Friday, June 28, 2013

Tree Shade Study: ArborCom Technology

           As the renovation of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course is underway, it is a perfect opportunity to address the shade problems on a few of our greens. The greens on number nine and twelve, as well as the three greens in the professional practice area are all plagued with thin spots created by the shadows from the surrounding trees.
           Instead of blindly cutting down trees that don’t necessarily need to be cut down, TPC contracted Scott Robinson, founder of ArborCom Technology, to conduct a shade tree study for the troubled greens. This study would identify exactly which trees were causing the problems. To accomplish this task, about five days worth of fieldwork was required. With the help of a transit and prism, every tree within the Summer Solstice Azimuth was marked and then surveyed. After plotting the green’s shape, each marked tree was surveyed, recording the distance, height, and width of the tree in relation to the green.
           All of this data was logged into ArborCom’s U.S. Patented Sunshader Sunmapping System, which would in return create a Local Positioning Map (LPS) of the greens and trees that were surveyed. With the help of the software, one can view the shadow patterns of every recorded tree, in any month of the year. This was crucial to the study because as the seasons change, the sun angle changes also. For example, a tree that casts a shadow on the green in July may not even come close to casting a shadow on the green in December.
            Now you may ask, how can we possibly make the right choice about what trees need to be removed by just looking at the shade patterns over the course of the year? The answer lays in the fact that the Sunshader Software can quantify the hours of sunlight that reach the green throughout the course of each month. To successfully grow championship caliber greens, a specific number of sunlight hours are needed per month to ensure healthy growing conditions. Sunshader gives the ability to map out the current light conditions and then virtually “cut down” trees within the software to see what scenarios would give the greens ample sun light.
            The hardest part of the job is making the decisions to actually cut down the trees. What happens when the software shows you that a 200-year-old Live Oak Tree needs to come down in order to meet minimal light conditions? Is there an alternative? Who are we to make a decision about the fate of a tree that has been here long before most of this land was even settled? It is questions such as these that make the decision so controversial. ArborCom helps take the emotion out of the equation and utilize factual data to determine that removal of the tree is vital for the health of the green. 
Tree Data Spreadsheet 
Entering Data After Surveying

Tagged Trees In Front Of #9 Green

Marking A Pine Tree

Plotting A Green In The Short Game Area

The Prism 

Sunshader Software #12 Green And Surrounding Trees

Sunshader Software #9 Green And Surrounding Trees

Surveying From #9 Green