Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What does wrestling have to do with Biltmore?

So what does wrestling and Biltmore grounds maintenance have in common?  This summer we have 4 high school wrestlers working on the grounds crew.  This past season the Barrington HS wrestling team took 4th in the state.  One of the summer workers (my son Cameron) will also be wrestling for Iowa State University next year.  Follow this link of cameron's interview at ISU.

 
Nick Shealy, Cameron Thomson and Adrian Gonzalez holding the wrestling state trophy. Nick and Cameron are working on the grounds crew this summer.


 


Nick Shealy dragging a green after it was verticut and topdressed with sand.  Nick will be attending Ohio State University next year. 


Cameron Thomson in action on the mat.  Next year he will be wrestling for Iowa State University.


Cameron (on left) and Drew Klaas topdress a tee.  Drew's twin Alex is also on the crew this summer.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

CDGA Weekly Update - May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012 Scouting Report

High Temps Hit 90s Early: Lack of Rain = Dry, Handwater Management Starts, Peter thinks Root Research, and Tim says "Fairy Ring Research Begins"

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

Memorial Day Weekend Arrives and yet it doesn't seem quite right. So far this season has advanced early, but the poor old calendar just progresses according to numbers. To me and to others, Memorial Day came and went a month ago - this calendar is of growing things. To the uninitiated all seems well, but folks that maintain the landscape are tired - they had to start "doing" a month earlier than usual. What continues to concern us, just a little bit, is exactly just how this growing season will play out since such a spring has never been recorded. March amazed us with 80s for highs - nine consecutive days. Later, April calmed us with more normal temperatures, but a lack of rain meant we were very dry. May saw the usual zig zag of spring as Mother Nature's final cold frosty breaths were exhaled. May's final full week has arrived and already Chicago is counting her first few days above 90 degrees - usually this begins in June.

But May is not over when one more piece of awe inspiring meterological information (AIMI) hits the news, a 100 degree day forecast for Sunday, May 27th. Currently, it isn't even summer and eyebrows (mine especially) begin to look like twin mountain peaks. During summer in Chicago we know the century mark is unusual to cross at any point. For example, we saw 100+ last July, but the last time that had happened was 2005. The earliest 100+ degree day in Chicago (Midway Airport) hails back to May 31, 1934 - dust bowl years. Hang on, summer just arrived.

Click here to view the May 25, 2012 Scouting Report.

Enjoy your holiday weekend and... summer early!

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, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Storm


Storm Clouds moved in early on Saturday with frequent lighting strikes!  Picture was taken at 6AM.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

CDGA Scouting Report - May 18

May 18, 2012 Scouting Report

May Is Dry, Yet Temperatures Perfect: Ideal Turf Health, Our Few Diseases Subside, Peter from Purdue Returns and Tim's Dollar Spot Review of Bentgrass

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

If you live in the upper Midwest, you should be smiling. If you are a golfer you should be beaming. Dry conditions and warm temps create fast ball roll speeds on greens - more like midsummer they say. I take note because it is a departure from the cool, wet, and nasty springs that we experienced in 2010 and 2011. Back then a superintendent was not considered quite the mastermind of their club! To be sure 2012 has been different and it's about Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit or, if you prefer, Anders Celsius. Especially warm from the get-go and it all started this winter - if you can call it that. The story 2012 warmth is told by more than just early appearance of flowers, insects and fungal diseases (we scout). For example a weatherman's blog headline today said, "Lake Michigan's water temperature hits 60-degrees Friday--three weeks ahead of the first 60 a year ago." When a really big pond gets such a head start, that says a lot.

In other news, this week was special because we passed a key frost-free date in northern Illinois. And guess what I saw all week on Chicago's courses? Flower planting of course. At the same time plant health is peak, a cool-season turf thing. Kentucky bluegrass and other Poa spp. are enjoying life and words like supraoptimal temperature have yet to be spoken. We wish we could just press a big red hold button and have highs of 70 to 80 and lows in the 40 to 50 range. HOLD

Click here to view the May 18, 2012 Scouting Report.

Enjoy more near perfect weather this weekend, though we need some rain.

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, May 13, 2012

CDGA Weekly Report - May 11

May 11, 2012 Scouting Report

May's Temperature Zig Zag: Soils are sub-60 again, Fairway fungicide programs begin, Waitea, Microdochium, Dollar spot, and Tim's Waitea data is early!

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

This week did you sit back and enjoy the fruits of ideal growing conditions? ...for cool-season turf? We would have, but were mowing. You see, April frustrated us a bit because we stayed cool and it didn't rain much. Rapid warm-up spring came to a screeching halt. May has us back on track - most trees have now leafed out nicely and birds seem to be everywhere. Canada geese are also increasingly around and on Sunshine Course in Lemont the bluebird houses are already busy with activity - only it's the sparrows and tree swallows making the first move. Meantime, lawns and roughs are growing like no other, helped by alternating days of good rain then bright cloudfree sunlight. Interestingly, the landscape continues to remain ahead by about a month based on our historical records of scouting for flora and fauna (that's flowers and fungi for me).

If you have liked this unusual spring (March wowed us) then you should also like this knowledge - some of that early solar energy transfered below. Early warmth without too much rain has meant that we are now enjoying our best roots in what might be ages. Root Olympics 2012? It's been very different from springs 2010 and 2011- both were overly cool and wet (I called each rootless/ruthless). It got me thinking, since my arrival to Chicago in 2006 this might be the best spring for root growth yet. That's good news since a dry Chicago summer is kinda-sorta overdue.

Click here to view the May 11, 2012 Scouting Report.

Enjoy the near-ideal conditions for plant growth AND any opportunity to be outdoors this 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

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waitea...what ....who??

Waitea is a disease that is common to poa annua greens.  It can be controlled with fungicides and best control is prior to disease occurring.  It has been very predictable in past occurring at Biltmore between May 18-30th.  This year activity began April 29th - nearly 3-4 weeks early.  Dr. Settle from the CDGA has been doing research on #15 green for the last 4 years to identify the best management practices to control/manage the disease and this year is no exception.  Generally speaking the DMI and Strobin fungicides (general classes of chemicals) work good.  Prostar does an excelent job and old fashion nitrogen seems like it might help.  Last year it was found that one fungicides might make the disease worse (thiophante-methyl/ 3336).  Waitea does not kill the turf, just makes it look bad as it infects the older leaves of the grass leaving a yellow ring.  By mid June Waitea typically disappears until next year.  For more information on Waitea check out the CDGA 2010 report or CDGA 2009 report

Control plots are used to see what would happen if nothing is applied.  The pots next to the control shows little disease (yellow rings).  Each treatment is replicated 4 times (randomly).  The next time you are on #15 green see if you can find some of the plots. (photo Dr. Settle)

A sample is collected which will be isolated in the lab to confirm it is Waitea. (photo Dr. Settle)

Monday, May 7, 2012

CDGA Scouting Report - May 4th

May 4, 2012 Scouting Report

It's May, We Warm: A Trifecta of Disease, 1st Waitea, Microdochium patch, Dollar spot returns, and Tim says "Early Dollar Spot Research"

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org/Weather Blog
It became May and well... we warmed. This would my first week to see a lot of core Chicago courses - I'd be in diagnosis mode. Compared to March's freakish warm, this time around it would be less mysterious. I would recognize the usual fungal diseases of late spring. I would see three different foliar diseases - triggered by the recent rain and warmth of May. It began last Saturday when a superintendent's two email sentences would excite me. "Looks like Waitea is active on our green in the test area. Very faint, but lots of rings." But my first incline that Waitea had finally arrived would be nothing compared to another arrival. On Monday and Tuesday, following our rain, an outbreak of Microchium patch would sporadically occur across the Chicago District - Poa annua showing greatest susceptiblity. For example, I would document Microdochium patch (aka pink snow mold) affecting golf surfaces (mainly tees) in travels to three north suburb courses, two west suburb courses and then I saw it on the south side. I was quite well versed when I received a call for help from a far south suburb superintendent. Then as a bonus, in my travels I would see more Waitea and find my first significant outbreak of dollar spot on a fairway. My eyes and lens had began to overheat. This week represented the first real bout of the usual contenders of spring. Growing season 2012 just began to make some sense.

Click here to view the May 4, 2012 Scouting Report.

Have a good weekend and enjoy those dwarf Korean lilacs beginning their bloom!

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, May 5, 2012

A week in review (with pictures)

This week we saw a big change in the weather. After a warm March, late April was cold - to cold.  Many perennials, trees and shrubs were caught off guard.  Turf grass went back into dormancy (greens turned purple), but for the most part was not negatively effected by the cold.  This week it was pedal to the medal as growth resumed at break next pace.  The rough is growing fast and we are cutting it as fast as we can.  Greens are growing and we are trying to control its growth (which effects green speed and roll).  This surge of growth in the spring is very normal.

CDGA test plots on #15 green are evaluated for the disease Waitea.  Good results are again being obtained.  Over the last 4 years the disease became active on May 22,18,25 and 30th.  This year it started April 29th about 3 weeks early.  What this means for the upcoming growing season no on really knows.

A new cart path near #17 tee was installed
The aerification holes are just about all gone.  Last week the board approved the purchase of a new roller and over the next few weeks we will be demoing different models.  This is our old unit.  New units have more rollers and weigh less.  Research shows that it is not the weight but the number of rollers that makes the difference.

This Tulip Tree leafed out a bit to early and the cold weather froze its young leaves.  This week new shots appeared.  Most trees can withstand a loss of leaves every now and then.

Perennial grass that started to grow in March were set back but also resumed new growth this past week.  The brown in the picture was new growth from this spring.

Maple seeds are dropping about 3 weeks earlier than normal.  Each day all greens are cleared, but during peak seed drop greens are re-covered very quickly.  Seed drop should begin to taper off over the next few weeks.