Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Another fantastic week. The course could not be in any better shape for this time of year.  It was great to see such a great turnout for the "Breast Friends" tournament on Friday. The limo on the second tee box was a first for me!
The pumps are finally off at the creek and I turned the well on Friday at noon. We have had an extraordinary water year this year and are grateful for the bonus water we received this month. The water master cannot remember ever not regulating so late in the season. We actually shut it off before she called but she said we would have probably got the call this week some time. We will be turning the driving range irrigation off first to conserve water and then we will limit some of the rough irrigation. The first thing we will see are tire tracks from the carts. When the grass is drought stressed the leafs will become damaged and turn black initially then eventually brown. So in case anyone gets reports of strange tracks on the course we can tell them that it is just drought stress and it will recover as soon as we can get some rain.
We received our soil test back on the 15th green and as I suspected our pH has risen which gave way to the Take-all-patch. I would have never guessed 7.5 from 5.9 but that is what happened. I attribute the rise to the two Verde-Cal applications we made this spring plus the elevated pH in the irrigation water. We re-tested the greens Tuesday with a pH meter and the ones we tested, including fifteen, all hovered around 6.5. This is right where most turf professionals want to see pH levels. At 6.5 the nutrients are most available to the plant for uptake. Personally, I never thought it would be possible to hit that mark in the Northwest. Now the trick will be to keep it there.
I mentioned the elevated pH in our pond water earlier. We have been at a loss at how much the levels fluctuate in just the last few months. The pH currently in the irrigation pond is 9.7 which only last month was 7.05. We have been pumping water from the creek which has ranged right around 7.0. A 2.65 increase in the lake pH in one month is hard to believe. I just wish we knew what was causing it. We should not see any detrimental affects from the increase since we are so blessed with Oregon rainfall which will flush away any bicarbonates that may accumulate in the profile over the summer.

Hydrilla verticillata
Last week we started hauling out the weeds from the irrigation lake. From what I have read it is called Hydrilla verticillata. It can grow in depths of 20 feet of water and will reproduce from fragmentation, seeds, buds and tubers. It is a perennial plant and if left untreated it will form a mat over the entire lake surface. It is originally from Europe and Asia and was probably introduced to our streams from the aquarium industry. Just when we got our ponds free from the algae this sets in. The funny thing is that in order to control it some recommend letting the algae bloom to keep the sunlight from hitting the bottom of the lake or to use a lake dye to do the same thing. I am not in favor of using dye's since we spill into the creek and we just spent a bunch of money clarifying the ponds. We may have to treat the water later this fall after we stop irrigating, but in the mean time we will continue to remove it mechanically.

Tuesday we are planning on verticutting aggressively with the Thatch-Away units and topdressing. By doing this we will be smoothing the greens out even more and with the club championship coming up on the 14th we should have them rolling nicely.

This spring we completed a lighting upgrade throughout our facility with the Energy Trust of Oregon. GCSAA asked me to write a case study regarding the project. You can read it by clicking on the tab above labeled "Case Study".

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