Friday, March 26, 2010

Environmental Planning

Recently we received our Certificate in environmental planning from the Audubon International.
This certificate means that the information and plans that we submitted to Audubon were approved and we can now start implementing these plans over the next few years. The Pinery Country Club is now one step closer to becoming a Certified Audubon Sanctuary. If you want to know more about Audubon International for golf courses go to this link

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back to Back

Over the last week we have received two back to back spring snow storms. The first was on the 20th of March where we totaled 6 inches and the last spring storm on March 24th dumped over 12 inches in less than 12 hours. That's our wild Colorado spring weather. We don't expect this snow to last long since it is going to be in the upper 50's on Thursday. I just hope we catch a break in the weather in April when we start aerification.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wildflower Plantings

With the upcoming snow storm we took advantage of the planed moisture and planted all of our wildflower seed this week. We planted close to 75 pounds of seed and covered more than 80,000 sq feet at various rates from 1lb/m to 1.5lb/m depending on the area. To apply the seed we mix it in with a ground brand product from a local farm & feed store. The brand is a great carrier for the seed since we apply it at such low rates over a large area. When we pick a area to seed we measure out the total square foot we want wildflowers and weigh out the appropriate amount of seed to apply. Then we thoroughly mix the seed with the brand and use a broadcast spreader to apply the seed. Once the seed is down we rake or till in the seed making sure to get good seed soil contact. Now we just wait for the moisture and some warmer weather to promote germination. As of now it looks like our timing was spot on we are expecting 7-12 inches of snow and warmer weather after the snow passes. Lets just cross our fingers for the perfect conditions for some more wildflowers.

The seed mixed with brand

Applying the seed

Raking in the seed

Some good seed soil contact

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Vole Damage

The Dreaded Vole or so called Meadow mouse or Field mouse can cause extensive turf damage under extended snow cover . As we all know each spring every home owner with a lawn has Vole damage. But just imagine if you had a front lawn that covered over 115 acres! Well that is what we have to deal with every spring on the golf course. Most of the damage that the Vole creates is in our rough where deep snow lingers in pockets most of the winter. The Vole eats a variety of plant life but mostly grass, and they do not hibernate they stay active all year. We typical see the most Vole damage in the spring when the snow melts. This damages resembles a surface runway or burrow system with many burrow openings into the ground. Once the snow is gone it is time to get out and repair the turf that is damaged . One of the things we do is to rake up the entire area that has damage and fill the runways with a soil seed mixture. Be sure to do this in late March or early April when we have some good moisture in the ground. This will give the seed time to germinate. One of the only ways to prevent Vole damage is to map out the areas every year to see if there is a pattern. If a pattern starts to develop a simple application of a organic rodent repellent, Capsaicin ( the hot in chili) or Zinc phosphide in late fall before snow cover will help that area. The problem is that patterns year to year change because our snow cover can be different every winter. If you have the time and energy traps work as well ( good luck). In the end this small rodent is one of those creatures we just have to deal with and hope for the best when spring arrives.

Damage in the rough from the Vole

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Big Melt

This last week we have had a ton of melting going on. With temp's in the mid to upper 50's there isn't much snow left on the course. We do however still have some areas with significant snow cover, mostly our northern exposures. Some of these areas have over 15 inches of snow that has build up over the winter. With the warm weather this week we had the opportunity to remove the snow since it had softened. Over the winter we have been monitoring these areas for ice cover and any turf damage due to the extended snow cover. Fortunately we never saw any ice or turf damage, but it is now time to start pulling off the snow. With the turf peeking through the melting has rapidly increased, some areas have little or no cover now. And so far the turf underneath looks very healthy.

Sand Pro with modified ATV plow

#5 Mountain course

Most of the areas in this picture had 8 to 15 inches
of snow cover over the winter.

Close up of the fairway

This was after 15 inches of snow was removed.
Once we removed most of the snow the melting increased.