Tuesday, August 16, 2016


If your last name is grass, you have had a  tough summer... Unless, of course, your first name is crab, goose or bermuda!!! Golf courses throughout the Mid-Atlantic region have suffered through high daytime and night time temperatures, untimely thunderstorms or no rain at all.

Notice the dew point at 82!!! Any dew point above 65 is sticky but at 82 you could quite literally cut it with a knife!

The good news is that the days are getting shorter and the average temperatures are dropping a couple of degrees per day.  

We have suffered our share of dings here at the Pines but there is still enough good turf to work with this fall; we will be aerating the golf course next week so with a little help from Mother Nature the road to recovery can begin!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

'Weakness leaving the body...'

I like to read books about the stories of the brave men who live and serve in our special operations community. These guys go through the most rigorous training in the world.
One of the phrases they hold to is, "Pain is weakness leaving the body."

As we enter the months of July and August, cool season turf enters into the least friendly months for growth and recovery.
The bright spot in all of this is that the weaker species of turf (mostly annual bluegrass) is leaving the playing surfaces and the stronger varieties (mainly bent grass and bermudagrass) are filling the voids.
Now some of the lower lying areas that lay wet through the hottest part of the day will require replacement through seeding or sodding. But the general thinning of the turf can be a good thing to allow the stronger turfs to spread and take over.
These small areas, mostly on the older fairways, allow the surrounding bent to spread. As the bentgrass population continues to expand, the playing surfaces will continue to improve year after year; providing a more consistent stand of turf.
So remember that some areas of thinning  turf is just 'weakness leaving the playing surfaces.'

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

It's already wet out there...

Irrigating the day after an inch and three quarter rain??? Are you crazy?
I'm not going to answer that last one but I can explain syringing the greens after a rain event. USGA greens are built to flush. Think of them as a bowl... You fill up the bowl (through rain or irrigation) and once the head pressure reaches a certain point they will release the water through the internal drainage and out of the cavity through the outfalls. This will take nutrients out of the soil; some good and some bad. Within a few days after a flush, the good nutrients need to be replaced in the soil profile.
We apply a product that I call 'the kitchen sink.' It replaces many of the good nutrients that go out with the bad. The irrigation will help knock this product off the leaf and down into the canopy.
This is probably information overload at this point! Just know that I may still be a bit crazy but irrigating after a big rain event has some logic behind it.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

'Singin in the rain...'

Poking in the rain is more like it! If you ever wonder about the weakest areas on the fairways...
Travel around in the rain or right after the rain and take notice of where the water is sitting on the surface. These puddled areas hold water and will boil in the heat or are more likely to get disease. 
In poking around some of these low lying areas yesterday, some small drain covers were uncovered. So during today's rain event, we sent out some of the guys to poke around and see what we could find.
 The next part of the equation is tracing the lines to find out where the water can exit. If we can locate a good exit point and the elevations work, we can clean the existing lines and/or add to them to pick up some of the surrounding low areas.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Holding pattern...

I'm not sure the weather could be any less conducive for core aeration... 
The turf canopy is wet, the fog has rolled in and rain showers are sporadic.
Our aeration schedule will have to be modified this time around. With the added moisture, the sand top dressing will bridge over the aeration hole instead of filling it.  We will continue to update...

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A (not so) long winters nap...

Spring is definitely in the air today!!! With the next few days forecasted to be much of the same, the golf course should be full of excitement.
It is great to see golfers on the course enjoying this fantastic weather!

This would be a good time to give a brief  update on some of the happenings around the course over the past couple of months...

-The staff continued the tree canopy reduction program throughout the course to allow a better growing environment for turfgrass.

-We began raising irrigation heads to bring them level to the ground.
This should help alleviate some of the 'birdbath' areas immediately surrounding some of the sprinkler heads.

-Your Public Works Department has updated and upgraded the on course bathroom facilities.

You may notice some extra wear and tear along the cart paths from the wider trucks. The added traffic around the cart paths giving access to these few holes will be repaired in the next few weeks.

Get out and enjoy this beautiful weather... This time last year it was still sub freezing temperatures!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dollar spot in December...

To a kid, any mention of dollar in the month of December will probably bring about smiles and some form of giddiness... But to a turf guy, dollar spot in this month means some sort of weather anomaly.  Generally speaking, the last dollar spot application will come around Halloween, not Christmas.
The sprayer is out today (14Dec2015) making an application for those spots you see in the picture just in front of the boom.
It was in the upper 50's to low 60's this morning with the dew point about the same. Anytime the dew points are able to reach that level for a few nights in a row, dollar spot will occur in this region. 

I still believe winter will be here in the next couple of weeks but get out and enjoy this weather while you can. Maybe it's an early Christmas present!