A portion of the new trees that were delivered on Monday included a batch of arborvitaes for along the path near 1 green.  Since the path sits about 10 feet from Chicago Avenue, a row of bushes are being planted to prevent the feeling of sitting on the street.  The installation of them has been difficult.  The area is too small to get a backhoe to work effectively.  As a result, the holes need to be dug by hand.  The crew has found that digging a large trench is the easiest method to create the holes.  This area had a few bushes before so the remaining roots are providing for difficult digging.  The crew is working very hard and will likely have the remaining arborvitaes planted on Thursday.

All of the trees were planted on Monday with no problems.  As the trucks brought the trees, the trees were dropped into this pod so the truck could return to the nursery to pick up another.

This truck brought 30 arborvitaes that will be places along the fence by 3 green.

The first truck is dropping a tree into the pod then returned to the nursery to pick up the next tree.  There were 5 trees planted with the 90" tree spade.

This is the truck that transported the trees onto the course.  In this picture the front tires are being changed to wider tires for driving on the course.  The wider tires allowed the truck to drive on the course with minimal damage.

The truck is removing a plug for a tree.

After dropping the plug, the truck is picking up the tree from the pod.

Cutting the hole for the elm on the right side of 8 fairway.

There were 5 pine trees delivered and planted also on Monday.

These are the 30 arborvitaes ready to be planted.

First arborvitae planted along the fence  near 1 green.

Sept. 24, 2010 Scouting Report
Fall Arrives Officially: Our last 90 degree day, Dollar spot wows, Tim's Biorational results, Nick says ImageResizer and MediaFire

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle -
Sept. 23 officially marks the first day of fall, yet a 90° high temperature returned to Chicago's south side. For example, Midway Airport recorded 90°. A little farther to the west in Lemont, Sunshine Course didn't quite make it there (we would record 88°). At a CDGA board meeting at Lake Shore Country Club that same day (each club has one elected representative) I was wearing a nice tie and did my very best to summarize 2010 regarding turfgrass health.

As I spoke, a hot, windy day unfolded on Chicago's North Shore. Ironically that was my main point. We had just experienced a return of 'a normal summer' (23 days above 90°). In the Midwest it wasn't a summer of blistering highs that upset the balance; rather it was a consistently warm summer that caused trouble beyond just disease. For cool-season turf such as bentgrass we had experienced physiological decline! From July 3rd we counted 49 days non-stop with daytime highs at or above 80° F. In Chicago that overtook 42 days recorded in 1955 when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. For golf course superintendents, the third full week of September had to feel good as we continue to gain distance from August (an especially hot month). Rapid turf recovery has ensued and we are humming - that is the leaf blowers, aerifiers, and seeders. Fall!

Click here to view the complete Sept. 24, 2010 Scouting Report.

Have a good/distancing weekend.

Derek Settle, PhD
Director of Turfgrass Program
Chicago District Golf Association
11855 Archer Ave
Lemont, IL 60439

Here is an update on a few things you may have noticed around the course.

We have put in a stone pad with a gravel base for the beverage station at 4 tee.  We were having problems with the water from the irrigation cycles running down the cart path a gathering at the low spot on the path.  The low spot happened to be right where the beverage station sat.  A drain was installed as well to remove the excess water.
Lines have been painted on the grass in 4 locations on the course to mark irrigation and drainage lines for the installation of a few trees this coming Monday.  The red flags in the ground mark the proposed locations of the trees.

Our fairway nursery is coming along well after being reseeded.  It has been mowed once and will probably be put on a regular mowing schedule next week.
Many of the rough areas that were prepared for sod got pieced together today.
The rain we receive early Wednesday postponed the sod delivery until today.  The crew was busy all day moving the sod to the course and watering after it was in place.

On Wednesday we verticut the greens.  This was the first time this was done since the spring time.  We will likely get back to a more regular schedule on maintenance practices like this now that the grass has recovered from the summer heat and the cooler temperatures appear to be a regular habit of the weather.  We are planning to verticut the tees and approaches this week also.  Check here for more information on verticutting.

There are very small lines visible on the greens from the verticutting completed today.  These lines will be visible for a few days but will not affect ball roll.
We have started sodding a few more areas throughout the course.  Most of these areas are small spots that we were hoping would heal on their own.  Though some of the areas did heal, we were not satisfied with the recovery of others.  These areas include spots on bunker faces and near cart paths.  A few characteristics are shared by these areas, and we believe one or more of these resulted in damage.  One characteristic is they are near cart paths or bunkers resulting in much higher temperatures from the heat radiating off of the asphalt or sand.  Another characteristic is that most are on south facing slopes, also adding to the temperature extreme.

We also know some of the areas suffered from chinch bug damage.  One large area that we will be sodding is the face of the bunker on the right side of 15 fairway.  We know the damage cause to this bunker was from chinch bugs (15 bunker chinch bug damage post).

We began preparing these areas for sod on Monday.  These areas should have sod on them by Thursday depending on what the rain wants to do.
Sept. 17, 2010 Scouting Report
Dry Continues: iTurf Expo is Sept. 22, Seed and fertilizer flies, Dollar spot stops, First fall color, PCNB and snow mold, Tim's Crabgrass C4 vs. Kentucky bluegrass C3, and Nick's says "Lexingon and Firenza" tall fescue

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle

Dry. In a week, we are seeing lots of recovery from summer injury. For example to my surprise on Tuesday, a research trial at North Shore Country Club was stopped in its tracks. For approximately one month we had been experiencing rapid progression of dollar spot. This week, my data collection was less impressive - turfgrass recovery now seemed to have the upper hand. Why? Cooler nights of 40s and 50s have begun, and most fungi (e.g. Sclerotinia homoeoecarpa) do not like it that cool. Another simpler explanation is that it's dry (even greater negative consequence on fungal development). The bad guys that blight turf typically need a minimum leaf wetness duration of 10 hours. If you manage turf, dry is a wonderful thing - especially given your schedule. Most core aerification to benefit root growth is timed near Labor Day. Also, areas in need of repair (e.g. summer 2010) were cultivated and seeded without interruption.

For golfers, current conditions might be bitter sweet. Bitter sweet? Some of the hardest and fastest course conditions now exist, yet peak summer play is over. The last time Chicago courses were this dry was sometime in April. Superintendents are in control. Do you hear that? Besides spreaders slinging fertilizer (whiz) or dropping seed (dribble), needed drainage modifications are being installed (draining water sound). Preparations for 2011 have begun. Dry is a good thing.

Click here to view the complete Sept. 17, 2010 Scouting Report. 

Have a great weekend. It feels like fall already...maybe take the time to smell a flower or two...

Derek Settle, PhD
Director of Turfgrass Program
Chicago District Golf Association
11855 Archer Ave
Lemont, IL 60439
P 630.685.2307
F 630.257.2088
The Tuesday we took a trip up Gro Horticultural Enterprises, Inc. to see their nurseries.  Gro Horticultural did the tree transplanting work during the renovation project and has continued to consult for us on many of our trees.  Gro Horticultural specializes in transplanting large trees with 90 inch or 100 inch tree spades.  This fall we will be planting a few new trees to replace ones that have fallen this past year and to establish a new tree in locations where existing trees are declining.

Gro Horticultural visited about a month ago to look at the locations where we wanted to plant trees and gave recommendations about what to plant.  Our trip Tuesday mainly involved see their nurseries, but while we were there we tagged a few of the trees that we will be getting this fall.

This is one of the trees that we tagged.  This is a "Triumph" Elm that will be planted on the right side of the 8th fairway near the first fairway bunker on the right.

This is a "State Street" Maple that will be planted between the the 8th and 12th fairway.

This is on of the "Autumn Fantasy" Maples that will be planted on the left side of nine fairway.

We are planning to get these trees planted by the end of September as recommended by Gro Horticultural.  They will bring the to the property with a 90 inch tree spade with special tires that can be used on the golf course.
The sod work to repair damaged areas in the fairways has been completed.  A few small isolated areas in the roughs will continue to be sodded through the fall.  The sodding used the entire fairway nursery that we maintain at the end of the driving range.  The sodding work done on the greens has used the rest of our green nursery as well.

Both nursery areas have been reseeded to begin the reestablishment process.

The sod is establishing well in the fairways.  A fertilizer application was completed on the fairways and roughs this past Monday and Tuesday.  After this fertilizer begins to work in the fairways, we expect the new seed and sod to mature rapidly.  We have removed some of the ropes that directed cart traffic off of the areas.  We will keep using ropes in these areas as needed.
Sept. 10, 2010 Scouting Report
Beautiful Weather: We smile, Christmas early?, Sub-70 soils, Rapid recovery, Few Issues, Dollar spot and white grubs, Tim promotes, and Nick says, "Powered by Google"

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org
Smiling! "Turned the corner." One superintendent saw it that way this week. Another sent a weekend email and said "Merry Christmas" instead of Happy Labor Day. It was finally over - a long, hot summer. In a week, rapid turfgrass recovery occurred and soil temperatures again read sub-70 degrees. In a week, we reflected on a year that taught us lessons. Those lessons, if heeded correctly, will allow change ... golf course and our abilities can now improve. Quickly the mood changes of those whose lives are tied to another. Ours is tied to one who's first name begins with P. Not Peter, not Paul. Not even a really good golfer whose name begins with P like Petrovic or Poulter (playing the BMW Championship golf tournament across the street). Our friend's first name is "Plant". Usually he wears green colors. Maybe he's Irish? We cannot know. Plant cannot talk. He can smile. What does that look like? Deep roots and Dark green.

If you take care of a golf course, you're smiling. If you take care of a home lawn, you're smiling. If you are taking care of a schoolyard maybe you're NOT smiling (kids have begun to choose the ultimate 'short cut' ...goat trails have begun). Anyhow, we are all happy this week except for that grounds superintendent for USD 329. Deep roots and dark green- the turf is smiling (again).

Click here to view the complete Sept. 10, 2010 Scouting Report.

Have a good weekend and smile?

Derek Settle, PhD
Director of Turfgrass Program
Chicago District Golf Association
11855 Archer Ave
Lemont, IL 60439
P 630.685.2307
F 630.257.2088
The intermediate cut around the fairways  and the walkways from the tee to fairways will be grown out for the fall.  The hill in front of 3 green will be given the same treatment as well.  The thin and damaged areas that are visible now are the result of a disease called summer patch.  Summer patch is more severe in areas with a lower height of cut.  This is evident in the picture on the left.  The taller areas next to the walkway do not show symptoms of the disease.  This disease was highlighted, with a picture of our walkway, in the August 27th Turf Scouting Report.

From Purdue University Extension, Turfgrass Disease Profile:

"The pathogen attacks and colonizes roots and crowns during periods of environmental stress and limited root growth. As a result, infected plants often die, leaving patches of dead turf. Summer patch can be particularly severe on golf greens containing moderate to high proportions of annual bluegrass. Turf killed in midsummer adversely affects playability and ruins turf’s aesthetic appearance.

Summer patch symptoms begin to appear during the heat of summer because infection- impaired roots cannot keep plants alive during periods of heat and drought stress. Initial symptoms resemble small (4-6 inches in diameter) circular or oval patches with an orange-brown color and often occur in clusters. Individual patches expand to more than 12 inches in diameter. After initial disease establishment, patches enlarge in a radial fashion. Most turf damage occurs at the leading edge of the patch. Areas in the center of a patch may fill in with creeping bentgrass, particularly on golf greens, or other turf species in Kentucky bluegrass stands. In turf stands where the disease has been established for several years, the infected areas have field patterns that resemble frog eye patches or arcs and rings of damaged turf. Plants with moderate to severe infection will exhibit a characteristically sparse and necrotic root system.

Infection by the summer patch pathogen is highly dependent on the temperature and moisture status of the soil. When soil temperatures are elevated (75-85°F) and there is ample soil moisture, the summer patch pathogen readily infects and colonizes turf roots. At these temperatures, root growth is slow and no new roots will be initiated until fall. By midsummer, plants with even moderate levels of infection will succumb to heat and drought stress due to impaired root systems."

We have stopped mowing this lower cut for the year to allow for these areas to recover.  These areas have been overseeded.  The height of cut on these areas will be consistent with the surrounding turf.

This is a picture of how these areas looked in July.

We worked at the putting green through most of the day today.  The work involved aerating the green with solid tines, topdressing the green with sand to fill the holes, then overseeding the entire green.

The holes allow for better air exchange between the soil profile and the air outside the green.  Along with air exchange, once these holes are filled with sand, they provide a seed bed for the new seed that was applied.

We applied the sand at a heavier rate than a normal topdressing.  We used the same machine that we use for our normal scheduled topdressing, but the spreader on the back was different.  This spreader drops the sand straight down out of the back of the spreader rather that spreading the sand with a spinner attachment.  Once the putting green was topdressed, the spreader attachment was put back on the topdresser, and our normal scheduled topdressing was completed on the course.

After the topdressing was applied, the sand was worked into the green with push brooms.  Then a light drag mat was used to level off any inconsistencies in the sand.  After the drag mat was finished, seed was applied.

The final act of the day involved fertilizing, then watering.  We used an organic fertilizer on the green, so an odor may be present near the putting green for the next few days.

The putting green will remain closed while the recovery continues.

The course received 1.48 inches of rain late Thursday evening.  It came down very quickly and washed out most of the bunkers.  Water was across the floodway, but doesn't appear to have damaged the seed that has been put down.

When rain washes out our bunkers it requires lots of work to get them back into playing shape.  We had a large crew working in the bunkers on Friday morning.  The work requires removing debris that may have washed in from the surrounding turf.  This debris will cause a dirty look in the bunkers as well as inhibiting drainage over time if it is not removed.  Once the debris is piled and removed, the sand need to be moved back up the slopes and the sand depth checked throughout the bunker surface.

After the work is done, it is raked and ready for play.

A part of the sod work that was started on Thursday was not completed on Friday due to the rain and the wet soil conditions.  This sod work has since been completed.  If you saw this bare ground on Friday, that is the reason for it.
Last week we began sod work on the fairways and greens to repair the larger areas of damaged turf.  Our overseeding of the fairways is completed and we have germination of the seed that was applied.  We are sodding the larger areas of damaged turf to expedite the recovery process.  Most of the fairway sod work is completed at this point.  This week we have our sights set on the largest areas of damaged turf which are located along the floodway in 2 fairway and 9 fairway, and the larger areas in 5 fairway.

Our resident expert on green sod, Conny, work on a few of the areas on greens last week.  All of the areas that will be sodded on the greens are completed.

We expect to have the fairway sod work done this week.  Once those areas are completed we have a few areas on the roughs that we will begin work on.  The areas in the rough are not extensive, but include the spots where tree stumps were ground earlier this year, and a few other isolated spots.
Sept. 3, 2010 Scouting Report
It's September, It's Labor Day Weekend: Dry conditions peak, Roughs go dormant, Mosquito spray, Summer patch, Mystery patch, Type 1 Fairy Ring, Pythium blight, Tim's Poa control data, and Nick says "wordpress" 

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org 
Lucky number 18? It turns out weathermen run statistics at the end of each month. We now know Chicago's recent June to August period was the 18th hottest and 18th wettest. Other regions were similar and some even hotter. For example, the Chicago Tribune recently reported on Central Park's temperature in New York City. "For June through August, the historic average for Central Park is 73.9 degrees, and it was 77.8 this year. The previous record high was 77.3 in 1966." Another historic meteorological average blown out of the water. In my mind 2010 comes down to two items. 1) Extreme: Record breaking temperatures and large precipitation totals. 2) Consistent: Weather parameters (e.g., temperature and relative humidity) can be very different week to week. It keeps us on our toes and is why I write weekly reports. However, a big record in Chicago was all about being consistent (i.e., longest stretch of 80+ days ever recorded). Entire swaths of the country also suffered the same persistent heat and humidity as well as flooding. That kind of consistency just devastates plant health. Plants adapted to cool climates need an occasional break in summer heat. It allows recovery and replenish food reserves (root carbohydrate store). Summer 2010 gave few breaks in the heat and our turf still shows it (no roots), increasingly so does the landscape (premature leaf drop). Not-so-lucky number 18!

Click here for the September 3rd Turf Scouting Report
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