Golf Course Management

JAN 2014

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

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Tree roots typically grow in the upper two feet of soil, so it's important to make sure that the planting area for a new tree is prepared correctly to prevent problems resulting from shallow rooting. The co-dominant limbs of this tree present an opening for damage to the sapwood and heartwood. Corrective pruning A discussion of pruning in terms of preventing tree injuries is somewhat ironic, in that removing a limb from a tree is in itself a wound. However, in order to prevent big wounds, small pruning cuts must be made. The key is to know what to look for in terms of the limbs that should be removed. Limbs damaged by storms, limbs that grow straight down or cross 60 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.14 each other, and especially, co-dominant limbs are good candidates for removal. Sometimes called target pruning, the frst step is to locate the collar, on the underside of the branch near the attachment to the trunk. Next, identify the branch bark ridge in the crotch where the limb attaches. Drawing an imaginary line between these two structures is the road map to where the cut should be made. Limb removal is a three-cut process. The frst cut is an undercut about a foot or so away from the trunk. This serves as a safety valve or relief cut to prevent tearing the bark downward toward the soil line. The second cut is made 6 inches away from the frst, to remove the weight of the branch. If a tear occurs following the second cut (common in spring when the conductive vessels are full of sap), it will stop at the point of the frst cut. The third and fnal cut can then be made at the imaginary line between the branch bark ridge and the collar. An old-school recommendation was to apply wound dressings to the freshly cut surfaces. Research at the USDA, the University of Illinois Natural History Survey and other institutions has indicated that this approach is not benefcial and, in about half of the cases, is detrimental because excessive moisture is trapped behind the dressing. In short, there is no need to waste time and money on the use of these products. Root injuries Roots typically grow in the upper two feet of soil, much shallower than once thought. Depending on the species, the upper foot of soil contains a majority of the feeder roots, which absorb nutrients and water. Depths are highly dependent on oxygen availability. That is, roots won't grow where oxygen isn't available. Thus, any action or golf course maintenance procedure near trees has consequences. Consider any actions such as trenching, installation of new equipment, car paths, etc., and their potential impact on tree roots. One of the most damaging actions is the removal of roots that have become objectionable, such as those that have raised a car path or parking lot. Planting procedures Proper planting can prevent tree injuries by getting the tree off to a good start. Tree planting is commonly thought to be simple and straightforward, and as a result, is often done improperly. It's best to think of tree planting as a step-by-step procedure. • Select a small-diameter tree, 1-2 inches. • Remove soil to create a planting area, not a planting hole; the planting area should be

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