Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Swans

You may have noticed the 2 new swans in the pond on #18 recently.

They are just another 1 of our tools to keep the geese away during the fall and winter.  With the Snake River so close by and the geese love to feed on the golf course creating all the debris for us to pick -up, along with pecking and tearing up pieces of the turf.  Swans are very territorial and will run most other waterfowl species off.  Last year I did a small amount of research on getting a male and female pair of swans that we could build a house/nest for and live on the pond year around, although it is definitely an option, it will take more research and planning.

We have many different tools and techniques the we use - fake coyotes, red and green lasers, noise makers, fake dead goose, alligator heads, and flashing lights - all of which work for a while but when the geese figure out it is artificial then we loose the control.  Our course dog BJ has been more of a permanent help along with the fishing lines that we criss-cross over the pond for the winter.  We use these techniques early in the season that have short longevity and then in November we will put out the fishing lines for the winter.  Together all of these techniques give us pretty good control.  Stay tuned next month and I will explain the purpose of the lines.

We will continue to use various tactics until we can find that one permanent solution that cures the problem 100%, probably not an option, but we will keep working towards it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Update - Baby

I apologize to all my readers for not posting recently, but the last couple weeks have been extremely busy because:
 
Yes, my wife and I had our first child together. Braxton Jason Habeck, 7 lbs 3 oz, born Wed Oct 8, 2014, and everybody is healthy.  Normally I don't post personal items to my blog, but this is so exciting and does have a little golf course connection.
 
Delivery was connected to golf course maintenance, as I was installing a re-built motor in the pumpstation when labor began and I had to run to the hospital to join my wife.  Of course I wanted to finish the motor before dark and was even a little late getting to the hospital, but everything was installed and I was there in time to help where I could.
 
It has been an extremely busy couple weeks transitioning him into the house, along with the golf course has continued to be busy with fall work, a fall flush of growth that we have not seen before due to the warmer weather in September, paired with laying off of seasonal staff, and still producing a good product for the finishing fall tournaments.  I will get back to the blog this week and catch you up on what has taken place and keep you up to date as we get the golf course ready for winter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Grubs

During the hot summer months it is common to see areas of turf under stress in our fairways and rough, but as the weather cools down heading into fall we expect these areas to improve.  Over the last couple weeks there still have been some areas that persist to look as if they under stress.

13 fairway with stress areas

15 fairway
These areas have been infested with white grubs, black turfgrass ataenius to be precise.
The white dots are the ataenius grubs

The larvae feed on the roots of the plant and allow you to pull the turf right up when you grab it.  You can see in the above photo how I rolled it back. By eating the roots and cutting them off they prevent the turf from being able to take up water and thus the areas look like the are drought stressed the same as summer.
We spot treated all of the areas and then fertilized to get proper re-growth and healthy turf before we go into winter.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Natural Weed Control

This is always a nice time of the year as we receive natural weed control from mother nature.  This year we had more crabgrass in the golf course rough than in years past due to our reduction in a pre-emergent herbicide applied in the spring.  Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that germinates in the spring, grows in the summer, and seeds out and dies off as the weather gets cooler in the fall and during the first frost.


Right now those crabgrass plants are turning purple and starting to die off. Once the first frost hits we will see the plants disappear.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Greens Recovery

Greens are really recovering quickly from aerification.  They were fertilized prior to aerification so they were already actively growing before we punched them and timed with the sunny warmer weather we have received, they are very good for 3 days after aerification.

Rolling greens in the afternoon when it is dry and does not pull up sand
3 days after aerification, after the first mowing and another brushing

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Greens Aerification

Greens were aerified on Monday and Tuesday while the course was closed and the entire operation went very good.  Mother nature really helped us out with the sunny 90 degree weather.  One of the hardest parts is getting the sand to dry and properly fill the holes, with the ultra dry sand it worked very good this fall.  As I have stated before, there are many methods to aerification and you have to understand your end goal as to which operation you will perform.  This year our soil tests show that our organic matter content is very close to where we want it so we decided to not pull a core and go with both 1) deep tining - to increase infiltration, allow roots to grow deeper, and incorporate as much sand as far down as we could in he older sad profile of our USGA greens, 2) smaller solid tines at a very close spacing to incorporate as much sand as possible into the upper 3 inches of the organic matter layer.

Topdressing goes down first so the aerification machines vibration will help work it into the turf

Deep tining machine - 1" tines 8" deep with 4" spacing

After the deep tining

Followed by 1/2" sold tines with a 1 1/4" x 1 1/4" spacing

Double roll to smooth everything out

Finished with brushing and irrigation to water everything in.

The finished product after 2 days

Extra sand is still on the surface because I want to incorporate more into the turf canopy and some holes will open up as we continue to brush and water.  Right now all the holes look full, but some are bridged and have air pockets down in the hole.  As we continue to brush and water this sand will settle down and the extra sand will be brushed into the holes.

The future will be continued brush and irrigate, with a Thursday afternoon roll when it is dry and then start mowing Friday morning, followed by alternation of mow and roll for the next week.  Typically in 4-5 days I will have them pretty well cleaned up and putting smooth.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fairway Aerification

Fairway aerification has been going very good this week and the weather, warm and sunny, has been very helpful.

First the fairway is mowed and the heads are marked with shaving cream.  Then the fairway is aerified with 3/4" hollow tines that pull a core.




The plugs are allowed to dry to the proper moisture level so we can break away the soil part without making mud, but yet they are not to hard so the soil drys to a bullet and will not break-up.  The goal is to return the soil to the turf canopy and fill some of the holes while the organic matter portion, the thatch at the surface, stays intact and can be removed.

Plugs being dragged

Then the organic matter portion is blown off into the rough.

From there the rough mower chews up the organic debris, and that is day 1.

This process is followed the next day with a final clean-up that would be taking a brush and brushing any plugs that might be stuck down from tire tracks and after they are fluffed to the surface then the fairway is blown off again.  Followed by a dry mow in the afternoon with a fairway mower to clean everything up.  This typically leaves the fairways very clean and ready for play.