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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Early Landscape Bed Maintenance

Despite the persistent cold weather, some perennial materials are starting to pop up.  Getting mulch down now is much easier than after plant material has fully emerged. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Snow and Ice Removal

How's the golf course?

Recently there has been a lot of talk around the subject of how golf courses in our area are handling this extremely hard winter.  The answer is that nobody knows yet for sure.  For the past three days our staff at Walnut Creek has been working extremely hard at removing snow and ice from the greens.  The hard questions that Superintendents face in the winter are "should we remove snow and ice"...and if that answer is yes, then "when?".  Some may ask, "why wouldn't you remove snow and ice all year long?" The answer is that the possibility of mechanical damage from snow/ice removal poses a risk that is sometimes greater than just leaving it alone.  Most winters have freeze and thaw cycles which will remove the snow and ice but this winter has not been that way.  The decision to finally remove the snow/ice from our greens came from the extended forecast showing a warming trend in daytime highs coupled with below freezing temps at night. With the projected forecast, and with as many days as the greens have been under ice cover, snow and ice are now being removed.

Spreading black sand to soak up heat and cut channels through the ice.  Plants will suffocate under extended ice cover.
The goal for removing the heavy snow is to decrease ice cover that lies beneath.  Annual bluegrass, our predominant turf surface, is believed to be able to survive under solid ice for around 45 to 90 days. Southeast Detroit is now hovering around 70 days with this type of ice cover. With the warm daytime highs coming this week and below freezing nights, removing the snow will give the greens a time to melt any ice that was formed on the surface and move off the green while not allowing new ice to accumulate.  This will give the greens a chance to breath which in turn will increase the probability of turf survival.

Snow/ice melting away on 2 North green.

Michigan State University professors recently posted a letter which also describes the current conditions in Southeast Detroit and expectations for spring. Please feel free to read it at the following link:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sea Wall Update

The Redi-Rock sea wall is now complete!  Construction of the wall was delayed many times because of weather this winter but we were able to take advantage of a few good days and wrap it all up. When the ground thaws we will finish the details and cleanup that we're unable to tackle now.  Below are photos of the project from start to finish.  When the cleanup and sodding is done this spring we will post a few more pictures.  

Step 1: 12 inches of ice was broken up to be able to reach the pond edge!

Step 2: Line approximately 4 feet of the pond bottom and all of the pond edge with geotextile fabric.  This stabilizes the pond edge from erosion and also prepares it for the crushed stone base.  Metal stakes hold the fabric in place while the crushed stone is added.

Step 3: Adding the crushed stone base.  A laser transit was used to ensure the proper depth of crushed stone was added for a base as it was under water and not visible.

Step 4: Begin setting base blocks

Blocks are chained and lowered into place with an excavator while another crew member makes sure it's perfectly leveled before the next block goes in.

Doing the project in the winter was very important because the ground was frozen and the use of heavy equipment didn't cause any damage. In this photo, the excavator is sitting on the front of 4 North green above 12 inches of packed snow! 

Step 5: Once the blocks are in place, crushed stone is added behind the blocks and compacted for drainage and stability.

Construction of the wall is complete. Detail work (Step 6) remains to be done in the spring with the ground thaws.