Friday, June 29, 2012

Benefits, Good Scouts, They're Back and "Solomon Says"!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Friday, June 29th and it was another beautiful sunrise at Carolina Golf Club this morning.  In the past week since my last post (which many of you still need to read) I have had the good fortune to witness some pretty awesome sights in the early morning hours.  If any of you have ever wondered what some of the fringe benefits to being a greenkeeper are let me share...

A momma and her 4 baby ducks ready for the day!

The fescue looks best in the early morning light!

A momma turtle laying eggs in her new nest!
A hawk greets me near the first green!

I can't help but wonder how many of you realize just how much nature is taking place on the course.  These days our society is so fast paced and instantaneous and you may not take the time to stop and "smell the roses" as they say but there really is a lot of cool stuff going on if you take the time to notice!

I seem to recall from many years ago the Boy Scout motto is Be Prepared!  This week we did our best to do our prepare the putting surfaces for the extreme high temperatures forecasted for today and the near foreseeable future.  The process started back on Monday (25th) as we vented the greens with our PlanetAir aerator.
PlanetAir Aerator
Vented Openings on the Putting Surfaces

The next day (Tuesday, 26th) the greens were flushed and the vented openings served two purposes.  One, to assist with the penetration and infiltration of the water required to flush and two, once the putting green cavity flushes oxygen is drawn into the canopy and down into the rootzone from the outside air.  By having fresh openings at the surface we were able to ensure we were maximizing the amount of oxygen entering the root zone.  On Wednesday (27th) the greens were treated with a plant protectant product recently developed in the past couple of years, Turfscreen.  Turfscreen is a sunscreen for grass consisting mostly of titanium and zinc oxides which have high reflective properties (thus the bluish color).  Yesterday the greens were treated with a combination of two plant protectant fungicides (Bayer's 26GT and Signature) when tank mixed appropriately is designed to be a "summer stress guard".  Also, the greens were not mowed yesterday (only rolled) to allow the turf a chance to grow up to the newly established higher mowing height implemented today.  During the next several days we will mow every other day and roll the greens on the days in between in an effort to preserve and protect the playing surfaces from the stresses associated with these conditions.  All the while we have closely monitored our moisture levels and as mother nature turns on the extreme heat we are as ready as we could possibly crank up the fans, cross our fingers, hoses are at the ready!

In other related news, the return of summer means the return of those pesky cicada wasps.  The Eastern Cicada Wasp or "cicada killers" as they are more commonly known emerge now and look very scary and menacing to those not familiar with them. 

Cicada Wasp
Their sole purpose is to capture and prey on those annual summer noise makers, the Cicada.

The female wasps sting the Cicadas to paralyze them and take them to their burrows underground where they deposit their eggs on the bodies. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the Cicada...yuk!  Anyway, what you really want to know is what affect this has on you.  Basically, the cicacda wasps are solitary wasps and they do not sting to protect a nest (only to paralyze their prey).  They are a huge nuisance pest on the putting surfaces because of the burrows they create (they like the easy digging of the sandy root zone).  They are difficult to kill because they do not feed on the turf (most insecticide products applied to turfgrass is designed to stop pests from feeding on the turf) and catching them in flight with rapid, knockdown insecticides is practically impossible.  We have been researching the issue online and will be trying a couple of different things in order to eliminate them and prevent their young from developing into pests for next year.  In the meantime, take solace in knowing they will not harm you...but I wouldn't go out of my way to provoke one!

That's all for now as the temperature is rising and I am needed on the course.  Over the next few days take the following precautions to protect yourself from the elements:  1) wear light colored clothing, 2) drink plenty of fluids, 3) apply lots of sunscreen, 4) seek shade whenever possible and 5) schedule your outdoor activities in the early morning.

Solomon says, "Stay Cool"!

If you do those things here's hoping I will...

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

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