Thursday, July 30, 2015

TPC Sawgrass: Honey Bee Management

Yesterday (07/30), with the help of the Jacksonville Beekeepers Association our team was able to safely manage and maintain an active honey bee hive while eliminating any risk to people.  A hive had been identified in a high traffic area of the property but with the expert help of Jim Altmiller, Raw Honey Bee Removal, we were able to encourage the bees to access the hive from a different location.
Honey bees are a very important member of our diverse eco-system and have been used for thousands of years to pollinate flowers and plants.  Honey bees are not aggressive by nature but will sting when 'provoked' by quick movements.  The bees live in a highly organized society that has very specific roles that include: nurses, guards, grocers, housekeepers, and construction workers.  Due to the importance of honey bees in our environment we called Jim with the Jacksonville Beekeepers Association to ensure that the management of the bees was best for their well being.  
The bee hive had grown in a rotted hollow of a tree.  As the rot continued to grow down through the trunk a new entrance for the bees formed at the base of the tree.  This new hive entrance made the interactions between people and bees inevitable.  Rather than dispose of the bees, measures were taken to seal up the new entrance so that the bees could continue pollinating our environment without coming in direct contact with people.  The bees will now use an entrance higher up in the tree away from people.

 Jim Altmiller felt comfortable enough around the bees to pet them.
 Jim and Spencer Cox, TPC Sawgrass, discuss the future entrance for the bees high up in the tree. 
Jim used a tea tree oil spray to disperse the bees before using an industrial sealant to close up the crack in the tree.  

For more information on honey bees and assistance when handling them contact your local beekpeers association.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Steroids for Trees: The Arborjet!

Here at TPC Sawgrass we’re taking our pesticide and fertilizer applications to another level when applying to trees and palms! Our newest tool for the job: the Arborjet. The Arborjet is a tree injection system that allows us to apply pesticides and fertilizers directly to the vascular tissues of the plant. This means the chemical will be used more rapidly and efficiently by the plant and we can use less product.

Another huge benefit to the Arborjet is the absence of non-target environmental impacts. When fertilizers are applied to the soil there is no way of stopping weeds from utilizing the nutrients, too. The same goes for pesticides. When insecticides and fungicides are injected directly into the plant, the only insects and fungi that are killed are the ones feeding on the plant. This falls within our drive at TPC Sawgrass for environmental stewardship.

First we drill 4 holes in the base of the tree or palm 
Then we tap plastic inserts into the holes we created.

Close up on the plastic insert.

Now we place the injection needles in all the inserts.

Lastly, we pressurize the container with the chemical and the chemical is forced in the
 vascular tissues of the tree or palm.

This is a Live Oak with the injectors all set up!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Flower Change Out: Summer Color!

It’s time for our summer annual flower change here at TPC Sawgrass! This year, we chose a mixture of red, white, pink, and purple Pentas or Pentas lanceolata.

Pentas are actually perennials, meaning they can grow indefinitely, but they are often used as seasonal plantings in flower beds. They are known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds; making them great for home gardens!
Front of the Clubhouse

Back of the Clubhouse

Corner of PGA Tour Blvd. and Championship Way

Friday, July 3, 2015

Employee Appreciation BBQ!

We work long, hot days during the summer at TPC Sawgrass because the Bermudagrass and other ornamental plants are actively growing and needing to be maintained. That being said, we wanted to show our employees how much they matter to us, so we put on a BBQ to give them a chance to relax and unwind. It was also a great opportunity for the agronomy staff to get together with the clubhouse staff, sit back, and appreciate all the hard work they put in day in and day out!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer 2015 Cultural Practices: TPC Sawgrass

As you can imagine with the Dye’s Valley course, the PLAYERS Stadium course, and all the landscaping in between, we manage a lot of turfgrass here at TPC Sawgrass. At the beginning of each summer we begin our cultural practices, which include verticutting, aerification, and top dressing.

When turfgrass grows, it aggressively meshes together and will overlap older, dead grass material. Thatch is the term given to the old grass material. Too much thatch can make it difficult for turf roots to reach the soil for its much needed water and nutrients. The main purpose of verticutting is to remove the thatch layer under the grass canopy. Verticutting is like mowing except the blades are vertical, so the blades cut down into the turf, removing thatch, instead of trimming the height as mowers do.

We have a lot of foot traffic on many of our turfgrass areas. This leads to compaction of the soil causing less water and air to be stored in the soil as well as making it difficult for turf to grow healthy roots. Aerification is a process that loosens the soil by repeatedly punching the turf with 5/8” hollow tines.  

 After executing the two aforementioned cultural practices, we then topdress these areas with sand in order to replace the soil that was removed during the aerification process.  The vertical holes, now filled with sand, allows for better moisture penetration and air/gas exchange. 

All of these cultural practices are critical to keep the Bermudagrass turf in championship level condition year round.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Art of Deadheading Flowers

With all the landscaping we have between two golf courses, the clubhouse, and all the grounds in between, it is somewhat of an understatement to say that we have a lot of exciting flowering plants here at TPC Sawgrass! With great flowers comes great responsibility though and one of the main techniques we employ to keep plants flowering is deadheading, or removing the old dying blooms.

Once a plant’s flowers start to degrade they can negatively impact the appearance of the landscape. For this reason alone it is a good idea to deadhead the fading flowers, but this technique can also encourage new flowers to form. This is because flowering is part of many plant’s reproductive cycle, so when their flowers are removed they’ll start the cycle over and make new flowers!

 Some old Marigold blooms mix in with new blooms.
Old bloom from a rose bush.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 Tour Championship Preparation: Weed Control

Temperatures are rising as we get into the warmer part of the year and as the weather gets warmer, plants start growing! With the coming up in a few short months, we have to stay vigilant with our weed control through the summer and one very effective way to combat the oncoming weed infestation is to use preemergence herbicides.

Pre-emergence herbicides can be applied as a granular or liquid. Once applied, they create a barrier in the soil’s surface that inhibits weed seedling emergence. This is why this type of herbicide can be applied around existing plants without damaging them; however, this also means that it won’t be effective against existing weeds either.

We apply our pre-emergent, Specticle, at the label’s rate of 12oz per acre in order to reach our goal of 4 months of control over weeds! As for the weeds that already exist, we’ll use a combination of spraying Roundup and good ol’ fashion hand pulling to take care of those.

Our Chemical Technition: Bob Charette