Saturday, July 23, 2011

August Newsletter Article "The Eagle Eye"

Since I just completed my August newsletter article for The Minikahda Columns, I thought I might as well share it on the blog.

Typical Minnesota Weather?                      

It seems every season in Minnesota we deal with extremes; extreme cold, extreme heat and this past month extreme dew points.  July’s weather was one for the records and thankfully the course made it through virtually unscathed.  Proper preparation leading up to the heat, backing off of unnecessary cultural practices such as mowing and rolling of greens and a careful watch of the plants was critical to the turf survival during that stretch of weather.  Proper application of plant protectants was also critical as dew points and temperatures reached record highs.  The weather provided ideal conditions for pathogens such as brown patch and pythium blight.  A perfect storm for disease pressure, fortunately our fine turf areas did not suffer loss from any of these diseases.

The Art Water Management

When to water? What areas to water? Do we water lightly or deeply? What will tomorrow’s weather bring? What does the rest of the weeks weather look like? What events are happening this week? Should we hold off water and wait? Do we syringe greens or do they need a little more to make it through the day? As you can see from these questions there’s little science involved when it comes to water management decisions and a lot more art.  Every day we ask ourselves these questions. I consult with our experienced staff and we make a daily decision before we head home.  Most of the time I think we get it right but sometimes we guess wrong (usually because I tend to lean conservatively with water giving the benefit to the plant that it can survive another day before we need to water it). 

The thing about water, once it’s down, it’s down. We can’t take the application back.  Our goal is not only to provide firm playing conditions, but we also want to maintain healthy turf with deep roots.  From a turf managers, prospective we strive to make deep infrequent irrigation cycles that will promote deep roots on our greens, tees, fairways and rough. Nightly watering may be necessary based on daily weather conditions, but I also feel it conditions the plant to require that type of watering.  By stretching the water cycles we can condition the plants to survive extended periods without nightly watering, mimicking conditions found in nature.  Do we need to water tonight?  That’s should be the ultimate daily question for all Greenkeepers.

Imprelis Herbicide by Dupont          

If you’ve been reading the papers (Star Tribune, July 23rd, A Surprise Toll on Trees) you’ve probably seen some articles regarding the damage the new herbicide Imprelis has had on coniferous trees on golf courses and homeowners lawns.  We have not used this herbicide on the golf course and there is no concern for tree loss on the golf course do to use of this product. 

Fall Construction Projects

By now you know about the Driving range and tennis projects, we also have a few small projects on the golf course that have been approved for completion.  The left greenside pot bunker on #2 will be expanded to entire left of the green.  The right fairway bunker on #17 will be converted to a double stacked bunker (similar to the fairway bunkers on #5) and a new 600 yard tee will be added to the 13th hole.  These minor projects are slated to begin this fall.  Hartman Companies will provide the rough shaping and the finish work will be completed in house by our staff.  Looks like we’re going to have a busy fall.

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