Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall: Time for Projects

Fall is the time for projects.  This year we are leveling tees, widening fairways and installing drainage in 6 more greens (#4, #6, #11, #12, #14 and #16).  The drainage will begin next week and continue until we are finished.  Our goal is to have only 1 green out of play at a time and no greens out of play on Fri, Sat and Sun.

Preparing #14 tee for sod.  The rain this week slowed our progress.  To date #5 and #6 tee have been completed and may open in a few weeks.

#14 fairway widening and rough leveling soon after seeding.

10 days after seeding - you can see the difference in the bent and bluegrass as it comes up.  We had perfect timing for seed germination.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - Sept 23

September 23, 2011 Scouting Report

Sunshine Course Hosts iTurf Expo: We String and Sign Turf Research Plots, Dollar Spot Ebbs, and Tim tells of a Multi-State Evaluation

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

As I write, today is Friday, but it's not just any Friday. At 4 am it quietly became fall when most of us were still alseep and it was dark out. It means our summer season is offically over and our golf courses now have a look that is not just green. For example, I've begun to notice yellows, oranges and even occasional hints of red quietly arriving on deciduous tree branches (as fall begins I like to watch maples and honeylocusts). It means the landscape is about to wrap up this growing season. On Sunshine Course we wrapped up our year of turfgrass research by hosting an event called the iTurf Expo for the Illinios Turfgrass Foundation. Thanks to Chris Painter and Niki Munroe, Sunshine Course had become a green gem of paradise and it sparkled as guest speakers arrived from Wisconsin (Dr. Jim Kerns), Indiana (Dr. Aaron Patton) and Missouri (Dr. Lee Miller). They would complement speakers from across Illinois. Let me tell you that story...

Illinois is a state with a shape different than where I grew up - Kansas. North to south, Illinois is longer than wide and that has significance as we enjoy more than one zone of plant adaptation. That is why we feel a turfgrass research field day in Lemont is strengthened by representation of turf scientists from each distinct region. It allows us to discuss and learn of our similarities and differences of turf research efforts from southern (Dr. Ken Diesburg), central (Dr. Bruce Branham) and northern (CDGA) Illinois. To everyone who has helped the CDGA Turf Program this year with the necessary encouragement to keep doing what we do, we say THANK YOU!

Click here to view the September 23, 2011 Scouting Report.

Enjoy your first weekend of fall. I am.

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, September 19, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update -Sept 16

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

Ready or not our fall season is just a week away. I looked it up and fall officially begins on Friday, September 23 at 4:09 am. However, fall seemed to begin this week - an early arrival of cool temperatures came true. For some in northern Illinois, the experience would occur smack dab in the middle of Cog Hill's #4 Dubsdread. It was Thursday, September 15 and I was awake bright and early as a turf maintenance volunteer at Cog Hill. The PGA Tour's BMW Championship had begun in the southwest Chicago suburb of Lemont but an early morning frost meant the turfgrass crews scattered across 18 golf holes would wait. It was 2 hours until the go ahead was given at 7:30 am, because that's exactly how long it took the rising sun to melt ice crystals which otherwise damage turf when trafficked. Together outdoors, we had the look and feel of a different season as we assumed our appointed duties with jackets, hats and gloves on. The early hour work schedule was no trouble because we were helping our neighbors, course 4 superintendent Scott Pavalko, director of courses Ken Lapp and PGA agronomist Paul Vermeulen. It was a spectacular experience and along the way we were able to take in all the sites and sounds associated with a PGA Tour Event. Scott, Ken and Paul thank you for sharing and teaching what you do. Next week, when we officially welcome a new fall season, I will always remember where it began for me - Cog Hill's #4 course on number 1 green at 5:30 am.

Click here to view the September 16, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a great weekend. Maybe we'll see you in Lemont!

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, September 11, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - Sept 9

September 9, 2011 Scouting Report

22 Sep Sunshine Course hosts iTurf Expo: Soil Temps Drop to 60s, Poa annua Roots?, Dollar Spot, and Tim says Bewitched!

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

It now quickly feels and looks like fall. How do I know? You see I looked out my apartment window this morning and there it was. I found a yellow color decorating a favorite tree of mine. It was thornless honeylocust and it had begun to develop fall color - overnight it seemed. The Chicago nighttime temps must have gotten to it this week - we logged a couple 40-somethings. How do I know? In the human environment; by day our air conditioning is off more than it is on, by night our windows are closed and we are back into the closet so we can sport light jackets. In the turf environment; bentgrass is as healthy as we've seen all year, superintendents are poking holes (aerification), and greens are lightning fast. That's all positive news. It tells you we are getting beyond the thrashings of a summer called 2011. But are we? I didn't mention Poa greens did I? Well, they continue to give us some trouble. This week they still didn't look quite right in Chicago. I was asked to rule out anthracnose basal stem rot a couple of times - it was not. Instead, the problem was the inablity of Poa annua to respond to cooler soil temps with new healthy roots. Be patient, with cool-season turf, there is a lag time after shock therapy - summer 2011. Under the microscope this week I saw new roots and a sudden appearance of root hairs. It tells me it's going to be OK. In fact, the best Poa plant health on greens was centered directly over needle-tine holes that were made very recently. I'm speachless? Not really...roots!

Click here to view the September 9, 2011 Scouting Report.

Enjoy your weekend...without the winds of Lee!

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, September 8, 2011

Aerification - Day Two

Another perfect day for aerification!  We were able to finish work on greens, tees and fairways.  All that remains is cleanup of the rough on the back nine, and a few other odds and ends.  Now it is up to Mother Nature to help us complete the healing process, which if the weather holds should go quickly.

Slit seeding greens with A-4 bent grass seed.

After the plugs are ground, the fairways are dragged in two directions with this steel mat.  The thatch remaining is blow off and then the fairway is mowed prior to fertilizing.

Fertilizer is the last step and then everything is watered.

#13 green - in about 10 days the greens should be healed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Aerification: Day One...

The first day of aerification went great.  No major breakdowns and perfect weather.  We are slightly ahead of schedule and if everything holds together we will complete the majority of the work today.  Thursday we will be finish cleaning up and resume mowing of rough.  It will take about 10 days for the greens to heal, depending on weather.  Yesterday the crew worked over 13 hours and will do the same today and possibly tomorrow.

Below are some pictures of the work so far:

Sand for the greens and tees come dried in special semi trucks from Ohio 26 tons at a time.  We will use 4 semi trucks during aerification which is about 4 tons of sand per green

The sand is transported from the shop in a topdresser.

After the sand is applied to the green, it then aerified with 3/4" solid tines driven into the green to a depth of 10-12". 

The sand is then pushed and blown into the holes, filling them completely.  This creates sand channels deep into the green.

The green is then rolled and slit seeded.  Today we will topdress again, drag,  roll (again), fertilize and then water.    

At the same time all the above work is begin done to the greens, the fairways are also being aerified.

Once the plugs dry enough on the fairways, they are then ground up with a special core processor.  Afterwards the fairway is dragged and blown clean.  We are also applying sand topdressing to the "worm" fairways (another 100 tons worth).  After that the fairways are mowed, fertilized and watered.


#1 fairway nearing the end of the process.  The thatch that is blown from the fairways is then raked up and removed.


Even during aerification we have to continue to mow.  Here Juan, one of our best tee and green cutter mowers #10 tee. 





Sunday, September 4, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - Sept 2

September 2, 2011 Scouting Report

September Arrives: Another Hot Holiday Weekend?!?, Anthracnose on Poa Greens, Dollar Spot, Summer Patch, and Tim says Festuca arudinacea

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

Having endured a difficult summer again what did we learn? One thing is certain. The difficulty of a humid environment like Chicago should not be underestimated. For the second year it brought turf leafblades to their knees - not to mention us. Unfortunately, Chicago's cool, humid environment can drop a lot of rainfall within one summer. Some seasons we've been lucky and the deluge occurred outside of midsummer or when cooling temperatures were nearby. Last year and this year, thunderstorms have brought horror of horrors so to speak. For example, in this growing season we would achieve our most significant flooding during our hottest summer period in July. It was as if Mother Nature didn't like us anymore. If you were a superintendent, the price you paid varied. If you collect water for the surrounding community you're likely going to flood somewhere - lowest fairways usually take the hit. If you have large bodies of water or streams that meander in a delightful way across your golf course - nearby turf will definitely be in harms way as banks overflow. The point is that in certain summers we can understand a very logical sequence of events that will negatively affect a property prone to flooding. Perfect turf is no longer perfect and, if you are the unfortunate superintendent, you've become the talk of the town. But really who's fault is it? As we move forward in September our soil temperatures will begin to drop from the mid-70s. When we leave that threshold we will once again see terrific root growth. The last time we saw optimal temperatures for root growth, let me check my weather records, was June 15 when little Sunshine Course recorded 69.9° on average at a 2 inch depth. Since that time our soils have been 70-80° with a peak reading of 85.5° on 21 July or two days before a 24 hour record rainfall event. All I can say is Happy Labor Day!

Click here to view the September 2, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a great holiday weekend - we can now look forward to cooler outdoor temperatures.

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