Triplex Greensmower Operation

Recently, Mr. Pat Sneed developed a great lab session for the golf course operations class titled “Employee training”.  Students were assigned in groups of two and given time to develop a stepwise procedure for pre-operation inspection, equipment operation, and post operation care of an assigned piece of equipment.  After a given amount of time, each team presented a mock training session for the operation of the equipment with one acting as the trainer and the other as the trainee.

The following pieces of equipment were used in this exercise: walking greensmower, triplex greensmower, cup cutter, greens roller, and greens aerifier.  The piece of equipment detailed in this blog post is a triplex greensmower.  Stay tuned for future blog posts as other pieces of equipment will be highlighted.

Blog

 

Prepared by Jimmy McPherson and Doug Martin

Pre-departure

  1. Check fuel and oil levels
  2. Check tire pressure
  3. Briefly inspect the mower for any possible leaks
  4. Be sure to understand the direction of cut for the day
  5. Clarify what hole to start mowing based on the expected golf outing
  6. Determine whether greens should be mowed once, double cut, or just rolled

When transporting

  1. Avoid hitting the reels on cart paths, bumps, tree roots, etc…
  2. Drive slowly
  3. Be aware of any golfers on the course
  4. Do not use any mobile devices during operation

Mowing

  1. Get off the mower, set the parking break, and remove the flagstick
  2. Line up the given direction of cut based on the direction of the approach.
  3. Make the first pass as straight as possible by picking a spot in the distance off the green
  4. Be sure reels are engaged before making your first pass
  5. Allow the cup to split one of the two outside tires and middle tire
  6. Mow one side of the green
  7. When turning, make wide turns or even 3-point turns
  8. Never begin turning until your back tire is off the green
  9. Go to the opposite side of the first pass and continue mowing, overlapping your last pass
  10. Always be aware of leaks.  If a leak occurs, exit the green immediately and onto the cart path
  11. When finished, make a clean-up lap in the specified direction, if necessary
  12. Empty buckets when necessary (this will vary depending on growth)
  13. Get off the mower, set the parking break, and replace the flagstick when finished

Clean-up

  1. Empty buckets in designated area
  2. Clean buckets, mower, and reels thoroughly
  3. Re-fill all levels necessary
  4. Park the triplex with the reels down

We hope you find this information valuable and applicable to your golf course.  However, with any piece of equipment, each golf course will have its own nuisances with the care and operation of mowers.  Therefore, feel free to take this training sheet and add any necessary steps suitable for your particular site.

 

Weed of the Week Wrap-up

For those of you who have followed the blog in 2014, you may have noticed a “Weed of the Week” series published throughout the semester.  This is a direct result of the turf students enrolled in PSS 4823, Turfgrass Weed Management.  During the semester, students were placed into groups and assigned a specific weed to discuss life cycles, identification characteristics, and control options.  As you can all see for yourselves, the class did a great job discussing each weed that was highlighted.  In addition, I partnered with Dr. Hock in the department of Human Sciences at Mississippi State University in order to collect data to monitor progress throughout the semester.  We just received word that this blogging project was recently accepted and will be presented at the 2014 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) conference.  A job well done by our turf students!  Student contributors included Dylan Boteler, Michael Denney, Dustin Miller, Douglas Martin, Jed McCoy, Ashley Averitt, Wes Dyer, Corey Garrison, Kyle Grider, Justin Hickman, Ethan Flournoy, Coleman Torgersen, Jordan Billingsley, and Christo Sullivan.

Class Pics Blog

Below is the title and abstract that will be presented.

Blogging about Turfgrass Weeds: A Strategy to Improve Students’ Writing Skills in a Turf Weed Management Course

Blogging is a tool that is increasing in popularity among all ages and for many different uses.  The use of blogging in the classroom is a unique tool to increase student comprehension and writing skills.  Blogging in teams allows students to receive feedback from their peers to improve their writing.  Students enrolled in Turf Weed Management at Mississippi State University were randomly assigned into groups of three to research, write, and publish a blog post on an assigned weed species.  Students completed a brief questionnaire prior to working on the assignment to determine their familiarity with blogs.  Of the 13 students in the class, 10 (77%) had never contributed to any blog.  Following the initial blog posts, the instructor identified areas for improving the quality of content and writing ability.  Spending more time initially helping students interpret appropriate information found on the Internet resulted in higher quality content in later posts.  Also, going through line by line with students on each blog post has resulted in a more concise writing style.  Students completed a questionnaire at the mid-point of the semester to assess how they were progressing with the assignment.  Twelve students responded they were highly satisfied with the blogging portion of the course.  The blogging component of the course has helped improve student writing skills and the ability to find reliable information about individual weed species.

 

Winter Kill? What Now?

The most prominent turf species of Mississippi – bahia, bermuda, centipede, fescue, St. Augustine, and Zoysia – were all affected by the cold winter temperatures.

St. A Living amongst Dead (Medium)In Tupelo, temperatures reached 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Starkville reached 8 degrees. Further south, areas near Jackson saw 13 degrees. Coastal cities didn’t fare much better.

There is winter damage at all of these locations. Physical symptoms of winter damage are sometimes difficult to distinguish from herbicide injury or disease. Therefore, it is important that turf managers and clients or club members look for patterns as a way of accessing injury and potential recuperative ability.

Observations

1) Cold damage manifests itself differently depending upon slope and direction, as well as shade. South facing slopes generally have regenerated better due to warmer soil temperatures; whereas, north facing slopes or shaded areas that receive less solar irradiation fared much worse.

2) Mowing height influences spring green color. Lower heights of cut generally green-up earlier. Higher heights of cut are dormant longer. This may be due to the amount of dead thatch and self-shading at a taller height. Mowing height may also influence micro-environments around the grass’s growing points.

3) Fall fertility and plant health does affect winter kill, but the pattern is not always clear. Many well maintained turf areas were unfairly damaged by cold temperatures. This could be due to excessive top growth at the expense of roots – common for St. Augustine. In bermuda and zoysia, it may be due to the amount of moisture left in the plants as a result of prolonging dormancy with fall nitrogen applications. But again, this is not a clear pattern and needs to be investigated.

4) All of these observations are compounded by excessive moisture levels. Areas near the coast that received minimal freeze damage suffered a surprising level of turf loss due to standing water and prolonged soil saturation.

017f15f081030bbc45516662fdb21901d6ab639b12 (Medium)

Take Action

1) The most difficult advice to convey is to be patient. In all but the worst cases, grass will recover. Masking the effects of damage using pigments and a low rate of fertilizer will enhance aesthetics and give turfgrass managers time to evaluate recovery when temperatures become more adequate for turfgrass growth. It could be late May or even June in the northern most part of our state before we have day and night time temperatures adequate for bermudagrass growth.

2) Consider your options and ask a few important questions before sodding. Primarily, where’s the sod coming from, and did the sod farm experience loss of plant health due to winter conditions? It stands to reason that if your grass got hammered, so did the sod producer’s. Does bringing in potentially weakened sod advance ones cause? In some cases, yes. Clients and club members often pressure turf managers into immediate resodding for playability issues. Cold damage manifests itself differently due to many different environmental reasons, so it may be that resodding those areas is a quicker way to recovery.

3) Let’s not forget that seeding is also an option. Golf and sports fields predominantly rely upon vegetatively propagated hybrid bermudagrass, but in some instances, seeded bermudagrass may be an acceptable means of masking and recovering winter damaged areas.

4) Not all species, nor varieties, are equally prone to winter injury. Zoysiagrass fared quite well at all sites I’ve visited, regardless of species or variety. On the other hand, St. Augustine was hammered. There are three standard St. Augustine varieties marketed in Mississippi. Floratam is one of the most common varieties along the coast, but it is the least cold tolerant. Palmetto and Raleigh are more common north of Interstate 10, but they were both hammered by our severe winter. Previous research has shown that temperatures below 15 degrees F significantly damage all commercially available St. Augustinegrass varieties.

Bermudagrass breeding efforts have advanced cold tolerance. Many selections made in cooler climates survive extreme freezing temperatures and should be considered as replacement varieties where appropriate. It should, however, be noted that mixing varieties may result in lack of uniformity, which can be an issue with some clientele.

The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program coordinates research across the nation. A bermudagrass variety trial planted in 2013 at Mississippi State has yielded interesting, albeit preliminary, data this year pertaining to winter recovery. Even though varieties show winter survival and early green up differences, all have survived. It should also be noted that these are first year trials. Experience has shown that fully grown-in grass behaves quite differently.

NTEP Winter Kill

In summary: If possible, be patient. Masking weak areas with pigment until they recover is a good option. However, high traffic areas and locations with cooler soil temperatures may warrant re-planting once warmer weather arrives. A good rule-of-thumb may be that if you have 1 green leaf per square foot, you will likely see full recovery this season. But if you’re dealing with larger areas, re-establishing via sod, sprigs, plugs or seeds may be justified.

Turf Team contributors to this article: Jay McCurdy, Wayne Philly, Barry Stewart, Christian Baldwin

Other useful sources of information:

http://blogs.msucares.com/turfgrass/2014/03/10/concerned-about-bermudagrass-winterkill/

http://www2.gcsaa.org/GCM/2007/aug/pdfs/turfcovers.pdf

http://msucares.com/lawn/lawn/fertilization/

http://turf.uark.edu/turfhelp/archives/042914_2014WinterKill.html

http://www.ntep.org/contents2.shtml

Weed of the Week: Carolina Geranium

Authors: Jed McCoy, Doug Martin, Jordan Billingsley

What is Carolina Geranium?

Carolina Geranium (Geranium carolinianum) is a member of the Geranium family (Geraniaceae).  It is a native, broadleaf winter annual. One will typically find Carolina Geranium in poor soils and near dry areas; mainly landscape beds and thinner turf areas. This weed has been used medicinally as well. Mainly, it has been used to stop bleeding and sooth sore throats when crushed.North Farm Greenhouse Blog-

What does it look like?

Carolina Geranium is a diffusely branched weed standing about 1” tall.  This geranium has long petiole stems that are often pink to reddish with hairy stems that flow into a finely divided palmate leaf. The flower also had a little inconspicuous pink bud.  This weed is most commonly identified by its “stork’s-bill” seed head. It is a long, hairy, pointed head that will produce multiple seeds that contain hard seed coats.

Flower Blog

Stork's Bill Blog-

How do I control it?

Carolina Geranium is a tough weed to control. Not only does the seed have a hard-coated membrane, which can withstand prolonged dormancy in the ground, but it also is hard to control with herbicides once established. Cultural practices include frequent mowing and hand pulling, while herbicide options include metsulfuron and trifloxysulfuron-sodium .