Interesting…

One of the great things about this industry is that everyone is always looking out for their peers. I found this bulletin pretty interesting from Bayer’s Green Solution Team. A group that has come together to send out helpful tips and turf management advice to help managers through the difficult seasons.
The bulletin below will help explain some of our thoughts and reasons behind increased chemical applications in these weather patterns.
Green Solutions Team
Reasons for Increasing Fungicide Rates and Reducing Spray Intervals in Summer Weather
 
By Zac Reicher and Paul Giordano, Ph.D.’s
 
Summer weather is here with regular thunderstorms, torrential rains in some areas, high humidity and temperatures pushing triple digits. For most effective control of diseases, it’s time to increase fungicide rates and/or reduce spray intervals.  Here is the reasoning behind this recommendation: 
  • Fungicide residual – recent research by Dr. Rick Latin at Purdue University showed that more than 90% of the applied fungicide is depleted from within turfgrass leaves between 3 and 8 days. Furthermore, Dr. Paul Koch at the University of Wisconsin has demonstrated higher temperatures may result in quicker fungicide deterioration in turf leaves.
  • Disease inoculum is building – even though disease symptoms are not visible, disease inoculum is likely building within the turfgrass system with favorable weather. This is especially true for dollar spot if early spring applications were not made, if low rates are used and/or intervals are stretched, and/or contact products have been relied on heavily throughout the season.
  • Turfgrass health is compromised – High heat naturally depletes carbohydrate reserves of cool-season turf and this is compounded by limited fertility, low mowing, and (potentially excess) growth regulation to control green speed or clippings in fairways.
  • Excessive plant growth – In areas not regulated, cool-season turf has been growing very fast throughout the summer due to higher microbial activity releasing nitrogen from soil and timely rainfalls.  Fungicide residual activity in the turf leaves is likely reduced due to the growth and increased mowing. 
  • Acute disease pressure is high – combine the first four points with fluctuating soil moisture levels, high humidity, and warm temperatures, and dollar spot and brown patch has been exploding on golf course greens, fairways and tees.
  • Other factors play a role – spray volume, nozzle selection, droplet size, contact vs. systemic activity, and fungicide formulation can all impact length of control.
  • Bottom line – numerous factors play a role in reduced fungicide efficacy so be proactive and increase rates and/or tighten intervals when conditions are favorable for disease development. Though tempting, try to avoid skipping early season applications, and maintain higher rates and consistent intervals all year.
  • Need more info? – Contact your Bayer Area Sales Manager if you need assistance.
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6.29.18

What’s happening on the course?

Good afternoon,

Looks like we have a beautiful weekend ahead though it may be a bit on the warm side. Temperatures are forecasted into the 90s with heat indexes well over 100°, please drink lots of fluids during any outdoor activity this weekend. What does that mean for the course?

It’s going to stress. And I’m OK with that; I actually want that.

I want to get the course dry, bouncy, fast, fun! Unfortunately the weather pattern this month (or year) has not allowed for that and will actually make it much more challenging to sustain dry healthy turf. When the grass can’t naturally wake up slowly, it immediately begins to stress and use its carbohydrate reserves to survive rather than grow stronger.

The high heat and humidity along with the rain has proved to be challenging when maintaining specific heights of cut. Rough has been growing much faster than we can cut it and green & fairway growth regulators have been increased to aid in keeping growth down. The course is still sitting wet and disease pressure is through the roof but we have remained fairly clean up to this point.

The property has flooded 10 times so far this year, 9 more times than I saw last year. Central Ohio is 8″ above average rainfall YTD, with localized areas well above 10″ over average. Local media claims that if we saw no more rain until the beginning of September, we would be back on track with averages. Let’s hope we see a little rain between now and then, but enough with the big storms already! Our property has seen 8.1″ of rain in the month of June alone.

As we gear up for the heat there’s a few extra items we are finishing to aid in our survival. One item completed this morning was spot spraying wetting agent on localized hot spots to help us maintain adequate moisture levels. Below is a picture of Rex watering his application on the center of 4 fairway.

We are also gearing up to vent greens, which I touched on in my last blog post. We finally got the stealth bayonet times in and will vent greens early next week. While I would have liked to hit them at the beginning of last week, it is now better to wait for the weekend rush to get through as well as some of the worst heat. If we vent in the middle of a high heat stretch we will likely struggle to keep adequate moisture and have to apply more water than we would like to.

A few other items happening on the course include mowing of fescue areas, linetrimming of hillsides, spraying weeds, and bunker details. These items all begin to set us up for our next steps. Below is a picture of one of our H2B employees, Jonathan Beck, mowing the fescue area between 5/6/7.

As we complete the mowing of these areas we will start spraying herbicides to remove the unwanted grasses and broadleaf weeds. The same goes for hillsides, as we complete the mowing they will be sprayed. We are very happy with the progress of these areas and hope to see the vision a little early than initially expected. There are still a lot of tweaks to be made on mowing lines and areas to add for more visual appeal.

I have had a few questions about what’s going on with the bunker sand? Why is our brand new white sand not so white anymore?

-As we began to address one of the biggest issues from last year we changed our bunker raking method used for daily play. Our first trouble in the new bunkers was that balls were getting stuck on the edge and not rolling far enough back to play a shot. The sand was still to soft under the club and it was too challenging to play even a ball in the middle. We decided to start compacting bunkers more frequently and removed the sandpro from the rotation as it seemed to fluff the sand too much. Now we just use a quick spring rake for the bottom and a squeegee on the edges. By not turning over the sand as frequently it is never getting a chance to dry out. Even though we don’t see standing water the sand profile is still saturated and “boiling” in the hot humid days. The dark appearance is algae growing within the sand, some of which presents very green and other areas more brown.

These issues will be addressed and remedied but not without sacrificing the current playing conditions. One other option we may look at aside from a deep stir, is a hydrogen peroxide application to bleach the algae back out of the sand (and hopefully not kill too much grass).

Hopefully we can all be happy that bunkers are playable, damn playable. AND… much more visually appealing than they have ever been. Can you imagine what the course would have been without this project? I can, and it’s not pretty. The month of June would not have allowed any bunker play as they all would have been under water and breeding mosquitoes. The details will continue to come together but greatness takes time to develop. We are refining our processes daily.

This weekend is the big Independence Day celebration at the club. Please pay close attention to parking areas as they have changed drastically over the past two years. We will no longer be parking alongside the front drive but rather in select areas on the Par 3 course. I will be laying out the parking lot today and tomorrow, please look past all of the flags and paint until Sunday.

Hope to see you Sunday for the fireworks! Sounds like it will be another great show at the club!

See you soon,

– J.R. Lynn, GCS

6.22.18

Well, another wet pattern has us battling to get the course back up and ready for play… 2.1″ of rain fell across the course yesterday and a few more showers throughout the day today with more chances into the evening. To say the course is saturated would be an understatement. Drains are catching up quickly in between showers so hopefully we can string together a few good hours of dry time. Unfortunately we had to make the decision to cancel the Taylor Cup due to continued poor weather and the saturated conditions across the property. Ryan has come up with some great options to help make up for some lost playing time.

We have found a few interesting things from the recent weather which include a rotten tree that failed late last night, a missed drain tie in at #17 approach causing bunker flooding and a few turf bubbles due to slow or clogged drains. (It may be dark, but I think we found why it fell… decay)(Late night find! Tree down, picture taken with spotlight)(After the first few cuts were made this morning. Thanks TJ for sending Harry and Dan! Russell Tree Experts are the best!)(Picture of hollow rotten center of Oak on #16)

Yesterday’s rain put us at 6.7″ of rain so far in the month of June, about 2″ above monthly average. On the other hand temperatures have been 5°-8° above average and humidity through the roof, creating a perfect environment for fungal growth in turf. We have been very fortunate thus far but have had some areas of definite breakthrough. Some the the diseases we have seen on the course include dollar spot, brown patch, anthracnose and pythium. All of these can have negative effects on the turf but we have caught in very early stages and made curative applications.

(Irregular patches on 1 green. Samples sent out and confirmation of Anthracnose received from OSU pathologists. Chemical applications have the disease in check, but we will continue to monitor and apply if needed)

(Video of “turf bubble” caused by backup in drainage underground forcing water to separate the sod from the soil and expand full of water)

(It actually got up to 14″ high before I popped it)

(Video of bubble after being cut open)

With the recent weather pattern we will begin venting greens in the very near future. As early as Saturday night we will begin cutting small slits in greens surfaces to help with gas exchange and dry down. We are currently seeing a small black layer in the greens profile which is typically a sign of anaerobic conditions when in certain locations. Below is a picture of the evidence of my concerns.

(This vague dark line is what we are trying to break through and allow gas exchange)

But you may notice something else on that picture… what’s that, another dark line down below?!?!

We will begin incorporating deep tine aerification in our greens processes over the upcoming years to help break through this layer.

Fun facts –

We pumped 2.3 million gallons of water from the property in under 24 hours. At 5pm today we were able to open our drain gate and naturally drain water from the course without running the pumps.

We can pump 2100 gallons per minute with our current trash pump set up. Unfortunately gas tanks only last about 2 hours so we take rotations on flooded nights to keep the pumps running. We will be expanding our fuel holding capacity to allow for a few extra hours of sleep!

Last one, with a picture… If you replace your divot with the grass you hit out, it WILL root in and grow back much quicker than sand/seed. Check out the roots I ripped up to show you in the picture below.

Thanks for following along. Stay tuned for all maintenance news, cart status, and employee updates as I plan to ramp up the blog posts throughout the season. We will be using clubster as well, but you can find more in depth maintenance information here for those who want a more in-depth look.

Thanks!

– J.R. Lynn, GCS

6.12.18

Good afternoon,

Just wanted to give a few updates as we have finally been able to start getting back to “normal” as the renovation dust settles. I hope you have been out to enjoy the full 18 holes and that this may start to answer some of the questions you have.

The season has not started off with the easiest weather conditions but we are working through the ups and downs. A slow start to the growing season coupled with a wet stretch at the end of last year had us a few weeks behind on “grow in” and you can still see some of the remnants today. Sod was slow to root and slow to knit but most remained healthy. 16,17,18 were the last holes to complete and unfortunately the green sod was the furthest behind this spring. It has continued to improve but will be one of the main concerns as we continue through this season.

Recent rains have had the course sitting a little soggy but we are keeping irrigation to an absolute minimum. We hope to begin drying the course out and keeping it more firm. In this process we will show stress, areas of fairways and rough will certainly begin to show drought stress throughout the season. We are constantly monitoring soil moisture levels and trying to maintain at minimum requirements to improve playability.

The rain and warm temps have been ideal for fungal growth across the course and we have stayed relatively clean so far this year. We have had some minor breakthrough during our most humid nights but caught the problems quickly and were able to spot treat to keep our turf healthy.

The “fescue” areas aren’t too friendly currently but will continue to improve as we transition away from the nurse grass and into a more uniform stand of fine fescue. The tall stuff you currently see around the course is actually ryegrass that will die out over the course of the year and allow the fine fescue to take over. We have started mowing these areas down in order to apply herbicides to assist in weed control and stand uniformity. The overall timeframe for fescue areas to be complete is 2 years. Why so long? Because it takes fine fescue that long to reach a point of maturity that allows it to produce the seedhead and look we desire. In the meantime, it will present well but will take time to get where we want it… please be patient.

Green speeds have been a little wacky this year. This is because the back nine is still being conditioned back to where the front nine was maintained last year. During the course of the renovation our efforts were placed on growing grass and keeping it healthy. When we condition the turf to playable standards we are counteracting all of our efforts to grow healthy turf. As we continue to heal on the back nine the greenspeeds will follow shortly behind. Last week marked the first time since renovation started that the front nine and back nine greens were mowed at the same height. Over the past 5 days we have completed additional mowings to the back nine and started working on the texture to help catch up to the front. Again, this will take time but we are heading in the right direction with only 6″-8″ difference in speed from front to back.

Please continue to take caution in traveling around the back nine. We have rope and stake in many areas to help heal sod, please avoid driving on these areas.

Thanks for following. I’ll be back soon with an update!

– J.R. Lynn, GCS