Friday, March 28, 2014

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

More often than not, when you least expect it, they are just there.  You don't see them approaching, you don't hear branches cracking or leaves rustling--they are just there.

Even a harmless garter snake will make you jump back when you reach into the irrigation controller, and realize that a couple of the "wires" are moving.  Maybe Mother Nature actually has a sense of humor, and this is her idea of a practical joke.  Well, if so, it works every time.

Although they are weather-proof, many creatures manage to set up camp in the controllers.  We've come upon ant colonies, wasp nests, mice, and of course, snakes.  Deterrents include installing screening, foam insulation, no pest strips, and moth balls. 

But given the cold and snowy winter conditions this year, it was probably worth the extra effort for these guys to find a way to sneak in.  However, since it looks like spring has finally arrived, we'll kindly ask them to relocate for the warmer months.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Snow Mold Update

When the snow melted a couple of weeks ago, we found an abundance of Pink Snow Mold on the greens.  This damage to the turf appeared to be largely aesthetic.  However, in order to be certain that the turf will grow out of the damage when consistently warmer temperatures arrive, some plugs were taken from the greens and brought inside.

As you can see in the photo above, the plugs were taken from areas with the least green tissue.  So, how did this brown turf perform once inside? 

Good news--the pictures above show the plugs on the day they were pulled, then three, seven, and nine days later.  This confirmed that all we need is some nice springtime weather to get the turf moving.  Of course with a forecast high only in the 40s for five days next week, it looks like a little patience may be required.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Great Winter Job

Despite the prolonged snow cover this winter, the crew was able to get some of the high traffic areas and cart path ends sodded.  Installing sod at this time has several advantages over doing it in-season. 

First, with cool temperatures and plenty of moisture, there's no concern about the sod drying out.  We can also easily re-route the limited amount of cart traffic around these areas during the winter.  Lastly, despite no foliar growth during the winter, the sod does produce roots, giving it a head start for this season.

While the foliage is definitely dormant, the sod has started to root over the winter.

Friday, March 7, 2014

And as the Snow Melts Away, We Find...

Well, the good news is that it looks like the course made it through this long, cold winter without any ice damage to the turf.  However, once the surface of the greens finally came into view, we were greeted by Pink Snow Mold unlike anything seen before.

Although the appearance of these patches across the greens may be alarming, the damage is purely aesthetic at this point.  As the disease can persist even in the absence of snow, a fungicide treatment will be applied early next week.  With spring right around the corner, the turf should soon grow out of this less than perfect look.

Patches of Pink Snow Mold can be seen on most of the greens.