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It is my intention to give the readers a better understanding of what we do to maintain The Farms Country Club's 18 hole championship golf course and grounds.


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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Green Aerification Complete!

Green aerification and aggressive overseeding was completed last Friday. Everything went according to plan and our seed has germinated and is growing extremely well! During the healing process we are keeping the greens on the moist side to give our juvenile Creeping Bentgrass its best chance to take hold and thrive. We are mowing the greens every day now and playing conditions are improving quickly. Remember, our intention is to get the most agronomic benefit from this important maintenance practice while trying to get the playing surface back to premier condition. Normally after two weeks the greens are very close to the conditions you are accustomed to. We will see where we stand next Saturday!

I have re-printed the latest USGA Green Section Northeast Report below. Take the time to read this informative report.

A SUMMER BRAWL
SEPTEMBER 2, 2016By Jim Skorulski, agronomist, Northeast Region
Damaged annual bluegrass is a common sight 
on golf courses in the Northeast this August. 
Roberto Duran's famous phrase "No mas" that ended his brawl with Sugar Ray Leonard, and essentially his career, comes to mind this summer. Enough is enough already! Whether dealing with season-long drought or the effects of heat and humidity, this season has pushed turf and many turf managers to their limits. Courses in the northern half of the region continue to hope for rain while those in southern half wish the rain would stop for a while.

Drought
Drought conditions in parts of the Northeast have not improved and in some areas have worsened. As a result, golf facilities have had to reduce or eliminate irrigation to fairways and nonessential areas. The drought has drained water from irrigation ponds and energy from maintenance staffs, which have been busy with hoses far too long to remember. Courses that have significantly reduced, or eliminated, fairway irrigation are anticipating some turf injury, especially where cart traffic is heavy. The extent of drought-related injury is difficult to determine until we begin to see some regrowth. However, we know there will be overseeding ahead once the drought breaks and there is enough water available to initiate that work. Weed encroachment has been extremely high in areas that have experienced both drought and rain events. Drought thins the turf and then rains promote weed germination and growth.

Heat and Humidity
High temperatures combined with rain and humidity has taken its toll on putting greens in the region. Cool-season turfgrass can tolerate heat but is pushed to its limit by persistently high temperatures. Higher soil and air temperatures increase plant respiration rates, drawing more energy than plants can produce. Plants’ energy reserves are depleted; the gas tank is empty. Weakened plants are vulnerable to temperature extremes, physical damage and disease. We have seen weakened annual bluegrass plants fail on greens located in difficult growing environments or in areas with poor drainage. Wet wilt, heat stress and physical damage have caused the greatest injury. Many turf pathogens are still active too. Creeping bentgrass has been holding its own, but it too has been damaged in very hot environments.
About the only grasses thriving in this heat are crabgrass, goosegrass, nutsedge and kyllinga. These weeds are well suited for this type of weather and are taking full advantage of the ideal growing conditions and weakened cool-season turf. Pre-emergent herbicide programs that usually provide season-long control of annual grasses are breaking down early with the elevated soil temperatures.  
The annual bluegrass weevil has also decided to join the party after being conspicuously absent for most of the spring and early summer. Reports of more extensive feeding damage have been observed this month. It is just one of those years!

Going Forward   

The calendar tells us that things should be getting easier with shorter days and cooler nights ahead. That would be ideal for badly-needed aeration and overseeding programs. Let's hope the stubborn pattern of hot weather breaks soon. Until it does, maintain a conservative management approach, especially if turf is very weak. As valuable and necessary as aeration may be, at this time proceed with caution. As they say, it is sometimes best to live to fight another day.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Green Aerification Begins on Wednesday!

The course will be closed Wednesday and Thursday for green aerification and overseeding!


It is that time of year and the turf certainly needs some love. Mid to late August is when our turf, especially Poa Annua, is at its weakest point. The turf has performed well all summer and under the most trying weather conditions, but we are seeing the effects now. You may have noticed thinning turf and brown patches. Our goal is to provide firm fast playing conditions and we have done well reaching this goal.
Poa Annua on greens and collars are showing the late summer signs of stress yet the creeping bentgrass still looks excellent! The scheduled aerification and overseeding will definitely help stressed turf recover. It is also the perfect time to continue our plan of introducing the more desired creeping bentgrass through overseeding.
The greens will recover within the normal two week period after aerifying and we can enjoy the expected fine playing conditions through the home stretch of the season!
Some of the brown spots in fairways are the result of us not over watering turf and allowing isolated dry spots to go dormant. If we over-irrigate to reduce the isolated dry spots, most areas of the fairways would be soaked and playability would suffer. The brown areas are only dormant and will recover as cooler temperatures and better growing conditions arrive in the coming weeks.
I will keep you updated on our progress over the coming days. Thank you for your patience while we perform one of our most important maintenance tasks!
I urge you to catch up on the last couple of USGA Green Section Northeast Updates discussing what they are seeing in the region.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Bembix Sand Wasps in Bunkers

Some concerns have been mentioned about the "bees" which invade our bunkers every year. They are actually Bembix Sand Wasps and pose no threat to humans. The are quite docile! I have copied this article I found from another superintendent, Tom Kaplun of North Hempstead Country Club. Remember , our staff maintains the bunkers daily and we are constantly disturbing them. NOT ONE STING!




"For a few weeks every year we have little friends make homes in our sand traps. These fast fliers are officially known as the Bembix Sand Wasp. They dig numerous burrows in soft sand (ie- bunkers) to lay their eggs. Juvenile wasps, known as larvae, emerge from the eggs where they remain in the sand and grow into adults. Adult females congregate together in large numbers when making nests to bait their prey. The higher populations of larvae in nesting sites attract flies, beetles, caterpillars and grasshopper. These insects are captured by the female sand wasp and taken back to the sand burrows to be fed to the growing larvae.
The existence of these critters in the bunkers is a nuisance to golfers but beneficial to the the course as they help to control the population of flies and detrimental turf beetles by preying on them.
The greatest concern for golfers is that they will get stung by these wasps when entering a bunker to play a shot.   Studies have proven that this particular wasp is not aggressive and of no harm to humans.  Both male and females wasps will not sting humans unless they are stepped on or smashed between your hands.  When approached by a human the sand wasp will initially swarm, looking for food, and then go back to their burrows to protect their larvae.


It may be a distraction when trying to play a shot from a bunker but keep in mind, bunkers are hazards and populations will dissipate in September when new adults emerge from the sand."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bunker Renovation on Hole #14 Complete!

We began our renovation of the left green-side bunker on hole fourteen late last Fall. The bunker is now complete and in play! Below are some pictures which show the process we went through.
The base was cleared of old sand and the "DREADED FABRIC". Then it was sodded.

The sod was killed this Spring and the dead turf was scalped with a string trimmer.

After dead turf scalped and cleaned of debris.

The drain lines being filled with bunker sand so work vehicles could easily dump loads throughout. 

After 45 tons of sand added. We smoothed and packed by watering and using Sand Pro Machine.

Another view. The sand will continue to firm up and level off through normal maintenance.