Friday, September 19, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
White Grubs...it is that time of year. Starting in late August, I get quite a few calls from a variety of people wondering what in the world is happening in their home lawns.
9 times out of 10, the issue is white grubs. So, here is what happens:
Starting June 1st in Highlands, mating season for Japanese Beatles and other species commences. In June and early July, these adult Beatles are laying eggs in the turf. You have probably seen them before in clusters all over the surface. The eggs hatch in late summer into the larval stage. During this stage of their life, the grubs feed on the roots of the turf. If we are in a rainy period, you won't see much damage because the excess water is plant available. However, when it turns dry, the turf will wilt (see photo above) due to a compromised root system. The larva will pupate to an adult, overwinter and thus starts the vicious cycle.
Fortunately, the control of grubs is quite easy. A chemical application in early June will prevent egg hatch. If one misses the preventative application, there are insecticides that can be used to kill the grubs in the fall. However, it is often too late as the turf roots are already compromised. In addition to wilt, many animals like skunks, raccoons and even bear seek these guys out. The damage is tremendous as they tear up the turf looking for, and eating grubs!
This photograph shows newly emerged bentgrass seedlings growing in a sand medium, much like our greens at HCC. Sand not necessarily the best growing medium for turf. It doesn't retain water nor does it hold onto nutrients. Therefore, it requires a lot of inputs to create a healthy playing surface. At HCC, we spray greens every Thursday with a fertilizer solution. For this reason, greens are usually built from a 80% sand-20% peat moss mix or a 90%-10% mix. The peat moss allows for some nutrient and water retention. However, the primary benefit of sand is good drainage. Particularly in Highlands, we can get a 2" rain and you can be back out there golfing in no time. In fact, because of your awesome support and patience, our greens still drain at 14 inches per hour (a phenomenal number given the greens are 15 years old) because of the maintenance practices we employee. Overtime, organic matter and thatch will slow this down, sometimes to the point of failure. At this point, greens rebuilding is the only solution! This is why regular topdressing and aerification are required.
Growing turf in sand is essentially like growing grass in glass beads. On the flip side, you have probably heard the term 'push up' green. This is when the builder of the course pushed up all of the quality top soil in a given area, mounded it and created the green (Typical od very old Clubs). It had excellent nutrient and water holding capacity but lacked good drainage. You might remember HCC greens pre-1999. If we received a lot of rain they were very soft, muddy and even closed if too wet. Soil compaction is an issue.
In our climate of a temperate rain forest, sand is the only way to go. Push up greens are rarely built anymore; particularly because of golfer demands for perfection. In a sand based root system, we as superintendents essentially have total control of inputs, drainage etc that we wouldn't otherwise have with "push ups."
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
After a discussion at this past Green Committee meeting, we are removing the lower limbs from the. Norway Spruce trees on holes 5, 9 and 14. The goal isn't to allow shots to be hit from under the trees, but rather allow you to easily find your golf ball should it land under one such tree. Projects like this speed play and certainly make the course more golfer friendly.
Today was our monthly Club wide safety meeting. These staff meetings are beneficial for department heads to take safety topics back to their individual departments for staff training. The safety committee is led by Mr. Billy Bruce. Security Chief, Dave Latta presented information on back safety.
This past Sunday and Monday, I had the opportunity to attend a Carolina's Golf Course Superintendents Association Past Presidents meeting in Pinehurst, NC. It is a time when the current board of directors meets with the Past Presidents of our professional association to bounce ideas off of and get candid feedback on the direction our association is moving. The meeting included golf of course, at Mid Pines and Pine Needles. I am honored to represent HCC and all of Western NC as a member of the CGCSA board and a future president.
Above, long time Myrtle Beach superintendent, Fred Meda, was honored with a resolution passed by the SC State Senate for his work as a superintendent and promoting tourism in SC. Golf is a $16 Billion business in SC! Fred is a great man and mentored many current superintendents.