Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tree Management-Often Goes Unnoticed

Tree management is a critical aspect of properly managing any parkland style golf course. Here at Minikahda we have close to 2000 trees on the property that require maintenance. We are fortunate to have a budget that allows us to properly maintain our vast stand of trees. Tree trimming is the bases for the majority of the budget expense, but along with properly trimming we also incur expenses for treating our crab apple trees in the spring for apple scab, treating close to 75 American elm trees for Dutch elm disease and now we are looking at treating our Green ash trees for Emerald Ash bore and miscellaneous tree and brush removal (all hardwood material is removed from the course, we do not chip any of the wood on site).

One of my goals 9 years ago was to methodically work our way through the entire golf course making sure that every tree was able to get properly trimmed. We reached that goal two years ago. We are now in our process of making our way through the golf course for the second time. During the first stage, there were many trees trimmed where it was obvious they had never been trimmed before. Now that those trees have received a trim I expect that the second go round might not take us a full 7 years to complete as the second time through should take our trimmers less time.
Trimming the Oak behind #17 tee

During the summer months when storms roll through or during periods of sustained winds is when the greatest benefits of our tree management program can been seen. In the past the golf course would be a complete mess from debris that had fallen from the trees. Now with a more complete tree trimming program in place the amount of clean-up is minimal. An organized well planned out trimming program pays dividends.

For the past 30 years, Tim's Tree Service, has been the main tree service utilized for all the tree removals and trimming projects. Its great to have a contractor that we can count on, knows the course, knows what we want and is willing to drop everything to make sure our needs are met. One thing we have learned over that past few years is, the earlier we can have Tim's here in the fall the greater the production. In years past we were scheduled for work in December or January. With colder temperatures and usually snow on the ground, there is no doubt that the same amount of work was not being accomplished for the same dollars.

The left rough of #17

This year our main focus of our tree trimming will be on holes 15, 16 and 17. I am hopeful we will be able to complete the trimming of all the trees on these holes before we use up the allotted budgeted amount for our fall trimming.

Since the majority of our tree maintenance work is completed in the fall, after the golf course is closed, most members never see the work that is completed or realize the benefits gained or the work that goes into maintaining a healthy stand of trees.

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