Golf Course Management

FEB 2016

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

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76 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.16 lems and often produces different symptoms at various times of the year. The following step-by-step guide will help you determine the causal agent(s) responsible for the current sta - tus of trees and other woody plants on your golf course. Keep in mind that, as with many other operational diagnostic approaches, tri - age doesn't follow a cookbook recipe — there can be a great deal of give and take or "three steps forward, two steps back." 1. Establish the basics ID the tree. The industry standard for tree identifcation is the book "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" by Michael Dirr. You want to be able to identify at least the genus of the tree in question. Crataegus or hawthorn is nice, but Crataegus phaenopyrum would be better. Why? Just as certain turf cultivars are resistant to rust or leaf spot, certain species or cultivars of trees are resistant as well. Also, given that most reference books are categorized by tree species, you'll fnd it handy to instantly be able to jump to the right place. Look for normality vs. abnormality. In Mel Brooks' classic movie "Young Frankenstein," Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) asks Igor (Marty Feldman) what kind of brain he used in the experiment. "Abby," replies Igor, followed a few seconds later by "Normal." The doctor an - swered in astonishment, "Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a 7½-foot-long, 54-inch-wide gorilla?" The point is that even though employing what he had on hand in the lab may have been convenient for Igor, in the end, the experiment yielded unintended results because Igor didn't pay attention to simple de - tails of normal vs. abnormal. Knowing the difference between what the tree is supposed to look like "normally" and what it might look like if it were diseased or insect-infested is a necessary element of tri - age. Is the tree supposed to bend like that? Are the leaves supposed to be green and white, or just green? Is the bark supposed to peel off, or should it all be tightly attached to the sap - wood? I've heard that U.S. Treasury agents master a similar technique in their feld to tell the difference between real money and coun - terfeit money — they get to know the real stuff so well that a fake $20 bill becomes a cinch to detect. Superintendents should be particularly vigilant in checking trees in areas where soil has either been added or removed. The site's history can play a big role in the health of the trees located there. You want to be able to identify at least the genus of the tree in question.

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