Tuesday, August 23, 2016

HOLLY MOLLY BAT MAN !!!

Yes we are very "holy" now that we are in our third and final day of aerification.   Things are going very well.  We had some minor issues with a rain storm that hit us Sunday night but other than that things have gone fairly well.   I am not complaining about having a few cooler days either.   We worked from 4:30 to 10:00 pm. in the lights on Sunday.   From 6:00 to 7:30 pm. yesterday and we hope to be finished by 5:00 pm. today.  Give or take a few minutes.  The old adage take two steps backwards to go three forward is very appropriate when you are talking about aerification.   In a few short weeks we will be back better than ever.   Our goal is to be in prime condition for our Member-Member.  Here are some pictures to explain the process:  

Just getting started early Monday Morning.    
Aerify green, Pick up plugs, Top-Dress (this picture) than brush the sand into the holes.

















Brushing in 10 green.  


Finished product.

Fairways are also aerified.  This is number 11.  in this picture, all we have left to do is pick up the thatch.  











































Friday, August 12, 2016

WATER--RAIN--FALLS--AND SHUT OFF

Water:  

 Rain--last night’s rain put us over the top in a few areas.  # 12 and 13 are cart path only today.   Hard to think about that when we are in Stage two drought restrictions.   When it gets this humid the water does not evaporate and the grass stays wet.   Too much of a good thing?   When the ground gets saturated and temperatures are in the high 90's a condition called "Wet Wilt" can become a big problem what happens is the soil actually heats up and literally cooks the grass.   It is a fine balancing act to keep the soil moist but not too moist.  I am actually hoping we get a few days of no rain or at least some cooler temperatures.   

Falls:   I am happy to report that our water feature is back in action on four.  Our pump was at the repair shop for what seemed to be an eternity.  Parts had to be ordered from Sweden and since we had come this far we took the pump to the repair shop and had them do a complete tune up.  Nice to see water flowing again.  

Shut offs:  We noticed that some of our valve box covers were starting to get over grown.  A potential major problem.   If we experience a leak or a sprinkler gets stuck we have no way of shutting off the water.   Owel and Marcus are using our irrigation map to locate and expose these valves just in case they are needed.


Our water feature on 4 is back in action.   Nice to have water flowing over the rocks. 
 
Marcos is holding the map and Owel is trimming the valve box covers.  In this location there are 2 shut off valves,  One snap valve (where we can access water with a hose) and one electrical splice box.   You would be surprised at how much  pipe and wire is buried through out the course.  















Sunday, July 31, 2016

RAIN AND DROUGHTS

Current Drought Status: Stage II Water Emergency - Drought Alert!


The Rockland County Commissioner of Health has issued a declaration for a Stage II Water Emergency effective July 21, 2016.

What does this mean for us?   We can water at night from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am and hand water greens once per day.    We are also mandated to have a water conservation plan in place that conserves 10% of our average monthly usage.    If we go to stage 3 we will be restricted even further.    Other than hand watering greens, we are not watering any turf during the day.  Depending on the weather, that may change.  There may be some "browning" in some areas but we will not have any permanent turf loss.   Last Thursday night into Friday morning we received 1.25 inches of  rain and yesterday we got another half inch.   Certainly helps put water in the pond and lets us save all the more.  I will keep you posted on any other developments.   Hopefully we will get some more timely rains and we won't need to go to stage 3.   


Nice Oak that had too be removed.  









We did some tree work last week.   two dead trees were removed one: to the left of 7 green and another between 12 and 13.  The most obvious reason for removing these were safety.  We are scheduled to have some more trees pruned in a few weeks to remove dead branches that also pose a safety risk.  














On some of our tees ant mounds have become a problem.  I actually ran into our pest control person for the club house and asked if he had any suggestions.   He told me about a product called In-tice.
  • InTice™ 10 Perimeter Bait™ is the only 10% Boric Acid granular bait available.








Here is Chico,  He is using our ball mark repair tool to apply a small amount of product on each ant hill. According to the label.    It seems to be working.   We may need to re-apply in a few areas but this seems to be an easy and effective way of reducing our ant hill problems.


















 On the environmental side of things our Purple Martin chicks are growing.   I counted over 40 chicks, Mom and Dad have had a banner year.  


This is a Red-Spotted Purple butterfly spotted on a Black eyed Susan on the left of 9 fairway.  One of Rockland's most beautiful butterflies.  














Tuesday, July 19, 2016

SNOW IN SUMMER

Snow in summer is not what a superintendent wants to see in July.   What I am referring to is one of the most common Turf diseases in the north east.   The common name is Dollar Spot because it starts out as Silver Dollar size patches but given the right environment can spread rapidly.   The white on top is actually called Mycelium and is how the fungus reproduces.   When you see the "snow" you know it is actively growing.  

White cottony patches on turf is Dollar Spot,   A very common fungus in the North East.



In out of play areas we usually don't apply any products unless absolutely necessary.   Usually the weather will change and the disease won't get any worse.   If that's the case we may apply a small amount of fertilizer to help the grass "grow" out of the problem.  If the weather stays conducive to the disease we may treat.  This happens to be in the rough in front of the third tee and usually doesn't come into play.  We would not let the disease get to this stage on Fairways, Greens or Tees.   





Some diseases are root born and thus make it that much more difficult to diagnose.   This is Jenny McMorrow from Turf Diagnostics.   She comes once every two weeks and takes a sample to bring back to her lab.  In a couple of hours we have our results.   Sometimes things are fine and no action is required other times we need to treat.   She has really helped with the new practice putting green.  New greens are notoriously prone to root diseases. With Jennifer's help we have been able to stay in front of any major issues.

We have a lot of Turkeys that call Rockland  home.  I was not quiet fast enough with the camera. This is a mother hen and she was crossing the cart path with her chicks.   They are hard to photograph because they stay in the high grass.  You can just make out the last one in the grass on the right side of the picture.  The rest were just too fast for me!!!

 Finally, last Sunday we were fortunate to have Lisa D. Mickey a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and a Certified Florida Master Naturalist here at the club.  She contacted us to do a story about golf and the environment.   Ms. Mickey is in the area this week covering the USGA Junior Girls Championships at Ridgewood Country Club.   She got our name because of all the good work we are doing.  We will be included in an article along with a few other courses in the county that have also demonstrated good environmental stewardship.   I'll let you know when the article is  published.   
Myself with Golf Writer Ms. Lisa Mickey conducting an interview about the good work golf courses are doing for the environment.