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.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 78 of 128

72 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 10.14 Today L. nigrinus can be found in a 35- mile ring around Grandfather Mountain. Its presence is a primary factor in the health and regrowth of hemlocks in the watershed of three river systems that have their headwaters on the mountain: the New, the Watauga and the Catawba rivers. As for Gerdon and his list of what-ifs, "The answers are all around us," he says with a sweeping gesture encompassing the grounds of Grandfather G&CC. "Wild beetle insecta - ries on this property continue to expand, and we are saving hemlocks." To the skeptics, those for whom only see - ing is believing, Gerdon has these words: "I invite anyone who's interested to come visit us at Grandfather Golf & Country Club. I'll show you what we've done here, and then I'll take you to places where the gray ghosts of hemlocks blight the view, a sad reminder of what might have been. For my part, I've got proof that this program works, and I'm just tickled pink." Smile. Wink. Kate Cahow is a freelance writer and photographer based in Boone, N.C. Her husband, Richard McDonald, Ph.D., is the entomologist working on the hemlock woolly adelgid biological control project at Grandfather Golf & Country Club. A version of this story previously appeared in the Jan.-Feb. 2014 edition of Carolinas Green, the publication of the Carolinas GCSA. Bright green needles on the hemlock in the foreground indicate new growth, a sign of Grandfather G&CC's success in controlling the hemlock woolly adelgid. Chemical and biological control of hemlock woolly adelgid Chemical control, 2003-2007 • Kiortz soil injections were used on large- to medium-sized trees at Grandfather G&CC: applied in two concentric rings around trees at 3-foot and 6- to 8-foot inter- vals from trees. • Mauget injections were used on hemlocks within 100 feet of waterways and injected into 12-15 holes drilled 4 feet up from the ground. • Visibly stressed trees were treated with Stemix, a micronutrient package earmarked for hemlocks; capsules were inserted into existing holes from Mauget injections. Biological control, 2008-present Laricobius nigrinus, the winter predator • Laricobius nigrinus females lay their eggs in adelgid egg sacs during the spring; L. nigrinus larvae hatch and feed on adelgid eggs and crawlers, causing 90 percent or greater mortality of the adelgid. • As of 2014, approximately 14,000 wild-caught L. nigrinus adults have been released at more than 40 sites on Grandfather G&CC grounds. • Within three years, L. nigrinus was established at Grandfather G&CC and contribut- ing signifcantly to the mortality of the adelgid, both on the club property and in the surrounding region. • Today L. nigrinus continues to be recovered throughout the Grandfather G&CC grounds and is spreading rapidly beyond the club's borders. • Grandfather G&CC holds the largest release record of L. nigrinus on the East Coast. Scymnus coniferarum, the summer predator • Scymnus coniferarum is a small black and gold ladybeetle that feeds specifcally on hemlock woolly adelgid. It is the summer equivalent of Laricobius nigrinus. Having multiple predators that feed on successive generations of a pest is called "bracket- ing." Both predators attack all life stages of the adelgid and hold it in balance. • A release of 1,000 S. coniferarum adults was made in spring 2013; subsequent re- coveries were made in April, May and June. Northwest by McDonald and a U.S. Forest Service researcher in 2006. This summer- active beetle is a natural complement to the winter-active L. nigrinus, creating an aggres - sive tag team for attacking the adelgid. Both L. nigrinus and S. coniferarum have been ap - proved for release on the East Coast by the state of North Carolina and the U.S. Depart - ment of Agriculture. A shining future for hemlocks The work done at Grandfather G&CC shows how a biologically based pest manage - ment program for hemlocks is practical and effective for large-scale acreage. McDonald calls the program a "shining success for the High Country." "Because Pete, Norris, club members and their board of directors were willing to take a chance on this until-now-unproven pest management approach, Grandfather Golf & Country Club's 1,100 acres are lush with healthy hemlocks," McDonald says. "And they've saved not only their own hemlocks, they're helping to save and protect the entire region's hemlock ecosystem."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Golf Course Management - OCT 2014