Friday, June 27, 2014

Healthy Greens

Take a look at the picture below, and note the lines from the greens aerification two weeks ago.  The happiest, healthiest grass on the greens right now is growing in these holes.  The aerification has increased pore space, improved gas exchange in the soil profile, and decreased compaction.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Magic Magnet?

At the annual Golf Industry Show, there are always a number of new products on display.  One that caught our eye this year was a magnet used for hand-watering. 

Here's what the manufacturer claims the in-line magnet does:

* Increased water infiltration and moisture retention in soil due to washing out of salts by 300%
* Reverse scale in irrigation pipes & sprinklers without chemicals or acid wash
* Less chemicals due to increased solubility and disolveability
* Soften water without chemicals, energy, or maintenance
* Realign and restore soil pH towards neutral
* Increased water flow with same pressure
* Increased fertilizer and input efficiency
* Improved color and uniformity
* 10-30% less water
* 10% less energy
* Healthier turf

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?  Well, we weren't quite ready to purchase a whole set of these, but after speaking to some folks who have used these magnets, we went ahead and acquired one.  Our head hand watering expert, Joe Honnig, is putting it to the test this summer.  Based on his initial observations, Joe is a believer that the magnet is helping to achieve improved water infiltration in the soil.
We're looking to do some more testing, using water treated by the magnet, next to an area with untreated water, and we'll pass along the results.  If the product truly lives up to its claims, we'll definitely purchase more hose-end magnets, and possibly consider installing much larger in-line magnets in the irrigation pumping stations. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Awesome Aerifier

While the weather was less than perfect for this week's greens aerification, our new aerifier couldn't have performed better.  This machine has several advantages over our older aerifiers, including a wider swath with each pass and faster ground speed, leading to greater productivity.  The machine also created a cleaner hole with no heaving of the turf.  Lastly, unlike most aerifiers, our new one has the wheels set inside the width of the coring head, so the plugs don't get smashed into the turf as you turn and come back for the next pass across the green.
The new aerifier quickly traverses across #1 green.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It's Back

There are currently some patches of discolored Bentgrass on the tees and fairways.  So, does that mean the soil is dry?  While off-color turf certainly may be dry, there are several other possible causes as well.  This would include dormancy, insect damage, or a turf disease. 

This last option is the cause of what we're presently seeing on the Bentgrass.  Specifically, this is a root-borne pathogen called Take-All Patch.  With diseases that attack the roots, by the time you see it on the foliage, the damage is done. 

Because we've had this disease show up to some extent each spring, we took a preventive approach to controlling it by making some applications of Manganese earlier in the year to areas where we typically see damage.  Unfortunately, we have seen little difference in the treated areas from untreated check plots.

The good news is that while Take-All Patch may temporarily discolor the turf, it rarely lives up to its name.  Like most turf diseases, it operates in a relatively narrow temperature range--once we get into warmer summertime temperatures, Take-All is no longer active.  Going forward, we will look at other treatment options, including the use of fungicides to prevent this disease from occurring.
A patch of Take-All Patch on #5 tee.