Friday, June 28, 2013

Storms and Flooding

Heavy rains last night (about 2 inches of rain fell at LPGC) has created some issues this morning. Traver Creek is running very high and flooding has made me eliminate the use of carts for today.

#1 green has a new water hazard.

Also, the large tree at the left corner of #4 fairway was toppled last night. This will dramatically change the hole, but the tree was not in good shape and we have been planning for it's demise for a couple of years. You can't replace a tree this size immediately, but steps will be taken soon to minimize how to hole plays.

#4 from the tee.

A closer look.

You can see the small amount of roots. This lead to the tree not being stable enough to withstand last night's wind. Also, the core of the trunk is rotting. You can also see how the bark is ripped off the front of the tree and many marks from where golf balls have struck the tree.

Looking at #4 fairway from #5 tee.

Of course, this guy was surfing a matteress about 1 mile away from the golf course on the other side of the Broadway bridge.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hydraulic Leak

On Monday, June 17th, our greens mower suffered a hydraulic leak in one of the hoses that run the cutting units. This happened on #1 green. Leslie Park uses a hydraulic oil that is not petroleum based. This makes the chance of a hydraulic leak killing the grass a little smaller, but often the culprit is the heat from the oil as much as the oil itself.

Since the leak happened on #1 green and the morning was relatively cool, I had hoped that the grass would recover from the leak. This past weekend, I determined that the grass was damaged enough to replace it with sod from the practice green.

Here is the leak. Unfortunately, it was right in the middle of the green, lined up with the fairway.

The leak a couple of days latter.

We used a sod cutter to run a strip right over the leak.

Sod is rolled up from the practice green and ready to be transferred to #1.

We are half done with laying the strip of new sod down. You can see the sand we put down under the sod to help level the new sod to the playing surface.

Almost done with the sod. We put sand down along the seams to fill and true the surface. This was then brushed into the turf.

Ready for play.

The sod strip three days latter. Slightly different fertility levels between the practice green and #1 green account for the difference in color. That will be rectified when we next fertilize.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gypsy Moth Caterpillars

Some of you may have noticed the large numbers of caterpillars in the oaks near #9 tee. These are the larvae of the Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) and the have nearly defoliated some of the oak trees between # 6 tee and #9.
The brown looking trees in the middle of the frame have almost no leaves left.

I talked with the City of Ann Arbor's Urban Forest Planner, Kerry Gray, and looked at the trees. She noticed that a lot of the caterpillars had been infected with Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus (NPV)  or Entomophaga Maimaiga (EM.) These two infections should keep the infestation of gypsy moths from getting out of control. 

NPV is a naturally occurring virus that spreads through colonies of Gypsy Moths. Infected caterpillars hang from the tree in an inverted v position. It is also the so-called "Zombie Virus." According to wikipedia,
 Zombie caterpillars is a fanciful description of the behavior of Lymantria dispar dispar infected with NPV. National Geographic described the gruesome effect of NPV; "The virus forces the "zombie" caterpillars to climb trees, where the invader eventually liquefies its hosts' bodies into a dripping goo."  Many news sources also reported the zombie-like effect of the caterpillar, stemming from the virus's ability to hijack the behavior and liquefy the caterpillar in order to spread the infection.

The fungus Entomophaga Maimaiga (EM) is an introduced pathogen of Gypsy Moths. That causes the caterpillars to turn rock hard and hang from the tree in a head-down posture.

Here you can see dead caterpillars hanging in both positions.

An oak with hundreds of dead caterpillars on the trunk.

This tree has a few more gypsy moths.

Kerry said that the trees will likely push out new leaves and should be okay. The only caveat would be if we have another extremely dry summer. In that case, we might have to water these trees in order to keep them as healthy as possible.

Looking up at the canopy of one of the oak along #9 tee.

This is all that is left of the leaves.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Grand Re-Opening

The City of Ann Arbor, in partnership with the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office, recently completed a streambank stabilization project on Traver Creek, extending through the Leslie Park Golf Course.

The public is invited to see and learn how the improvements benefit water quality, the environment, and enhance the golfing experience at the award winning Leslie Park Golf Course. The grand opening event takes place Saturday, June 22, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 and will feature tours, games, and refreshments.

The scope of this project included Traver Creek being regraded, stabilized and naturalized. This project will alleviate downstream flooding, and address bank erosion as well as reduction of the phosphorus load in Traver Creek, a tributary to the Huron River. In addition, there was an opportunity to create an area with native wetland plantings to establish an inline constructed wetland. This project is a partnership between the city and the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office. Departments within the city that worked collaboratively include Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation, Natural Area Preservation and Water Quality Management.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Radio Interview on WEMU

 This week I was fortunate to represent the City of Ann Arbor on "Issues of the Environment" on WEMU (89.1 FM.) It aired on the morning of Wednesday, June 5th. I was asked to come on the show to talk about some of the environmental initiatives we are undertaking at Leslie Park and Huron Hills golf courses. There is a common misconception that golf courses are not environmentally friendly and I was excited to showcase some of the practices that we are engaging in at the city, as well as informing the listeners about some of the newest trends in the golf course maintenance industry.

I also touched on the, recently completed, Traver Creek Restoration Project and the benefits the project will have for the Huron River as well as Leslie Park Golf Course.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking HERE (Issues of the Environment).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

May 2013 Weather Summary

Leslie Park Golf Course had 1.97 inches of rain. Most of this  fell in the last 10 days of the month as the first three weeks saw only 0.31 inches. The largest daily rain event was just 0.38 inches (May 31.) Nine days had at least a trace of rain while eight had at least a tenth of an inch.

The highest temperature recorded at the golf course was 89.2 degrees (20th) while the lowest was 27.6 (May 13th.) Hopefully, the date of the last frost was on the 26th. While the official temperature was 35 degrees, we still saw patchy frost in the low lying areas.

The highest sustained windspeed was 31 mph (May 22nd) and the average was 3.7.