The 2011 golf season is officially underway at Warnimont and the course has come out of the winter in better shape than ever. The parks forestry crew came through this winter and cleared alot of trees and undergrowth around the greens and tee boxes. They have done alot over the past couple of years and it has made a noticeable different in the pace of play and health of the turf in these area. Pruning trees and clearing undergrowth is very important for fine turf. This allows for increased sunlight and air circulation, which is vital for photosynthesis and decreasing disease pressure to the greens. When a green is surrounded by trees, moisture tends to sit on the turf canopy longer, because the trees block out the light and air movement. Moisture is one of the biggest environmental factors for dollar spot and snow mold(which are our biggest disease pressures), and with the trees around the greens removed and pruned it should alleviate these problems.
My main goals for this season are to continue repairs and maintenance to the irrigation system and mowers. We will also control the crabgrass in the fairways and the cutworms in the greens. I also plan on buying new tee makers, flag sticks and ball washers to keep the course looking nice, and we are also just about done painting the benches and the tee signs which have been much neglected and weathered over the past few years. Now that we are on top of the course aesthetics we can now pay more attention to the fine details, this year we should make huge strides to the agronomics and aesthetics of the course!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
With less than 2 weeks away from graduating from Rutgers, I'm get excited to return to the golf course. I've been constantly brainstorming these past 10 weeks and have alot of new ideas and maintenance practices for improvements to the course. There's quite a few practices I would like to in corporate in to the maintenance practices at Warnimont this year.
This past summer we had alot of problems with hot spots in the green (localized areas in which the soil won't retain water), this requires us to water for longer and often times over watering areas just to water the hot spots. We have used wetting agents(which helps the soil retain water) in the passed, but this year I'm going to use them alittle more frequently in order to increase firmness to the greens,reduce thatch accumulation, conserve water, and improve nutrient holding capacity.
In the spring and fall, which is the optimal growing period for turf grasses, I would like to spike the greens. Spiking the greens penetrates the thatch layer and allows the turf canopy to dry, which should help against Dollar Spot(disease which attacks the leaves of the grass plant.) This is a practice that is often neglected, but has many benefits, such as reduced disease pressure,increased turf density and water movement,penetrates thatch, and other agronomic improvements.
These are a couple of the many ideas I have for this summer. My crew and I are looking forward to getting the course open, and hopefully we will come out of the winter with minimal freezing desiccation, and snow mold. I'm kind of concerned about this, because of the amount of snow we had this year which increase the chance of winter damage to the greens.
Two more weeks until I'm back to work at Warnimont and I can wait! Here are some pictures from a field trip to Pine Valley with my Rutgers turf class.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Its been a tough couple of months out at Warnimont, and it looks like its only gonna get tougher. My grounds crew staff is slowly beginning to dwindle down as they return to school and the work continues to grow. We have accomplished alot this year and without my wonderful crew, it wouldn't have been made possible. With the steady amount of rain we have received throughout the season the course has looked lush and maintained a beautiful green appearance all year. This has been a blessing, but on the same note, has caused some deeper problems underneath the beautiful aesthetics of the course. With the constant rain we got this year the Poa Annua grasses in the green have been unable to produce a deep root system. They have only an inch or two of roots, because of the constant moisture in the greens. Once the top couple inches of soil dry out, the grass plant is unable to acquire water, and declines rapidly or even results in desiccation.
If you take a close look at the greens you might observe a black slimy layer within the turf, especially were the grass has thinned. This is a organism known as cyanobacteria or as we call it "algae". This is also produced by the excessive rainfall and humid conditions. Algae like thatch will impede water movement into the soil profile. Thatch is the organic matter under the turf canopy which consists of dead debris, roots, crowns, and stems. Two factors which greatly increase thatch is excess nitrogen and WATER! Thatch not only impedes water movement, creating hydrophobic areas on the green, but also puffy areas allowing the turf to scalp during mowing, which has been seen at many courses in the area.
So in order to battle these detrimental factors we increase verticutting(which pulls out the thatch),topdressing(this is adding sand to the surface of the green), and aerifying(pulls soil cores). These three processes help break up the algae layer, and thatch, which increases water movement and gives the Poa Annua and Bent grasses optimal growing conditions.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Its been a bit since I've posted my last blog, and alot of progress has been made at Warnimont. First off we got our pump screen back, which has allowed us to get our pump up and running to the proper pressure for our irrigation system. We had a problem with a transducer(a sensor which allows the computer to read pressure) and with our new screen we were able to diagnose the problem and fix it. But unfortunately we still have to water in the early morning because of a high pressure alarm, which hopefully will be resolved so the watering can be done automatically at night. This would be ideal because it would save us on man power and the condition of the greens would be better for our early morning golfers. We have also begun the installation of our new tee signs and posts, which will most likely be completed this week. The signs we had at the tees boxes we falling apart from extreme weather, and some didn't even have the yardage sign at all! Although the signs are handmade, they look nice and will add some aesthetics to the course, and now it won't be a guessing game for the golfers who are wondering what hole they are on and the yardage of it. We also received some more money that was added to the seasonal budget, which allowed me to focus more on the equipment maintenance, since a mojority of it was severely neglected. The equipment maintenance was quite a challenge for me, but now I'm definately getting the hang of it. Our reel mowers are looking more uniform, mechanics and adjustments are being taken care of, oil and hydraulic leaks are fixed, and proper mower maintenance is being taught to the crew and they are all catching on quickly! I must say I'm very pleased with my crew, they are doing a great job and I couldn't get a crew better than them.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Well the irrigation is on, but now we are having problems with the pump. We are only able to operate with city pressure at this point, which is only 40psi and is 3 times less than the needed pressure to get sufficient water and coverage. The reason that we aren't able to resolve this problem is because the screen on the pump control panel is broken and doesn't show any readings to diagnose the problem. These screens are very expensive and we were able to get by without it last year, but my boss was able to find a screen for a reasonable price through a company in the UK. So we have it ordered and it's on the way. Once we install the screen hopefully, we will be able to diagnose and successfully resolve our problems. The greens are extremely dry and for now we are fortunate that we got a good rain this weekend.