Golf Course Management

OCT 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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58 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 10.14 ing procedures is crucial. Digging an adequately sized planting area instead of a hole that just fts the root mass will loosen surrounding soil and support stronger root establishment during drought periods. Try to avoid disturbing the soil in the bottom of the hole or settling may cause the tree to end up deeper than intended. Compost should not be added to the backfll when planting, but can be used to topdress a large area around the tree where roots will grow in the future. Wood chip mulch can also be used for this purpose. To properly plant a tree, place the root mass in the planting hole at the appropriate depth. Begin flling the planting hole with soil, and when the hole is ap - proximately one-third full, gently replace and settle the soil around the root mass. After this, continue to fll the planting hole, stopping every few inches to set - tle the soil with water. Ensuring good soil/root con- tact will help the tree maximize water uptake during dry conditions. During the planting process, look for roots at the edge of the root mass that are beginning to grow in a circular fashion and separate them from the mass, reorienting them laterally in the planting hole, in an arrangement similar to spokes on a bicy - cle wheel. When small branches become affected by extreme weather or pests, corrective pruning may be required. This preventive step will go a long way toward re - taining a valuable tree on the course. Branch removal is an injury itself, but when properly performed, it allows the tree to begin the compartmentalization/ recovery process. Some defects are worse than others. Co-domi - nant leaders that appear healthy, minor to moderate heartwood decay and girdling roots should be noted and closely monitored. Trees that are leaning, have cracks in the trunk or scaffold limbs and decay in the root fare are much more problematic. To obtain as - sistance with evaluating the threat that each defect poses to the course, it's wise to seek out an arborist who has earned certifcation with the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or the equivalent state arborists association. ISA also offers special certifca - tion in tree risk assessment. Feelings As humans, we all have feelings and emotions that guide our actions. Some of us are more stoic and others are more effusive and sensitive. Using what you know about the stakeholders' feelings, you may choose an approach that emphasizes the aesthetic and functional benefts of trees on the golf course or one that stresses the consequences of tree-related injuries and fatalities. People are rarely completely affected by one or the other; in almost all cases, it's a mixture of the two, Defective or hazardous trees subtract signifcantly from their positive effects, such as adding structure and shade to the landscape. Minimizing tree liability GCSAA offers an on-demand webcast, "Waiting for the other limb to fall: Mini- mizing tree liability," presented by John C. Fech, Ph.D. In this 90-minute program, Fech will focus on the topics covered in this feature article, including how to identify hazardous trees, document inspection and assess observations for stakeholders. Also covered are management practices that can extend a tree's life, procedures that keep trees thriving and help with making the retain/remove decision. The webcast is free for GCSAA members; the nonmember fee is $60. Members will receive 0.20 education points. When small branches become affected by extreme weather or pests, corrective pruning may be required. This preventive step will go a long way toward retaining a valuable tree on the course.

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