Scotsdale GCM Update

Spring is here and with it has come hot weather the past couple of weeks. The greens at Scotsdale have come out of the winter and are looking and doing great. Ground temperatures have started to come up and we are starting to see all the Bermuda beginning to change. As we go into the season we will be working on greens to help improve the ball roll and smoothness. This will increase sand topdressing utilized with vertical mowing to help keep thatch levels down. If we didn’t do this the turf would get spongy and would be more prone to problems such as diseases and insects.

With our greens being Bermuda, our aerfication dates are in the summer. This is because when this grass is growing more aggressively and healing time will be shorter. Due to being a no till grow in, we will be doing 3 core aerfications this season to help make the profile more uniform and to relieve layering that has occurred. This will help improve soil air and water capacities to a more beneficial level improving root growth and overall plant health. These will be done late May, July and August.

Below is a picture of a green and how they have made the transition out of dormancy.

Thank you for the support and understanding with our work. Looking forward to a terrific 2019 golf season here at Scotsdale.

Kyle Soller, Scotsdale Golf Maintenance Superintendent

Spring Aeration

The POA’s Golf Maintenance Department will aerate greens beginning April 16 on Berksdale. Kingswood and Dogwood courses will also be completed during the week of April 15 – April 20. Details regarding the aeration were provided by Keith Ihms, Director of Golf Maintenance.

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, 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 complete filling of the aeration holes and smooth the surface.

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

  • April 15 – Berksdale Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • April 16 – Berksdale Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.
  • April 16 – Dogwood Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • April 17 – Dogwood Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.
  • April 17 – Kingswood Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • April 18 – Kingswood Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.

The Bermuda greens at Scotsdale are scheduled to be aerated May 28 & 29, July 8 & 9 and August 5 & 6. Brittany is scheduled for July 15 & 16.

#1 Green Sod

Spring has officially arrived, and the temperatures have begun to warm up. Thanks to Mother Nature, we were finally able to install the sod on #1 green at BVCC! You will notice a difference in color between the sod on the front of the green and the sod on the back of the green. The front sod was laid 8 days prior to the back so the color is a little darker green. Given time, all areas of the green will start to blend in and look the same.

Our plan now is to fertilize and water the sod, so it will eventually “root” into the soil and the seams will grow together. When this happens, we will then be able to do other cultural practices that will help smooth out the sod and get it into an acceptable playing surface.

Thank you for your continued patience as we strive to get #1 green open for play!

Rob Dreesen

Golf Course Superintendent

Bella Vista Country Club

Species Profile: Canis latrans – Coyote

Scientific Name: Canis latrans

Common Name(s): Coyote

Identification: The coyote, Canis latrans, is a medium-sized carnivore commonly mistaken for its close relatives, gray wolf, eastern wolf and red wolf. The coyote is smaller, has longer ears, and has a thinner face and nose than the gray wolf. A coyote’s size and fur color vary by region. Northern subspecies are larger than southern subspecies, and coyotes living at high elevations tend to have more black and gray coloration. On average, male coyotes weigh 18-44 lbs. while females are slightly smaller, weighing 15-40 lbs. Body length ranges from 3-5 ft., and tail length 16 inches., with females being shorter. Scent glands are located around the base of the tail and are bluish-black. Fur color is predominantly gray and red, with black and white scattered around the body. The fur consists of short, soft underfur and long, coarse hair.  Albinism has been found in coyotes but is extremely rare. Coyote tracks can be distinguished from domesticated dog tracks by their more extended, less circular shape.

 

 

Range: The coyote is native to North America and is commonly found from Alaska through Central America. Since they can easily adapt to environments modified by humans, coyotes have been expanding their range eastward over the last 100 years. The elimination of wolves in the east by early European settlers left a niche that the coyote was able to fill. They prey upon foxes which are direct competitors for food. Consequently, areas with high coyote numbers tend to have depressed red and gray fox populations.

Ecology: Coyotes are mainly active at dawn and dusk (crepuscular) when they make their unique howls that can be heard from quite a distance. They are more often heard than seen. They make dens in brush piles or near abandoned buildings and prefer to hang around fields or clearings with forest edges, tall weeds and thickets.
Coyotes normally hunt alone or as mated pairs. They are very adaptable and can form loose packs when pursuing larger prey such as deer. They take down prey by the head or throat, attacking from the front. They are considered a nuisance to farmers who have cattle, sheep and goats because of their opportunistic feeding behavior which includes livestock. Coyotes cause more predation losses than wolves because their range is more widely distributed, and their populations are greater. Guard dogs used to protect farm animals help mitigate economic losses.

The coyote consumes mainly meat with prey species including deer, sheep, rabbits, rodents, birds, amphibians, lizards, snakes, fish, crustaceans and insects. They also feed on berries and fruits including blackberries, apples, persimmons, peanuts and peaches. During the winter and early spring, coyotes will eat grass if no other food is available. Some garden vegetables and fruits like watermelon and cantaloupes are occasionally eaten. Although coyotes prefer fresh meat, they will scavenge when they have the opportunity.

Breeding occurs from late December through March. Coyotes have one partner that they are constant companions with. When females are pregnant they will stay at the dens and line it with dried vegetation while the male hunts. On average, six pups are born per litter depending on population density and food availability. Pups depend solely on their mother’s milk for their first 10 days. After that, both male and female parents will regurgitate food for pups. By the time they are 4-6 weeks old, pups can eat small mice, rabbits or pieces of carcasses and are weaned off their mother’s milk. Males have an active role in parenting the young if the female is present. If the female abandons the pups, the male will also. By June to July, the parents and pups leave the den and roam their territory while hunting. Pups can depart from their families by August, but some stay longer.

Special Notes: Here in Bella Vista, coyotes can be commonly seen and heard at night. Day sightings are rare, but possible. They are a common vector for mange and many other canine diseases and conditions. Coyotes are one of the most vocal mammals and have a variety of calls. They can be mistaken for foxes, although they are much larger.

Scotsdale GCM Covering Update

With the Bermuda grass starting to green up on top more and more, it is vital we protect them from a late spring freeze or hard frost. This means if the forecast is trending colder for a couple days with lows at 30 degrees or below, we would need to cover the greens to protect them. This weekend’s forecast has lows of 29 and 30 degrees. Due to these low temperatures we will be covering the greens on Saturday, March 30 – Tuesday, April 2 to protect the Bermuda grass and help prevent any injury that could occur. The course will reopen for play at regular time on Wednesday, April 3.

This is much different than a winter covering. The plants are starting to break dormancy and more live tissue is coming up on top, versus in winter when you have a layer of dormant turf that provides some protection from a heavy frost. With growing leaf blades on top, a freeze can do significant damage. When the temperatures are freezing and below, the cells inside the leaf blade could freeze and rupture causing a big delay in complete green up and significant damage to the plant. With the plants still being young, we want to do anything and everything to protect them and assure a great playing surface for the summer. I thank everybody for their patience and hope this helps with understanding why we do some of the things we do at different times of the year.

Kyle Soller, Scotsdale Golf Maintenance Superintendent

Scotsdale GCM Update: March 2019

Spring is approaching, and it couldn’t come soon enough. After starting the month with temperatures as low as 8 degrees, the days are starting to feel closer to average temperatures again. We were prepared for cold weather as we had installed both sets of covers on the greens. I know it causes a disruption with playing this great course, but it made a huge difference and protected the greens very well. Now we are starting to see soil temperatures rise and soon everything will start blooming.

While temperatures are starting to trend up and the days are getting warmer, we will still have to be diligent about covering. Even through the cold temperatures we just experienced, the covers have helped, and the plant is beginning to green up in the lower stems and crowns. When the Bermuda greens start greening up on top more and more, it is vital we protect them from a late spring freeze or hard frost. This means if the forecast is trending colder for a couple days with lows at 30 degrees or below, we would need to cover the greens to protect them. This is different from winter covering, due to the plants starting to break dormancy and more live tissue is coming up on top versus in winter, when you have a layer of dormant turf that provides some protection, especially from frost. With growing leaf blades on top, a freeze can do significant damage. At freezing and below freezing temperatures, the cells inside the leaf blade could freeze and rupture causing a big delay in complete green up and significant damage to the plant. With the plants still being young, we want to do anything and everything to assure a great playing surface for the summer. While I would absolutely love to say we are done covering and can put them away in storage, I can’t. It’s better to be safe than sorry. We will do everything we can to protect them. Hopefully weather will be good to us and we can keep the greens uncovered so everyone can enjoy playing the course. I thank everybody for their patience and I hope this helps with understanding why we do some of the things we do at different times of the year.

Kyle Soller, Scotsdale Golf Maintenance Superintendent

Drill and Fill Aeration

Bella Vista POA’s Golf Maintenance crews will begin drill and fill aeration in March on Bella Vista Country Club and Highlands courses.

The machine enables crews to drill a 10-inch deep hole and simultaneously back fill with sand. The advantage to this process is that, with time, the green will begin to develop the capability to move water through the profile. The process will help increase oxygen in the root zone and eventually create healthier green surfaces.

“This is only part of our management plan, along with continued use of conventional aeration to improve the green surfaces on these two golf courses,” Golf Maintenance Manager Keith Ihms, CGCS said.

“The drill and fill machine is very slow and will take a number of days to complete an 18-hole course,” Ihms said. “We will close the course that we are working on, in order to complete the task in an efficient and timely manner.”

The greens will be playable after the drill and fill process; however, as with any type of aeration, it will take time to fully recover. For this reason, we have scheduled the drill and fill project several weeks prior to our convention aeration on the other courses, scheduled to begin at Berksdale the 15th of April. This will ensure a minimum of 3 courses available for play that are not impacted by either aeration program.

The schedule for Drill and Fill is:

  • March 11th – 17th – Bella Vista Country Club
  • March 18th – 24th – Highlands Golf Course

The schedule for conventional green aeration is:

  • April 15th & 16th – Berksdale Golf Course
  • April 16th & 17th – Dogwood Golf Course
  • April 17th & 18th – Kingswood Golf Course

Scotsdale GCM Update

The groundhog predicted an early spring but the weather is being true Arkansas weather with warm days followed by very cold days. We have been doing our best to open up the greens for play as much as we can, but it looks like the beginning of March is bringing winter back and we will have to cover for it. As we move into spring and the greens begin to transition out of dormancy, we will have to be extra careful with when we cover. Once they begin actively growing, late spring frost can do damage if not properly prepared. That means when temperature gets below 32 degrees and a heavy frost is expected, we will have to cover for it even if the day temps around it are good. This is a critical time for the plant and not covering for a heavy frost could set the turf back and delay complete green-up even longer.

This is also the time of year we begin our weed control processes. We are currently putting out a post-emergent herbicide to control any late season winter weeds along with our pre-emergent herbicide that will control weeds into the spring and summer. This helps us to control our weed population more efficiently and keep the turf cleaner looking. By keeping weeds under control, we give the Bermuda a better opportunity to grow healthier and provide a better playing surface. At Scotsdale with our Bermuda greens, we have the advantage of being able to control weeds around and on greens better with select herbicides. This is a common practice used with Bermuda greens.

Besides all the covering and uncovering and back again, we have continued to limb up trees and remove dead branches to improve overall appearance and play ability.  Things are looking good and we are excited for everyone to enjoy the course this season.

Species Profile: Anas platyrhynchos – Mallard, Wild Duck, Greenhead, Suzie

Identification: The mallard Anas platyrhynchos is a medium sized duck. They are 20-26 inches long and have a wingspan of 32-39 inches. Mallards normally weigh around 1.5-3.5 lbs. Breeding males, called drakes, are distinctive with their iridescent green head, white collar, purple-tinged brown breast, grayish brown wings, and a pale gray belly. The back of the male is black with white borders on the tail. The bill of the male is yellowish orange with a black tip. Females, called hens or ducks, have a mottled body with each separate feather having distinction from cream to very dark brown. They have a cream-colored head and neck with a darker brown on the top of the head and a stripe through their eye. The bill of the female is normally darker than that of the male ranging from black to mottled orange. Both males and females have feathers on their wings that are shimmery purplish-blue, edged with white. These feathers are most often seen at flight or rest. During annual summer molt they temporarily shed these feathers.

 

Range: The mallard occurs across North America. In the northern parts of their breeding range, they are intensely migratory, moving farther south in winter.

Ecology: Mallards reside in many different habitats and climates, from Arctic tundra to subtropical regions. They can be found in both fresh and salt waters. They are also found in the open ocean as long as they can see the coastline. Mallards favor waters with depths less than 3ft and abundant aquatic vegetation.

Mallards usually find mates for breeding around October and November. They will remain together until the female lays eggs in early spring. Males then join with other males forming groups through the molting period in June. Females lay more than half their body weight in eggs, which is very stressful. They require a lot of rest and a feeding area away from predators. Nesting sites that are hidden and unapproachable by ground predators are preferred. They lay 8-13 eggs and incubate them for 27-28 days. It takes 50-60 days for ducklings to get their flight feathers. Ducklings are fully capable of swimming when they hatch, however, they instinctively stay near the mother for warmth, protection, and to learn where to get food.

Mallards are omnivores, consuming invertebrates, crustaceans, worms, seeds, plant matter, small fish, frogs, snails, and roots. Plants normally make up more of their diet during migration and in the winter.  They usually feed by dipping for plant food or browsing.

Mallards are successful at coexisting with humans because of their docile nature. They are desirable because of their beautiful shimmering colors. Because of their adaptability, they can live in urban areas which may have supported more localized, sensitive species of waterfowl. Mallards sometimes create problems through interbreeding with indigenous waterfowl. Mallards are one of the largest and most easily recognized ducks common to Arkansas. Males are sometimes called “Greenhead” and females are known as “Suzie.” Mallards are popular with waterfowl hunters for their meat.

Special Notes: Mallards are the most familiar duck to most people, and well adapted to living around human activity. Many are even semi-domesticated and have learned to live on handouts around city parks and lakes. Feeding waterfowl is unhealthy for the birds and should be avoided.

Species Profile: Castor canadensis – North American Beaver

Scientific Name: Castor canadensis

Common Name(s): North American Beaver, American Beaver, Canadian Beaver, Beaver

Identification: The North American beaver, Castor canadensis, is the largest rodent in North America. They could be mistaken for a nutria, but nutria do not have the large flat paddle-shaped tail like beavers. Adults weigh from 24-71 lbs. and their body length ranges from 29-35 inches and the tail adds 8-14 inches. The beaver has many adaptations that lend them to a life in the water. The beaver has webbed hind feet and smaller, un-webbed, front clawed feet. When underwater, beavers’ eyes are covered by a membrane that allows them to see and they can also close off their ears and nostrils when underwater. Their fur consists of long, coarse outer hairs and short, fine underfur for insulation. Fur is normally dark brown, and they have large, strong, incisor teeth used for cutting down trees. These teeth grow continuously so they do not get worn down. Scent glands located next to their genitals secrete an oily substance called castoreum, which makes their fur waterproof. Beavers also have a flap in their throat that makes it impossible for them to accidentally breathe through their mouth while underwater.

Range: The beaver is native to Canada, the United States, and northern Mexico. It’s found throughout North America except the arctic tundra, peninsular Florida, and deserts in the southwestern United States. Beavers have been introduced in many other countries around the world.

Beavers were nearly extirpated due to the fur trade in North America during the 1800’s. By the end of the 1800’s, beavers were eliminated from most of Arkansas and were reintroduced in the 1940’s. They are now considered a pest in many areas because of flooding caused by dams and felling of trees.

Ecology: Beavers are active on land and in water and are mainly nocturnal. They inhabit permanent water-bodies including lakes, streams, ponds and rivers. They are excellent swimmers and can remain underwater for up to 15 minutes. Due to vulnerability to land predators, they prefer to stay in the water. Their large paddle-like tail is not only used for swimming, but also as fat storage and to signal danger by slapping it on the surface of the water. Common predators include coyotes, wolves, mountain lions and black bears.

Beavers construct their homes, or “lodges,” out of sticks, twigs, rocks and mud. These mounds have underwater access and are surrounded by water. Lodges can also be burrows dug into banks. They are well known for building dams across streams and then constructing their lodge in the pond that forms. Lodges normally have several entrances underwater and two platforms above the water surface that they dry off on. Towards winter, beavers cover their lodge with mud, which is like concrete when frozen, helping keep predators at bay. A small air hole is left in the top of the lodge. The purpose of the dam is to create deep water allowing the beaver to escape from terrestrial predators. If deep water is already present in a water-body, the beaver will burrow in the bank and make an underwater entrance.

Beavers mate between late December and May, commonly in January. Beavers are monogamous, mating with one partner for multiple breeding seasons, usually for life. Females have one litter per year and the young “kits” typically remain with their parents for up to two years. Females have an average of 2-3 kits per litter.

The North American beaver consumes bark, twigs, leaves and aquatic vegetation, because, unlike most mammals, beavers can digest cellulose.

Beavers are considered pests in many areas because of their destructive nature, however, they help many waterfowl and fish species by creating habitat. Trumpeter swans and Canada geese often depend on beaver lodges as nesting sites. Their dams and lodges also provide habitat for many fish species. The presence of beaver dams has been shown to increase either the number of fish, their size, or both, in studies of trout species.

Special Notes: Here in Bella Vista, beavers usually do not cause many major problems. Occasionally, beavers chew the bark from land owners’ trees, or they may chew through a wooden seawall to make a lodge in the bank. Beaver numbers are low as is resulting damage.