We are working on finishing up the 15th green by plugging the worst areas. We are making progress on these greens and keeping a well oxygenated environment helps tremendously. Therefore, we will continue to pencil tine these greens through the fall. As for all greens, we will be picking back up with our double cutting and rolling programs this weekend. You can expect the greens to get a good bit faster in the coming week. Thank you for your patience while we do everything we can to grow grass in these far from desirable micro climates. I think the work we do this winter with ArborCom will really open your eyes to what we are dealing with. As the Penn State plant breeder (Joe Duich, PhD, who is responsible the Penn A4 bentgrass on the greens at Highlands CC) said during a 2000 site visit, "I'm surprised there is as much grass on these greens as there is given the growing conditions around here."
Friday, September 21, 2018
Let There Be LightSEPTEMBER 21, 2018By Addison Barden, agronomist, Southeast Region
Low sunlight intensity caused by prolonged cloud cover, shade from trees and short days stresses putting greens by reducing photosynthetic activity and efficiency. Ironically, turf leaf growth increases as a result of shade stress as plants attempt to capture more sunlight. This response is influenced by the gibberellic acid physiological pathway in turf, which causes increased or decreased leaf and internode length. Indicators of increased shade or decreased photosynthesis include shallow roots, thinner turf and problems with wear tolerance. Shade stress over the course of a year, or even just a few days, increases turf susceptibility to disease and traffic stress. Fortunately, the following approaches can combat the ill effects of limited sunlight without negatively impacting playing quality:
Increase height of cut
Increasing the height of cut on putting greens, even slightly, improves photosynthesis by increasing leaf surface area. Surface management practices such as light and frequent sand topdressing applications, brushing and grooming help maintain putting green speeds and quality at a slightly higher height of cut. However, when turf is growing slowly it is important to avoid overly aggressive practices.
Plant growth regulators
Production of the plant hormone gibberellic acid (GA) increases under shady conditions, causing internode length to increase. Slightly increasing the application rate of GA inhibitors, such as trinexapac-ethyl, will slow GA production and produce a more favorable putting surface.
Apply less fertilizer
Light-deprived putting greens grow slowly, and applying too much nitrogen fertilizer will cause rapid consumption of carbohydrates, ultimately weakening the turf. Spoon feeding shaded turf with low rates of liquid fertilizer formulations is recommended.
Avoid complicated tank mixtures
When turf is stressed, it is best to keep things simple. Applications containing numerous products can have unintended outcomes. Furthermore, it is difficult to ascertain product performance when using several products at a time. As a general rule of thumb, keep the number of products in tank mixes to a minimum and know how each product performs.
Hormones and biostimulants
Many plant hormones, and some plant-based products such as seaweed or kelp extracts that also contain hormones, can be applied to turf. Adding certain bacteria to products can also produce hormones. Look closely at the ingredients listed in products, especially fertilizers. If a product contains hormones or biostimulants, do some additional research to assess its potential effects. Applying a product with GA doesn't make much sense when natural GA production is already too high. Unfortunately, many fertilizer products have hormones and biostimulants in them without specific documentation. When in doubt, ask your supplier.
Towards the end of the season, it is common to see some yellow needles and branches on hemlock trees. Please understand that this is not a bad thing and certainly not associated with the Adelgid. Evergreens shed needles annually despite what some think. That said, the Woolly Adelgid is still an issue in the area! Treating with an insecticide (like Merit) is still required if you want to save your trees. The good news is, research is showing us that these chemicals stay in the tree for as long as 5-7 years before they are metabolized. Therefore, if you are treating effectively, it doesn't need to be an annual program.
The Boxwood Blight continues to be an issue all over Highlands and Cashiers. This fungal pathogen needs to be treated preventatively. This means spraying boxwood every 21 days. If you don't spray every 21 days, your shrubs are exposed to this blight! Again, it becomes more of an issue of when your shrubs become infected, not if your shrubs become infected. I constantly hear, "I am keeping and eye on mine." This is impossible...by the time you see symptoms that something is wrong, it is far too late. Again, your boxwoods need to be treated on a 21 day interval with Daconil and a systemic fungicide of your choice. You can see older posts showing you products available at Reeve's, Lowe's or Home Depot. This blight can cause a lot of destruction in a very short period of time. I've seen boxwood landscapes go from green to dead in a week.
Finally, the Highway 106 project...While this was an alarming project with a lot of potential impact to the Club, it continues to be a low priority for local officials and the DOT. At the town board meeting last night, the Mayor announced the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Southwestern Commission is going to put the lowest possible priority rating on this project. This will essentially kill it. I will be keeping you updated if there are things I hear about this project at a local elected official level. Anyone who sent letters to the DOT... this is very useful because the DOT takes a lot of interest in the feedback they receive.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Lyn is doing a nice job plugging the 2nd green. The area of shade in this photo is an area that gets ZERO sunlight on any day. These greens were pencil tined again today. Keeping the soil oxygenated and “loose” will stimulate growth.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
A few weeks ago, a tree fell above the 3rd hole. It took out 3 other trees on it's way down. At the time, all 4 trees were cleaned up and hauled off site. The stumps however, created a little more of a challenge. Today, using a winch and our excavator, we were able to pull them down the hill, load them up on a trailer and haul them off. For years, this bank was nothing but 6' tall ugly briars and weeds. Over the last 5 years, we've worked hard to kill the unwanted plants and establish a nice bed of fine fescue. This is one of the prettiest sites on the campus, particularly early evening when the setting sun hits the seed head just right. The scars left from the stumps were raked and seeded with fine fescue.