FOR GOLF COURSE SUPERINTENDENTS
By: John Mascaro
Volume 10 Number 3 – November 2004
In this issue:
The Infiltrometer, it’s not just for breakfast anymore!
The hurricanes in Florida
Mutiny on the Turf
One for the funny bone.
Do not read, this, please give it to your wife to read
John Mascaro’s Photo Quiz in Golf Course Management
Sports Turf News.
Golf Course News.
Turf-Tec Website News & Turf-Tec in the news.
Want an instant Disease diagnosis but you do not have a turfgrass
pathologist on staff?
Contributions to this publication.
I cannot believe that this year is already approaching its end. It has been a great year for me and reflecting upon how fast it went by, I do owe some sincere thanks to people. I want to use this editorial to thank all those who read the Turf-Tec digest and also all the people who are using our diagnostic tools to diagnose their turfgrass areas. With so many people now using our diagnostic tools, I have been really busy this year trying to make some additional support materials to aid in the record keeping of the results provided by our instruments. I now have a downloadable data base that will aid in record keeping available on my website. I have also added a lot of additional information to my website to keep people up to date with the latest ideas in product usage. Often the best ideas on product usage come from my customers. So, as we get our turfgrass ready for a good winters nap, and as we prepare for the spring thaw, keep in mind, I do really appreciate all the support and ideas from my customers and also all the ideas that I get for the Turf-Tec digest. So thank you again to everyone and have a great winter.
To view the page about the spreadsheets, click here: http://www.turf-tec.com/Download.html
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The Infiltrometer, it’s not just for breakfast anymore!
When I first invented the Infiltrometer, I invented it for the main purpose of finding out how long it took irrigation water to go into the soil. In fact, we introduced the Infiltrometer along with the precipitation / uniformity gauges as a “set” so you could see how much water you were applying through irrigation and how long it takes for it to go into the soil.
Shortly after the Infiltrometers introduction, the late Dr. Houston Couch, who was a world renowned turfgrass pathologist at Virginia Tech, directly correlated the use of the Infiltrometer with the diagnosis of anaerobiosis or black layer development. Dr. Couch determined that the turfgrass areas with the lowest infiltration rates were always the same areas that had the highest incidence of disease development. He pursued this research and determined that the lack of infiltration meant a lack of pore space within the soil. It was this lack of pores space that caused a lack of air exchange within the soil profile and thus caused black layer. His research was the basis for many other researches that also pursued anaerobiosis.
After that time, as many superintendents began using the Turf-Tec Infiltrometer on a regular monthly or bi-monthly basis, they found that they could also use the Infiltrometer to determine when to Aerify. If the infiltration rate was usually ten inches an hour and it dropped down to nine inches per hour, they knew it was time to Aerify. The Infiltrometer also allows turf managers to explain to greens committees, the golf pro or management, the need for Aerification by attaching a numeric value to the infiltration rates and thus, showing the need for cultivation.
Sports Turf Managers are also using the Turf-Tec Infiltrometer to determine if athletic fields are prone to puddling during rain events. If rates are low enough and Aerification is not providing enough relief, the Infiltrometer is also being used to determine if athletic field reconstruction is necessary.
The latest development with the Turf-Tec Infiltrometer has been its use as a tool in the engineering field. As it turn out, many government regulation departments need infiltration tests to insure that storm water basins are going to infiltrate adequately enough to handle rainfalls. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been using the Infiltrometer for testing urban runoff potentials and several State Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP’s) have been using the Infiltrometer for storm water basins and percolation pits. Clearly the Infiltrometer is not just for breakfast anymore.
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The hurricanes in Florida.
Since I am based out of South Florida, just about everyone I talk to has asked about the Hurricanes. The 2004 Hurricane season brought four separate Hurricanes to Florida, of which two hit South East Florida, one hit South West Florida and one hit the Panhandle. All three storms that hit South Florida also went through central Florida, so they were actually hit three times. Down here in the Ft. Lauderdale area we were extremely lucky, having only tree damage and electrical outages, however very little structural damage. The real damage starts about 20 miles north of where I am located and was really cataclysmic for many. Most golf courses suffered tree damage and some structural damages to maintenance facilities and clubhouses. Many superintendents suffered damage to their homes, yet they had to work overtime hours at their respective clubs to aid in the rapid re-opening of the golfing facilities.
Sports Turf Managers were also affected since they work for municipalities, many that also suffered damage to their own homes were required to assist in large tree removal and roadway clean up projects, in addition to their designated park cleanups that kept them busy from sunrise to far into the night.
So my hat goes off to all those who were affected by the storms, I have seen several people who were working 100 hour work weeks while their own homes were damaged and without power for days, even weeks. It truly re-defines your priorities and shows you that in this business, you really never know what Mother Nature has in store for you next.
As many people have also told me, most television networks only shows you the newscasters out in the winds with raincoats being buffeted by hurricane force winds, however they forgot to show you the true human aspect of these storms.
Here is a power point presentation that you can download to see some photos from hurricane Francis that was compiled by and employee who works for the Bank of America.
Download by clicking here: http://www.turf-tec.com/Year%20in%20Review/HurricaneFrancis.pps
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Mutiny on the Turf.
All finely manicured turfgrass areas are a hub of hectic activity. There is
always something to do on the turf whether it is mowing, watering, fertilizing,
rolling, verti-cutting or spraying. But what is the turf growing in? The soil is
the obvious answer. And what do we do for the growing media that supports the
turf? Well I was making a list of all things that we do for the soil and I
arrived at the conclusion that it’s a pretty short list, Aerify.
Besides this necessary cultivation, there is really no other activity we do on a turfgrass area that aids in the health of the growing media, the soil. And when do we do this necessary activity? Often it is delegated to the spring and the fall, and in some instances, not even that often.
With all the outside pressure from golf course green committees, golfers, coaches, athletic directors and athletes to maintain a smooth playing surface, the necessary practice of Aerification or conditioning of the soil has taken a back seat to the pressures of the game. In some instances, fall Aerification has been moved back into winter and the fall Aerification have been eliminated leaving a turfgrass area to be aerified just once a year, during a time of dormancy.
Well I think it’s time for a mutiny! All turf managers need to do is arm
themselves with information as to when you really need to Aerify and schedule
this necessary cultivation for your growing media when it needs it. If we
succumb to the pressure of our consumers or the hierarchy, turfgrass quality
First we need to determine when to Aerify, Tools like the Turf-Tec Penetrometer and Turf-Tec Infiltrometer indicate when air space within the growing media is decreasing. First baseline infiltration readings should be taken and recorded as well as baseline Penetrometer readings. These will give you a starting point to determine how much air space is in your soil to begin with.
Infiltration readings not only tell how many inches of water per hour the soil can absorb, they also tell how much pore space is in the growing media. This pore space directly affects rooting and turfgrass root air exchange or respiration. The chart below shows acceptable ranges of infiltration, however a generally accepted rule of thumb from turfgrass research is when a 10% decrease in infiltration rate occurs from your previous readings or baseline infiltration readings occur, air space within the growing media is reduced to the point where it will affect turfgrass health.
Penetrometer readings show the actual percentages of pore space in the soil. Any
reading over 60% indicates compaction is a problem and Aerification of the
media should be performed. When the Penetrometer and infiltration readings are
combined, they give an overall view of the air space within the growing media.
These readings give the basis for determining your Aerification schedule.
With facts in hand, you need to take a stand that Aerification needs to be scheduled immediately. If a mutiny is required, you may need to amass as many of your crew as possible before approaching the hierarchy about what needs to be done.
I hope that a mutiny will not be required and cool heads will prevail, keeping in mind that attaining healthy turf and the best possible playing surface should be everyone’s goal. After all a healthy growing media will support healthy turf and that in turn, will allow the golfers and athletes to continue to use the turfgrass areas.
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One for the funny bone.
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From the USGA Green Section Bulletin “Turf-Twisters” January 1965
Question: The golf course superintendent at our club tells us that he mows greens at l/4 inch. At a neighboring club, the greens are mowed at 5/16 inch, yet their greens seem faster than ours. Can you explain? (Missouri)
Answer: The true cutting height of a mower is established by placing a straight-edge across the caster wheels or the scalping roller and the drive roller. The height of the cutting edge above this line is the true cutting height.
Now the “effective cutting height” may be quite different. It is influenced by the amount of turf on the green - a dense turf will cause the mower to cut higher than will a thin turf. It is also influenced by the weight of the mower and even by the amount of clippings carried in the catcher.
Other things may also influence speed of putting greens. An upright grass will provide a slower surface than grass which tends to lie flat. Stiffer grass does not allow the ball to roll as freely as soft grass. Thus it is quite possible for a green cut with a mower set at 5/16 inch to be faster than another cut with a mower set at l/4 inch.
Imagine fighting over cutting heights 40 years ago. Although the cutting height numbers have changed dramatically, it seems we are still arguing over the same things today.
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Do not read, this, please give it to your wife to read.
Now do not cheat, really, this article is for your wife.
So you are the wife of a superintendent and want to know what to get him for Christmas? As we get older, often we have a hard time figuring out what to get our spouses for Christmas. And quite frankly, we do not often get as excited as we did when we were kids to open our presents. In times long ago, we couldn’t wait till Christmas morning, we would wake up as early as possible (which was usually about ten minutes before we thought mom and dad would get too upset) and with pajamas still on, rush down to see what was under the tree. As we have gotten older, we often view Christmas as a time to sleep in, and more times then not, we usually will try to read the paper and have our coffee before seeing what is under the tree.
Well I want to bring the joy back to all superintendents this Christmas. What your superintendent spouse really wants for Christmas is a brand new Mascaro Profile Sampler. When he sees the shiny gold Soil Profiler under the tree, he will probably get so excited that he might even unwrap it before having his coffee. So often they have seen the new Mascaro Profile Sampler used by USGA agronomists and University professors all over the world while they still have to use their old model unit without the easy open hinge. In addition when he starts to use the sampler, he will be so happy that it takes only one third the time to open then usual soil profile sampler, they will be overwhelmed all over again. With all this saved time, they will be able to finish earlier for the day and return home sooner. Also as with most gifts, when they use the item at work, they will think of the person who gave it to them, their loving wife. This is another great way to get your husband to think of his kind and caring wife while he is at work. So this Christmas, remember to put that brand new Mascaro Profile Sampler under the tree for that special guy, and he will thank you for years to come.
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John Mascaro’s Photo Quiz in Golf Course Management Magazine.
Each monthly issue of "Golf Course Management Magazine" I write a feature called "John Mascaro's Photo Quiz" located on page 26. The feature has two turfgrass related photographs that you are asked to identify as well as some clues about location. The correct answer appears in the back of the magazine. It is informative as well as fun.
Having to come up with two pictures each month is always a challenge and that is why I always seek help from my newsletter readers. The quiz contains two pictures, one is a common photo of things that happen to most golf course superintendents, and I have lots of these type pictures. The second picture is the ones that are hard to figure out or something that is unique to your particular part of the country or the world. Wildlife damage is always a good subject as well as any other unique agronomic situation. So if you are so inclined, I would like to have your photo. A low resolution photo is ok for the proof but the actual photo needs to be as high resolution as possible or in the form of a negative. If I use the photograph in the magazine, you will get full credit! You can send photographs to: John Mascaro, 3669 NW 124th Avenue, Coral Springs, FL. 33065 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
For those of you that haven’t seen the quiz, here is another sample:
Turfgrass Area: Golf Green
Grass Variety: Poa / Bentgrass blend
Problem: Dead turf in circular pattern.
Answer (In magazine on separate page): The irregular circles are actually fungicide damage. As it turns out an anonymous employee tried a new experiment by mixing a wetable powdered fungicide with a granular fertilizer. Then the person put the mixture in a rotary spreader and applied it the golf greens. I am not sure if it was the incorrect rates or the mixing procedure that caused the damage, however we can be sure that the experiment was a failure. The greens had to be re-sodded.
Photo courtesy of Tom Cook, Assoc. Professor, Oregon State University Horticulture Department.
To subscribe to Golf Course Management Magazine and see John Mascaro's Photo Quiz each month, click here: https://www.gcsaa.org/GCM/Sub.asp
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STMA - Sports Turf News
The 2005 STMA National Conference and show. The 2005 STMA National conference and show will be in Phoenix, AZ next year January 19-23rd. You can visit the STMA website at http://www.sportsturfmanager.com/ and download a PDF of the complete brochure. The show promises to be a great one with many exciting educational opportunities, the sports turf trade show and two local area sports turf tours. It is always a chance to see old friends, make new ones, catch up on the latest turfgrass research and see the latest products. If you have never attended, you are missing out on a great as well as informative event. Sign up today!
Artificial Turf Update.
are some excerpts from the Turfgrass Producers International Organization.
“Serious Questions about New-Generation Artificial Turf That Require Answers”
In order to make fiscally and environmentally sound decisions regarding the potential purchase and installation of artificial turf in their communities, decision makers must consider all short- and long-term issues and concerns. Artificial turf is being widely promoted as a cost-efficient, environmentally- and user-friendly product that can replace natural grass on sports fields and home lawn areas.
Unfortunately a large number of unsubstantiated claims are being made by promoters of the new-generation artificial turf products (particularly those that incorporate ground rubber as part of their base).
Claims made by many artificial promoters include some or all of the following:
Artificial surfaces have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years.
Initial purchase and installation costs are quickly offset by the absence of on going, maintenance costs.
Safety of the artificial playing surface is un-matched by natural turfgrass.
Significant questions about the validity of these claims deserve answers.
Of equal or greater concern are questions that typically will not arise during the normal artificial turf sales presentation process, in particular issues related to the health and safety of our children and serious threats to our environment. These issues require answers.
Ground tire rubber is used in some artificial fields as an impact-softening base. The toxic content (including heavy metals) of tires prohibits their disposal in landfills or through ocean dumping. Yet, this toxic material is being allowed (in large quantities) where children and professional athletes come into direct contact with it. Should the presence of potentially toxic ground rubber on a sports field or home lawn be a concern to decision-makers, athletes, coaches, spectators and parents?
Temperatures on artificial fields have been documented to be upwards of 86.5 degrees (F) hotter than natural grass fields under identical conditions. For example, at one location, when the natural grass surface temperature was 93.5 degrees (F), the measured artificial field temperature was 180 degrees (F).
Field sanitation that includes removal of bodily fluids (spittle, blood, sweat, vomit, urine), and/or bird or animal droppings may present a unique problem for artificial fields.
Abrasive surfaces can result in difficult-to-heal injuries, particularly in the presence of bacterial or viral pathogens.
Field hardness (either too hard or too soft a surface) can result in serious chronic or immediate athletic injury.
Athlete Health and Career-Longevity can be seriously jeopardized by exposure to extreme temperatures, overly hard or overly soft surfaces, greater speed at point of impact (with the field or other players) and staphylococcus (staph) infections caused by parasitic bacterium present on the playing surface.
Ground rubber and artificial turf particulates are present on the playing field and in the surrounding spectator stands. Pesticides and cleansing products may be routinely applied to the surface, with unknown consequences to the environment.
How will the field be disposed of when it is removed?
What gases would be released into the atmosphere in the event of a fire on the artificial surface?
What scientific testing has been completed to document that run-off or leachate from an artificial area is not polluting surface or groundwater?
What impact does an artificial surface have on the area’s capacity to recharge groundwater or an aquifer?
What products are available to safely control weeds, algae or other conditions that develop on artificial surfaces, particularly when large amounts of water are applied in an effort to reduce the surface’s heat build-up?
The initial purchase price of an artificial surface (sports field or home lawn) is many times greater than a natural grass area; however, promoters of the artificial products maintain that tremendous costs savings will be forthcoming because of reduced maintenance costs, as well as the product’s warranty.
Will the artificial turf manufacturing and installation company provide a warranty specifying the expected life of the product?
Given the fact that several artificial turf manufacturing companies have gone bankrupt; will the selling firm provide a warranty bond for the life of the product, ensuring that the buyer has some legitimate recourse in the event of failure?
What is the longest period of time the artificial field being specified has been in use (at a level of use at least as great as the area being considered)?
What conditions or maintenance practices will void the field’s warranty?
Does a single warranty cover all aspects of the artificial field’s soil-base preparation, base materials, artificial turf materials, top-dressing, irrigation system, etc., or will there be separate warranties and warranty voiding conditions for each element…some of which could contravene each other?
What is the minimum and maximum financial investment in specialized capital equipment that must be purchased to maintain the artificial field at a level that will provide maximum playing conditions and maintain the warranty?
What level of manpower (ground crew) is required to maintain an artificial field, compared to a natural grass field? Has any crew size or man-hour requirements been reduced with the installation of an artificial turf area?
What level of technical training is supplied, recommended or required for the ground crew in order to properly maintain the area and the warranty conditions?
What are the warranties required or recommended processes to address each of the following repair or replacement requirements of the artificial surface. (cigarette burns, discoloration of areas caused by wear, replacement of areas caused by wear or other physical or weather-related damage)
To view the article in its entirety it can be found on the Turfgrass Producers International website at: http://www.turfgrasssod.org
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Golf Course News
The 2005 Golf Course Superintendents Association National Conference and show.
The 2005 GCSAA National conference and show will be in Orlando, FL next year February 10-12th. The show will be held in conjunction with the National Golf Course Owners Association and has been re-named the "Golf Industry Show". You visit the GCSAA website and register at http://www.golfindustryshow.com/2005/attend/default.asp
The show promises to be huge show which will be divided into four parts. The four areas will consist of one section for equipment solutions, one for water solutions, one for agronomic solutions and one for clubhouse solutions. The whole show floor will have golf green being constructed in the center as well as a driving range and electric vehicle test track. The show will also offer many exciting educational opportunities. It is always a chance to see old friends, make new ones, catch up on the latest turfgrass research and see the latest products. If you have never attended, you are missing out on a great as well as informative event. Sign up today!
Turf-Tec will be in booth # 4957, directly behind the GCSAA merchandise store.
Alert Turf-Tec Digest reader Bruce Williams, Superintendent from the prestigious Los Angeles Country Club sent me an article that he found in the Wall Street Journal Online about a new trend in Golf Tees. This is my version of the new trend.
Apparently, the latest thing that golfers are buying with the promise of better golf shots and longer distance is new tees. Ever since the disappearance of sand tees around 1900 and with the development of the wooden golf tee, there has been little that has really changed with the tee. For almost 60 years it had been little more than a piece of wood with a simple cup on the top. The advent of plastics has changed the material but the design still remained.
But lately the tee is getting a new look and feel. Golfers are now faced with a large selection of strange shapes promises of the ultimate shot. Prices range from $2.00 to $4.00 each tee for some of these new designs. Some have brushes on top and some even have swivel heads that look like an irrigation swing joint gone bad. The swivel head design is meant to allow the tee to bend after the ball is hit, preventing breakage.
There now are more then 764 golf tee related patents on file at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington.
With the advent the oversized driver heads, there is also a development of longer golf tees that allow the ball to sit up higher. This tee height issue prompted an official announcement from the United States Golf Association seeing that it needed to draw the line somewhere. The USGA declared that tees can be no longer than 4 inches, although there still longer tees being sold. According to the USGA, a tee also must not be "designed or manufactured in such a way that it could...influence the movement of the ball."
Take notice in this new trend, new tees often come with new problems. Most often, mower reels and bed knives have problems cutting through the new, more durable plastics and synthetic materials.
In the past, I have seen tees made for superintendents. Tees made from grass seed, tees that were bio-degradable and tees that were water soluble. Perhaps the new tee manufacturers will get together with the superintendents and come to a compromise. In the meanwhile, bed knives beware, the new tees are coming!
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Turf-Tec website news and Turf-Tec in the news.
Product Literature beefed up!
I have added lots more pages to my website with photographs and more information on each literature page. You can now order products directly from the catalog pages as well.
Year in review photo tour.
I have added some more pages to my website with photographs from
May 2004 though October of 2004. Some areas in the photographs are as follows:
Florida International University,
Heron Bay Country Club
Emerald Hills Country Club
Eagle Trace Country Club
Pro Player Stadium
For the end of 2004, I have also added some new products to my line of diagnostic tools. The new literature sheets are as follows:
Sand Penetrometer - To test trap sand -
EC Soil Meter - To test salts in soil -http://www.turf-tec.com/EClit.html
EC Water Meter - To test salts in irrigation water and leachate - http://www.turf-tec.com/EC640lit.html
pH Pens - To test tank mixes, 3 different models -http://www.turf-tec.com/catalog-n.html#phep
Heavy duty infiltration rings -http://www.turf-tec.com/IN7lit.html
Turf-Tec in the News
As usual, our products appear in a major turfgrass publication almost every month. Here is another example.
|From the September 2004 issue of Landscape Superintendent, page 52 shows the Turf-Tec Tubular Turf Plugger with Dr. Doug Brede from Jacklin Seed Company.||
Free 2005 Catalog now available
Want a brand new 2005 Turf-Tec catalog? Just click on http://www.turf-tec.com/form.html and fill out the form and one will be on its way to you.
Turf-Tec International offers secure online ordering on our website for those of you that want to pay for orders with credit cards. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. To try this feature out click here: http://www.turf-tec.com/alph-catalog-p1.html
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Want an instant Disease diagnosis but you do not have a turfgrass pathologist on staff?
With the new Macroscope computer camera adaptor you can have access to a turfgrass pathologist at any time you need one. Let's face it, when the condition are right for disease development, it every minute can make the difference between life and death to your turf. That is why we now offer a computer camera attachment for the Macroscope.
With this handy attachment, you can hook your Macroscope up to your computers USB port and scan the image you see on the screen into a digital image. This image can then be sent to a turfgrass pathologist for an immediate diagnosis.
When the unit is attached to the 45 power scope, you can get
close enough to see the mycelium spreading out from the disease.
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Contributions to this publication.
I also want to invite all of you recipients of this newsletter that if you wish to contribute any information that you find interesting or exciting, please send it to me and I will include it along with crediting its source.
Also, if you know another Golf Course Superintendent or Sports Turf Manager that would like to receive the Turf-Tec Digest, have them forward their email address along to me. In addition, I get most of my new product ideas from Golf Course Superintendents and Sports Turf Managers who see a need in the industry that has not been filled. Be sure to look at the new product section on my web site for new additions. http://www.turf-tec.com/Map.html
If you received this newsletter directly from email@example.com, don’t worry. I personally acquired your name by researching each golf course and sports facility individually. In addition Turf-Tec does not buy, sell, trade or share their mailing list with anyone. We also have taken security measures to insure that your name will not be passed along to other people. If, however you still do not want to receive this newsletter, simply respond to this email with the words "remove" in the subject line and your name will be permanently deleted from our list.
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If you have not received your new free 2005 Turf-Tec Catalog call us.
Our toll free (800) 258-7477 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the online form at http://www.turf-tec.com/form.html
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Tallahassee, FL. 32303
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