October is a transitional month for maintenance activities throughout the property with fall leaf colors peaking and mowing operations turning to leaf collection. Outdoor maintenance activity in racquets moves from the clay/grass tennis courts to squash and paddle. An important maintenance item to be aware of this month is our North Course Aerification scheduled from October 21st through 23rd. The course will be closed during this time and hopefully Mother Nature will help our team finish this procedure in a timely manner.

An agronomic change from past years involves the practice tee and our off-season maintenance procedures. In May and June, the rear tee and main tee, were sodded with Bermuda grass, more specifically, a cultivar of turf named Latitude 36. This strand was developed at Oklahoma State for winter hardiness and is used as a turf-type throughout the mid-Atlantic region on sportsfields and golf courses. It is predominately used on golf courses in our area for practice areas. During the month of September, our staff  over-seeded these tees with ryegrass. The ryegrass will help protect the Bermuda grass during the winter, but we will also employ the use of a winter cover, similar to the picture on the left.  

The cover will be left in place for the majority of the winter season. When air temperatures reach a certain level, approximatley mid-50s, we will pull the tarp and replace it towards the end of the day. The purpose of the tarp is to keep the Bermuda grass in a dormant state and not allow it to freeze for too long of a time frame. 

The closure of the grass tees will be dictated upon growth. This year, we can expect this to occur sometime around October 13th, but with good weather can be extended an additional week or more.

A popular topic over the last few weeks has been regarding the Spotted Lanternfly, pictured left. We have fielded a number of questions regarding this pest and have seen these intruders recently, most notably, near the tennis construction project and the 15th hole of the North Course.  

In September, the Delaware Department of Agriculture expanded the quarantine area to include all of New Castle County north of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. 

We are coming upon an important time of scouting for this pest as they will lay egg sacks on any flat surface, from tree bark and trunks to automobiles. We are closely monitoring for this pest and will do everything in our capabilities to curtail the spread. This is a very invasive insect that has the ability to be detrimental to all forms of plant life and affect the quality of human life. “Locating and destroying any adult lanternflies now, and the egg masses created this fall, will reduce the population that hatches out in the spring.”

For more information on this, please follow this link: https://agriculture.delaware.gov/plant-industries/spotted-lanternfly/