Monday, October 17th, 2011

Wetness, wildlife and turf diseases are the topic of this post. Soft areas are making the top of the discussion this week. We have seen an unusual amount of areas which are normally firm, become wet and soggy this year. It is our goal to allow carts out as much as possible and we ask that extreme caution be taken when navigating to your ball. We have placed ropes on the 12th, 13th and 15th fairways and placed signs warning of wet areas throughout the course. Please be mindful of these areas this week even though the sun may be shining.

We have begun numerous drainage projects including basin repair work on four, ten, fourteen, and sixteen. Last week we installed 130 feet of drain pipe along the left edge of seventeen fairway. We will move to the front left of the eighteenth fairway next. Following that we would like to drain the right of the lower driving range tee box in the chipping area. This area is wetter than I have ever seen it.

It has been some time since we have seen a beaver down by the creek but it was brought to my attention this week that some activity has been noticed below the sixteenth green. I would prefer to see them down on the creek but at this time they seem to be taking care of the volunteer popular tree which we would probably take down ourselves later on. We will definitely be watching the situation to make sure we don't lose any of our good trees.

The other day I was speaking to a friend from Estacada who had seen a black bear around her house. She described seeing a stump that the bear had ripped apart in search of grubs and that made me wonder about a stump I have seen behind the eleventh green. One of the neighbors had told me a while back about spotting a bear but I had dismissed it. But now that we have had bears in Tualatin and have even spotted a cougar here at Stone Creek, anything could be possible. Wild animal sightings seem to be happening closer to urban populations, but just remember they are more afraid of us and are normally gone before we ever get a glance. If by chance you do spot a large wild animal, please contact the Stone Creek staff as soon as you can.

Finally, a note about turf disease. In the past years we have seen  a few spots of Fusarium patch or Microdochium nivale on a few select greens, mainly on nine and the putting green. It has pretty much been isolated to the new patches of Poa annua. This fall it has appeared once again on the putting green and nine. We have taken all the appropriate actions which should stop it in it's tracks. Our latest application of mancozeb and propaconizole on Saturday should give us a few weeks of good protection. Notice on the photo how it is only on the Poa annua patch. If only we could find a simple way of keeping Poa out of greens we could save so much on pesticides.

Just an FYI, I asked Chris to calculate, based on our fertilization application records, how much N we have given the greens year to date and the total came to 1.9 pound N/1000 square feet. Looking out to the end of the year I don't see us using any more than 2.2 lbs for the entire year. This is less than half of the rate that we used to use. Based on the conditions of our greens and how consistent the growth and color has been all year, I really can't believe we are so low. Applying the same fertility program on the tees and fairways should be resulting the same outcome on nitrogen inputs. Reducing our inputs has long been a goal of mine and to actually see it coming into fruition gives me great satisfaction. Projecting out into 2012 we will be saving over $4k on granular fertilizer applications on the fairways alone!

This week the weatherman is promising a few nice days of sunshine. We will be throwing out some sand Monday morning to finish off the remaining aerification holes and will hopefully be able to get some sand out on a few wet spots in the fairways as well. We are already ahead of the game and have established temporary greens on three, five, six and fifteen. I don't anticipate frost soon, but you never can tell. This way we should be able to get the golfers out earlier and on the course where they belong! I will be in Lawrence Kansas this week for the Environmental Programs Committee meeting and will be back in the office on Thursday. Have a great week and enjoy the sunshine while we have it!


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