Golf Course Management

MAY 2018

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

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40 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 05.18 and nearby tees or greens. In fact, ignoring this benefit could be considered negligent in today's litigious society. Backdrop trees for greens can aid golfers significantly in gaining depth perception as they line up ap - proach shots, while the shade from a decidu- ous tree can provide tremendous value for clubhouse patio patrons and golfers waiting to tee off on a hot summer afternoon. Two other considerations can be viewed as either a benefit or a concern: memorial trees, and those in decline that provide hab - itat for raptors and critters such as hedge- hogs. When these situations become prob- lematic, it's good to turn to the seven-step classic guidance model. Problems with trees e problems with trees on a golf course — or any landscape setting, for that matter — are many and varied. Without a doubt, shading is first on the minds of many su - perintendents. Less-than-adequate quantity and quality of sunlight reduces turfgrass root growth, as the energy goes into the production of leaves to gain badly needed photosynthetic surface. Inadequate sunlight also produces thinner cell walls, increased leaf elongation and reduced tillering, and it increases relative humidity when air move - ment over the turf is reduced. Competition with tree roots for water and nutrients is troublesome as well. e reduction or lack of necessary sun - light is not the only problem by any means. All the others are just as big a concern, even though shade is so obvious. At least nine other factors associated with woody plants are problematic, some more than others, but all should be dealt with under the clas - sic guidance model. First, debris on the putting and playing surfaces — some trees such as sycamore, birch, eucalyptus, oak, crabapple and maple drop chunks of bark, fruit, bud scales, flowers and leaves, disrupt - ing play. Naturally, some times of year are worse than others — in fall, needles drop from evergreens, and in spring and summer, broadleaves scatter seeds. Other trees drop leaves almost continuously throughout the year. All of this material must be dealt with in some way, either with blowing, mowing or sweeping, which take time and effort. A serious concern is the potential litiga - tion associated with structurally weak trees, especially near greens, tees, refreshment stands and other areas of frequent human occupancy. Regular inspection is required to lessen the golf facility's liability from in - juries. Additionally, cleanup of debris and fallen branches after windstorms and snow - fall consumes time and creates the need to process the woody material in some way, usually through grinding and composting for later use or outright disposal. In addition to the above-ground parts of trees that drop onto the turf, the roots often require inter - vention because they damage cart paths and intrude into playing surfaces. Like turf, trees also require pest control. It's wise to lean on integrated pest manage - ment principles, including using disease-re- sistant cultivars and proper spacing to keep pests at bay. A big issue are the "super pests," such as pine wilt, thousand cankers disease, Asian longhorn beetles, Japanese beetles and emerald ash borers, which can cause major damage in a short period of time. In addition to the tree pests themselves, the unwanted effects on the turf — such as en - hanced environment for the development of Screening undesirable views and defining property lines and fairways are important functions of trees on a golf course, as is the physical barrier between fairways or fairways and nearby tees or greens.

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