Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pond Drama

If you have played recently, you may have noticed that the pond on #8 is really low. Upon inspection, we discovered a 4 inch hole in the overflow drain. This drain takes any excess water to Traver Creek. Unfortunately, the leak was about 18 inches below where we would normally want the pond. We got the new plastic drain pipe the other day an d that enabled us to replace the faulty pipe.

Here you can see how much the pond level had dropped (and the new elbow)

After we dug around the old pipe...

we had to cut it.

The old section. You can see the hole, right where the two sections were joined together.

Overflow fixed and waiting for rain to fill the pond back up.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice

Today is the longest day of the year. It marks the official start of summer. As I type this, it is 87 degrees with a heat index of 90. Today's high temperature is expected to be 93. The lowest temperature over the last two days was 69, while the dew point is hovering around the mid-sixties.

It is summer and also time to watch out for turf diseases. The most damaging disease when it is hot and humid is pythium blight (Pythium aphanidermatum.) According to Michigan State University Turf Diseases ID site, pythium first appears as circular reddish brown spots in the turf, ranging in diameter from 1 to 6 in. In the morning dew, infected leaf blades appear water soaked and dark and may feel slimy. When spots are wet with dew, purplish gray or white cottony fungal mycelia can be seen on the outer margins of the spots. Infected grass plants collapse quickly, and when conditions are conducive, spots may coalesce and large areas of turf can be lost in a short period of time (overnight). Pythium blight is a good saprophyte, and survives in the thatch and soil as a water mold until proper conditions occur for it to become pathogenic. As a warm-weather disease of cool season grasses, the disease is most destructive when temperatures are between 85° and 95° F (29.4° - 35° C). When evening temperatures average 68° F or higher, outbreaks will typically first appear in low areas, or poorly drained areas where soil moisture is maintained. Humid periods further favor disease development.

Because of the possibility of this disease, night time watering is on hold until the weather breaks. This will allow me to check the areas to be watered for pythium. We are trying to keep the humidity down as much as possible in the turf canopy in order to keep disease at bay. Also, you may notice us dragging the fairways in the mornings. This is to clear the turf of dew, which can help discourage the dollar spot fungus (Sclerotinia homeocarpa.)

On a totally different note, here are some monarch butterfly caterpillars that I saw on some common milkweed the other day. They are Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) larvae.

Notice the large hole that has been chewed in the milkweed leaf.

There are several caterpillars on this plant.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bank Pin Monitoring for the Traver Creek Project

As part of the Traver Creek (See Here) project scheduled to happen this winter, bank pins were installed along the creek.

These pins are intended to monitor erosion along Traver Creek.  They were installed on April 24th, 2012. Last week, I went out to check on the pins and take some pictures. As some background, the pins are 3/8 inch diameter rebar that was pounded into the banks at select areas along the creek. The pins were placed at 1 foot intervals above the water level. If the banks start to erode, the pins become more exposed.

The measurements showed no erosion. This is not unexpected at this point, since we have only had 1.9 inches of precipitation since they were installed. The maximum rainfall event was 0.52 inches. Over a six-week period, this is not a lot of rain and most erosion would be expected to occur after large (over 1.0 inches in 24 hours) rain events. In non-golf course areas, these types of bank pins are monitored quarterly, so it is not surprising to not see any erosion at this point.

Here are some pictures.

The rebar is tipped with yellow plastic caps.

A better picture of the caps.

Another area with three pins above the water line.

For more information on the Traver Creek project, visit

Monday, June 4, 2012

May 2012 Weather Summary

A few days late, but better late than never.

The story of May was rain, or rather, the lack of rain. Total rainfall for the month was 1.10 inches. It would have been under an inch, but overnight on the 31st, we had 0.27 inches of rain, 0.11 inches of which fell before midnight. Just to give you some perspective, the average rainfall for May in Ann Arbor is 2.89 inches. The monthly average for July is 1.84 inches. For the year, we are at 7.53 inches of rain. In 2011 we had 6.77 inches of rain in May alone. 2012 had 7 days of rain, with 6 of those days having more than a tenth of an inch. The most rain recorded was 0.23 inches on May 26th.

The high temperature for the month was 91.8 degrees Fahrenheit while the lowest temperature was 37.8. Average temperature was 63.6. We had one day above 90 (28th, Memorial Day)

The highest wind speed was 28.0 mph, recorded on the 3rd. Average wind speed was 2.7 mph.

All the sun and lack of rain has made for good golf conditions. I do hope that we get some more rain, though. Maybe it can all come at night...