Saturday, August 30, 2014

Snapping Turtle Hatch

Today a massive snapping turtle hatch occurred in the bunker of #14.  The turtles were shuttled to the nearby pond for safety.  Female turtles like the soft sand in bunker to lay their groups of eggs (up to 25-80 at a time).  It takes between 8-18 weeks for the eggs to hatch, depending on weather.  Adults can live up to 100 years old.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Black Crappie Fish Kill - Honey Lake

A few days ago we noticed a few dead Black Crappies, but today (Friday) more are coming up dead.  After contacting the Lake County Health Department we were informed that this is caused by a virus that only attacks Black Crappies.  How this virus got into Honey Lake is a mystery but the effect is clear.  There is no cure for the virus, it will have to run its course.  There have been other reports around Lake County and in Wisconsin of similar fish kills.  It is believed that most of the fish killed by the virus are in the 3-4 years old range.  LCHD says swimming in the water is safe.

If you have any questions about the fish kill, please contact Adam, Michael at the LCHD -
Black Crappies killed by a virus in Honey Lake.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rain, Rain - go away!

Midway has recorded the wettest summer on record - we have been lucky, in that we have not seen as much rain as Midway, but still to much rain!  To date we have had 11.5" this summer (since June 20th).  It is amazing how variable rainfall rates can be around Chicago.  In the last 7 days we have had 2.5" of rain with a total ET rate of 0.47" - normal ET rate would be about 0.2-0.25" per day, or almost 1.5" over the week.  In the last 7 days: average humidity of 88% with 16.2 hrs/day over 80% and 11.3 hrs/day over 95% on average.

WGN - CLICK picture to enlarge.

This type of weather encourages diseases of plants (turf, flowers and trees).  You may have noticed the flowers around Biltmore (and at your house) don't look so good.  Diseases were very active this past week.  Zinnias and Alyssum are most affected, some of them will come back if the weather turns drier, but some of the plants will die.  Green leaves from Maples have started falling, but typically does not have a long term effect on the trees.  Turf was also affected, but we were busy spraying fungicides to prevent diseases.  However, the rough is not treated - to expensive.  Some areas of the rough may thin, but if the weather improves so will the turf.  We were lucky that our protective sprays have worked on the greens, tees and fairways - at least so far. 

Zinnias do not like wet, humid weather.

Cicada Killer carrying a Cicada back to its nest - look closely!  They like to make their home in the edges of bunkers.  These wasps look intimidating but rarely sting people.  They are a large wasp that paralyzes Cicadas, drags them into the nest (a hole in the bunker face), lays an egg on them (while the Cicada is still alive, but can not move) then in a few days the egg hatches and the larva begins feeding on the still alive Cicada.  Yum, yum!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Today #10 and #13 greens turn one year old!  It was one year ago today, that these greens were seeded.  These two green are by far the healthiest, smoothest and consistently fastest greens - and take less maintenance.  Even with the recent heat, rain and humidity these greens reminded sooth, fast and firmer than the old push up greens.  Below is a chart of the green speeds as we recorded them from July 15th to August 8th.  So Happy Birthday to #10 and #13 greens!

Nazario seeding #10 green - August 27th, 2014

#10 Green - April, 8 2014 - Came though the winter with no issues.

#10 Green - June 15th.  We will not be aerifing #10 or #13 this fall because they are new USGA greens.  They are maintained the same as all the other greens.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Aerification September 2nd and 3rd

Aerification is coming up - We will begin the process on Tuesday, Sept 2nd.  The course will be closed on Wednesday, Sept 3rd and reopen on Thursday, September 4th.  We are doing aerification a bit earlier this year, which will allow the greens to heal even faster.  Below is a video from the USGA about aerification.  We will be aerifing greens, tees and fairways.

Monday, August 25, 2014

2014 Crew Photo

Below is our crew photo for 2014.  These men are responsible for all of the grounds around Biltmore - including, the golf course, beach, clubhouse and Honey Lake.  They are a skilled group of dedicated men enabling us to doing most jobs in-house saving the club thousands of dollars.   The crew has nearly 300 years of combined service to BCC with an average of 14 years and highs of 40+ years.  Please join me in thanking them for their service and dedication.
2014 Grounds Crew

CDGA Weekly Update - August 22, 2014

August 22, 2014 Scouting Report

This week saw the arrival of summer, about two months late but it still brought some heat and humidity - forecasts have us dropping away from the discomfort of the heat and humidity rapidly so concern should not be rising. The heat will have benefited courses with newly seeded areas that are looking for extra heat in the soil profile to really help bentgrass establish. The humidity arrival did increase dollar spot pressure further and some courses have been battling this a little bit all summer. Rainfall amounts ranged from 3-5" for the week which was a pretty darn good soaking and will have put carts off the course for one day at least as well as washing bunkers into the proverbial mess. Courses that didn't get this type of rainfall will be very happy! Anthracnose issues seem to have declined and this may have been linked with the moisture which has been relatively consistent so far this month.

No reports of major grub activity yet but it's something that will be on many of your minds in the next couple of weeks for sure. Seeding of renovated areas is ongoing and it is the best time of year to do this - optimal soil temperatures, just enough time to establish prior to winter and then maturation with spring next year - Kentucky bluegrass and bentgrass really benefit from seeding at this time of the year. Rates may vary depending on your area of coverage but always take a look at the seed tag to check, seed age, numbers of pure live seed and any check if there are any unwanted varieties or cultivars in the bag.

Field day is rapidly coming upon us, and if you want to register please do so at Pigments, crabgrass, firmness and wetting agents, curative disease approaches and many other topics will be covered. Accomplished speakers and researchers are coming in from a regional basis to talk about projects and experiences with materials that we have worked with. It is sure to be a good time!

Click here to view the August 22, 2014 Scouting Report

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Office: (630) 685-2307
Cell: (630) 423-1925
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Sunday, August 3, 2014

CDGA Weekly Update - August 1, 2014

August 1, 2014 Scouting Report

Anthracnose running rampant seems to be the theme of the problems this summer. The suffering of Poa annua seems to have dragged on from a bad winter through a wet spring and now with any little stress at all it takes a dive and turns the foreboding yellow color. Fortunately temperatures have not been the problem but presumably the lack of precipitation over the last three weeks has contributed to it somewhat. Single product treatments are usually not as effective as a combination of contact and systemic if you are trying to shake it - funnily enough mowing heights being raised is also a great cure!

There was an excellent crowd at the Wisconsin field day and a range of information to be had on rational dollar spot management, Japanese beetle management and discussions on product timings. One issue that came up in conversation was the timing of the three way product applications with pre emergence, insecticide and fertility. The product may be going out too early in the year to retain the efficacy of the insecticide in particular and so the issues we have seen this year may have been a combination of both that and the tropical rainfall we saw through the early part of the year. The weather has left some really interesting numbers behind for the month of July, lows were 10°F below average for the month while the average high was approximately 5°F below average. It seems like it has been a weird year so far for weather for sure.

Field day will be Thursday, 11th of September, with Dr. Bruce Branham and Dr. Tom Voigt on the list of speakers as well as that all important coffee and donut breakfast and lunch. Registration will cost $50 and we will open it up next week at The current thought is to have the day start at 10 a.m. and be completed by 1:30 p.m. Finally, many of you are starting to see emails from Wee One Foundation - the bottom line is that it's a great cause and there is nothing better you can do to help out - so if you can take the opportunity and get involved, the rewards and hope the foundation brings are second to none.

Click here to view the August 1, 2014 Scouting Report

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Office: (630) 685-2307
Cell: (630) 423-1925
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Friday, August 1, 2014

MGI Week in Pictures

Member Guest Invitational is an exciting time for the grounds crew to peak the conditioning of the course so the members can show off the course to their guests.  It takes weeks of prep work, but when the weather cooperates, like it has this year, the course really shines!  We did get 0.15" of rain today, but that is the first real rain in 19 days.  Below are some pictures taken mostly by Wyatt Byrd.
The day starts like any other day for the crew, at 5AM it is still very dark.  Lights on the greens mowers help see where to cut.

The second shift during MGI starts at 5:30PM - touch up watering, cutting fairways, tees and rough.  Long week for the crew, but this is what we love to do - make the course look and play perfect!

This week we get to see the sun come up and go down.
Hand watering greens in the dark.