Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Site Specific Aerifcation Treatment

This past week we began performing site specific aerification and amendment treatments to historically stressed areas on our putting surfaces. These areas are small in size and are positioned along the edges of some of our greens. The impact on playability from this process is minimal while the prescibed treatment results in improved health and performance of our putting surfaces.  These areas performed poorly in the past due to two different soil related stresses that were caused by our 'sodic' irrigation water source.  The performance of these areas has improved significantly this year since we began treating our water source last June and from the site specific aerification treatment  being performed a couple of times over the past year.  As we continue to manage our course with our improved water source, these aerifcation treatments should be needed less frequently over time.

The first areas requiring treatment are located along the higher edges of some of our greens.  These areas have struggled with drought stress symptoms in the past due to our irrigation water containing an extremely low amount of calcium.  Water must contain 20 parts per million (ppm) of calcium in order to maintain adequate infiltration rates.    The process we are using to treat these areas is to hand aerify these small areas strategically where it is needed and then back filling the hole with Lassenite.  Lassenite is a diatomaceos earth product that increases our soil's infiltration rates,  available water holding capacity and CEC while resisting the build up of Sodium in the soil. 

Diatomaceous earth (Lassenite) amendment.

Team Member Jose' Martinez filling the aerification hole with the diatomaceous earth amendment.
The second areas we are treating is the surface out falls of some of the greens.  These areas are located at the edges of the lowest points of our putting surfaces.  These area are prone to build up higher levels of Sodium that results in a fine layer of clay and organic matter located a few inches below the soil surface.  This layer clogs up the soil profile and prevents water from draining though the soil profile.  Once this happens a soil condition known as black layer can develop.  Black layer is a soil that has gone into an anaerobic state that contains a high amount of sulfur in the form of hydrogen sulfide (H2S).  When you probe these areas you can smell an aroma similar to rotten eggs.  The remedy for this condition is to aerify though the layer to allow for proper drainage and to return oxygen to the soil.  We are then back filling the hole with a 50/50 blend of sand/calcitic lime.  The lime is used in combination with the added oxygen from the aerification to convert the sulfur in the H2S form to a leachable form of CaSO4.  Once this chemical reaction occurs the high levels of sulfur will be reduced with the next rainfall or flushing event.

Area affected by 'black layer' on the front of 12 green.

Sand/calcitic lime mix being added to the aerification holes on the front of 4 green.

The zone for 'black layer' formation is at the darker and lighter colored sand interface.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cigarette Butts (The disgusting habit!)

I am sure you already know about all the negatives ( personal health, odor and second hand smoke) that result from smoking.  There is another occurrence that happens all too often that has a negative impact to our facility and our customer's experience.  This scenario takes place far too often and is disrespectful to the facility and the staff that work so hard to keep The Preserve beautiful.  We will call the golfer "Joe" for descriptive purposes but this name does not apply to anyone in particular.

Joe has played through hole 15 with his buddies and he has just hit the green on hole 16 for an opportunity at par.  Joe is feeling really good and thinks he better light up and get a quick drag on his Marlboro Light to calm his nerves.  He lights that thing up in a blaze of glory and is looking cool while he walks up to the green with that cigarette and smoke trail following behind.  He sees the ball and it has stopped 20 ft from the hole.  Joe thinks to himself that he needs to really concentrate on this putt and he may be able get a birdie!  Joe kneels down and lines everything up and takes one last big drag in order to sooth the nerves.  Then what does Joe do?  He takes that cigarette butt and flicks it smoothly onto the playing surface right off of the green for all the world to see.

Cigarette butts collected from around 16 green.
Proper golf etiquette would be for Joe to kneel over and tamp out the butt on the ground and put the remains in his pocket and then throw it into the next trash can he sees.  By doing this he keeps the hole clean for the golfers following behind and keeps me or my staff from having to pick up after him.  So next time Joe.. please keep your butts to yourself.

Fun Fact:  It can take a cigarette butt 18 months - 10 years to decompose in the environment.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Plant Material

This past week we replaced the Dwarf Gardenias that were installed in the bed located behind our driving range tee.  These plants have performed poorly since being planted during our initial construction due to various factors.  We have replaced the gardenias with three new varieties of dwarf roses.  We selected the Red and Pink Drift Roses that are generally described as a ground cover plant with a width of 2.5 -3 feet and a height of around 1.5 feet.  The third variety is called Crimson Meidiland Rose which has a width of 4 feet and a height of 2 feet.  This selection of plant material should provide red and pink color all growing season and will be an improvement over the inconsistent gardenias.

Mixture of 3 varieties of roses installed last week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Repairing Ball Marks

View the video below to learn the proper techniques and the importance of repairing ball marks.