Friday, March 29, 2013

Project Update #10

The weather has finally started to turn and work on the Traver Creek project is progressing nicely. The spoil areas are starting to be finished and prepped for seed. The seeding of some areas should begin on Saturday. The contractor added a rock wall to the left of #18 green. This will give the hole some relief for shots that go long on the finishing hole.

The new berm along Traver Road get power raked.

With the delay in spring warm-up, the opening of the back 9 of the course has been delayed for two weeks. We are now targeting Friday, April 12th. 

Soil temperatures are just under 40 degrees. There is also frost about 4 inches down. This frost prevents the water at the surface of the green from draining. This means the surface is very soft and any traffic on the greens will rut the surface and ruin the smooth surface we work all year long to perfect. We are hopeful that the front 9 will be open be the middle of next week. Huron Hills is open, however, so feel free to play at our sister course. Call 734-794-6246 to make your tee time.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Traver Creek Project Update #9

It has been a while since I have updated this project. The reason for this is the weather. The temperatures are at or below freezing and that has slowed down the progress. Things are starting to turn around now, so here are some pictures.

The trees have arrived!

Unloading the trees.

Digging the holes for the new trees on #11.

A hole ready for the tree that is right next it.

Trees for the mound next to the north pond. (#17)

A video of the rootball digger.

Working hard on a cold and snowy first day of spring.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ann Arbor Learning Commmunity Duck Nests

Earlier this winter, Leslie Park Golf Course was able to help Ann Arbor Learning Community (a local charter school) with Annie's Big Nature Lesson. You can read about Tracey Marchyok and Mr.Dorn's 4th - 5th grade class experience HERE.

On Thursday, March 7th, Wendy Nagle had her class over to the clubhouse to complete the service part of the program. We decided to have the students help build Mallard Duck Nesting Tubes. I got the idea from another golf course blog that I follow, Bear Trace at Harrison Club, in Tennessee.

The tubes are made from 2 inch by 3 inch "chicken wire" rolled into a 12 inch diameter tube. Then some pinestraw is placed around the tube and rolled into a protective barrier for the fledgling ducks. The tubes will be placed in the water to give the ducks a safe place to raise their young.

The kids got into the project with a lot of enthusiasm, as you can see.

When completed, the tubes will be placed on the ponds on #8, #12 and #17. They should look similar to this...

After constructing the tubes, the kids burn off some energy walking back to the science center by rolling and sliding down the hill.

Monday, March 4, 2013

5 and a half steps to a healthier lawn.

Last week, I gave a small seminar to local homeowners on ways they can improve their lawns. The lecture took place at the Leslie Science and Nature Center. I thought that it would be a natural extension of this to post the lecture notes that i handed out and expand on them, just a little. The outline is in RED.

1) Mowing. Everyone mows, here are some hints to make it easier on your lawn.

      a) Keep mower blades sharp. The mower blade basically hacks the grass off. The sharper the blade, the cleaner the cut. This makes it less likely to be attacked be fungus and keeps moisture loss to a minimum.

      b) Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade. The grass uses the leaf to turn sunshine into energy. Removing too much at any one time stresses the plant out unnecessarily.

      c) Set mower at 3-4 inches high.

               i) This promotes a larger, deeper root system.

                      (1) Which in turn makes the grass more drought tolerant.

                      (2) And also more resistant to grubs.

               ii) Provides weed control. By shading the ground, weed seeds do not have the chance to germinate.

2) Do not remove clippings or leaves.

     a) Get a mulching blade kit for a rotary mower.

     b) Returning clippings and leaves means less need for fertilizer.

     c) Unfortunately, you may need to mow more often to keep your lawn looking nice.

     d) Returning clippings to the lawn DOES NOT increase thatch. Studies at Michigan State and other universities have shown that thatch is composed of roots, rhizomes and stolons, not leaf tissue.

3) Get a soil test.

     a) $25.00 from Michigan State Extension Office.


     c) The Washtenaw extension office is located at 705 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, 48107

4) Fertilize in Spring and Fall.

     a) Nitrogen - Phosphate – Potassium These are the three "Macronutrients" in plant science. They are the numbers you see on a bag of fertilizer.

     b) Do not use phosphate unless soil test shows a need. A state law went into effect in 2012 that limits phosphorous usage.

    c) Know the square footage of your yard and use the correct amount. It should say on the bag how much area the bag will treat.

    d) Around 1 pound of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet at each fertilization. Recommendations range from 2-6 pounds a year. The high range mostly effects appearance, not plant health. Also, over-fertilizing makes the grass grow more. This means more mowing and can also lead to more disease pressure.

5) Water only when needed. Turn off automatic irrigation off after rains.

     a) Pay attention to the weatherman, but only for a couple of days. More than a couple of days out and the weather forecasting gets pretty sporadic.

    b) Leslie Park has a weather station.

             i) Records amounts of rain, solar energy, windspeed and humidity.

            ii) Combines these readings to calculate evapotranspiration rate. (ET) I use this to determine if and how much irrigation to have in a night.

            iii) This website will estimate ET for your area.

            iv)  Our weather station is linked to Weather Underground and provides real-time updates.  (Weather station ID – KMIANNAR33)

      c) Deep, infrequent watering is better than shallow, nightly irrigation. It helps to promote a larger root mass.

      d) Brown grass is not always dead grass. Most grasses will go dormant in the summer.

      e) One indication that your grass needs water is “footprinting.” When you walk on your lawn, if your foot prints don't disappear, the grass needs water.


       a) Never a bad idea.

       b)Usually not needed on a home lawn. Aeration is used to combat compaction. Most home lawns don't see a lot of traffic.

Friday, March 1, 2013

February 2013 Weather Summary

The highest temperature recorded at Leslie Park Golf Course during February 2013 was 47.6 degrees on the 18th. The lowest temperature recorded was 0.0 degrees, on the 3rd. The average was 26.7 degrees. On 11 days, the high temperature reached above freezing. The low temperature was 32 degrees on 26 of the 28 days in the month. For comparison, in 2012, the daily high temperature for the month of February was above freezing on all but two days.

The total precipitation for the month was 1.52 inches. A fair amount of this was in the form of snow and is only recorded when it later melts. The maximum amount of daily rain was 0.24 inches (Feb 6th.)

The average wind speed was 4.7 miles per hour. On February 11th, the weather station recorded the highest wind gust for the month at 31 mph.