Beach update and input management

After the last round of storms the weather has been back to normal for a Vineyard Fall. Cool nights, maybe a frost in the morning but very seasonable during the day. Today the forecast is for mid 60's and 70's in Boston. Unfortunately I have a meeting for the Board of the New England Regional Turfgrass Foundation off-island today. I am drafting this on the boat ride over. Unlike my counter part from the Cape association on this board I will not be enjoying the ride on a motorcycle. He won't be on the water however.
I went to the beach right after the nor'easter last week and took a few pictures of the recently completed dredging of the Mink Meadows Channel. There was a grand vision once upon a time when Mink Meadows Association was founded to have a yacht club. Jetties were put in and for whatever reason, finances is my guess, the ultimate plan fell through. So although we have a body of water open to the sound called "yacht basin" and a road to this basin called "yacht club rd" we maintain a channel wide and deep enough for canoes and kayaks only.

finished channel looking towards sound

beach looking east

channel inspection by Bert

channel from jettie looking south into basin
We maintain this channel for the overall health of the pond ecosystem in Mink Meadows. The water that is open to the sound is extensive with channels heading west towards lake Tashmoo and east towards west chop. The flushing of these waters and the surrounding wetlands is important for many reasons. Flowing water especially saltwater helps to keep mosquito populations in check as well as the invasive weed phragmites. It keeps pollutants such as nitrogen from building up as well. We try to maintain an Eco friendly course with many of our programs including nitrogen management. I worry more about septic systems and homeowners lawns as a potential source of nitrogen than I do the golf course. Our efforts to educate landowners and golfers alike to the dangers of nitrogen and any inputs you may have to the ecosystem in the interest of a nice lawn. We all fall victim to the commercials we see on TV but the lawns shown on fertilizer commercials are not the goal to strive for, in my opinion. The sooner we can realize this the better we will all be. The local, state and federal governments are constantly being pressured to pass new laws regulating fertilizers and pesticides. If we all learn to maintain our lawns a bit more Eco friendly we may still get to use the products we are used to. If they get banned entirely we will then be ahead of the curve. Sorry for the rant but when it comes to water whether at the beach or at the tap I take the use of plant protectants and fertilizers very seriously. A simple rule of thumb in the northeast for fertilizer applications are Memorial. Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving. If you really want to be low input I would do the late fall feed only. This will help recover from damage in the season and set you up for spring. Early Spring applications are dangerous as growth rate is determined by soil temperatures and microbial activity. If it is cold the plant will not take up the fertilizer and if you keep adding when it does warm up you get this explosion of growth. They now are selling granular iron as a weed control. This would be a much better option if you are looking for an early season color fix. A good organic fertilizer may also give the microbes a boost without much nitrogen push and give you a color response without a big flush of growth. This time of year keep the leaves off as much as you can so the plant can take advantage of the sunlight and store carbohydrates for winter. And most importantly never apply anything before or immediately after a rain event. This is a common practice as a way to water in the product but you have no control of the amount of rain and the potential for movement of that product is increased. More tips in the future....

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