Sunday, October 28, 2012

CDGA Weekly Update - October 26, 2012

October 26, 2012 Scouting Report

Tree Leaves Largely Down: 70s Felt Nice, Needed Rain Continues, Dollar Spot Went Crazy and Tim's Dollar Spot Susceptibility of Bentgrass in Fall

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

In a simple week of time, big change occured. I was gone for part of the week (Cincinnati) and then I came back. Upon return, I was surprised to find most tree leaves were suddenly down. In particular the oaks, Quercus spp., would catch my attention because they had let me down? You see, I was readying myself to write about oaks in their flourish of fall leaf color. Well, in a season of interesting temperature from start to finish I can now say... oak tree leaves fell early during a week that saw highs in the 70s. Obviously our attention continued to be more holistic as far as the landscape was concerned - it's not just turf after all. We continue to wrap things up this growing season and that is a good feeling.

Back to turf. The meeting I attended was all about something called C-5 (aka Turfgrass Division of the Crop Science Society of America). A little digging and I found Division C-5 objectives to share. "A) To provide a common forum for the exchange of turfgrass research and educational information... B) To advance scientific research and promote practices that will improve the utility, culture, and performance of turfgrass. C) To further the professional development of its members and to promote and recognize quality research and teaching of Turfgrass Science as a profession. D) To maintain liaison and to cooperate with other scientific or educational organizations, national or international, whose programs are allied to Turfgrass Science." Those four Turf Science objectives sound good to me!

Click here to view the October 26, 2012 Scouting Report.

Have a good weekend though light jackets no more since our forecast says 40s/30s (highs/lows).

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 22, 2012

Projects this week

We are done with greens drainage, but the projects continue.  No greens will be closed for the remainder of this season.  This week we will be replacing the sod around #15 and #5 green, leveling old drain lines in fairways and adding some some drainage to the approaches of #3, #5 and #16.  If the predicted rains arrive this schedule will change.

New seed coming up in the rough.  By next spring the thin areas should completely recover.
 
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  Bald Cyprus are one of a few conifers that drop their needles creating a nice pine scent around the trees.

#16 after the improvements to the hole which included; back bunker removed, right and left bunkers reduced, run-off area added to the front left, and fairways widened on the left.  We also added drainage to this green and re-sodded the entire green surround.  All work was done in-house and completed in about one week.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

CDGA Weekly Update - October 19, 2012

October 19, 2012 Scouting Report

Needed Rain Arrives: A Mild Week Of Temperature, Very Few Issues, Dollar Spot Is Active Again, Meanwhile Tim Says Fall Fungicides AND Dollar Spot

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

This week was a temperature zig zag, so to speak. Best of all, it was in the right direction of up! Following our coldest period since spring which ended annual flowers in the landscape, Mother Nature relented. Instead she delivered a reprieve in a big way and our high temperatures climbed considerably. For example, on one day we touched 70° with two other days coming pretty darn close to that mark as well. Meanwhile, nights also jumped and all 7 were without freezing. Few if any issues are now troubling turf, although dollar spot has continued to nag - redeveloping on creeping bentgrass surfaces for golf. Biting our nails, dancing for rain and going to church finally paid off... needed rain fell with 1.7 inches this week's tally on Sunshine Course in Lemont.

The main feature of the landscape continues to be excellent fall color of trees. Never mind it follows an otherwise difficult growing season and that some individuals had speculated this summer that 2012 wouldn't see much fall color. Shew, it turns out they were wrong. Our most recent splash of color over the past week or two has been spectacular and not surprisingly some have enjoyed more attention than others - luminescent orange sugar maples. Not to be outdone, ginkos American elms, and lindens began to peak with golden color. This week in a nutshell? The return of rain, few issues and spectacular fall color. As you might expect, there are few complaints.

Click here to view the October 19, 2012 Scouting Report.

Have a good weekend and enjoy THAT fall color.

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 15, 2012

Final Week of Green Drainage

This week we are draining #9 green - our last green.  This will complete our 3 year project to install drainage in all greens (except #18 and the putting greens which are USGA greens).  This week we will also be renovating the bunker on the left of #9 green and adding a runoff area to the back of the green.  The green will reopen by Friday (if not sooner).   Over the next few weeks we will be doing smaller drainage projects around the course and re-sodding around a few other greens, if the weather holds.

#9 green - drainage well underway.

#9 is the last green to receive drainage.  This completes the 3 year project.
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CDGA Weekly Report - October 12, 2012

October 12, 2012 Scouting Report

It Feels Like Fall: Light Jackets Can't Cut It, Few Issues, Residual Dollar Spot, Rust Is Mild So Far and Tim Teaches Turf Students About Research

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

We were feeling 20s early on Monday, October 8 and it meant the coldest temperatures since April had come true as forecast. At this point we had to accept our flowers and vegetable gardens were no more. On the turf-side, the grass is still green (or maybe a purple-green) but its use has also tapered - cool temperatures and shortened daylength naturally slows the game of golf, but not greens! We saw the fewest numbers of golfers playing the game in a season that otherwise had a lot (a warm, long lasting, dry season was 2012). Still, we don't quite want to accept it, the end of a growing season. Some even continued a tendency of going outdoors unprepared (from experience...my light jacket thing).

Meanwhile, some good news this week. The landscape did pick up some needed rain, but the bad news is that it still wasn't near enough in a season who's current total is half of normal. And so irrigation and necessary handwatering were still required in an otherwise low water demand period for turf. And golf courses still saw other activity. They saw numerous projects either finished or in their final stretch prior to winter. They saw more tree leaves had senesced, now finding a place among the blades of grass, streams of water, lakes and paths. They saw a golden glow of shagbark hickory, honeylocust, green ash, basswood, elm and maples begin their orange. They saw a most beautiful sky. They saw an exclamation mark in the landscape, the peak purple-red leaf color of white ashes. Man oh man, fall in Illinois is sure nice.

Click here to view the October 12, 2012 Scouting Report.

Enjoy your weekend and those fantastic fall colors.

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pictures of Fall

A few pictures I took on the golf course over the last few days.

The fall continues to be dry and irrigation is important for the plants as they go into dormancy.

Fall colors - from trees to wildflowers add a new dimension to the golf course.

Ash trees are peaking right now.

This weeks project - #2 and #7 Greens

#16 green was completed on Monday (sod installed).  This week we will be installing drainage in #2 and #7 greens.  We will also be reshaping the front rough of #2 green and adding a runoff area to the left of the green.  Tuesday, as we finish #7 green we will move to #2 green.  There may be a short period of time on Tuesday when both greens are closed as we move the crew from one green to the other.  We hope to reopen #7 green by late Tuesday or early Wednesday.  #2 green will most likely reopen sometime on Friday.  Temporary pins will be placed in front of the greens.

Next week we begin work on #9 green - the last green of the three year greens drainage project.

Drainage in #7 green began Monday and should be completed Tuesday.

Monday, October 8, 2012

CDGA Weekly Update - Oct 5, 2012

October 5, 2012 Scouting Report

Fall Color Says Pow, Pow, Pow: Coldest Night in 7 Months, Chicago's Turf Very Healthy, Dollar Spot Fires Up (briefly) and Tim talks Poa Control?

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

Wait a minute, how did THAT happen so fast? It's October. Well it happened and just to show you...on Thursday of this week we lost something like 27 degrees in 6 hours - from 80° at 2 pm to near 50° by 8 pm. Friday morning it hit me when I found myself in Naperville at a couple of courses unprepared - two light jackets didn't cut it. This growing season suddenly seems striking in it's contrast of 'degrees' in just a few months. As far as pest 'issues' and things of plant health, very few now exist given nighttime lows are rhythmically falling to the 40s. The bigger issue at hand is a realization that we continue to be way behind on annual rainfall and current lake level information is the perfect illustrator. Versus the same time a year ago, the Great Lakes tell the 2012 story of drought (Superior -2", Ontario -11", Huron -13", Michigan -13" and Erie -17"). Besides Lake Michigan being down 13 inches from a year ago, drought is serious because it also effects needed soil moisture reserves for crops and the landscape and this can last into the next growing season (e.g., the severe drought of 1988 meant 1989's growing season was also negatively affected).

Currently we are holding our heads up more and more. Not just because we did a good job in season 2012. Ha! Mainly it is because the canopy of the landscape has begun to change rapidly. Talk about nice fall color. White ashes are a reddish burgundy purple and green ashes are golden. A group of honeylocusts today... I found myself forming the word "electric".

Click here to view the October 5, 2012 Scouting Report.

Have a good weekend and don't forget to put on your 'good' jacket!

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 1, 2012

Project this Week - #16 Green

This week we will be installing drain tile in #16 green, reworking the bunkers around the green (reducing the size mostly),adding more fairway in the front and adding run-off area to the left.  After that work is complete, we will also re-sod the rough around the green.  We hope to have the green drainage done by Thursday and the work around the green by early next week.  The green will be closed while drainage work is progressing (pin will be placed in the fairway).  Sorry for the inconvenience.  This is the final year of the 3 year program to add drainage to all the greens.  When we are finished, we will have added nearly 2.5 miles of drain tile and moved over 1,000 tons of material out of the greens and put 1,000 tons of material back into the greens - all by hand!  The greens that we drained the first year (1,3,5,8,10 and 13) demonstrated how much better they preform with proper drainage.

Next week we will begin work on drainage for #7 and #2 green and also reworking of the front of #2 green.  After that we only have #9 green drainage and some rework to complete before winter sets in!

Trenching of the drain lines - rocks and clay are very common component of the push-up greens.  Plywood is used to protect the green surface.  This is a very labor intensive project.

It is important to keep the sod organized so that it goes back in the exact same spot and the exact same way so that the trench lines are not visible in years to come.

The soil (mix) that is put back into the greens comes from Wisconsin, 25 tons at a time.  We will use between 50 and 100 tons of material per green.  The material handler helps in transporting the mix from the shop to the course.


Details, details details.  Replacing the sod has to be spot-on!  The greens are cut less than 1/8", and the sod must match perfectly otherwise the mowers can scalp the sod.  Our challenge comes when the trencher hits rocks kicking it off line and disrupting the sides of the narrow trench.  Removal of rocks can also cause voids that are hard to fill and compact.


Drought Picture


A picture of #15 pond.  Lake levels continue to drop, even with low ET rates.  In the last two weeks, Honey Lake dropped another 2".  It does not look like substantial rains will come anytime soon.  If your landscape is suffering, it would be a good idea to give it a drink before winter!

West end of #15 pond.  I have never seen this pond get so low.


Some say the drought will make the fall colors better.