Scotsdale Update

Fall is here, and winter temperatures are coming.  Soon we will be having frost which will cause the Bermuda grass to start going dormant. Since Scotsdale has Bermuda greens that do go dormant, we do have to do some things differently.

Due to the turf going dormant, old cup plugs do not heal in on the greens. For this reason, we will be cutting 3 pins in each green for blue, red, and white flags. The ones we use for setup that day will have the flags in and we will have a special insert for the other two. This will help keep a better appearance for the greens and not have a bunch of old plugs on each of them, since over time that could be numerous. We will watch the wear around these and switch as needed to keep from thinning turf around these set positions. This will go into effect starting this weekend (October 20).

We will also be painting the greens. This is a process that we have started already by incorporating a pigment into the turf while it is still green. This is part of a process as the pigment helps hold onto the turfs natural color just a little longer. Later we will come back and spray a special turf paint to give the dormant turf a green appearance for play. As we go thru winter and see that starting to fade we will re-apply as needed.

I hope this helps everyone understand a little more about what we do and that everyone has been enjoying the course.

Kyle Soller, Superintendent, Scotsdale

Berksdale Update

It’s been a long hot summer for golf, but fall is bringing more families out to play and the after work crowd is enjoying a quick afternoon round. Fall is also highlighting some of our ongoing wildlife habitat improvements.

Monarch butterfly sightings continue to increase as we expand our milkweed plantings. Three different species of milkweed seedlings were distributed to various niches in the spring, and self-seeding is anticipated over time. Northwest Arkansas is in the re-generation layover as monarchs migrate through the year. Caterpillars were noted in late August, and fresh adults are being spotted throughout the course now.

Our experiments with planting for flood mitigation/riparian restoration are less majestic but have been equally successful. The red twig dogwood plantings along the creek at 2 Fairway took a beating. Minor flooding in February, April and May did little damage;  prolonged heat and drought through September did take a toll. As predicted, we had a 10% survival rate… twenty plus shrubs along a 200 yard stretch remain vigorous.

Berksdale is well on it’s way to achieving full status as an Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary. Various alterations around the course, from increasing the buffer zone along Little Sugar Creek to establishing native plants at the half way house to expanding prairie grass acreage, are all in line with encouraging a strong stewardship legacy. For more information on how you may get involved, please see auduboninternational.org, or contact wendyb@bvvpoa.com.

Greens Research

The turfgrass science team from the University of Arkansas will be conducting research on two of the putting greens at Brittany over the next 6-7 months. The first objective of the research is to better understand the proper chemicals to use to control spring dead spot, which is the most significant disease on Bermudagrass putting greens. This disease is active during the winter when the grass is dormant, but the symptoms will show up in the spring as dead patches when the grass greens up. To control this, disease control products have to be applied in the fall before the disease becomes active in the winter. We will be testing several new products on the back side of the second green to help identify the best control methods on the Bella Vista property.

The second trial we will be conducting will be on the 7th green and the study objective is to look at several chemical treatments that will not only control spring dead spot but can also enhance the overall health of the turf in the winter. These products will hopefully help protect the grass from winter injury and promote earlier spring green-up (= earlier golf!!).

Golf Course Aeration to Occur

The POA Golf Maintenance Department will aerate golf courses in October.

By core aerating greens, water and air movement are allowed throughout the greens profile. “Aerating the greens will promote the overall health of the courses’ turf”, Director of Golf Course Maintenance Keith Ihms, CGCS said, “Aeration also works toward removing thatch and building stronger root systems”.

The main purpose of pulling cores is to manage the thatch layer on the greens. The thatch layer is mostly made up of dying and un-decomposed leaf and grass material. By pulling cores we are removing some of that material and preventing it from building up to an unacceptable level.

Thatch causes the greens to become soft and spongy, which can make for poor putting conditions. When thatch gets to this point it also can become a problem dealing with the other issues it causes, such as fungus growth, mower scalping and “localized dry spots,” which will not absorb and retain moisture.

Aerating creates openings in the surface for water and nutrients to be absorbed, as well as the sand that will be used to smooth the putting surface, fill in voids and amend the green profile.

A second sand topdressing will be necessary a week or so after aeration to help fill in aeration holes and smooth the surface.

Weather permitting, aeration and maintenance dates and locations will be:

  • Oct. 1    – Berksdale Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • Oct. 2    – Berksdale Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.
  • Oct. 2    – Kingswood Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • Oct. 3    – Kingswood Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.
  • Oct. 3    – Highlands Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • Oct. 4    – Highlands Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.
  • Oct. 4     – Dogwood Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • Oct. 5     – Dogwood Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.
  • Oct. 8     – Bella Vista Country Club Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • Oct 9      – Bella Vista Country Club Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.

Morone chrysops x Morone saxatilis – Hybrid Striped Bass

Scientific Name: Morone saxatilis (Striped Bass) x Morone chrysops (White Bass)

Common Name(s): Hybrid Striped Bass, Wiper, Whiterock Bass, Palmetto Bass, Sunshine Bass, or Cherokee Bass

Identification: The hybrid striped bass Morone saxatilis x Morone chrysops can be distinguished from the white bass by the incomplete/broken horizontal bars on the body. Hybrid striped bass have very distinct lines down the length of their body, with some breaking present. White bass have fainter lines down their body and are unbroken. You can also tell these fish apart by their teeth as white bass have a single patch of teeth in the center of their tongue, while striped bass and hybrid striped bass have two medial tooth patches on the back of their tongues. The other parent species, striped bass, also have unbroken lines down the sides, with the top few lines having offset segments near the head. In terms of body shape, white bass are short from head to tail and deep from back to belly, while the striped bass is long from head to tail. The hybrid striped bass is in-between the body shape of the parent species. Hybrid striped bass are commonly 2-10 lbs., although they can reach 20 lbs. The back and top of their sides are greenish-dark silver fading to silver down the sides and white on the belly; they have two fins on their back with sharp spines in the front fin. The current state record is 27 lbs. 5 oz. (Greers Ferry Lake).

 

 

Range: Morone chrysops x Morone saxatilis is an artificial hybrid, so it is not native anywhere per se, although it does occur naturally in Arkansas. Hybrid striped bass have been stocked in many rivers and reservoirs all over the United States. Populations are maintained through stocking programs, and about 10 million lbs. are produced every year in the United States.

Ecology: Hybrid striped bass have been widely raised since the late 1980’s and can be made in two ways. Some are produced by fertilizing eggs from a white bass with sperm from a striped bass, called a “sunshine bass” or “Cherokee bass.” Others are produced by fertilizing eggs from a striped bass with sperm from a white bass, called a “palmetto bass.” The most common hybridization is the female striped bass with the male white bass (“palmetto bass”) because female striped bass produce a high number of eggs.

Spawning occurs artificially in hatcheries where the female striped bass is injected with a hormone that stimulates her to lay eggs. Usually there are several male white bass in the tank when spawning occurs.  After the eggs are fertilized by the males, the adult fish are removed, and the eggs are kept in artificial current around 48 hours until they hatch. Natural hybridization can occur in the wild, although it is mainly the opposite cross (male striped bass with female white bass) because white bass eggs do not require any flotation to survive and hatch. The eggs of white bass normally settle to the bottom of a waterbody and become attached to substrate. If the eggs of a striped bass sink to the bottom, they become silted over and die. Therefore, white bass eggs normally hatch easier in the wild than those of striped bass.

The hybrid striped bass will consume crayfish but are mainly piscivorous preferring a diet of shad and other open water forage fish species.

Hybrid striped bass are easier to catch and grow faster than striped bass. They are known for their fight, making them popular with anglers. They are more aggressive than both the striped bass and white bass, making them easier to catch for anglers who use artificial bait. Hybrid striped bass serve as popular food; therefore, they support both recreational and commercial fisheries.

Special Notes: Here in Bella Vista, hybrid striped bass are normally stocked every other year (most recently in September 2018) in Lakes Ann, Windsor, and Lomond.  These popular sport fish can easily be caught with a wide array of lures and baits. Some popular lures include casting spoons and inline spinners. The most likely place to find them is when fishing off shore as they are usually chasing schooling minnows and shad.

 

 

 

13 Green Kingswood

 

Pictured is #13 green Kingswood, the painted lines are the edge of the original greens cavity. Over the last 20 or so years the surrounding Bermudagrass has encroached into the bent grass drastically reducing the size of the green.

The green has become so small that pin locations have been reduced to just a few areas and the foot traffic takes a toll during the summer months.  This results in more man hours spent maintaining this green and an increased cost in chemicals and fertilizers to keep the green playable.

The decision was made to expand the green back to its original size using bent grass sod grown onsite on our nursery green and possibly sod from the closed holes on Berksdale.

The green will only need to be closed for 2-3 days during the fall in order to give the staff time to strip the Bermuda grass and install the bentgrass sod.

The process will be as follows, with all work being completed by Golf Maintenance.

  • The Bermuda will be sprayed with herbicide every 14 days until frost. Once the Bermuda starts dying it will turn brown but still be playable.
  • The bent grass nursery will receive additional fertility to get it ready to be transplanted.
  • Towards the end of October or first of November the dead Bermuda will be stripped, the ground will be lightly graded to match the green surface and bent grass will be taken from the nursery and laid around the green.
  • The green will be reopened once the new sod has been laid.
  • During the fall the new sod will be rolled and topdressed and grown slightly taller than the green to encourage rooting.
  • In the early spring of 2019 the height will gradually be taken down to greens height at which time the new sod will be playable as a greens surface.
  • We fully expect the new area to need additional maintenance during the 2019 season until it is fully established. This will include additional hand watering, topdressing, and small tine aeration.
  • The large oscillating fan from #6 Berksdale will be moved to the left side of #13 green Kingswood and the small square fans in the back of the green will be removed.

We appreciate your patience during this time and apologize for any inconvenience. We are confident that this project will improve your golfing experience.

Thank you.

2018 USGA VISIT SET

Steve Kammerer, Ph.D., SE Regional Director, USGA Greens Section will visit the Bella Vista POA on Wednesday, September 12th.

A full day agenda will begin with Kammerer meeting with the POA’s Director of Golf Maintenance Keith Ihms, CGCS, and golf course superintendents at 8 a.m. to discuss golf maintenance issues affecting the various courses.

At 10 a.m., Kammerer will meet with members of the Board of Directors, Golf Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) and management at the Scotsdale Golf Pro Shop for a course tour. The tour is open to the public and will occur rain or shine.

In addition, at 4 p.m., the public is invited to attend the September Golf JAC meeting which will take place in the BVCC Board Room. Mr. Kammerer will make a short presentation on his day’s visit and answer questions.

Scotsdale GCM Update

It has been a long summer but the end of the grow in is quickly coming upon us. While it was unfortunate what happened with winter kill, we have been able to make improvements and will have better greens because of it. One of the most important things we have been able to do is build the soil. Soil management is one of the most valuable components of a high maintenance turf grass. We have managed to incorporate a lot of beneficial nutrients and carbon building material that helped tremendously and will continue to aid the grass. This will also be a very important thing we will continue to do, especially with the combination of aerifications to really get the material into the soil profile. Along with renovating the greens, we have also added drainage to areas to aid in preventing wet conditions and improve playing conditions. We also added new irrigation to some areas that had none, and our team thinks this will improve some high-profile areas greatly aesthetically and play-ability wise. The bridge on #9 was repaired with a new curb along with work among the banks close to the bridge. We also cleaned and deepened the creek on #3 and cleared out the bridge culverts in hopes this will help in the future, and that #3 fairway will not be as prone to flooding as in the past.

 

One of the most important things we were able to accomplish was the renovation of 12 green. We have removed the slope from the green and made it much more puttable.  Now we have several pin positions to use instead of only 2 at most. The surrounds were also re-shaped to accommodate the greens change. The back has a slope, which will help feed into the green, and the front will have a more level area to hold shots if they come just a foot or two short. These will be improved in the future as it matures, and we can add more defined mowing lines. By mowing lines, this means a collar and some collar height cut around the green that will help to give a better visualization for a shot from the tee. Right now, we feel the best choice is to let the turf mature going into winter and add these in the spring when the team knows the grass will have the time to properly heal and adjust. Also, with the reshaping, more walk able areas are available for use. In the past, it was just one flat area that was easily walk able. Now we have several places to choose and help distribute foot traffic instead of wearing out one area.

Since the heat is declining, mowing heights are raised slightly to aid in maturing the grass. The greens will still roll very nice, but they will be just a tad slower than where we plan to maintain them next summer. The main thing is preparing them for the off season and keeping the greens as healthy as possible. We have ordered new covers for the greens that are thicker and better suited to our part of the country, but we are also keeping the old covers to aid in extraordinary cold weather by double covering and giving the greens an extra layer of protection. With these covers in place along with the soil conditioning we are performing, they should be well protected.

Part of the soil conditioning and maintenance we perform is watering ahead of cold weather.  This builds moisture in the crown of the plant and with covering keeps the plant from drying out under the covers and winter desiccation and this will be monitored with soil moisture reading devices. Our team just wanted to give a heads-up, so people will know why we will run water or hose water greens in the winter when it is dormant. Guidelines will be on the cautious side this winter to protect the greens and we will always give as much notice ahead of time as possible.

My crew has worked very hard and put many hours into the course. We are very excited to see everyone out here, we hope everyone enjoys it and has a great time playing this fantastic course.

Kyle Soller

Scotsdale Superintendent

Species Profile – Procyon lotor – Northern Raccoon

Procyon lotor – Northern Raccoon

Scientific Name: Procyon lotor

Common Name(s): Raccoon, Northern Raccoon, North American Raccoon, Coon

Identification:

The northern raccoon (Procyon lotoris) is a medium-sized mammal most recognizable by its “mask”; the black fur around the eyes that contrasts with their white face and distinct ringed tail. Raccoons measure 16-28 inches in length, not including their 10-inch tail. The shoulder height ranges from 9-12 inches. They can weigh from 4-60 lbs. but are commonly 10-30 lbs. Raccoons in the northern limits of their range tend to be larger. This is an adaptation seen in many mammals to combat heat loss in cold weather. Raccoons also have a dense underfur that insulates against cold weather, making up almost 90% of their coat. Their bushy tails have alternating light and dark rings, and their slightly rounded ears have a white border. The body is various shades of gray and brown. They are extremely dexterous and are able to stand on their hind legs to inspect objects with their nimble front paws.

Range:

Raccoons are common within their range and occur from southern Canada through central America.  They inhabit nearly all the continental United States. Because of deliberate introductions and escapes, they are now found in several European and Asian countries. Raccoons are extremely adaptable and occupy diverse habitat from mountains, deserts, to costal marshes and urban areas.

Ecology:

Raccoons have comparable movement speeds to humans: 10-15 mph for sprinting and 3 mph for swimming. Being able to climb down a tree headfirst is unusual for a mammal of its size, but raccoons manage this feat by rotating their hind feet backwards for a better grip. Raccoons sweat and pant which aid in the dissipation of heat in summer.

The raccoon’s sense of touch is very important. Their front paws are hyper sensitive and are protected by a thin horny layer that is flexible when wet. For raccoons, nearly two-thirds of the brain’s sensory portion is specialized for touch, more than any other studied animal.

Raccoons have gender-specific social groups. Females share a mutual area and sometimes meet when feeding or resting and are often related. Males not related to each other form groups to protect their territory and mating status against rival males. These male groups are small, consisting of up to four individuals. Raccoons’ home ranges vary depending on age, sex and habitat. Adult home ranges are double that of juveniles. Odor marks using urine or feces establish home ranges and are used for identification.

The diet of raccoons is highly variable and can consist of insects, worms, fruits, nuts, fish, amphibians and bird eggs. They will occasionally eat birds and other mammals, although they prefer easy to catch prey. They are typically nocturnal, but will sometimes be active during the day as they are opportunistic feeders.

Raccoons usually mate from January – March, but there can be differences depending on location. Raccoons in southern states tend to mate later. Males will constantly roam their home ranges to court females. Females can mate with more than one male over several nights. A litter usually ranges from 2-5 young called “kits” or “cubs,” which are blind and deaf when born. The young are weaned from their mother by 16 weeks and begin to split up. The females stay close to their mothers’ home range, but the males sometimes move more than 12 miles away. This natural behavior inhibits inbreeding. The life expectancy for wild raccoons is 2-3 years, although captive raccoons have lived for more than 20 years.

Special Notes:

Here in Bella Vista, raccoons can be seen commonly at night and are considered pests by many residents. They routinely overturn small waste containers or tear garbage bags apart in search of food.  The increasing number of raccoons in urban areas has resulted in different reactions from homeowners, from frustration to deliberate feeding. Feeding raccoons may cause them to become more of a nuisance and dependent on humans as a food source. Raccoons in search of food can break into poultry houses to feed on chickens, chicks, their eggs or feed. They will also feed on domestic cat and dog food. If raccoons become a problem, all food and garbage cans should be tightly sealed or locked in a container.

Additionally, where raccoon populations are high, associated diseases and parasite outbreaks increase.  Raccoon roundworm, leptospirosis, salmonella, rabies, distemper and mange are just a few that can be transferred to humans and/or pets.

Raccoons can be a nuisance, they are neat mammals to see and watch due to their high intelligence and problem-solving skills.

Windsor Drawdown

The Lake Windsor Drawdown will begin November 7 and run to March 1, 2019. It will be lowered by 6 feet and will likely take until December 1 to complete.

Informational meetings were held July 17 and 26. To view the presentation, click here.

As noted in the presentation, permits are required for:

  • POA (Common Property) Alterations
  • Miscellaneous/Accessory Improvements (City): build or repair docks and seawalls permit
  • Short Term Activity Authorization: dredge or remove material from the lake below water line permit
  • Miscellaneous Improvements (ACC) Application
  • Contractor List

Further questions can be directed to Rick Echols, ricke@bvvpoa.com, 479-855-5068