Maintenance Blog

Maintenance Blog


Sep

8

Mountain Woods Golf Club Grounds Maintenance Blog August 2018

Grounds Maintenance Blog August 2018

 

Is the heat over???? It would seem that for the most part in the long-term weather forecasts for Moncton, that the really hot days may be coming to an end soon.  I can only dream!!! This has been a hard stretch of weather that the crew and I have had to deal with, since the last newsletter, but we are all hanging in there. Some days we actually closed the shop early, because it simply was not safe to be out in mid-day temperatures with humidex values in the forties. For the most part, the course has been hanging in there quite well, and the cooler temperatures should help with recovery of some of the burned-out areas, which are all over the course on various holes, especially in non-irrigated areas. We have actually had a lot of really positive comments on how the course has looked this year, even in the extreme heat.

Greens:   I can honestly say that it has not been easy with the extreme temperatures to maintain greens, but we have a few tricks under our sleeves here that have helped the turf deal with high 
uv and hot afternoons. It was actually fun getting ready for the club championship, knowing that the speeds were going to increase a bit and challenge all of you fine golfers a little more than usual. Congrats to all of the winners, and thanks for your amazing comments on the efforts of the crew. Terry had the reels razor sharp for this one. Just look at his fingers!!! The sixth green went for a spiral on the evening of the last day of the club championship, leaving all of us, maintenance and membership, with a sense of bewilderment, because on Monday morning that green did not look well.   It took a bit of work to figure the whole scenario out, with a combination of hard pan and dryness, but the real culprit was a disease called Pythium root disfunction. This has just popped up in a number of courses in Atlantic Canada, and throughout the North Eastern U.S. seaboard. It is a disease that favors extreme heat and humidity, weakened turf, and the right combination of day and high night time temperatures. This is a nasty little bugger to deal with, so all of the greens on the course have been treated with a couple of different products, and the sixth green has also been aerated to take the pressure off of the root system. So, what you are seeing is turf that has had its root system depleted by the fungi, so it turns yellow because of deficiencies. I will be treating the green with a high iron product to take away the discoloration, and doing everything possible to help take the stress away from the root system. I should be able to keep the turf alive, but extremes will be hard to deal with because of weakened turf. The green will stay open without any delays.
                 
Also, because of some thinning on a few of our greens, the result of high humidity and moisture retention and not quite filling in during that wonderful miserable Spring we had, the mowing height has been raised slightly to improve overall turf health. Frequent and light topdressing will be done weekly if time and weather permits. We are still waiting for some consultation to begin for the 15th green, and once there is an approved plan, all of you fine folks will be the first to know!!! Or, I will be digging a hole in it and setting a large charge of explosives with a rather pleased look on my face!! As long as I live, that damn green will be changed!!!
                 
Recently, I was asked if we mow the greens every
day, because it seemed like they were really long in the evenings.  The answer to this is yes. The only time the greens are not mowed is if they are excessively wet, after a heavy rain. We also roll and double roll the greens at least 4x per week, and more if it isn’t too wet. We also use a growth regulator on the greens, which slows the vertical growth of turf leaves at the hormonal level. The issue has been the high daily and night timetemperatures, in high relative humidity. In a nut shell, the turf is growing like it was in a green house 24 hours per day. The only way to control this is to tighten up the time between applications of growth regulator, which is difficult to do on a weekly basis, as opposed to bi-weekly. So, one of the other things we have been playing with, is using foliar fertilizers and spoon feeding our greens, instead of relying on release patterns of granular fertilizers. It is a program, that I used atanother course with amazing results, but the only difference now is the products available are more plentiful, and cheaper. I will be using a foliar program to finish out the rest of the season.  More work, but better surfaces for you!!!

Tees: The tees have hung in there not too 
badly, but anthracnose has really done some damage out there. Unfortunately, it is not in our budget to spray the tees with fungicide, so disease pressures can only be handled culturally. The cost to treat the tees would be between $6000-$10000. I will be treating the tees for weeds shortly, which is not expensive at all! We will also be aerating the tees in the upcoming weeks to help with their playability and turf health. Please fill your divots!!!

Fairways:   One of the biggest improvements, this year, was in the type of fertilizer, and 
quantity that was used. Most of you have probably noticed that each time there is a little bit of rain, the fairways would green up and start to fill in. This is due to the extra application of a fertilizer known as polyon. It has really worked incredibly for us, and will be a part of a regular program for future years. We will be running the aerovator over the newly constructed fairways when the temperatures cool down, and there is a rain event in the forecast. We will also be spot seeding bare patches. The fairways are also going to be treated for weeds, since prostrate knotweed and pineapple weed have taken off with a vengeance.

So, when it comes to Canada Goose control, I would like to say Canada Goose 1, and a Superintendent and a large number of volunteers 0. Sorry Alan Doyle, but there is one very smart Gander that has shown his flock the way through, over and under the ropes. Also, the mature flocks are starting to fly intothis giant green buffet. I still think if we are more diligent in the Spring, we can stop the nesting pairs.

One of the things I have been noticing this year is the traffic patterns of the golf carts. Some of you often enter and exit fairways in exactly the same place each and every day. Please try to scatter in multiple directions if you can, and always stay on cart paths by greens and tees. We have put out some cart directional signs to direct you away from greens areas by routing you to the cart path. Please follow these and don’t run them over, as many have fallen victim to a rogue cart!  Every little bit helps. Also, please make sure to look over the hill on 18, 13, and 7 before you make your shot. We have had a few close calls lately which could have easily been avoided. Well until next time, I hope your drives are long and your putts are true!!

 

 
 

Thatch removal on the 11th green. Caused by high temperatures and high humidity which released a lot of granular fertilizer quickly.

A new pigment being used that reduces uv damage and increases heat tolerance. Like the color or not???

 

This is Barry Stone who is considered to be the top irrigation specialist in Atlantic Canada. He came in to help us with a major problem we have been having with the electrical system that runs the irrigation heads. You wouldn’t believe how this place was wired!!

 

One of those special moments on a golf course early in the morning before the rain. Moments after this was taken, the whole family of five foxes decided to come over and hang out with me for a few minutes.