Heavy rains throughout the month of September ended the drought conditions for the moment at Nemadji and while we welcome the relief, we would prefer that the rain events would not be so heavy. For the month of September we received well over 9 inches of rain (historical average for September is 3.43”). As we all know, Nemadji is an inherently poorly drained site with its lack of surface drainage and so we struggle to keep up with the mowing with such wet conditions. Indeed, we are just now beginning to truly get a handle on the work. Adding to this challenge is the lack of a hard frost to slow down growth and the reduced staffing levels that come with being this late in the year.
What wet conditions give us though is an opportunity to perform other types of work as staff can perform other tasks when it is too wet to safely operate tractor units. One such chore is the removal of dead trees on the golf course.
The number of dead trees at Nemadji is staggering. In a count performed about two weeks ago, there are currently 118 dead trees on the golf course. This is after we have removed close to 100 dead/dying/dangerous trees already in the past three years. Most of these trees (about 80%) are ash trees planted, judging by their size, about 30 to 40 years ago. These trees are almost all dead or in the process of dying due to an insect pest called the Emerald Ash Borer. The picture below shows the trunk of a tree I dropped on 13S this morning:
Note the channels bored into the trunk of the tree in this severe infestation. Much like Dutch Elm Disease took out the American Elm in the 70s and 80s, this pest has pretty much made ash trees a liability wherever they are planted. The lesson to be learned here is that in a tree planting program, be sure to mix up the species of trees planted in order to reduce the risk of this kind of situation developing.
In the past month, we have as a staff removed 24 trees on the golf course. The City of Superior will be assisting in this task in November by removing dead trees along our entrance road as well as by 10W and 11S. This is a pretty big undertaking but I feel pretty good about our ability to get this handled within the next year or so. Always something that needs to be done on this site.
Some of you may have noticed during the last few weeks that we resumed our deep tine aerification process on fairways. This procedure has worked wonders on these horribly compacted fairways which are now actually making the transformation from weeds and weak grass to golf course turf. After the initial process the last few years with ¾” solid tines, we upgraded to an even more impressive 1” diameter tine.
The larger tines do create a noticably larger hole than the ¾” one and I am okay with that as this is a much more thorough job. Some minor disruption yes, but this is not a putting surface and it is October. This work is important for the long-term health of the facility, needs to be done, and our window of opportunity to perform this job is not so big considering the other work that needs doing on the golf course before winter closes in.
Lots more to this job than running a lawn mower.
See you on the golf course.