Helminthosporium Pays Us A Visit Again

Leaf Spot by Eric von Hofen
Almost over night we see the results of Helminthosporium on our TifEagle greens. This is the first time in a year we have seen any signs from our little friend here in Miami. I wrote a similar post on this disease almost a year ago to date. Last year we had record cold temps that brought on the signs of the disease. This year we have had a month of well above temps with light rains that have kept the soil around 80 degrees. This was just enough to increase the pressure of the disease and for us to see the damage. I have started a program of applying fungicides on a 14 to 21 day rotation. I will use Fore, Insigna and Daconil for control and prevention of the leaf spot this winter. It has been 16 days since my last fungicide application so I’m not surprised to see the spots pop up. I spray my greens every friday with a light Harrells fertilizer package so adding fungicides will be easy to do. I will keep you updated this winter on the progress on the control of Helminthosporium. I see a connection between the amount of sun, rain fall and soil temps when the Helminthosporium shows up. Let me know what your seeing on your golf course.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

GREENS AERATION MIAMI STYLE

Greens Aeration by Eric von Hofen
It’s that time of the year when putting greens around the State of Florida go to the spa, yes the spa. Aeration on Tifeagle bermudagrass greens is a must and is well under way by now. I like to punch holes in the greens at least four times a summer. May kicks off the first time, followed by June then July and the last time in August. This has greatly helps the control of thatch and improves the Ksat levels. Remember we get over 65 inches of rain a year.

I first circle verticut the greens and collars. We then bring on the Toro Procore, collect the cores, clean off the greens, and then apply a heavy topdressing of coarse sand. Out come the drag brushes, one brush to fill in the holes and one the finish groom the greens. An application of Harrell’s 17-1-10 is put down to help the greens recover, we turn on the water and sit back for the next three days. The greens will be brushed one to two more times this week and rolled to level them out. We will mow them later in the week.

Check out this HD video of the aeration process and how we do it Miami style.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

GOLF COURSE LANDSCAPE DONE RIGHT

Eric von Hofen and Landscape Master Plan
In an era of going green and sustainability being in fashion, many golf courses are saying and doing two different things.  Around the United States, golf courses are cutting down and removing thousands of trees for a variety of different reasons without replanting substitutes.  Some trees are sick, overgrown, blocking air movement or shading a greens complex. In other cases plant material has a shelf life and sometimes things just need to be updated.
Sick ficus tree by Eric von Hofen
Areas in Florida and now the deep south have been hammered with hurricanes and tornadoes over the years, leaving golf courses naked and changed forever. Trees and landscape have been removed without anyone but mother nature having a say on what stays or goes. During this years PGA TOUR WGC event at Doral, I wrote a story called “The Blue Monster Getting Some Of It’s Trees Back” explaining the replanting of 500 trees and palms on the Blue Course.  Many of you wrote me and asked why the hell would anyone plant 500 trees on a course.  Well this picture shows you why.
Doral Blue Monster and Eric von Hofen
Hurricane Season, which lasts from June 1 through November 1, sometimes brings a big dog storm right over your course causing tremendous damage. Massive hurricanes cleaned house and left many courses in need of creating a landscape master plan.

Here at Riviera Country Club, we have just completed a plan and will start planting in June.  We first took a tree and palm inventory of everything we have located on the property.  The inventory was then totaled and graded if it was a keeper or not.  Landscape Architect, Buzz Jaskela, helped us grade the 1000+ trees and develop plan to replace trees and enhance the look of the golf course.  There are only 6 ficus trees that will need to be cut down due to them having a disease. We focused on the tee boxes and the support trees around the greens.  Shade coverage played a big role on what will be planted. 
Flowering tree by Eric von Hofen
I will be updating you all summer long on the progress of this project. So check back and let me know if you have any questions.Check out this video below showing me inspecting new plant material.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

EFFECTIVE MOLE CRICKET CONTROL

mole cricket by eric von hofen
It’s amazing just how much damage this little guy can do to your perfect conditioned golf course. When you get a few thousand of them flying around your course at night looking for a mate and something to eat, the damage can be extensive. They love the warmer temps and are most active during a full moon. Areas taken over by mole crickets can look like someone went crazy with a 9 iron. See the picture below.
mole cricket damage in 419 bermudagrass by eric von hofen
During the months of March and April the mole crickets first become active in the bunkers. The crickets work their way into the greens and tees then to the fairways and roughs. Damage to bermudagrass can be so extensive that areas will have to be sodded if you don’t get things under control quick.
Mole cricket control
Chipco Choice provides one year of control for mole crickets in the areas that have been treated. At $300 an acre it’s a deal. Sod and your time responding to a full box of complaints is not worth it.
Choice applicator for controlling mole crickets
The application machine is attached to a small tractor which is driven over the areas you want treated. A small slit is produced in the turf where the Choice dropped into. You can treat 5 acres an hour with a good operator. A rate of 25 lbs per acre is required in order to get the full year of protection. If you have a mole cricket problem, Chipco Choice is the only way to go.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

ARE YOUR GREENS READY TO HOST A MAJOR EVENT?

Fieldscout Meter by Eric J. von Hofen
Over the last few weeks, I have had the chance to ride shotgun with a few PGA TOUR Agronomists during PGA events and I have to say I’m very impressed. Bland Cooper, CGCS and PGA TOUR Agronomist, took me through the steps on how the TOUR has taken tournament preparation and hosting to a whole new level. They have put every new tech gadget available on the market to use and have built a sound agronomic plan around them.
Eric J. von Hofen in Mexico

During advance week the data collection and charting begins. They first look at height of cut on the greens and the speeds that are produced in the AM and PM. Morning and afternoon soil moisture readings are collected and then plugged into another chart. This data is collected using the FieldScout TDR probe. The probes are an inch and a half long and easily pierce the turf with no problem. Within seconds the data pops up on the screen and after three sites are probed, a average is displayed on the screen.
By Eric J. von Hofen

The superintendent and PGA TOUR Agronomist both have their own FieldScout probes. They walk each green in a grid-like pattern mapping and collecting the soil moisture data. During this process the data is averaged and areas in need of water are located. This need of water could be 30 seconds to 3 minutes with a hose. Overhead irrigation is not used at all.

All of this is happening while there is yet another series of data collection occurring. Firmness, yes firmness is measured. This too is collected in the AM and PM. This is the missing piece to the puzzle. When this information is charted and overlaid with Stimpmeter and moisture readings, it shows where the performance of the greens is headed for the week. Basically the height of cut did not change for the entire two weeks. Green speed was increased by decreasing the moisture and pure rolling. When the greens moisture read around 25% to 30%, it made for the best conditions after rolling. The TOUR does not want the greens dried out below these levels.
eric von hofen

Next time you are watching a PGA TOUR event on TV, just think what goes on behind the scenes to make those greens so good. It takes a sound plan in place and a year worth of work to get things right. These PGA TOUR Agronomists really know their stuff. The saying should be “TOUR Agronomy, These guys are good”.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Use Science to See if Your Greens Aerification Program is Working or Not

Eric von Hofen and Soil Profile on Tifeagle green
Dr. George Snyder of the University of Florida has a great system to track and determine if your aerification program is working or not. I have been working with him for a number of years tracking thatch, percolation rates and organic material levels in Tifeagle Bermudagrass greens. We have been pulling soil samples from the same greens and locations for over 6 years. Maintaining Tifeagle greens in South Florida is very difficult because the growing season never stops and it rains 70 inches a year. Greens have to drain and the roots have to get oxygen. My golf course has very poor water quality and every night I water the greens, I know that I’m closing down the percolation rate and growing organic material. This is the main reason why I aerify my greens 4 times a year and verticut them 25 times. I use Dr. Snyder’s tests to see where I stand two times a year. We pull samples in the Spring to see how bad things have gotten during the Winter and then we pull them again in the Fall to see how much we corrected with an aggressive aerification program. The following information explains this testing process in more detail. Please forgive me for taking out some of the tables and charts in efforts to shorten this post.
Eric von Hofen and Turfunderground.com

Methods

On September 28, 2010, greens 11 and 15 were sampled as they have been in the, past. Four 2-inch diameter “undisturbed” cores 0-3” deep were taken from the back to front of each green. In addition, these same greens were sampled to a depth of approximately 8 inches using a 3/4th inch diameter coring device. Eight cores were collected and composited on each green. The verdure/thatch layer, which will be termed “thatch”, was separated from the lower organic matter (OM) stained layer subjectively by cutting with a knife at the depth where resistance to cutting decreased substantially. The thickness of the layers was recorded, and both the thatch layer and the underlying organic matter-stained layer were retained. Organic matter was determined on these layers as weight loss following ignition in a muffle furnace at 550C. Mineral particle sizes were determined on these samples by passing the ignited residue through a nest of sieves using a RoTap shaker. For this analysis, material from greens 11 and 15 was combined to provide a sufficient quantity of sample for the analysis.

Saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) was measured on the 0-3” cores which contained the grass and thatch, generally following the procedures specified by the United States Golf Association (USGA Green Section Record, March/April 1993). However, it should be noted that the USGA procedures were designed to predict the suitability of root zone mixtures for greens construction, and not for analyzing undisturbed cores from existing greens. For example, the procedure calls for compacting the mixture prior to analysis. For the undisturbed cores, laboratory compaction does not seem appropriate and was not conducted. The USGA procedures do not assume that turf is present, as it was in the 0-3” cores. Seven, 1/4th inch holes were drilled 1-1/8 inch deep in each core and Ksat was again determined to gauge the effect of the thatch layer on Ksat.

Results and Discussion

On the average, the thatch layer averaged 0.9 inches (0.89 inch on green 11, 0.95 on green 15), which is the thickest it has been since September of 2008 (Table 1). The underlying OM-stained layer averaged about 3 inches (3.1 inches on green 11, 3.0 inches on green 15), which continues the steady increase in stain depth that has been occurring for years (Table 1). I feel this might be growing due to a heavy topdressing program that adds a quarter inch to a half inch of new sand every year to the greens.

Although the stain layer is increasing in thickness, the organic matter (OM) content of the OM-stained layer below the verdure and thatch averaged 1.8% by weight (1.8% in green 11, 1.9% in green 15, Fig. 1), which is the lowest it has been in over 4 years (Table 2). Concern has been expressed about OM accumulation in greens in amounts greater than 3% (USGA Green Section Record, Jan-Feb 2004, pgs. 11-15), although this information was primarily developed for bentgrass greens. Regardless, the stain-layer OM content is well below this value.

Organic matter in the thatch/verdure layer (termed “thatch”) averaged 7.5% (Table 2), being 7.5% in both greens. In the past, the OM content of the thatch has been lower in the fall than in the previous spring. This fall, however, it is unchanged from the previous spring sampling, and is greater than in the previous fall samplings (Table 2). While I am not aware of published recommendations for thatch OM, I believe low OM is conducive to water and air permeability in the thatch.

Saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) averages somewhat greater than it was a year ago, although it is lower in green 11 than in this past April (Table 3). The USGA has recommended Ksat values of 6 to 12 inches per hour for root zone mixes used for greens construction (USGA Green Section Record, March/April 1993), and it is well known that Ksat generally decreases as a green matures (USGA Green Section Record, March/April 2010). However, the values observed on these two greens still are well within the USGA specifications for new greens and are greater than those often observed in mature greens. The variation in Ksat among cores within a green, as illustrated by the coefficient of variation calculation (CV), has been greater in the spring than in the fall (Table 4). This trend continued for green 15. The CV for green 11 was unusually low in the spring, so the CV is higher this fall, but it is only a little higher than in previous fall measurements (Table 4). On both greens, Ksat was lower for sample D, which is the front of the green, but this may just be a coincidence.

Based on the observation that drilling holes through the thatch increased Ksat more in cores that had lower Ksat before drilling than in cores with higher Ksat, and that this relationship was fairly strong (Fig. 2), thatch is having some effect on Ksat. However, the overall Ksat values on the original samples are quite good, and average well within the 6-12 inch range that the USGA has given as a criteria for a root zone mix used in new greens construction. Favorable Ksat is being maintained in these greens regardless of the influence of the thatch.

Based on previous measurements, the mineral particle size ranges are within USGA recommendations for putting green construction in the > 3-inch region of the greens, which is assumed to be the material from which the greens were constructed (Table 5). However, in the thatch there is less coarse+medium sand and more fine sand than is recommend (Table 5). There is a trend for very coarse and coarse sand to increase with depth, and for fine and very fine sand to decrease with depth (Table 5). This is the opposite of what generally is considered to be conducive to air and water penetration and movement in the root zone. If the profile is not entirely consistent throughout, water and air movement is improved by having increasing coarseness in texture towards the surface.

There has been a trend for coarse sand in the thatch to decrease over time, and for fine and very fine sand to increase over time (Table 6). However, these trends appear to have been arrested, or reversed, in the most recent sampling (Table 6).

Summary

Even though the depth of the stained layer below the thatch has been increasing, the content of OM in this layer is under 2% (by weight), and has been decreasing for four years.

Thatch thickness is greater than in recent samplings, and the OM content of the thatch is greater than in past fall samplings.

Saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat), a measure of root zone porosity, is in a favorable range

The texture of the root zone is less coarse in an upward direction, but the trend in the thatch has slowed or reversed.

Dr. George H. Snyder and Eric J. von Hofen

Fig. 1. Stain-layer organic matter and saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) over six years of testing.
  eric von Hofen

For more information or testing with Dr. Snyder please contact him at phdlaboratory@hotmail.com


Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Turfunderground Takes You To the Abaco Club, Bahamas


Looking for a weekend trip this winter to get out of the cold, you should check out the Abaco Club in the Bahamas. This gem of the islands is the work of Englishman investor Mr. Peter De Savary. Mr. De Savary has teamed up with Ritz-Carlton to take his dream to the next level. The Club has a 18 hole golf course that was designed by architects Donald Steel and Tom McKenzie. They have created a wonderful links style course in the tropics. The course is a par 72 and it measures 7,100 from the back tees. The course was grassed with paspalum and it looks great, some of the best I have ever seen. The greens are large, like The Old Course, and take some time getting use to them. The views you get during your round of golf are amazing. The first par 3 on the front nine takes your breath away. Hit two balls to enjoy very minute of it. You feel like you are hitting over a sand dune to a large section of green carpet on the beach. Holes 17 and 18 have put Pebble Beach on guard.
The property is now being managed by the Ritz-Carlton Clubs so the service is top notch to match the golf course. They have cottages you can rent that provide the views of the Winding Bay. The beach and pools provide plenty of access to fill anyones swimming needs. You can fly into Marsh Harbour Airport and have a car service take you on the 30 minute trip to the property. Check out my video below showing my day trip to play golf and have lunch at the Abaco Club. We flew out in the morning from Palm Beach International and landed at Marsh Harbour. After a great day of golf we flew back and were home by 6:30 in the evening. Thanks again Mr. De Savary for a wonderful day.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Helminthosporium on TifEagle Bermudagrass Greens

eric von hofen
Almost over night we see the results of Helminthosporium on our TifEagle greens. This is the first time this year we have seen any signs from our little friend. We have had two weeks of well below temps that have taken the soil below 50 degrees. This was just enough to increase the pressure of the disease and for us to see the damage. One good thing is that we have had full sun and no rain. This will help bring the soil temps back up above 58 degrees and start growing turf again. I plan on starting a program of applying fungicides on a 14 to 21 day rotation. I will use Heritage, Insigna and Daconil for control and prevention of the leaf spot this winter. It has been 32 days since my last fungicide application so I’m not surprised to see the spots pop up. I spray my greens every friday with a light fertilizer package so adding fungicides will be easy to do. I will keep you updated this winter on the progress on the control of helminthosporium.
Eric von Hofen

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Is your electric company ruining your golf course irrigation system?

Eric von Hofen
It seems to happen at the worst times – Friday at 2:30pm, the night before the member guest or the day after you punched the greens in the middle of summer.  You come to work and as soon as your headlights hit the driveway you know something is wrong. You can tell that the system did not run. The investigation begins. You head to the office and check the computer and everything looks like it ran. Now you grab your cart and head to the course.  I have four pump stations so I get my battle plan together and head to the main one first.
Eric von Hofen
Jackpot.  I walk in to check the VFD and it’s out and this time it’s still smoking.  “Great, we lost another one”, I say.  I call my irrigation tech and tell him to check the faults on the other three stations.  He reports back and says that two are showing low pressure faults and the other is showing a high pressure fault.  Now I know that the other three pump stations have not been damaged.
Eric von Hofen
I get on the phone and call Florida Power & Light for service.  I tell the FPL rep that I have lost another VFD and I need the power shut down to this station and I would also like to know if we had a power surge.  I get a ticket number and three hours later the truck shows up.
Eric von Hofen
The FPL guys open up the magic vault with their keys and after three minutes of being in there they say everything is fine.  Looks good.  I say, “What?  Are you kidding me?  The VFD is still smoking.  How can you say everything is fine?  What about a power surge?”  They say we might have had a “line event”. I say a power surge and they say no. What is a line event then? I call it a power surge and they call it a line event, ok moving on.  They tell me to call the claims department.  I have that number in my phone also, so I dial them up and put in a claim.  Four days later the rep calls me back to tell me the claim has been denied.  After 40 minutes of going back and fourth with the guy we still don’t get the new $7,100 VFD paid for.  I explain that this is the third drive in four years and we have spent $23,000 on fixing them.  He says, “Sir we don’t pay claims on past history”.
Eric von Hofen
The entire world works off of history, from health care, car insurance, job history,  stock market and police records.  But not the electric company. Houston we have a problem.  How can they work like this?  I would love to hear from you if you are having the same problems and your golf course is suffering because electric companies don’t want to pay up.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Dalit Bay Golf and Country Club in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Eric von Hofen in malaysia
The Dalit Bay Golf and Country Club is surrounded by the 400 acres of the Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort.  The course was designed by Ted Parslow. Brian Distel was just there to meet with fellow superintendent Goh Yat Hing for a tour of the course and to develop long range plans for the operation.  Brian reports that nine holes of the course are cut out of the jungle and the other nine border the Tambalang and Mengkabong rivers.  Mr. Hing has USGA spec greens grassed with Tifdwarf Bermudagrass and 419 Bermudagrass fairways, roughs and tees. There are 15 golf courses in this area, none of which are under construction.  The population in this region is 617,000 people.

Dalit Bay has an aqua range that has 15 hitting stations.  This range gets a ton of use throughout the year because it’s the only game in town.  Warming up on this range prepares players to see water on each hole, which is what they will experience as they play the course.

The climate has year round high levels of  humidity and receives over 100 inches of rain a year.  The course is located very close to the equator.  This tropical region is full of clay soil that runs through the Kinabalu mountains. The fairways and tees are capped with sand and the rough is pure clay.

While you are there you can meet the areas icon, the Orangutan. You will also have unexpected encounters with hornbills that glide right overhead. Peacocks walking by during breakfast, a friendly bear cat greeting you from a tree and iguanas and squirrels crossing your path are all part of the magic of this remarkable resort.

Thanks Brian and keep them coming from your travels.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline