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January 2009

Another year has passed. I hope everyone had a great Christmas, with lots of presents and good cheer. Happy New Year to everyone! The highlight of this winter will be our March Turf Conference and Trade Show. Your attendance is a must and your club cannot miss this opportunity to send you.

I suppose the biggest topic this winter is the cold, cold weather. On top of that, we had an old fashion blizzard New Year’s Eve. I thought it was bad in Saskatoon but I understand it was a lot worse in the southern areas of the province.

Here is a tip to consider this spring.
Greens may have lost some of their shape or have grown smaller due to cautious operators. Spring is the time to cut into the apron and re-outline the green to its original configuration. If the changes are significant you may have to use a paint gun to get the best outline. Cutting into the apron at greens height is a drastic measure and should only be done in the spring when the grass plant has an inner drive to recreate and is able to recover from severe scalping. At any other time of the year such treatment will result in instant death of the grass plant. If you don’t operate the mower yourself it would be a good idea to supervise the first cut.

Here is another tip. There are times when a regular green cannot or should not be played on. On such occasions the ingenuity of the superintendent is called on to create a temporary green. If the temporary green is to be used for only a couple of days it is a simple matter of cutting one into the fairway and moving the pin from the regular green. A sign explaining the reason for the temporary green is advisable and it is best to place the sign on the tee of the hole that’s under repair.

I have a tough time with this one – Did you know snow isn’t white? Snow is made up of ice crystals, looking more like clear glass. As snowflakes pile up the light is reflected and the colors scatter, making it appear white … really!

This is a fact – trees sequester carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the air. Every acre of Christmas trees grown provides daily oxygen for 18 people.

It looks like New Brunswick plans to follow Ontario’s lead
in banning pesticides and that golf, for now, will be granted exemption status. Like it happens in every province and city, little warning was given about meetings to the industry people. I wonder how the environmental groups get all the information before hand.

William Gathercole, a writer with Turf and Recreation, wonders what’s wrong with everybody. The Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act is the greatest disaster to befall the green space industry. Even the golf course industry is in grave jeopardy, in spite of its current exemption status. He also says the CGSA and Landscape Ontario must defend the industry, whatever the cost may be.

Jim Ross, our Fall Wind-up presenter,
attended the American Society of Agronomy meetings in Houston, Texas. Those meetings are held annually and are an opportunity for researchers to present their recent findings. This year there were 95 oral presentations and 67 poster presentations.

Water use in Las Vegas – researchers found that 60% of all water used in Las Vegas was for residential use and that 70% of that water was used for irrigation of residential landscapes. And this from Penn State – research conducted at this prestigious University found that supplementing iron with intermediate nitrogen applications fostered darker green color without increasing clipping production. These nutrients were applied as foliar applications.

Are golfers at risk to Pesticides? The answer is no. There is no scientific evidence that golfers face any chronic health risk from pesticides used to maintain golf courses. Once a liquid product is applied and the turfgrass is dry or the product has been watered in, there is very little chance of exposure to golfers or others who enter the area. Having said that, it is worth noting that a small percentage of people may be allergic to certain products, just as some are allergic to household cleaners, soaps or perfumes.

If you are going to apply pesticides it’s a good idea to warn all golfers with a sign at the first tee a couple of days prior to the application. Tell them the product used and, more importantly, the product’s ingredients. Golfers who may have possible chemical allergies can then stay away on the day of the application.

A New Year’s resolution for all Turf Managers –
a big box of tolerance to deal with golfers who don’t have the common sense to repair ballmarks, replace divots and act responsibly while on the golf course. Remember, if you talk to them, take a deep breath and count to 10 beforehand!

Had a very nice Christmas card
from the boys at Shellview Sod Farms. I’m going to take a trip this summer to visit them and to see their operation first hand. People tell me they have a first class facility and product. They have five STA memberships.

Chairman Kevin Bloski and his Committee are hard at work planning the Saskatchewan Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show, slated for March 22 to the 24th, 2009. The Trade Show and Educational program will be second to none. The Conference will be geared to turfgrass maintenance on the prairies and is a must for all turf managers to attend. You won’t regret it so register now.

Over the holidays and laid up with a serious case of the “Gout”, I browsed through a slew of turf books for reference in future newsletters. I found a number of good quotes, among them this one from Jim Beard: “More than 70% of golf course acreage is rough and non play area. This area includes turfgrass, trees and water features. Grasses, shrubs, flowers and trees make up secondary rough and perimeter areas. This integrated landscape can support a diverse wildlife population.”

Patrick Gross of the USGA Green Section says this: “Golfers will tell you bunkers are always ‘too’ something … too hard, too soft, too wet, too dry, too shallow, too rocky, too deep, etc.” Mr. Gross says “too bad.” Bunkers are hazards and hazards don’t have to be consistent. He goes on to say something is seriously wrong when courses are spending more money and time maintaining bunkers than greens.

Last year I predicted correctly that finding capable and loyal staff would be difficult. I do not think that will change for 2009. Everyone will find that reliable older retired people will be easier to recruit. You may find they may not want to work 40 hours per week so you’ll have to work harder when scheduling them. One way to entice them is to give them free golf on certain days.

In a very short while we will be having our first
Board of Directors meeting with our new Board. Among many of the topics on the agenda will be, or course, the March Conference and Trade Show, the location of the 2009 Research Tournament and a STA representative for the CGSA.

More in this category: « December 2008 February 2009 »

About the STA

  • Saskatchewan's Turfgrass Association, founded in 1979, is a non-profit organization. The S.T.A. was organized by a group of Turfgrass Professionals which has grown to include people from Parks, Golf Courses, Sod Growers, Cities and Commercial Companies.