Golf Course Management

JUL 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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Page 69 of 119

Top: Narrow, wire-based materials are not appropriate for staking. Bottom: Staking isn't always necessary. At windswept sites, wide pieces of fabric should be used for staking trees. ing area is best to use as backfll for the new tree or shrub. Just as soil amendments should be avoided, adding nutrients at planting time is usually counterproductive as well. Woody roots tend to be stunted as a result of coming into contact with fertilizer in the planting area. If the area is known to be of low fertility, it's a good idea to test the soil to determine which nutrients (and in which form) should be added in later years. Though it may seem obvious, constrictions such as burlap, pressed peat moss, string and cording should be removed from the root mass. The purpose of these materials is to keep the ball intact until arrival at the planting site; unfortunately, all will increase the odds of restricting the expansion of the root system. Unless the site is particularly windswept, staking is not necessary. The two most important guidelines for staking are to use a wide material to wrap around the trunk and to attach it loosely so that the trunk is allowed to sway lightly in the wind. Proper staking — if needed at all — encourages good lateral root growth and decreases the likelihood that a tree will become dependent on the stake. Appropriate wrapping materials greatly reduce the chance of damage to the bark. Pieces of canvas, old T-shirts, bicycle inner tubes, pieces of drapery and recycled golf green fags work well to prevent damage. Pruning prevention Once trees and shrubs are established, small problems can be prevented from becoming larger ones by implementing sound pruning practices. Good pruning starts with the identifcation of suspect stems and branches. The ones that are most likely to cause a problem are rubbing and crossing, growing downward, are parallel to each other and are arranged in a co-dominant fashion. Removing one leader of a co-dominant stem in the frst year of a tree's life will prevent breakage and damage to the important targets underneath the tree — people and property. It will also initiate the compartmentalization process, isolating the wounded tissues from the rest. If a co-dominant stem is not dealt with early in the tree's life, removal after three to 10 years will expose sapwood, cambium and heartwood, greatly increasing the chances for decay intrusion. Once decay has invaded the inner tissues, it isn't reversible. The overall principle for prevention is to remove a problem branch (the one with the smaller diameter) 64 GCM July 2013

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