Native Wildflowers

 

Over the past several weeks the putting green surfaces have been relatively clean from seed heads.  The combination of specialized products being applied to the greens to suppress seed head production and regular grooming or verticuting of the greens has created smooth and firm greens.  Seemingly overnight, several greens have exploded with seed head production which has led to spraying another application of seed head suppression and growth regulators.  This is not unusual, the same occurrence happened in late May of 2010 and 2011 with several greens displaying the same issues.  This late spring application should be the final dagger to control the pesky puffy poa.  Similarly, in the past two years, the green have been very smooth with little to no seed head issues throughout the rest of the summer months.  Be patient as the material takes several days to kick in and it will take up to a week for most of the seed heads to be mowed off.

 

18th green with an unexpected outbreak of seed head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden of Eatin’

Conceptual photo of Vegetable Garden on Hollins House hillside

 

Last week the maintenance crew began a very interesting project.  The hillside below the Hollins House parking lot and directly above the cart barn facility is in the process of being transformed into a vegetable garden for the club’s use.  Executive chef John Paul has been promoting sustainability and concentrates heavily on purchasing on a local level.  Later this summer, he and his culinary team will have the opportunity to serve freshly harvested vegetables and utilize the freshest herbs from the on-site garden.  It will be terraced and have four rows complete with several citrus trees, herbs, vegetables, and a section for seasonal flowers to be cut and used for arrangements.

Clearing of hillside

 

Steep slope will be terraced and transformed into vegetable garden

Spring Cleaning

 

Last week our maintenance yard along with the driving range and tennis court parking areas received a much needed facelift with the application of a new seal coat.  In October of 2011, trees were removed and several areas were paved to accommodate more parking along with better utilization of space for the maintenance equipment.  While the facility itself is too small to hold all of our specialized equipment, the additional parking and space is a great improvement and allows us to maximize the space that is available.  This is a much improved first impression for those who frequent the driving range and tennis facilities and acts as a morale boost for the maintenance crew to enjoy a better looking area.

 

Trees restricted the amount of available parking space.

 

Following removal of trees and having the area paved to maximize space.

 

Lack of pavement and excessive slope limited the ability to park and store equipment.

 

Following removal of oak tree and reduction of slope to add more available space.

Smooth Operation

 

The most basic benefit of topdressing greens is to create a smoother, more consistent putting surface.  We have performed this process over the past several years and use the important practice to fill in the un-repaired ballmarks and other slight imperfections in the putting surfaces.  The primary reason for creating a high-content sand green is to create compaction resistant and well-drained growing conditions.  This helps the greens withstand heavy traffic over the busy golfing season all while creating optimal putting conditions.  From an agronomic standpoint, the timely applications of light sand helps to dilute the thatch and prevents “spongy” green surfaces.   We had not topdressed greens since the beginning of April and you can expect to see this process completed every two-three weeks during the main growing season.  The maintenance crew is accustomed to performing this practice and has developed a smooth operation to ensure there is only minimal impact during the day of topdressing.  Following an irrigation cycle and mow the next morning, most players do not even realize the practice was done.

Instant Gratification

View from the 9th tee following removal of three large cypress trees

 

Oak tree in its new location helping to frame the teeing area

 

While the golf course was closed during the afternoon of April 17th due to topdressing, another special project took place.  A large coastal live oak tree that was growing adjacent to the 4th cartpath was transplanted between the 9th tee and 1st green.  Last month, we removed three large cypress trees to increase the amount of sunlight reaching the 1st green.  While the green now has optimal sun and air movement, this created a large gap and the view was dominated by the cartpath.  There was a beautiful oak tree growing on the 4th hole between a group of redwood trees and a massive cypress tree.  This oak would never have the chance to thrive in that area due to the more dominant trees.  Moving the oak to the 9th tee provides the tree will all-day sunlight, helps frame the teeing area, and forces the golfer eye to focus on the fairway ahead.  It was a six-hour project that created a scene of on-lookers and many photographs being taken.  The end result creates an instant impact and the initial indication is that the tree will survive this process and thrive in its new home.

The oak tree in its previous location adjacent to the 4th cartpath

 

Oak tree being carefully transferred across the 2nd fairway

Native Grass Update

The Native grass area below the putting green has grown in well over the past two years.

 

 

What a difference a year makes.  Last year at this time, we had recorded over 50-inches of rain from October 1st through the middle of April.  So far this season we are currently at 25-inches.  The relatively dry winter combined with a December and January that had most mornings in the low 30’s prevented many of our native grass areas to germinate and begin their regrowth.  Last season these areas began germinating in January and were well established by the end of March.  This season it seems as they are about 2-months behind schedule as some of the specific species have only just begun their regrowth.  With the late season April rains and warm weather, most areas have quickly rejuvenated and are well on their way to filling in.  It is expected that most of the native areas will look like a full meadow from a distance, yet be spotty to create better a chance for a player to find their ball.  The individual bunch-type grasses compose the blend that initiates growth during the rainy-season, then goes dormant as the soils dry out in mid-summer.

Several of the native areas are just beginning to germinate with the recent warm weather and timely rains.

Blue Line Special

All bunkers were sprayed with a product that prevents grass from intruding into the sand.

 

As part of our springtime regimen, the maintenance crew has been spraying out the bunker edges.  This herbicide prevents bermudagrass “runners” from intruding into the sand and eliminates any weeds growing along the edges.  The blue color is from a marking dye that allows the applicator to see where the product has been applied.  To help wash away the blue color, these springtime applications are timed when rain is eminent or when we are planning to irrigate that same night.  With rain this week, it was an ideal opportunity to complete this project and help prepare the bunkers for the upcoming summer season.  The bermudagrass is actively growing along the bunker edges as the recent warm sunny days have heated up the sand and created an ideal growing environment for this aggressive type of warm-season grass.  Knocking out the bermuda in the early growth stages will then allow the more desirable grasses of ryegrass and fine-fescue to fill-in along the bunker edges.