Golf Course Management

APR 2013

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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research nevertheless, was maintained continuously from May 20 to Oct. 29, and 14 different species of wildfowers came into bloom. Five wildfowers were particularly dominant and remained in bloom for most of the feld season: lance-leaved coreopsis, plains coreopsis, black-eyed Susan, sweet black-eyed Susan and New England aster. In addition, several wildfowers made very strong, though ephemeral, showings; these included bergamot, prairie conefower and lavender hyssop. Others appeared sporadically in patchy distributions throughout the growing season. We expect the blooming wildfowers of 2012 to reappear more strongly in 2013. Also, species such as Eastern columbine, Ohio spiderwort, and smooth penstemon that lie dormant for a year before blooming should begin appearing by spring 2013. Pollinator numbers, too, were doubtlessly affected by the severe drought of summer 2012. Although the collections are still being identifed and tabulated, the most abundant groups of native pollinators included small, often colorful, solitary bees (Halictidae and Andrenidae), yellow and brown-striped fower fies (Syrphidae) (whose larvae are benefcial predators of aphids and other insect pests) and several species of native bumblebees. Although it has been diffcult to elucidate differences between wildfower mixes at this early stage, the hand collections revealed that two species — lance-leaved coreopsis and black-eyed Susan — are strong, sustained bloomers that are highly attractive to a wide range of pollinators, particularly the small wild bees. So far, bergamot and wild sunfower have attracted the most bumblebees, and plains coreopsis is especially popular with the fower fies. Signifcance to the industry Much of the U.S. public views golf courses as incompatible with environmental conservation. Current industry initiatives seek to correct that misconception. The USGA Wildlife Links Program encourages superintendents to "establish native fowering plants to ensure availability of pollen and nectar throughout the growing season" (8). Our project will provide specifcs about which mixes to use and how best to establish them and will also document their benefts. The Operation Pollinator plots we have established on central Kentucky golf courses should provide much more information by the end of 2013, and those fndings will be communicated in a future article. Hopefully, the fndings will help golf superintendents who wish to establish pollinator-friendly habitats on their own courses for conservation, public relations and outreach education. We hope that the Operation Pollinator initiative eventually will be implemented on North American golf courses, as it already has been in Europe. Acknowledgments We would like to thank the University of Kentucky Nursery Endowment Fund and Dr. Julie Dionne, Dr. Simon Watson and Dr. Stephen Sanborn of Syngenta for their fnancial and intellectual support and Sharon Bale of the University of Kentucky and Diane Wilson of Applewood Seed Co. for their assistance in selecting wildfower species. We would also like to thank the following superintendents for donating space on their golf courses: Jerry Ducker, Lexington Country Club; Scott Bender, CGCS, Griffn Gate Golf Club; Jeff Harris, CGCS, Kearney Hill Golf Links; Jeff Benedict, University Club of Kentucky; and Dan Snelling, Lakeside Golf Course. Operation Pollinator, Fusilade II and Primo Maxx are trademarks of Syngenta Group Co. Literature cited 1. Brame, R.A. Tall grass rough or natural rough? North-Central Region Update. Online. USGA Green Section Record 50 (12). June 8, 2012. ( northcentral/Tall-Grass-Rough%E2%80%A6Or-Natural-Rough) Accessed Feb. 22, 2013. 2. Carvell, C. 2006. Declines in forage availability for bumblebees at a national scale. Biological Conservation 132:481-489. 3. Gross, P., and T. Eckenrode. 2012. Turf reduction template: A guideline for reducing turf acreage while maintaining golf course quality. Online. USGA Green Section Record 50(12). June 8, 2012. ( pdf) Accessed Feb. 22, 2013. 4. Jepsen, S., E. Mader and S. Hoffman Black. 2011. Bumblebee conservation: Protecting North America's disappearing pollinators. Xerces Society. Online. ( Accessed Feb. 22, 2013. 5. Monarch Butterfy Website. Helping Monarch Butterfies (Conservation). ( Accessed Feb. 22, 2013. 6. Operation Pollinator. 2010. Bringing the golf course to life: Guidelines for successful establishment and management of wildfower habitat on golf courses. Syngenta, Cambridge, England. 7. Snow, J.T., and K.S. Erusha. 2006. Wildlife Links: Improving Golf's Environmental Game. USGA Green Section, Far Hills, N.J. 8. Tanner, R.A., and A.C. Gange. 2005. Effects of golf courses on local biodiversity. Landscape and Urban Planning 71:137-146. GCM In this study, fower fies (shown on plains coreopsis) were particularly abundant in summer 2012. Their larvae are predators of aphids and other insect pests. Photo by Emily Dobbs V v v The research says ➔ Native pollinators are threatened by habitat loss, but golf courses can provide habitat in naturalized areas. ➔ Following the example of a program established in the U.K. in 2010, six naturalized areas were set up on golf courses in Kentucky. ➔ Three different wildflower mixes were planted and evaluated for bloom sequence, coverage and relative attractiveness to pollinators. ➔ Despite severe heat and drought in 2012, bloom coverage was maintained through October, and several species of native pollinators visited the sites. ➔ This project will provide information about which mixes to use, how to establish them and the benefits of providing pollinator habitat. Emily Dobbs is a graduate student and Daniel A. Potter ( is a professor in the department of entomology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. April 2013 GCM 103

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