Monday, October 31, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - Oct 28

October 28, 2011 Scouting Report

Coldest Week of Fall Yet: Earthworms Everywhere, Skunk Damage, Rust, and Tim likes Morton Arboretum's 41,000 Species

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

We just survived our first real chilly week of fall (Sunshine Course: 3 of 7 nights below 32˚ F). Most of what I now hear is that final golf course projects are complete or are in the home stretch. No more pest issues are being reported as cool nighttime temperatures are in control. This time of year we've concluded and are summarizing all studies on dollar spot and brown patch - creeping bentgrass is highly susceptible to both. It would prove to be our second stellar year of fungicide research and, as it turns out, a combination of heat and humidity is ideal for numerous plant pathogenic fungi (aka summers 2010 and 2011).

Thankfully summer is a distant memory now and in November we'll continue a new North Central Region fertility trial and we'll finish a study with Dr. Bruce Branham and Bill Sharp that sought a new way to remove Poa annua without harming bentgrass in fairways. Meantime our superintendent Chris Painter shut down the irrigation system, other courses will follow. My scouting brought me close to animals this week? I saw an amazing amount of earthworms on fairways and more skunk damage on a rough in search of white grubs. Freezing temperatures and snow should be about a month away, but today a headline shared on Twitter said "Major October Snowstorm Targets Northeast". Uh Oh.

Click here to view the October 28, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a great weekend and enjoy fall!

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, October 16, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - Oct 14

October 14, 2011 Scouting Report

It's Cloudy: Goodbye Indian Summer, Dollar Spot Returns, Watching Yellow Tuft, Fall Color and Tim's Tenacity vs Bentgrass Update

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

An interesting week weather-wise. We continued a record pace of completely cloud-free days until Monday, October 8. On that day we saw 95% of full sun and it meant our record 8 days of 100% straight had come to an end. In the interim it was a nice experience. Arguably, we had experienced some of the best fall color ever to be produced by deciduous trees. The main thing is that rain, and associated wind, can easliy knock colorful leaves off as their petioles teeter on the edge of senescence. Quick story. I met some out-of-town friends on Sunday. As I was passing through Mellinnium Park my eyes were filled with gold - the golden color of honeylocust and ash trees within the venue. I said, "To arrive in Chicago this week was just genius!" They agreed.

In my scouting this week I saw a few things. I saw golf courses do their final push of core aerificaiton (greens and fairways). I saw dollar spot return (lows rose to 50˚). I saw yellow tuft continue to do its thing (bentgrass fairways). I saw a golf course continue drainage installation (on greens). I saw earthworms return (with rain). I saw leaves fall (with wind). I saw trees with great color (honeylocust, black locust, red bud, sugar maple, ash and cottonwood). I like to scout.

Click here to view the October 14, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a great weekend and hold onto your hat - it's gonna get windy!

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, October 10, 2011

CDGA Weekly Update - Oct 7

October 7, 2011 Scouting Report

It's October, It's Cloud-free: Enjoying Fall Colors and Indian Summer, Skunk Damage Means Grubs, Flowers Peak, and Tim says Sclerophthora macrospora

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

So, it looks like I may have been out of town? You would be right and I missed some of the best weather the Chicago environment has seen all year. All I can say is rats! Soil temps are now below 60 degrees and root growth, of say creeping bentgrass, is now unencumbered by "supraoptimal temperatures". Many of our issues related to cool-season turfgrass, and for that matter landscape ornamentals, are root-related. Yet, we still have a poor understanding of roots, root diseases and root growth dynamics. When soil temperatures rise above 70 degrees we have real trouble maintaining root biomass due to a natural physiological decline. Now we are enjoying optimal root growth - these periods occupy a relatively short window in spring and fall.

What else? Chicago's ash trees are now peaking in color while most maples and oaks have yet to do their thing. Chlorophyll, the green pigment in leaves, gets denatured as we experience cooler evening temperatures. Meantime, the reddish anthocyanins attached to sugars continue to accumulate in the leaves. It won't last long as senescence of leaf petioles is up next. But, for now it's all about yellow, orange, red and even purple. Did I say I like it yet? I do.

Click here to view the October 7, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a good weekend and enjoy this wonderful run of nice 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, October 6, 2011

Green Drainage - #6

This week we completed drainage on #4 and will finish #6 green by Friday morning (all greens will be open this weekend).  The soil from #4 green was pretty good, at least compared to #6.  The back, left of #6 green was a minefiled of rocks (some very large) and packed in with clay.  The front of the green was a very compacted, heavy clay.  This helps to explain the difficult time we have in growing turf on this green (a far cry from a USGA green).  It is amazing the variance in materials they used to build the greens 85 years ago.  Next week we will begin work on #14 and then #12 green.  The weather has been perfect and I hope it continues!


Note all the rocks removed by the trencher.  The rocks did slow progress, but the green will open Friday. (click pictures to enlarge)
  
A sample of one of the many rocks found.  It was very difficult to keep the trencher on line as it bounced around when hitting rocks (our margin of error is 1" on both sides of the trencher).  When we complete the work this fall nearly, 400 tons of material will be removed and installed by hand from the 6 greens.


All sod is replaced exactly where it came from, with extreme care.



Plywood is used to protect the green while the work is preformed.  When finished, we will have installed more than 1 mile of drain tile in the 6 greens this fall..


Monday, October 3, 2011

Frost - its that time of year....

This past Sunday we had our second hard frost of the season.  Due to the way Biltmore sits within the surrounding area (low) it is prone to more frosts and ones that can last longer than other areas. 
2nd frost of the season this past Sunday, and the leaves are starting to change.

Green Drainage - Part 2

Last year we installed drainage in 6 greens.  This year we are doing another 6 greens (#4, #6, #11, #12, #14, #17). Today we started on #4 green.  Our goal is to complete 2 greens per week and to have no greens out of play on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with only one green closed at a time on Tues, Wed and Thur.  A temporary pin will be placed in the fairways while work is progressing on a green.

It takes a tremendous amount of labor, but all work is being done in-house.


Care is taken to make sure each piece of sod is put back exactly where it came from on the green.


CDGA Weekly Update -Sept 30

September 30, 2011 Scouting Report

Of 144 Years, We're Record Wet: Enjoying Fall Colors, Yellow Tuft of Bentgrass, Dollar Spot Ends, and Tim Tim says Mesotrione and Kentucky Bluegrass

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

As seasons go, I really like fall. I said that recently to a friend and was then reminded that our favorite season is sometimes just the one in which we currently find ourselves. I said, "Ok! Fall is my favorite!" As far as the seasonal life of plants go, we now have begun to move quickly. More and more, fall color has appeared in the landscape. The larger color palate now extends to lawns where tree leaves have begun to appear. In my neighborhood this week, I would see my favorite honeylocust trees give up about half their leaves - helped by 45 mph winds on Thursday afternoon. Oh, and at work I've begun to admire a couple of woody ornamentals I've otherwise walked by - white fringe tree, Chioanthus virginicus, and downy serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea. Currently, Chioanthus is a clear yellow and Amelanchier is a nice reddish-orange.

As far as turf issues go, you won't hear many complaints from the land of cool-season turf. Our current soil temperature is optimal (roughly 60° at 2 inches). Also, our high/low values all week have been 60° by day and 40°-50° by night. Now that's nice! Lingering dollar spot has quickly faded now that nights are cool. Instead of plant health, talk this time of year focuses on course projects. "Glad aerification is complete and everything healed up. Working on leveling tees, next week we begin work on drainage for greens." On the last day of September...no complaints.

Click here to view the September 30, 2011 Scouting Report.

Have a great weekend. An Indian Summer is on the way!

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