Monday, May 30, 2016

Lets Kill Some Grass

Its not every day you get to show up to work and start filling a tank with Glyphosate. I have to say it was one of the more nerve racking things I've done around a course, just the knowledge that whatever I spray and potentially wherever I drive the grass will die had me a little on edge.

This year we are converting our old Vamont Bermuda Fairways to Latitude 36 Bermuda, one of the newer hybrid Bermuda grasses. Latitude 36 has a finer leaf texture, better color and wear resistance and is much denser than Vamont making it a better playing surface in season and out of season. Everyone here is very excited about the "upgrade" to our Fairways, especially those of us on the maintenance staff, despite the added stress, labor, and worry the process adds.

4 weeks ago we began spraying our fairways with Glyphosate (Roundup), for effective control of Bermuda grass it takes 3 applications spaced 10-14 days apart while the plant is actively growing That allows the Glyphosate to be translocated throughout the plant and into the roots, stolons, rhizomes and other leaf tissue giving good control. We had planned to begin this process the middle of April so we could have the time to let any turf that hadn't died begin growing again prior to the second and then third applications, the weather however did not cooperate. With a cool April and lots of rain the soil temperatures stayed down causing the Vamont to no break dormancy until almost the last week of April, a few hard frosts didn't help anything either.

We had to wait for the Vamont to come out of dormancy and start growing prior to the Glyphosate applications because we need the plant to be transpiring so the chemical can move through the plant, otherwise it won't kill anything and just delay the process. Once it broke dormancy and started growing it began raining, and since Glyphosate is taken up through the leaves and not the roots or soil that meant we were very limited on when we could spray and how much we could accomplish. The first 25 days of May boasted 21 days of rain, throwing a giant wrench into our plans.

Despite this we have pushed through and with the sprigs scheduled to arrive tomorrow we have sprayed all 22 acres of fairways twice and half of them a third time. It took us a minute to figure out a good rate with the Glyphosate, a balance between enough chemical and wasting it as the plant can only absorb so much. We've settled on a rate with the second app and have seen really good results, and should have no problem getting the third app out prior to sprigging. Below are some photos one the past 4 weeks.

Peter Danaher
Assistant Superintendent
Talbot Country Club

Boss had a great idea of adding dye to the tank as well as using foam to make it as obvious as possible where we sprayed. 

1 week after first application of Glyphosate. Starting to see the Poa go off color. 

1 week after first application, Poa is dying, Bermuda has slowed growth and is just barely showing chlorosis. 

1 week after second application. Starting to see some of the Bermuda die. 

No thats not a skip, we're saving that piece, it shows the difference clearly, 1 week after the second app which had Finale as well as Glyphosate. You can also see how wet its been out here. 

10 days after second app which had 64 oz Glyphosate per acre and 100 oz Finale per Acre. Finally some dead Grass.

Mostly Dead. 

Little bit of regrowth 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Fungi, Fungi, Fungi

Mycelium in root zone 
The rain the past few weeks gave us a good look at just how susceptible our turf grass is when not protected. Conditions were perfect for a host of diseases and it seemed like we saw all of them. The first and most curious were spots that showed up on our bent grass, sand based, tees. They presented similarly to Dollar Spot but there was an absence of Mycelium around the edges. After investigating further I found mycelium in the root zone, no idea if it has direct correlation but it was really interesting to find.

The next best guess was pythium root disfunction, which makes a lot of sense after seeing the extensive layering and thatch and mat layers. To back up my theory there were black spots visible with a hand lens on the roots, rhizomes, and lower stems suggesting that they might be oospores. The fungal spots were maybe 2-4" in diameter and while they did not appear to grow in size they did seem to pop up in new areas.

April 26th
Another theory and possibly a better one was Pink Snow Mold. With day time temperatures in the mid 50's and constant moisture on the leaf tissue its probably a really good bet. Its just so hard to believe the weather we are having, the picture on the right was taken April 26th, it was 48 and raining. We had better weather in December this year than we have had in April and May so far. If this continues they may need to find a new name for the pathogen.

May 4th 
The picture to the left was taken a week after the picture above. You can see how the pathogen has spread over the tee box and even though the spots haven't enlarged they have become more numerous. That week was a little hairy for us because there wasn't a single day we could get the sprayer out. It was either raining or the wind was blowing too hard, and if we got any break at all there was always someone waiting to tee off. We monitored the tees closely to make sure we weren't taking to much damage until we got the sprayer on them. Once we could, we loaded them up with a combo that would ensure coverage regardless of what was cooking. It was nice to finally get around the course and make sure we were covered. I was really glad I did too cause as I rode around I caught sight of a few more pathogens. Once the fungicides were out we quickly started seeing regeneration on  the tee boxes.

Tourney, Banol, 26GT

I give a lot of credit to my boss, he has been in the industry longer than I have been alive and knows more about fungicides than I could dream of knowing. He was able to put our application together pretty much off the top of his head and with very little effort. I'm enjoying learning from him so far and being part of the operation.

Brown Patch? 
We found some kind of ring active on our bent grass approaches. While I'm not entirely sure what it is it got sprayed and went away. I texted the picture to a few friend and the top answers were either pythium, or anthracnose. I might not ever know but it was still cool to look at.

The other clear as day ring that showed up was on our Perennial Ryegrass range tee. I'm pretty positive it was Brown Patch even though the weather wasn't perfect for it the smoke ring is almost too perfect.

Red Thread? Pink Snow Mold? 
Finally the Rough. While I'm not positive as I have never seen it in the field, the picture to the left I believe to be Red Thread. Which made me really excited since its pretty much a non damaging disease and is just fun to look at. Then again it could be Pink Snow Mold which would be a little more discouraging but not really terrible either. Regardless, Fescue seed costs less than Fungicides everyday of the week so were not to worried.

Grey Snow Mold? 
Of course this patch was close to the patch above. A little less pink/red looking and more... Grey. No idea for sure of course, could be anything but really did look like Grey Snow Mold. Regardless we'll monitor but there's no plan to remove it as of now.

 And finally, the picture below, clear as day read thread. I'm Happy.

Red Thread!

Until Next Time,

Peter Danaher

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rainy Weather and All it Brings

The last 12 days have been miserable. Rain and tempatures barely getting to 50. With our fairway renovation fast approaching theres a whole list of projects that need to be completed, however most of these require dry weather. Despite the conditions we pressed on and I'm very proud of the work we completed the past week. Friday we did end up going home at lunch after cleaning the shop but we also got 1.55 inches of rain. 

There was several fungi present due to the weather conditions and our inability to get around the course with a Sprayer until nearly a week of rain. Nothing seemed too serious or we were able to catch it just in time. We got really lucky in that regard. The day we sprayed we saw a few more rings show up on our driving range, approaches and rough. With the wet weather it felt like almost everything was active, I was glad to be sitting on a sprayer at the time. 

The rain and clouds finally broke Saturday morning bringing sunshine and a warm breeze. Despite this the course was still underwater. The sunshine brought false hope for many of the golfers including myself. The fairways were flooded as was most of the rough. Luckily our new drain lines performed well but that was only a small portion of the course that was playable. The sunshine did provide some spectacular sites around the course. The Azaleas are all in full bloom and providing excellent color around the course, enhanced by the sunshine. The course is beautiful right now and I wish we had more sunlight to really bring out the color and textures of the course.

This week has been all about the clean up after the last weeks rain. Without the ability to get our rough units around the course much of our turf got out of hand. I give props to the crew on there hard work so far this week, push mowing and weed wacking areas that were to wet to be cut with the big mowers and doing out of the normal jobs to keep the golf course playable. While were far from being done its nice to be able to breath a little easier knowing that we are at least close to being caught up with the mowing. With rain predicted nearly every day next week we'll take whatever sun we can get and enjoy the views around the course.

Back of 7 green as seen from the causeway

Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Job, New City, New Degree

The last few months have been jam packed with big life changing events, I accepted a new job, finished school, and changed cities and states.

In January I began my second and final semester at Rutgers Professional Golf Turf Management School and graduated in March with a 3.85 GPA. This second semester was very informative for me as we went over topics like budgeting, insect ID, professionalism in the work place, and when and how to use covers when growing in seed. I had the opportunity to write my own chemical and labor budget as well as a cover letter to go with the numbers. I really enjoyed that process and feel that it will be beneficial for me in the future.

The day after graduation my wife and I packed up and moved an hour and a half east to our new home in Easton Maryland.

I'm proud to announce that I am now the Assistant Superintendent of Talbot Country Club. I'm very excited to continue my learning experience and sharpen my skills as a turf professional under the tutelage of a Superintendent who has been at this club for nearly 30 years. The adjustment from Superintendent to Assistant Superintendent has been a little bumpy for me but I'm settling and feel like i'm in a good groove. We chose to make the career move to give me more experience and expand the potential job opportunities available to us in the future. The opportunity to work under someone who has spent more time at this club than I've been alive was a huge bonus.

Par 3 Finishing hole at Talbot Country Club
We love our new home and new town, my wife and daughter have had fun exploring as have my daughter and I.

Emma and I having fun at the park
I'm really looking forward to the next year, TCC has some really cool things planned I'm looking forward to being a part of them and writing about the process. I'll try to keep the blog updated more regularly now that things have settled down some and I'm back into a normal routine.