Sunday, January 30, 2011

Disappearing Duckweed

G’day everyone,

I would like to introduce myself, as this will be my first post on the blog.My name is Rob Williams, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent here at Stockton Golf & CC. I am the person with the Aussie accent you see and hear on the golf course or in the clubhouse/pro shop each day. You can view a little more on me here

Common Duckweed- Lemna minor

Last week while I was researching a few products, I discovered a pond skimmer that removes duckweed from ponds. Hooked up to the pond skimmer, which floated on the surface of the water, was a trash pump with hoses attached that aided in the removal of the water and duckweed mixture. Filtered into a receptacle, the duckweed is then dumped elsewhere. Price tag = $6500. Ouch!

In an effort to be fiscally responsible, we decided to take up the challenge of making our own duckweed skimmer in house.

Sections cut from the side of an empty thirty-gallon plastic drum would allow the water/duckweed mix to be drawn into the 2” pvc pipe riser; the attached hoses and trash pump would extract the fluid mixture. A 2” slip-fix added to the top of the riser would aid in adjustments for variation in the pond level.

I was standing next to the trash pump when these videos were taken. Please excuse the noise of the pump.

We filter the duckweed from the water that’s been removed from the pond in the native area behind the maintenance facility.

The duckweed remains in the native area, while the water finds its way back into the pond.

Our duckweed problem will not disappear overnight, but we are confident that we are moving in the right direction.

I will see you on the golf course. Happy golfing everyone.
Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Update

The last few weeks have been pretty slow around here with nothing much to report.  The fog is finally breaking up in the afternoons and the golf course is getting some much needed sunlight.  We even are able to mow all of the fairways which is a luxury this time of  year.  Also, cart path restrictions can be pulled this week to get some more golfers out here to enjoy this beautiful weather.

The fog prolongs wetness, keeps the carts on the paths, forces the mowers to stay in the shop, and increases the possibility of disease.  The extended leaf moisture (all day when the fog is around) can lead to a disease called pink snow mold.  We apply products on the greens to prevent this disease, but other areas are left open to attack.  The small amount of disease in the fairways does not justify the cost of fungicides.  Here is the result in the worst areas:

If you would like to know more about this disease, check out last year's post, 'Disease Profile: Pink Snow Mold.'


I'm still amazed by the support and generosity shown by our members as they make contributions to the Tree Program.  We have received well over 100 tree donations and keep getting more every week.  During our last break in the rains, we planted 7 trees in a couple of hours using two employees.  Obviously, the planting process will go pretty quick when the weather will allow us to plant.

The photograph above shows two cork oaks that are to the right of the first green.  These trees grow very well in our climate and soil conditions and will be a nice addition to the green complex.  We also planted a couple of sycamores just into the right rough, 75 yards from the green.  These will fill in for the failing Modesto ash and force a shot over or around trees if your tee shot lands right of the fairway. 

Once we get our mowing finished today, we will dive into some more tree planting.  Our second order, thirty trees this time, will arrive today including honey locust, plums, and golden rain trees.  Many of these will be planted along the left rough of number 6 to buffer the fence line.  We will also attempt to transplant a weeping willow which will be moved from #10 to reshape the hole.  More on that later.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Brick in the Wall

Roughly, there are 120 bricks in our new wall as we continue to renovate the 8th tee box.  Over the last two months, we've removed 7 pine trees, some oleanders, and a bunch of old and dangerous railroad ties.  Our latest work utilized some recycled, stackable blocks that were pulled from a tree well that no longer had a tree on #12.  These are very easy to install, especially after finishing the lowest row of blocks.

We started by excavating along the cart path and removing any leftover roots from the oleanders.  A trench was prepared where we wanted the blocks to go and we picked the lowest point to begin the foundation.  We used some pea gravel we had on site to set the blocks and spent a lot of time getting each one perfectly level. 

As we continued up the path, the row of blocks would sink below the level of the cart path and we would discontinue that row and start the next one up.  Once we had a couple of levels complete, we poured some gravel behind the wall and laid down a perforated drainage pipe.  The pipe was backfilled with gravel within 10 inches of the surface and topped with soil. 

We intentionally positioned the wall away from the cart path to expand the driving width.  To fill in the gap, we used one of my favorite materials, decomposed granite.  It will pack down nearly as hard as concrete while still providing adequate drainage. 

My favorite part of this little project is the use of old bricks which have some character.  There are shades of green, brown, red and a few that still look like the original gray.  The brand new wall looks like it's been there for awhile.

Everything we used on this project we already had on property, so the cost was labor only.  The rest of this tee complex will need some work including the stairs, the other side of the retaining wall, landscaping, and tee leveling.  With the Green Committee's approval, we decided this was a good place to start, especially when there was no added cost. 

The staff loves a project like this to break the monotony of raking up leaves, mowing around wet spots, and waiting for frost delays.  Five days in and we've completed our first project for 2011 with many more to come.  Happy New Year!!!!