Saturday, April 2, 2011

First Mowing of 2011. A new twist

 Hunter yawns as Carlos mows

I am sure Hunter would yawn here while Jr. is mowing
We mowed greens for the first time on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and we're trying something a little different this year.  There is a great deal of research to suggest that putting green quality can be maximized through a rolling and mowing program.  The grounds department is entering this year expecting to mow greens 4 days a week and roll greens the other 3 days.  The idea being that saving the grass the inherent injury from mechanical clipping removal (mowing) as much as possible and rolling will increase plant health, save us some time, some gas and ultimately a little money.  We'll see so I'll keep you posted.

A specialized brush for putting green maintenance

At the end of 2010 we were able to purchase the above brush from a local golf course that was going to trade it in.  This is a brush called a 'Sweep n fill' that is designed to incorporate sand topdressing into the grass on our greens.  We use it to 'groom' the greens as well.  The brushing action will stand the grass up to improve the quality of cut the greens.  We anticipate using this machine once a week, again, to improve the overall quality of our putting surfaces.  Bryan Stephen, our equipment technician, figured out to weld a trailer hitch to the triplex for improved maneuverability, and less wear and tear than using standard golf carts or utility vehicles.  Thanks, Bry!

 Putting green near the Shiraz parking lot
 Some of the damage on the green

BIG is one thing we do well at Indian Lakes Resort and we have space for a 'nursery' green by our restaurant, Shiraz on the Water.  This 7000 square foot green was partially stripped in 2008 during construction of the Island golf course to sod some areas on greens as they were grown in. In the spring of 2009 we re-established the green by spreading aerification cores across the entire green.  The cores will survive and grow and are a cheap method of putting green restoration.  This method also enjoys the added benefit of being genetically identical to the putting surfaces on the golf course.  Some of the damage you see in the bottom photo is where sod that was stripped in 2008 never fully recovered in subsequent years.  We will be addressing these areas with sand and seed in the coming weeks to ensure full recovery and, hopefully, excellent putting quality. 
#1 Woodland Ladies tee box
The above photo illustrates the benefit of late-fall or dormant fertilization in the fall months.  This tee box received a fall fertilization application from some fertilizer I was able to get from a local golf course that had unwanted inventory.  We treated a few of our problem tees last fall.  
#1 Highland Professional tee box
 This photo of an untreated tee box shows the difference in spring green up on untreated versus treated turf.  The benefits of late-fall fertilization include improved spring green up, increased rooting in the spring months and better turf quality throughout the growing season.  For those of you at home who want to provide minimal fertility to your home lawn it's important to remember that fall is the best time to apply fertilizers.
 John Pascente changing the oil in something, somewhere

Well, that's all for now.  Our seasonal staff begins on Monday, April 4th.  Here's hoping for a great year!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where do flowers come from and other things.

Spring is here (although you wouldn't know it to look outside) and it is time to begin thinking of flowers.  I paid a visit to our flower grower's greenhouse and took a couple of photos you might find interesting.
That's LOTS of flowers, huh?

Some more

Our grower begins ordering cuttings and seeds to grow the order in December and plants all the way through March.  The idea being that by the time the middle of May rolls around the flowers are fully-grown, show great color and are ready for transplant.  We at ILR switched to a new grower this year and I am excited about the plan they have put together for us.

Remember this?

And this?
The above photos were taken in the middle part of February illustrating one of our kind neighbors exiting his sump pump out on to our golf course on the Island nine.  Is this such a big deal?  Probably not but when we flood enough over there as it is we certainly don't need the help of our neighbors in making it even wetter.  The homeowner did move the exit to the street along Cardinal Drive so it won't be a problem moving forward.  Have a look at the photo below, though:

The same area yesterday, 3/29/2011
The grass will grow back but you can see that the freezing of that water certainly set the grass' growth back a little bit in comparison to the surrounding turf that remained unfrozen and snow covered.  I am afeared that tree won't survive, though.  Time will tell.

It's been cold, as evidenced by ice on the pond (Follow the line)

Again, some ice on the pond and the circle indicates the top of a hockey goal left on the ice.  
Don't worry, I'll get it out.  I just hope the goalie isn't down there!

This picture is for my Turf Nerd, Golf Course Superintendent Colleagues.  The strip of intermediate cut on the right was sodded at the exact same time as the sod on the left.  Can any of you guess which sod supplier provided which sod in this photo?  Extra credit if you can name the bluegrass varieties.

Getting some fertilizer out

I put some fertilizer out yesterday on our driving range tees, target greens and chipping fairway.  It was overstock inventory from some of my colleagues.  Thank you, very much, you guys!  For those of you at home you can start putting out preventive grassy weed control products out in the first couple weeks of April.  Look for fertilizers containing pendamethlin, dithiopyr and prodiamine among others.  They will be labeled as 'grassy weed' plus fertilizer.  If crabgrass has been a problem in the past that is your best option.  If not in mid-summer post emergent, sprayable herbicides are a potential solution to small problems. 

Dale cleaning up #2 tee complex on the Island nine

Our seasonal staff begins on Monday, April 4th and it will be good to see our returning staff.  For the 4th year in a row we will have over 90% retention with our grounds associates and they are good guys, one and all.  We look forward to another season in the sun in 2011.  I hope we don't flood as much as last year.