Friday, May 6, 2011

What we can do with some nice weather (for a change!)

Angel, Anthony and Nick display the sort of happiness that only comes on sunny days
We enjoyed a  week without a washout  and we took full advantage.  The grounds crew was busy performing a litany of tasks that we were unable to perform in prior weeks.  April was THE cloudiest on record and we logged 17 days of rainfall for the month.  Here at Blackhawk Trace we received a little more than 4.25" for the month which is on par with our historical averages.  The clouds, the frequency of the rainfall and the cool temperatures kept everything wet.  We have dried out in a good way and we hit the ground running.

The grounds crew performed the first greens aerification of the year at Blackhawk Trace and it went as well as I could've hoped.  Our methods for this spring were a little different from previous years.  Our plan was to have as little surface disruption for our golfers as possible so we chose a 'solid' tine method.  This method does not remove a soil core but rather only makes a hole in the surface.  We also chose a small tine size (5/16th of an inch) to further minimize disruption.  The good news is we were able to enjoy tight spacing and make a positive impact agronomically.  The above video shows how time consuming this can be.  Before aerifcation we vertical mow each green to stand up the turf, remove thatch, open sand channels and create new growth points.
 A snapshot of the green after vertical mowing
After we've used the vertical mower and aerifier we will topdress with sand and brush it into the holes.  This helps modify our soil based greens root zone, improves drainage, creates more pore space for better rooting and is like giving our soils a breath of fresh air!  We will continue to brush and roll until the sand is worked in adequately to begin our mowing program again.

We've also changed our fairway mowing protocol for the year due to the company's investment in some newer equipment for this year.  
Jr. uses a 'steel drag mat' to stand up the turf canopy
Our procedure for as long as the weather allows is to drag with this equipment in a 'half and half' pattern.  The next step will be to mow the fairway, also in a half and half pattern, but in the opposite direction of the drag.  After only two mowings we have seen a significant improvement in the quality of cut on fairways here.  We will perform this step once a week until I think we have stood our turf canopy up enough to go to once every two weeks or once a month.  Using this method in conjunction with more advanced fairway mowers is a big improvement!

  Javier and Santiago mulch the plant beds around Shiraz
The Village of Bloomingdale was kind enough to give us a few dozen truckloads of mulch for our landscape beds.  It is good looking stuff and it was free, my favorite thing!  We will be mulching plant beds and the berms along Shick Road for the foreseeable future.
This is a picture of a bird that flew into our office and got stuck there
I was able to capture the bird safely, return it to the wild and watch it fly away without harm.  It was then eaten by a cat.
   Michrodocium patch on on our nursery green
We saw our first disease of the year on our nursery green.  This particular fungal pathogen occurs during cool, wet weather which we have had a little bit of if you'll remember.  It has already grown out completely after only a few days of drier weather.  I like this stuff so I'm going to keep posting pictures of it.
I hope everyone has a great weekend!  I don't want to talk about the forecast because it is less than favorable but it is still linked on the right side of the page. In honor of Mother's Day Weekend I will leave you with a picture of the best Mom I know (my mother has fully morphed into 'Grandma' mode so we celebrate Grandmother's day with her).  My wife, Tina and my son Tom.