With a few days left on the calendar at press time, July 2020 has not let us down in terms of heat and humidity. When all said and done, over half the month would have been spent at 90° or above, and even more evenings at 70° or more. With these conditions, our turfgrasses and ornamental plants are in need of a break!
The month of August usually provides a brief respite before the final push of less than desirable conditions in the month of September. The hiatus of humid conditions and high temps is Mother Nature’s way of informing plants to start growing roots for the long slumber of winter. For our team, the month of August begins our preparations for the 2021 season.
While landscaping associated with the tennis improvement project will continue through the month, major seeding operations will occur on each golf course beginning with the primary cut of rough, then progressing into the general roughs. The conversion of our golf course roughs can be a long process, depending upon irrigation coverage to germinate the seed or timely rainfall to aid the process. In addition, we will target unwanted turf varieties with selective applications to limit growth, giving our seed the best possible chance at survival.
Our roughs are made up of several different turf species. Our goal is to have one species, turf-type tall fescue. This turf provides contrasting color to the fairways, but also is drought and pest tolerant. Seeding or sodding with this variety of turf is an example of best practices focusing on integrated pest management. Our goal is to plant species in all areas of the Club that naturally ward off various insects and diseases, while using less water to survive.
As the pandemic continues to be front and center in our lives, outdoor activities of varying genres has increased immensely. This is evident in our record amount of golf rounds and matches taking place in racquets. Another area we see members utilizing is fishing in the upper pond on 13 and 18 North. From time-to-time, our resident angler visits with us, usually in the early morning hours after dawn. Click HERE to see video of the osprey with a recent catch that appears to be a large mouth bass.
The osprey will perch on the “nest” on 13 North by the large oak, but has not taking up residence. The bird of prey usually flies off towards Winterthur. We believe the actual nest is on their property or along the Brandywine River nearby where there is less traffic from machinery used in our day-to-day operations.
Towards the end of July, we added some friends to Centennial Garden ponds. The Koi carp were shipped to us and stocked by Ric Greback (Racquets Superintendent) and Brett Snyder (North Course Superintendent). Over time, the fish will acclimate themselves to human interaction. This will allow children of all ages to enjoy this area while at the Club.
Lastly, Peter Coates, the Club’s Senior Horticulturist, began his next phase of his career during the month of July. Peter was a valued team member for the past fifteen years, credited with many improvements throughout his tenure. One of the more prominent upgrades that occurred, was the creation of the tree nursery. The nursery provides us with plant material for decades into the future and Peter’s hand in this will have a lasting effect on the Club.