Friday, November 29, 2013

Weevil Update

In the beginning of November, two entomologists from Rutgers visited several golf courses, including Laurel Creek, to collect over-wintering Annual Bluegrass Weevils.  The purpose of their research was to determine the level of resistance these insects have to a commonly used class of insecticide.

While the researchers didn't gather as many weevils here as they would have liked, they did head back to the lab with enough adults to test.  Unfortunately, the results of their testing confirmed resistance. 

What this implies is that we now have one less tool in the toolbox to use in the war on weevils.  A good deal of time and effort during the winter is spent in reviewing the prior year's agronomic plan, and making adjustments for the upcoming year.  Clearly, reevaluating available control options for the weevil, and developing a new strategy for the 2014 season will be included in this process.
At 1/8" in length, it's hard to believe that the larva of ABW can cause so much damage to turf.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sand Check

Following the major renovation project earlier this year on #7 bunker, we have received many nice comments about the condition of this hazard.  Obviously the goal is to keep this bunker playing well for many years to come.  To this end, one of the on-going tasks that we now do periodically, is check the bunker for sand depth uniformity.

As you can see in the photo, one crew member is using a probe to check depth at various locations.  When thin or heavy areas of sand are located, he marks these, and a second crew member uses the plow on the bunker rake to redistribute the sand.

How does sand get moved?  There are actually a number of causes for sand movement within a bunker, including rain, wind, golf shots, and the mechanical rake.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Very Dry Fall

With much cooler temperatures, you probably don't notice it as much now as you would during the summer, but we have had very little rain lately.  Several times this fall, the weather forecast has called for rain, yet it has amounted to little more than a brief shower.  During the past five weeks, we've recorded a mere 0.35" of precipitation. 

Fortunately, this is a time of year when turf doesn't require a whole lot of moisture replenishment.  Still, with the irrigation system shut down for the year, we could use a good soaking rain to make sure the plants aren't going into winter under stress.

One concern if it doesn't rain before winter sets in is desiccation.  This can occur when the plant is subjected to drying from winds.  Although relatively rare in this climate, desiccation would most likely occur on one of two areas at Laurel Creek:  On our sand-based greens, or on exposed fairway mounds.

Once again rain is in the forecast, however at this point we'll believe it when we see it.  So, if you haven't had your home irrigation system shut down yet, consider giving your lawn a good soaking before it is winterized.
Severe mounds, such as this on #6, would be more likely than swales to suffer from desiccation.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lots O' Leaves

It is a great time of year.  Course conditions are typically good, there's few turf pests to be concerned about, and the trees look beautiful as the leaves change color.  However, we all know what eventually happens to all of those pretty leaves--they end up on the ground.
The trees provide a beautiful backdrop.

While Laurel Creek definitely wouldn't be considered a parkland style of golf course, we do have plenty of large trees around the Clubhouse, as well as trees lining half of the holes on the course: #8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18.  And once all of those leaves start coming down, it's a full time job to keep up with them. 
The first job of the day is to clear the greens of leaves prior to mowing.
This week we had several employees doing nothing but leaf removal.  At a time of the year when our staff size is much less than during the summer, it can be difficult to keep up with the cleanup.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weevil Watch--Important, Hands-On Research

Over the past several years, the Annual Bluegrass Weevil has become one of the most troublesome turfgrass insects that golf courses in our region have to deal with.  One concern is that these little guys may be developing resistance to a type of insecticide, known as synthetic pyrethroids. 

This is similar to what we often hear from the medical community with resistant strains of bacterial infections, where commonly used antibiotics no longer effectively knock out the bugs.

Researchers from Rutgers are collecting over-wintering weevils from several golf courses to determine the extent of resistance that truly exists.  On Wednesday, two entomologists from Rutgers were on site to collect weevils from areas where we traditionally see damage.

This study is important because it provides real world information that can be used in planning how to best control this insect in the future. 
The back of #18 green.  Turf samples are placed in warm water in order to have the weevils float.