Sunday, September 30, 2012

CDGA Weekly Update - Sept 28, 2012

September 28, 2012 Scouting Report

Fall Color Begins: First Real Frost, Other Than Grubs...Few Issues, Ryder Cup Sees Perfect Weather and Tim says Fairway Creeping Bentgrass

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

And on the fourth week of September, the Ryder Cup came to Chicago - nice weather would be on tap! After all it is fall, and we had just recorded our first two frost events. In other words the weather was perfect with tree color appearing in the landscape early, some of our deciduous trees like maples and honeylocusts already had turned gold to orange. For cool season turf things just line up nicely in the fall. For example, the natural growth of turf begins to slow and soil temperatures are at optimal levels for root growth (60s). Also this scouting report gets kinda brief - as we cool there are fewer and fewer pest issues in the landscape. For creeping bentgrass golfing surfaces it means perfection personified - good health both above and belowground.

Ahh September. By September we have reclaimed quite a bit of our lost roots due to summer's heat (all-time record heat that is). By September, if you manage turf, you can now look back on a season and her lessons to better prepare for next season. By September you have more time to volunteer on the grounds crew for things like the Ryder Cup! And so we remember the 2012 season for all its challenges present during regular day to day play as well as during numerous tournaments and events. At the end of each growing season it's hard not to be in awe...especially in 2012 when you find yourself working with a team at Medinah under Curtis Tyrrell. Go USA!

Click here to view the September 28, 2012 Scouting Report.

Have a good weekend and... if you can't be in Chicago this weekend, enjoy the Ryder Cup at Medinah on TV!

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 27, 2012

Drought of 2012

Is the drought over?  Not yet!

Below shows the deficit amounts of moisture based on reading from our weather station on the course.  As you can see, the drought continues, even in the last few weeks the rains are not enough to keep up with the ET (Evapotranspiration) rates.  The drought will most likely continue for several more months.

Date Range         Rain          ET             Shortfall
1/1 - 2/29             2.25"          1.82"          -0.43" 
3/1 - 5/31             8.94"         10.55"          1.61"
6/1 - 9/13             6.30"         16.44"        10.14"
Last 2 weeks        0.33"           1.27"          1.14"
Total Shortfall 2012 year to date:         12.46"                         

Honey Lake water level continues to drop.  It is at it's lowest level of the year.  Normal water level would be near the top of the boards in the center of the picture.  The lake is down 2.5'.


According to the US Drought Monitor we are right on the line to be in a Sever Drought.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

CDGA Weekly Update - September 21, 2012

September 21, 2012 Scouting Report

It's Fall: Residual Dollar Spot of Bentgrass and Summer Patch of Bluegrass, Animals/Grubs Rough Up the Rough, and Tim says Cultivar A B C D E F G

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

Midweek, a light frost on Chicago's blades of turf. I would take a look at my weather archives only to discover we hadn't been that cold since the 3rd week of May. So now the growing season works in reverse as we lose daylength by about 3 minutes a day - it all happens too quickly. To be clear we had wished for our first fall day of September 22nd months ago. For most (those in the growing season trenches of 2012) that wish was about mid-July when extreme weather events had brought us to our knees both mentally and physically. Olympics weren't just on TV because we were living it! It was record pace stuff - an early greenup in March segwayed into extreme summer drought/heat and later meterologists would report clocking the hottest summer month ever in the United States. If you ask some they will say we were just fine.

Actually we had begun to panic, but of course we can never publicly say so. Nevertheless by about late summer (regardless of year) both human beings and plants seem to say, "What summer?" Our human mind is forgetful and plants in the landscape are just amazingly resilient. Still we should know otherwise - the watchful superintendent continues to monitor and report surface water levels are still quite low. But alas we are now well progressed into our end of season project phase. In a week a certain camera was focused less on being a scout in the name of integrated pest management (IPM). Click would follow the hum of engines that propell heavy equipment to rennovate areas. Click would follow the silent germination and emergence of turf. Yep, it's fall.

Click here to view the September 21, 2012 Scouting Report.

Enjoy your cool, with a dash of a little wet, 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

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lift Station Repiars

This past week we repaired the lift station located near #15 fairway.  This pump station "lifts" the water from the golf course (about 10') and sends it on its way down the creek.  The discharge pipes had rusted to the point they needed replacing.  While doing this work the cracks and damaged bricks in the building were also repaired.

Replacing rotten bricks from the lift station.
The cracks inside the pump station were also repaired.


Holes in the discharge pipes.

New discharge pipes installed and brick wall repaired.  Ready for another 50 years of pumping.



New Freshwater Line

This week we ran a new fresh water line from the clubhouse to the 1/2 way house.  The old well at the 1/2 way house will be abandoned and use clean, processed water from the clubhouse.  It will be a few more days until the switch is complete as the new line and 1/2 way house plumbing is being chlorinated.

Finial connections were made today for the new fresh water line to the 1/2 way house.

If everything only went smoothly....

While preparing to hydro mulch some of the newly seeded areas, our extremely old hydro mulcher became uncoupled from the tractor that was pulling it.  1/2" steel ripped like paper under the weight of the tank full of water.  This was caused by a low tire which added extra weight on the hitch.  No one was hurt and after some quick repairs, the 30 year old hydro mulcher was back in operation.
Low tire pressure created the extra stress on the hitch.  When it separated, the hydro mulcher, stopped dead in its tracks as front of the mulcher dove into the ground, sticking there.  After some quick repairs (and added air to the low tire), we were back in operation.  The low tire was on the opposite side (but you can see the rear tire is up in the air).


The steel plate ripped like paper, separating the tractor from the hydro mulcher.

Grubs - the buffet is open

This fall grubs,or really the critters that like to eat them, have been frustrating for the grounds crew.  Each morning we repair the previous night grub gorging by the raccoons and/or skunks.  The areas are seeded, repaired and treated with a grub killer (Dylox) but it takes a few days for it to work.  Until the grubs are dead, the midnight buffet stays open.  This year has been especially bad, most likely because of the mild winter and dry summer.   Hopefully this will end soon!


The aftermath of a midnight feeding on grubs by raccoons and/ or skunks.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chicago Fire Employee Outing

Last Saturday the grounds crew took a trip the Chicago Fire game at Toyota Park.  The entire crew along with their wives and children took the trip on a charted bus.  A fun time was had by all, especially watching the Chicago Fire win 3-1!

Ridding the charter bus to the Chicago Fire game.

The turf at Toyota Park was in excellent condition!

We had a large cheering section!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

CDGA Weekly Report - September 14, 2012

September 14, 2012 Scouting Report

Cool Nights Mean Normal: Dollar Spot, Rust, White Grubs, Sod Rolling Up (animals search for said grubs) and Tim says Festuca arundinacea

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

This week, temperatures were both warm and cool. Plants said Huh? Actually it meant our season was acting right again for a change as the calendar is now pretty much between summer and fall. Our jaws would drop wide open when lows dropped to 47° twice in Lemont - we've now experienced our first really cool period since June. It's a real joy when nights hold the mercury to 50° or less. The surprise/enthusiasm if you manage turf? Well if jackets are on, the trend of FEWER issues will only accelerate. Rewind. Just a week ago the landscape looked and felt like a lot of trouble. Midsummer had briefly returned to 5th gear when our nights remained warm and humid. My Everything word last week meant all major fungal diseases of turf were banging their pots and pans - should've said Yikes as eyes get real big seeing nuclear dollar spot.

But it's September and so fast-forward to normal. Normal would be dealing with moderate levels of foliar rust and dollar spot affecting Kentucky bluegrass roughs. Normal would be root damage from things like annual white grubs. Normal would be waking up to see the amazing sod rolling ability of hungry animals - grubs!?! Normal would be catching up with paperwork. Ahh, normal.

Click here to view the September 14, 2012 Scouting Report.

Enjoy normal and what is to be a beautiful weekend of 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, September 13, 2012

Aerification 2012

The 2012 aerification is complete, now the healing process begins.  The weather was perfect and enabled us to finish the greens, tees and fairways in record time.  With the cooler weather and a bit of rain things will heal quickly.  Typically it takes a few weeks for complete recovery.  We are still working on seeding the rough, some solid tine aerification around greens and tees, removal of the stumps and widening of #14 fairway.  Next week we will fill the stumps with soil and seed.  Please help us by avoiding any seeded (brown areas) along the fairways.

Aerification of the fairways started on a cool, foggy morning.  All major aerification is now complete.

Greens were "verti-drained" using 12" solid tines (3/4" diameter).  The sand to fill the holes is applied prior to aerification.  After aerification the greens are softer and rutting of by the top dresser is more likely to occur. 

A close up of #8 green with the sand on the green.  All this sand will be pushed with brooms and blowers into the holes.

This is a video of the verti drain in action.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

CDGA Weekly Update - September 7, 2012

September 7, 2012 Scouting Report

Everything: Anthracnose, Bipolaris of Bent, Brown Patch, Dollar Spot, Pythium Blight, Summer Patch, and Tim's Data Says Brown Patch and Dollar Spot

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

September begins to Lights, Camera, Action. In other words this summer didn't quite stop when I said so! We would see everything in a week and along the way we just kept on learning more and more. And do you know what I decided? It appears that the MOST impressive fungus on planet earth is arguably Sclerotinia homoeocarpa or dollar spot. In just a few days we saw it's developement double in untreated research plots on our creeping bentgrass greens at Sunshine Course in Lemont (30-40% blighted area became 60-80%). Furthermore, any creeping bentgrass varieties which lacked genetic resistance to dollar spot were observed to light up like a Christmas tree. Only it's not December though Santa Claus early sounded really good to most of us back in July.

Still, golf courses remain on a relatively smooth road to recovery as roots continue their deligent downward return to home (a moist and nutrient-rich rootzone is waiting). "Good health" are recent reports of greens and fairways and it means core aerification can begin on schedule for many (nothing promotes root growth/penetration more than poking holes). We continue to round what feels like the last quarter lap of the longest marathon ever run and continue to be tested. Our brains, experience and artistry has gotten a workout in 2012. I cannot remember seeing more fungal disease varieity in a week...I just relearned turf plant pathology 101, everything in 4 days!

Click here to view the September 7, 2012 Scouting Report.

Have a nice cooler feeling weekend. I for one will be listening to the roots grow!

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 2, 2012

Impatiens - Downy Mildew

A new diseases has spread into the Chicago area.  Downy Mildew of impatiens strips the leaves and flowers from the plants leaving a stalk like plant.  This disease has become an issue across the country, believed to have been spread by infected plants from the growers.  If you have infected plants, it is recommended that you not plant impatiens again in the same area the following year, but rotate to another plant.  Work is being done to see if some varieties of impatiens are resistant, but at this time only New Genia impatiens are.  For more info follow this link  from Cornell about Downy Mildew.

Downy Mildew affecting impatiens by #14 tee

Close up of Downy Mildew, no good control for this new disease.

CDGA Weekly Report - Aug 31, 2012

August 31, 2012 Scouting Report

Return of Warm August: Roots Are Better, Poa Collars Wilt, 1st Grub Damage Wows, Dollar Spot Brews, Yellow Tuft Surprises, and Tim's Research Update

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

August decided it was August after all and we would warm considerably and find ourselves right back in the saddle of summer. Yet, our attitude is decidedly different compared to early July. Why? Well we know this 2012 growing season is now past midsummer peak heat caused by long day length and a bright sun that is directly overhead midday. Currently our nights are much cooler by about 10 degrees, seeing 60s for lows mainly. Still, this week got hot and if you were out in the sun without sunscreen your skin was lobster-like? On these new found warm days of summer we began lifting our fingers (again). In the week before Labor Day I for one said, "forty-two, forty-three, forty-four". Yep, we are getting close to forty-seven, the all-time record number of days with high temperatures at or above 90 degrees in a Chicago growing season. New signs tell us it's really the tail-end of a difficult growing season. We began noticing fall color of trees, our first went from green to golden yellow (honeylocusts and lindens). I was also glad to notice Illinois wildflowers continue their peak, tall things like asters, sunflowers, and THAT goldenrod.

Golf course superintendents are increasingly turning their attention, goals, and labor to projects to improve playing surfaces and the overall landscape of their courses. We continue to distance ourselves from July and it now has me saying something quite profound... Welcome September!

Click here to view the August 31, 2012 Scouting Report.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend with family and friends!

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