I apologize his weeks post is a bit lengthier than most. We have a lot going on and I want to get through as much as I can.
All week my trusty weather man, Rod Hill, has been showing low temperatures indicative of frost delays, we managed to escape delays all week until Saturday morning. The reason why is we have been in an inversion. The lower temperatures and the frost seemed to occur at the lower elevations but as you rose to Stone Creek Golf Club, which is at 500 feet, the temperature was a bit warmer. With a light breeze mixing the air, we were able to get by the frost without a delay. Saturday was a different story. Our low temperature was in the 20's and there was now wind what so ever. On top of that a low blanket of clouds formed around 8:00 which seemed to hold the temperatures in check.
Stone Creek Buffers
The delay gave Steve Pearce a chance to catch up on the chipping pile. Steve has been busy all week selecting out the invasive birch trees from the buffers. If the birches are left unchecked they can crowd out the preferred vegetation. Red alder, Oregon ash, Pacific willow, Douglas hawthorn and western red cedar are our preferred trees along the buffers with an understory of shrubbery, including nootka rose, Douglas spirea, Pacific ninebark and red-osier dogwood.
Crane Fly Damage
|Crane fly damage around aerification holes|
In last weeks post I mentioned that we may have cutworms working on the 11th green. Brian McDonald from Oregon State read my post and sent me a note saying that it may actually be crane fly. I was almost sure that it was cut worm from the damage that I was seeing so I took my soil probe and went looking. Sure enough, I found crane fly everywhere. I have always applied insecticides as a last resort but the damage had exceeded our threshold so we had to pull the trigger. We only treated the 11th and the 3rd green and by morning they were popping out of the ground. We have never had an issue on the greens before and figure it may have been the timing of our aerification coinciding when they were laying eggs. With fresh holes in the ground in October it may have been the perfect place to drop their eggs. We figured the larvae were about in their third instar which would be about right.
|Emerging from hole following treatment|
|Large cutworm next to two crane fly|
As far as the cutworms go I wasn't all that wrong. I did manage to find a couple the next day so I wasn't all that off base.
Contributing to Research
We are still seeing some fusarium patch persisting on a few greens. Mainly on the large putting green and on the ninth green. We made a treatment on Monday and so far haven't seen anything new pop up. If you have been practicing around the chipping green you may have noticed the fusarium on the chipping fairway. We don't normally treat fairways which made for a perfect place for Dr. Jim Frelich to apply some fungicide trials. Jim works for the Scotts Company and is often asked by leading manufactures to apply trials of certain products, some not even on the market, to evaluate their effectiveness.
I am not sure if I am at liberty to disclose who Jim is doing the trials for so I will keep it fairly generic. Here he is applying the product to the plots in three replications. He will be evaluating a new product that has not been introduced to the market against products that are already being used.
This is very common across the county. Golf courses offer real life conditions and make for a great laboratory. I am excited to have the opportunity to provide a test site for Jim's research. The outcome will benefit many down the road.
Water Quality Testing
As an ongoing part of Stone Creek's Environmental Stewardship Program we test the water at the golf course on an annual basis. We began testing in 2001 on a twice a year basis. After 7 years we had established a strong baseline and now test only once a year, alternating spring and fall. This year the test fell in the fall so we just completed it last week.
We utilize Envirologic Resources, Inc. to collect samples from points where surface water enters and exits the property as well as locations where management practices may affect the water body. This includes Beaver Creek, where it enters the property at Hwy 213 and where it exits the property below the 11th green. We also check the lake on number 6 as well as "Stone Creek" which flows under the bridge on the twelfth hole. The water collected at the entry of Beaver Creek serves to establish a baseline to determine the influence of golf management practice on water quality. It also allows us to determine if there are any influences from upstream.
The samples actually go through a battery of tests. As we dip the sample we first measure the temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and make a visual determination of clarity. Next we collect four bottles, two small plastic and two large brown glass bottles. The small plastic bottles are sent to a lab to be tested for orthophosphates and nitrates and the large brown bottles are sent to a different lab and are tested for all chemicals that have been applied to the golf course in the previous six months. The testing is not cheap but as part of our Stewardship Program, we feel that it is an integral part of how we operate here at Stone Creek.
For a more complete description of our Environmental Stewardship Program please refer to the Oregon Golf Course Superintendent's Environmental Stewardship Guidelines by clicking HERE. You will find a complete description of the water quality monitoring program that Stone Creek is modeled after.
This week Chris, Steve Pearce and I will be attending the OGCSA Pest Management Seminar downtown at the Convention Center. We will be away Tuesday and Wednesday. Zeferino and Steve Mathre will be here to take care of business. I will be checking in daily.
On Monday, Pacific Sports Turf is going to come out and use their Soil Reliever on our eleventh fairway around the 100 yard area. This area is relatively flat and is known to stay wetter than most areas. I am hoping that by fracturing the soil beneath we will be able to percolate the water much faster through the profile. It will all depend on the amount of rocks that we encounter. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we can avoid any problems.
We will also begin a new drainage project near the approach of the eleventh green. We will be using a temporary green while the work is going on for the safety of the crew.