Thursday, September 26, 2013

We'll Try (Almost) Anything Once

Cart path entrances are one of the most difficult areas to maintain a healthy stand of turfgrass.  These spots are commonly referred to as "pinch points" since all of the cart traffic is funneled into a very narrow area, often resulting in some bare ground.

#11 green's cart path entrance is one of the spots that shows wear the worst.  We keep the area to the right of this path entrance roped in order to have the green surrounds in good shape.  And unless you have a cart with pontoons, there's no way to get cart traffic to enter the path at different points on the left.
So, we've pretty well defined the problem.  Now what about a solution?  Well, there have been several products that have come and gone over the years that were supposed to reduce wear on the turf in these high traffic areas.  The latest of these possible solutions is called, "Coverlawn, EZ Hybrid Turf." 

As you play #11, you'll definitely notice the material which has been installed near the cart path entrance.  While it currently looks more like artificial than natural turf, we're hoping that will change in a few weeks.  Prior to placing the Coverlawn material on the surface, we aerified and seeded the area beneath it.  This is where the "hybrid" part comes in.  With any luck, the natural grass will grow through the honeycomb of the Coverlawn material, creating something that looks like real grass.  The benefit of using the synthetic material is that it is supposed to take much of the wear and tear, instead of the grass growing within it.

If nothing else, Thor believes the EZ Hybrid material is quite comfortable.

Will it work?  That's a great question, and the reason why we're installing it on only one area for now.  If it still resembles the Brady Bunch lawn next summer, it's probably not a good fit for the long run.  However, if it works as advertised, we'll try it in some other areas.

Not the lawn we're hoping for.

Friday, September 20, 2013

We Love Our Wildlife, But...Part Two

When we recently discussed the damage that the Great Blue Herons have been inflicting upon the greens, there was no desire to have this turn into an on-going series.  However, over the past couple of weeks one of the course's other residents has decided to have some "fun" on the putting surfaces.
Two spots on #6 were dug up Tuesday and Wednesday night.

We have spotted a red fox digging in the bunkers on several early mornings.  Based on the footprints and damage, it's a safe bet that this is the culprit digging holes in the greens. 

In the bunkers, the fox acts more like a cat than a dog, as he will play with a vole he has caught, throwing it up in the air, then eventually burying it in the bunker.  Apparently foxes dig both to find and bury food.  Whichever our fox is interested in doing, we'd really appreciate it if he would choose any place other than a green.
Our camera-shy fox heading into the wetlands on #12.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Not More Weevils!

After a few warm days this week, it looks like we might be heading into some welcome fall weather.  Cooler temperatures will give us some good root-growing weather for the turf, and fewer pests to be concerned least that's how it's supposed to work.

For several years we've been battling the Annual Bluegrass Weevil, which favors damaging Poa Annua (given their name, that makes sense) over Bentgrass, and usually lays its eggs in collar height turf.  These little guys are now considered by many to be the greatest insect pest in the northeast.  Their first damage often shows itself in late spring, and by this time of year, there are no longer well-defined generations of the weevils.  That is, you can find them in all phases of development--eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults--making control especially difficult.

As mentioned, they typically cause problems on collar height turf, leaving the putting surface alone.  However, it looks like several of the weevils overcame the challenges of egg-laying in greens height turf, as we're now finding larvae in the middle of greens.  Why would this happen now?

It's quite possible that the days immediately following greens aerification gave the weevils the opportunity they were waiting for.  During that period we skip mowing for a couple of days and raise the height of cut, allowing adult weevils to happily traverse the putting surface without fear of a mower sweeping them up.

While it's unlikely that there will be a great deal of damage to the putting surface at this time of year, it still makes sense to treat for them.  After all, any weevils that are taken out now, won't be around to lay eggs in the spring.

The legless larvae are the size of a grain of rice.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

We Love Our Wildlife, But...

Over the years, we've witnessed the course's Great Blue Herons consume fish, frogs, mice, and even a muskrat.  It is wonderful to have these large majestic birds reside on the course--however, there can be a downside.

It seems that whatever the Herons have been eating recently, it has a high burn potential.  Just as a dog can cause yellow spots on your lawn, so too the herons can really do a number on greens height turf.  Due to their proximity to the lakes, greens #5, 8, and 11 have all required repair in several areas this summer.

Plugs from our nursery will be used to repair this large spot on #8.