Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New drain, and 'Goodbye, Ash trees!'

Golfers at Sugar Creek are already fitting in their first rounds of the year and noticing some of our projects from the winter.  Specifically, the area around the 6th green looks much different after the removal of 111 dead ash trees.  These trees have been dead for two years, but the removal of the trunks is still shocking to see.  The trees died due to the Emerald Ash Borer, which I have written about in the past.  It will take time, but the area will be restored and planted with a wide variety of native trees which will be more resistant to a species specific pest like the EAB.  If you are interested in donating a tree, with or without a memorial plaque, now would be a great time.  See Memorial Tree Program for more.

As part of the renovation in this area, we added a large drain between the 6th green and 7th tee to alleviate some wet areas that have long been problematic.  At the moment, the back, blue tee on the 7th hole is out of play but it will be back in action soon.  Here are some pictures from the area:

New drainage connects to existing basin

The trench between 7 tee and 6 green

This wet area will drain better now!
Ash trees removed

A different view
Left of 6 green in 2014 when trees were about half dead

Behind 6 green

Friday, February 19, 2016

Interesting colors in turf this winter

Since early January, we have been seeing some interesting color patterns on a few tees at Sugar Creek.  In late January, after a snow melt, I was asked if the patches on the 4th tee were snow mold.  From a distance, they did resemble pink snow mold patches, but I did not think that was possible given the conditions we've had.

This was the first area I looked at:

4th tee
It became obvious that they had to have been caused by footprints -- but how?  This area gave another clue:

4th tee
 The snow in these areas melted first in the footprints.  This tee is shaded, so snow lasts here longer than open areas.  There must have been a time when the the snow protected the green areas from freeze injury.  A look at the weather history allowed me to narrow the date of the event to January 17th and 18th. 

January 2016 weather looked like this:

Turf at the course was green all of December and into January.  In mid January, it was covered by snow and still green underneath.  Then we had a real cold snap on the 17th and 18th and most areas turned brown.  The few areas under snow remained green.  I kept expecting the color difference to even out, but for a while the difference became more pronounced due to above average temperatures.

1st tee - February 4th

1st tee - February 4th
These spots are still visible, but less obvious as of this writing - February 19th.  Often you can see this phenomenon where there are snow piles or drifts melting, but it is rare to see pronounced footsteps like this.  It took a very specific weather pattern to cause this, so I thought it was worth memorializing.

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