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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78 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.16 2. Look for classic symptoms Studying the classics in literature — "Homer," "War and Peace," "Paradise Lost" — is a cornerstone in the shaping of young minds. Familiarity with the classic symptoms or easy-to-spot clues associated with certain tree ailments is just as valuable in triage. Foliar insects. Damage commonly ap - pears as round, serpentine or blob-like holes in leaves. Leaves may look speckled or "pep - pered," as if stuck with pinpricks. A simple 10× magnifying hand lens can help you see such small marks on a leaf. Foliar diseases. Many tree diseases show up in a similar pattern to turf diseases, such as brown patch and dollar spot. Distinct ovals and round spots are typically symptoms of leaf disease. Other diseases may appear as an overall blighting, especially if the stems are also disfgured. Deep planting. A trunk that doesn't widen as it enters the soil to create a fare is often a telltale sign of deep planting. In extreme situa - tions, the tree's lowest branches arise out of the soil rather than above ground. Topping. A distinct difference in size be - tween branch tissues from one year to the next may signal that a tree has been "topped," which is when most or all of the stems have been removed at the same location within the canopy to control height. The unfortu - nate result is the production of fast but weak growth from imbedded buds. Topping allows entrance of decay organisms as well as growth that often breaks in storms. Co-dominant leaders. Trees sometimes de - velop two or three main leaders. When this occurs, the usual outcome is compressed bark and trunk tissue, severe cracks, and the even - tual emergence of heartwood decay. Improper mulch depth, placement or type. The cardinal sin of mulching is too much and too close to the trunk. Mulching is a root treatment, not a trunk treatment — as such, it should be placed 2 to 3 inches deep, starting 6 inches away from the trunk and extending as far into the golfscape as is practical. Injury to the root plate often occurs from too much or too little mulch. Borers. Holes in the trunk and lower limbs are the most noticeable indicators of borers, but a few holes here and there don't mean a tree has a major borer problem. Many holes, lots of sawdust-like frass and leafess stems are symptoms to be concerned about. Decay. Soft and punky wood at the root plate, main trunk and branch-removal sites can be serious. Checking the softness of the wood with a screwdriver or golf club shaft is a good way to determine whether excessive decay exists. Cankers. These oval-shaped, sunken or raised lesions vary in size from an inch to 6 inches and are usually darker or lighter in Right: If planted too deep, a tree won't develop the healthy even and stout root fare, which was the case with the tree shown here. This inhibits the tree's structural integrity. Top left: Injury to a tree's root plate will usually lead to other problems. Bottom left: When examining decay in a tree, use a screwdriver or golf club shaft to properly gauge the extent of the softened tissue. The cardinal sin of mulching is too much and too close to the trunk.

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