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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• Gently backfll the planting area, watering from bottom up to allow the soil to settle; don't tamp or compact the fll soil. • To prevent injury to the tree, loosen and unwind roots that girdle or encircle the container to prevent them from crossing over or through adjacent roots. This will prevent many future problems. • At a windy site, loosely stake the tree, using canvas, T-shirts or bicycle inner tubes to loosely attach the tree to the stake. Be sure to remove the stake after one growing season. Young trees in windy sites can be loosely staked using materials such as canvas or tire inner tubes. Damage to trees and bark can be prevented by incorporating broad mulch beds into the golf course landscape. three times the size of the root mass. • Soil should not be amended with compost or peat moss; use the native soil for backfll. • Remove all burlap and wires after placing the tree in the ground. • Place the root mass at grade or an inch or two higher to allow for settling. • Locate the root fare and place it at or slightly above the soil level. The frst lateral root should be placed just below the soil surface. 62 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.14 Mulch issues Mulch separates trees from turf, which helps prevent tree injuries. Mulch also provides a myriad of other benefts such as keeping the roots cool and moist, suppressing weed growth and recycling nutrients back to the soil for future nourishment. Of course, like just about any other "good" thing in life, too much mulch can cause problems. The depth — not the width — of the mulch application is the problem. In fact, wide mulch layers do a good job of replicating the natural forested condition produced by Mother Nature. Mulch depths of greater than 4 inches often lead to problems from excessive moisture, fungal diseases such as armillaria root rot, or damage from mice and voles. This is especially true near the tree trunk. The best approach is to place 2-3 inches of mulch on the ground under the tree, beginning 6 inches or so away from the trunk and extending it as far away as is practical for golf play. Preventive design Trees should be separated from turf for several reasons: they generally require less fertilizer and water, they get in the way of golf play, and they perform best when not competing with turf roots. However, the most relevant consideration here is that separation will prevent (or at least reduce) injuries. As an arborist and horticulturist, I routinely recommend working with a golf course architect, landscape architect, landscape designer or biologist to consider the health of the existing tree assets as well as the overall playability and maintenance of the golf course. John C. Fech is a horticulturalist with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and an ISA-certifed arborist who is a frequent contributor to GCM.

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