Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Use of Wetting Agents

The Bear Trace has not been spared from the drought and heat wave that has gripped the southern US states for the past couple of months.  With less than 2" of rain falling in the last three months, and 1.37" of that coming in about an hour on July 17th, the golf course is in need of a good soaking rain.  We have, however, been able to keep the golf course healthy and looking good thanks to our use of wetting agents and continual efforts to repair and improve the irrigation system.

Wetting agents are organic and chemically derived products which help to retain or move water through the soil structure.  Use of wetting agents is not a new thing on golf courses but with federal and state restrictions on the amount of water a golf course can use and the desire by golf course superintendents to be more environmentally conscious and conservative they are being used more frequently.  I use wetting agents on my greens on a regular basis which is not hard to do...just add them to the spray rig as it is going out to fertilize or apply growth regulation products; but how do you apply wetting agents to the entire golf course in a timely and cost effective manner. 

7.5# wetting agent tablet compared to a 20 oz. bottle
We use the Aqua-Aid Maxi Proprotioner  tower to apply wetting agents to the entire golf course, or just specific areas, through the irrigation system during nightly irrigation cycles.  The proportioner is set up to use large 7.5# tablets of wetting agents which will be melted down and released into the wet well of the irrigation pump station to be picked up by the turbines and delivered through the irrigation system to the golf course.  A simple electrical timer is used to activate the proportioner so I have control over when the product is being released and when it is not.  This manner of applying wetting agents to the golf course is very efficient and cost effective.

Application rates are based on the water pressure applied to the tablets from the electric valve.  Under the severe drought conditions that we have been experiencing we have been using three tablets every 18-21 days which has allowed us to continue to keep the golf course green and healthy without having to apply excessive amounts of water.  Use of the wetting agents makes the water "wetter" and helps to bonds the water to the soil structure so the turfgrass can more readily use it.  The system is very inexpensive to purchase and operate and if you are in an area that has been hit hard by the summer heat and lack of rain you may want to research its use.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bird Identification

I had a visitor of the blog, jim1973m from England, recently leave the following comment:

This is a wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing these pics and words but I have a question: Does the Screech Owl live up to its name? I live in the North West of England and we do not have this type of owl."

Otis asio
Eastern Screech Owl
First let me say that I am honored and humbled that our blog is being viewed and enjoyed by persons all over the world. 

If you are interested in bird identification or calls I have to direct you to one of the best, if not the best, site on the web.  Once again, I fall back to the The Cornell Lab of Orninthology for any information about birds.  Their website All About Birds will give you habitat, nesting preference, and conservation concern information about hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of birds species including the Sound of an Eastern Screech Owl.

James, thanks for your kind comments and I hope this helps to answer your question.

Friday, August 12, 2011

How Low Can You Go?

The First Annual Bear Trace Limbo Competition will be held this weekend...no, just kidding but we are having some fun. 

With aerification coming up next week we decided to have a little fun and experiment with cutting heights on the greens.  It started on Monday when one of the mowers came out of adjustment and started cutting lower than it was set to.  Looking at the different mowing heigths we began to wonder how low we could cut the greens and still be safe and not damage them.  Our normal bench setting had been at 0.150" which prismed out at 0.100".  I had Steve set one mower at 0.140" and we mowed a few passes on the putting green, then down to 0.125", then 0.110" then 0.100" bench setting.  The 0.100" was definately too low but we still didn't damage the green any.  It is amazing to see how tight Champion ultradwarf can get at the right height.  We settled on 0.130" and the brushes at 0.100" and the greens look great. 

If we get enough interest we might just have to have the limbo contest.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aerification--Next Week

I know you are going to hate me for this but it is time once again to aerify the greens.  We will be aerifying the puttting green and front nine greens on Monday the 15th and the back nine greens on Tuesday the 16th.  Hopefully we will have great weather like we did in June and the greens will be healed back in and back in great shape in just a few days.

A couple of other projects that we will be working on in the next few weeks will be replacing sod on #10 and #12 fairway edges, relocating/replacing irrigation heads around some greens, and verticutting the approaches and surrounds of the greens.  These projects might interfere slightly with your play but as always we will try to do them as quickly as possible and with as little disruption as we can.  Just remember every project that we do is to make the golf course better. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

No More Clippings

I have been having a real issue over the past few months with the amount of clippings being left behind by our rough mowers.  I was having to send out two tractor mounted blowers and an outfront blower to disperse the clippings which meant I was spending a fortune in fuel and manpower not to mention the excessive amount of unnecessary noise that this process created.  Well I think I have come upon a solution that might help some others.  For the past two years we have been applying Legacy Growth Regulator to our fairways with great success.  I wondered if it could work on the roughs and after speaking with a representative from Sepro I decided to give it a try.  We applied Legacy at a 15 ounce per acre rate to the roughs around the middle of July and have had, what I consider to be, success.  The amount of clippings have been greatly reduced and the roughs have a better, greener appearance.  Each time we mow the roughs we have had to spend less and less time blowing clippings and yesterday we did not have to send the blowers out at all.  Great success and I know our golfers will appreciate the reduction in noise.