Saturday, February 6, 2016

Course Update, 2/6/16

5 Green on February 1.
What a difference a year makes.  At this time last year, we were in the midst of a 17" lake effect snow storm.  Ice cover was not a major concern, but was in place in lower areas of the golf course.  This year we have had quite the roller coaster.  Each time we receive a significant amount of snow, it is followed by above normal temperatures that easily melt it away.  Tee, fairway, and rough turf achieved a level of dormancy finally over the last couple of weeks, and the greens are slowly catching up.

I have noticed some greens have a two toned appearance to them currently, which is not a concern to me.  This is where ice and snow cover took a bit longer to melt, and protected the turf underneath from colder air temperatures.  The lighter turf color is where turf was exposed to the elements for a longer period of time.  Again, not a concern, but one of the neat attributes that Mother Nature can show throughout the seasons.

Our annual tree work has shifted to stump grinding and clean up.  One tree that was a subject of conversation and that I have wrote about here was the large Black Oak near #1 green.  This tree rapidly defoliated in July and, according to the two experts I had look at it, succumbed to Oak Wilt.  It was removed on January 26th by our tree service.  If you would like to read more about Oak Wilt, here is an article from Michigan State.
Black oak stump 
Insect boring/fungal growth on a limb

Insect boring 1" from the bottom

Close up of cracking in stump

In observing the tree as we were cleaning up the debris, we noticed a couple of other problems the tree had. There was a direct insect trail bored throughout the the entire tree, and some cracking within the main trunk of the tree.  All of these symptoms, as well as the Oak Wilt symptoms observed when the leaves were dropping in July, probably together played a roll to its demise.  We are unsure if the insect boring led to the fungal infection, or vice versa.  According to Michigan State extension, it is a very troublesome disease to diagnose.

The takeaway I have had from this tree is learning about Oak Wilt, how to prevent the spread of it, and how to best protect Elcona's other Oak inventory from this.  While there is no reason to be overly concerned about it at this time, Oak Wilt is something that we will be continually monitoring within our tree maintenance program.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Have a great weekend!


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