Sunday, April 22, 2012

Black greens, yellow flags and cream caterpillars.

I'm sure many of you have noticed the three greens that appear black, the yellow flags scattered throughout both courses, and the hoards of cream colored caterpillars on some of the greens. Fortunately, these items are completely unrelated.

The black greens are indeed just that, and are completely healthy and pest free. In an effort to speed recovery of #6, 7, & 8 greens, I have been topdressing them with black sand this spring. Black sand was used to soak up the sun's warmth and raise soil temperatures quicker than normal. It has worked wonderfully as these three greens have really filled in since last fall and have averaged 6-10 degrees warmer than the rest of the greens.

The yellow flags are guidelines for my rough mowers. As part of our progress toward Audubon International certification we are letting several of the out-of-play portions of both courses grow up as natural areas. Advantages to this include improved quality of runoff water, wildlife habitat, decreased labor costs and less fuel usage. I will elaborate more in another post to answer some of the questions and concerns that will certainly arise.

The cream caterpillars are a relatively new pest in turf management and are an invasive species known as the European Crane Fly. The native variety of crane fly is not a pest for turf, but the European Crane Fly, first noticed in western New York about 10 years ago has become quite a problem recently. Fortunately, highly maintained turf can sustain relatively high populations, 15-50 larvae per sq ft, without too much concern of damage. We are within this range but are treating for them now before they become more of an issue later on when they are more mature and harder or control.

As always, I am available to answer question and concerns regarding these and any other topics by giving me a call at my office or through email.

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