Friday, August 1, 2014

Regrassing Project (on two areas) Begins

I know it's been a long time since I posted last mentioning our progress at that time. Since then we of course made great progress on getting the greens back to a playable condition but it wasn't without time (and more than expected was needed due to unusually cold temperatures) and significant efforts by my staff. Many different procedures were employed such as spiking, aerating, topdressing, seeding, sanding with pigmented sand to absorb moisture, fertilizing frequently, watering daily, and ultimately sodding when the other procedures had to be repeated several times due to heavy rain events. The time of year was just getting too late, special events were just around the corner, summer's potential stress was looming, and we had a nice amount of "home grown" nursery turf to use if needed. And, as it turned out, it was! Nearly 10,000 square feet of green height and fairway height sod was used were winter's wrath remained. The areas were repaired and back in play before long and we were able to get on with the season. That was now about two months ago. It's been a nice two months for growing turf for sure. The rather cool conditions have helped roots grow deeper than usual at this time of year and the lack of significant heat has made "nurturing" the many new seed and sod patches a little easier than what otherwise could have been. We do know that if given the time, seeding would be preferred as sod can indeed be easily stressed on very dry, low humidity days. It's getting better all the time and hopefully we can keep it in good shape for about another year when we say goodbye (as approved by our Board of Directors and communicated at our Town Hall meeting) to our existing green and fairway grasses and replant with new, more stress tolerant, more disease resistant, more attractive, and, most importantly, more playable grasses!

This Regrassing Project actually began over the past couple weeks with work on our Turf Nursery and our . Lower Practice Area (between 3 tee and 11 tee. The Grounds and Greens Committee, with support from the Board felt that going through the process on these areas would: 1) Provide a practice area (in addition to the Range which will remain open) next year when the course will be closed (Aug. 3rd, 2015) and 2) have a supply of green and fairway height turf, of the varieties we intend to use next Aug., should we have grow-in washouts or other unexpected damage, and 3) provide current experience for myself and staff with the entire regrassing process from pre-sterilant seedbed prep., pre-plant prep., seeding procedure, and establishment or "grow-in" procedures. Some of these processes are shown below with many occurring today just prior to the soil sterilant application.

 Having used all our turf nursery we thought it would be wise to expand it since area existed adjacent to it and one never knows when it might come in handy in the future. We expanded by 50%, now 15,000ft2. Drain lines and about 7 semi-loads of sand was used.

 Original area on nursery where sod was removed for repair purposes was tilled, smoothed, and cleared of debris.

 Soil was brought in to build side slopes and new addition sand was smoothed, compacted, and leveled with original area. Sod was then placed on slope. Area ready for next step, soil sterilization, to control and plant material and weed seeds present in the rootzone.

 Meanwhile work proceeded this week at the Lower Practice Area. Here the green is receiving the XGD Drainage System installation. Drain lines are installed on 6' spacing across the entire putting green surface. 

The next step was to scalp the green, trying to remove all the green tissue and organic mat so that the future seed has optimum seed to soil/sand contact.

 Verti-cutting (like De-Thatching) in 2 directions future removes organic mat and creates channels for seed to lodge within and stay protected.

 Mult-tine aeration, multiple times, followed to provide avenues for the soil sterilant to penetrate and function better.

 After a Deep Tine Aeration, to further move sterilant into soil, and a few sand topdressings and smoothing procedures, a ring of sod is cut outside the area planned for sterilization.

 Tubes are laid across the surfaces to distribute the plant/weed seed control product underneath the plastic tarps

 With tarps in place the sod is replaced where it was prior removed to provide a tight seal.

 Here the thick cut sod is being replaced to seal the tarp at the Turf Nursery

 With tarps in place sterilization began and within about an hour at each location the application was complete. We are required to keep at least 25' out from the treatment area for 5 days at which time the tarps will be removed and an airing out period of an additional 5 day will be allowed before we begin seeding processes. When the tarps are removed it may very well be possible that a pungent odor will linger for a day or two. This is only the result of the decaying process of the plants, seeds, and soil organisms and should dissipate within a day or two. 

 The Lower Practice Area Green. Site of what will be some beautiful new turf in a couple months. About mid-October you will be asking why you can't use it as it will look ready by then. It will of course need time to establish and mature before we can subject it to golf shots and extended traffic. Your patience, however, will be rewarded with beautiful turf on the green as well as the chipping area (which we have expanded some) surrounding this entire green. 
I think you will be pleased with the results! 

I will update this project regularly, on this blog, over the next several weeks. I also tweet often so follow me @scc1897 for periodic updates on this and other activity on the golf course.




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