lies-Bleeding.  We have used this variety for several years.  This one comes in pots.


Gomphrena globosa, Red Creek and Purple (with some purple petunias mixed in).  There are three colors we use and these flowers can be used in dry arrangements.  The other variety  is called Fireworks (I will post a picture later).
 
Sunflower - All of the sunflowers we use come from seeds planted on site.  The seed is a mix of different types.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - Aug 19

August 19, 2011 Scouting Report

August Is Nice and Dry: The Unusual, Summer Patch, Pythium Blight, Dollar Spot, Fairy Ring Returns and Tim says Spoon-feeding

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

It's dry and we like it. Maybe we shouldn't so much but you have to understand it distances our memory of July's flood. July was THE month that really challanged us with rain, more rain, and rain. It happened at peak summer heat when kids stay near the pool. Since that time kids are back in school, sorry Nathaniel, and we've begun to notice a change or two. Daylength continues to shrink and now lasts about 13.5 hours. For example, today's light began at 6:02 am and ends at 7:47 pm. Our longest summer day saw the sun's rays from 5:15 am to 8:30 pm. It means we continue to cool and at 2 inches the soil temp now reads 73° - down from 85.5° on July 21st.

Still there is trouble in the landscape. I continue to make frequent visits to help superintendents identify the strange. Things like Pythium blight where it shouldn't be (triggered by last weekend's storms). Or creeping bentgrass that just won't act right (still on physiological vacation) since it's now overwatered by having to baby Poa no-roots annua on the same green. Or summer patch gone wild across much of a fairway or even down the middle of a couple greens. Or type 1 fairy ring causing dead rings on a green. Still, as long as we remain vigilant it's going to be ok because this growing season is cooling. Golfers continue to enjoy a wonderful period without rain - meanwhile, we just have to look after those roots. Dear Roots, please grow.

Click here to view the August 19, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a nice August weekend!

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Recyling Plastic Jugs

Ever wonder where all those empty plastic jugs leftover from chemicals used on the golf course go?  Ok, most likely you really didn't wonder, but at Biltmore we triple rinse all plastic jugs and store them until the annual recycling event sponsored by the IL Dept of Agriculture. The jugs are chipped and the plastic reused.
Delivering the plastic jugs for recycling (grinding).  We had a full dumpsters worth of clean, empty jugs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seeding and more seeding

This past Monday we added more seed in weak areas on the greens.  We use a special tool to make small holes, and then add seed and some more sand.  The sand helps to protect the seed from the mowers and increase seed/soil contact.  We have seen some seed beginning to germinate (from last week’s seeding) but growing new grass on a green being managed for golf is never easy.  Each week we will continue to seed weak areas until they are all gone.  Sod is a last resort as it is always trouble for years to come.

Creating small holes in thin areas.

A close look at the holes created and if you look really close you can see the seed (click picture to enlarge).


Sand is added to help protect the seed and fill the holes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - Aug 12

August 12, 2011 Scouting Report
August Continues to Cool: Rootless Turf is Weak, Summer Patch Hurts, Hot Temperature Diseases Halt, Dollar Spot Returns, and Tim is Stressed?

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

It happened. It seems we have survived another difficult summer. Can I really say that? I think I can. We are now almost looking mid-August square in the face and the extended forecast is without 90s for highs and now we can reflect. From the very beginning this growing season was trouble. A very wet spring interfered with our attempts to 'green-up' turfgrass. Then it got really hot during June's first week and that lasted (on and off) until August 2nd. Severe thunderstorms with high winds repeatedly dropped huge trees and we would lose power again. July was intense and it turned out the average dewpoint hadn't been at a higher level since 1980.

I visited more golf courses this week than I would have expected - mainly documentation of July's after-effects. It turns out we experienced the Kitchen Sink - in a matter of words. We again saw what midsummer environmental extremes do to plant health and summer 2011 took our ability to manage plant health to the very edge. "...Another week of consistently warm days in the 90s and things would have gotten interesting." In the end we made it through and that's a good thing. We can write another volume or two in Encyclopedia of a Difficult Growing Season. Mine begins, "It began innocently enough after the snow melt when blades of grass..."

Click here to view the August 12, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a good weekend and continue to enjoy the terrific weather!

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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Seeding season has begun

This past week we started seeding weak areas on the greens, tees and fairways.  This year we are trying a new "type" of seed on the greens.  The seed itself is not new, what is new is a coating to help the seed stay moist during germination (called Yellow Jacket).  Prior to seeding, weak areas were aerified with "job savers" tines.  These tines do not go very deep (1/2") and are blunt on the end.  This creates a small depression in which the seed can sit, protected from the greens mowers.  Sand was then added to help add in keeping the new seed moist and protected.   We should begin to see germination within the next week.
Yellow Jacket coated A-4 bent grass seed being spread on weak areas on the greens this week.

#1 green after aerification, seeding and topdressing.  By next week the sand will disappear and the seed should begin to germinate.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Drainage and more drainage

As the air turns cooler and it begins to feel more like fall that means it is time for projects.  One of the most important projects is drainage.  Each year we add onto our extensive drainage system with the knowledge that we will never finish.  This week we are doing some work near #3 fairway and #13 fairway.
New drains being installed near #3 green.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Deep Well Update



Just prior to all of the rain our deep well went down.  The underground formation has been producing sand which prematurely wore the pumping components.  This in turn damaged the 150 Hp motor which drives the pumps (bowls as they are referred to).  The well is about 980" deep with the pump set at about 800'.   Currently the motor is in TX being evaluated.  We hope to have the well back in operation within the next few weeks.  In the meantime, we are using water from Honey Lake (when needed).

This is what the camera looks like that was sent down the well.
 
To insure that the well is in good shape, a camera was sent down and a video was produced.  Everything looked good.
.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - Aug 5

August 5, 2011 Scouting Report

August Cools: We Catch Our Breath, Flood Injury, Pythium blight, Physiological Decline, Fairy Ring Develops, Tim's IS-AP18, and Peter says Microclimate

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

It's now August and this summer now seems a little less ominious? Not a bad thing if you are a superintendent responsible for acres and acres of green. This week began hot as ever, but that all changed Tuesday night when cooler air moved temperatures 10 degrees in the right direction - that would be down. As the calendar page turned the statisticians went to work. Comparisons of each season help us understand where we are with regard to "average" or "normal". Nationwide this summer has already been written in the books as a hot one. It has broken records that were decades old - wettest July ever!?! With regard to high temperatures, Chicago has basically achieved its average number of hottest days but remember August hasn't given us her total yet. The good news (for now) is the heat has broken and we can now summerize, better understand, and assess the damage from a hot, record wet July which had our attention from the beginning.

In the wake of July we learned that the air was very wet. In regions of our area, the average dew point value had not been higher in July since 1980. That can help us understand and explain why turf loss on golf courses has been widespread for the second summer season in a row. In nearly every case the situation is the same - areas that flood midsummer are unable to survive. Oh one more thing, the break also allows us to recover. May you rest well, nights are once again 60s.

Click here to view the August 5, 2011 Scouting Report.

Boy I'm glad it's August!

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

Thursday, August 4, 2011

ahhh, what a relief it is!

It looks like the heat and wet weather is behind us, for now.  The long range forecast looks promising with highs in the lower 80's and lows in the 60's.  Great turf recovery weather and we need it.  The turf goes “south” much faster then it recovers, so we have to temper our expectations but we are headed in the right direction.  Monday we will be needle tine aerifing greens to help oxygenate the soils and incorporating some bent seed in the thin areas.  We will also begin our annual drainage work (it is easy to see where we need more) next week.  If the weather remains favorable, greens will firm and speeds increase, let's hope the weatherman are right this time.
Low areas in fairways show the signs of being wet and hot. .

The rough thinned because of all the diseases that were active, but it will bgin to recover.