Weather and all things Mink Meadows

The last couple posts may have shown some green grass but I have not conveyed what an amazing Fall season we have had. There have been the odd rainy day and a few frosts in the morning but overall the temps have been outstanding. Many days in the 60's and 70's with one or two in Oct. in the low 80's. Yesterday was windy and 40's and it felt like winter it has been so mild. Not the best picture but if you look close you can see the shrub in front of the clubhouse flowering.

purple flowers coming out in November
Another addition to the course scenery was the delivery of the guest house to the right of the 8th green. This new house sits right behind the 9th tee. This summer many thought the land clearing indicated an expansion of this tee. It was a pre-emptive view clearing for this new property.

guest house behind 9 tee

Another small improvement was a garage door replacement on one of our buildings. May not seem noteworthy but the original doors have been a royal pain since the day we put them in over 5 years ago. A true testament to "you get what you pay for" the originals were the cheapest door you can buy and on a large opening not a good idea. We had each door repaired at least 5 times; with the repair sometimes lasting only weeks. They were just too flimsy to handle the use we put them through.
new door on the left. Right one slated for replacement in January
I also toured the beach in the last week to keep an eye on our cut and beach work. The channel appears to be flowing still and the beach replenishment or spoils deposited are doing their thing and shaping the beach as the tide works its magic.

straight down path, channel to the right


channel looking north west

Inspectors at work

looking east towards west chop
odd growth pattern
Lastly the above picture is on the first fairway but many of the fairways are exhibiting this phenomenon. Certain shoots are stretching above the turf canopy. This growth pattern has a name etiolation. You will often see this on grass under something left on the lawn for a week or two, like the lid of a trash can: The stems of plants raised in the dark elongate much more rapidly than normal, a phenomenon called etiolation. It is a mechanism that increases the probability of the plant reaching the light. OK so why are we seeing this on many plants all over the fairways? Good question. It has been observed recently that bacterial infections can cause this phenomenon. Some growth regulators are being blamed as well. Growth regulators are chemicals that do exactly as their name implies (we try to keep it simple when we can) and are used for a variety of reasons: increase or moderate green speed, help in a conversion from annual bluegrass to something else (usually creeping bentgrass), save money on mowing, reduce clipping yield, or simply to tighten up the turf. We use them on greens and tees for many of the above mentioned reasons but rarely on fairways and not recently. So where does that leave us for an answer? My first thought was an experiment this fall where we sprayed a mineral oil on many areas. The benefits of this product are interesting: they claim to have control of many fungal pathogens, and insects. The way the product works is with repeated use it bolsters the plants natural defenses. sort of like taking a vitamin. It is a natural product and most people are reducing their overall synthetic plant protectants in conjunction with the mineral oil. For us we do not use plant protectants on our fairways instead relying on the injection of a bacteria through the irrigation system to fight fungal pathogens. I am hoping to get away from this program strictly to avoid the water use. I believe in the bacteria as we have shown since 1997 that we can have good fairways without traditional fungicides. I may start spraying the bacteria instead. My goal this year is to completely change my watering practices. With constant saltwater intrusion into our irrigation well we simply need to use less of it. Back to the strange growth in the picture; we are seeing this pattern on fairways not sprayed with the mineral oil. So chalk this one up to a natural process that maybe goes un-noticed when we are mowing three times a week. As always I will keep an eye on it to see if anything develops further.

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