Annual Bluegrass Weevil

Generally known by the common name of “Hyperodes Weevil”, is a pest of annual bluegrass, Poa annua, on golf courses in the northeastern states. The new common name is Annual Bluegrass Weevil (ABW) since P. annua is its only known pest. ABW has been identified east of the Mississippi and has caused localized turf damage on golf courses in Connecticut, the Long Island Area, New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and has now progressed into Eastern Ohio. Annual Bluegrass, P. annua is the preferred host of the weevil and is damaged first. Recent studies from The Ohio State University Turf Department and the Penn State Turf Department have shown that creeping bentgrass is also damaged when intermixed with annual bluegrass.

Life Stages of the Weevil

 The annual bluegrass weevil has a complete life cycle (eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults) the larvae are typical for weevils, a C-shaped, legless grub.

  • Eggs- Oblong in shape and about 3/64th of an inch in size or 1mm in length. There color changes from yellow to a smokey black upon hatching.
  • Larvae- crescent or C in shape, legless and have a creamy white body. The head is light brown and becomes darker as the larvae age. The larvae will mature to a size of 4.5mm in length.
  • Pupae- 1/8th – 3/16th in length and are found within cells constructed within the soil. The snout, wing covers and legs are evident and the weevil will begin to turn reddish brown before emerging as an adult.
  • Adults- Are black in color and the wings are coated with fine yellow hairs and have scattered spots of grey scales. Newly emerged adults are orange/brown and require several days before becoming fully pigmented to black.

The following research on damage/symptoms and listed control approaches come from a published study by The Ohio State University Turf Department. Please note that all recommended practices must be in compliance with federal regulations.

Damage and Symptoms

Adults emerge from overwintering sites, move to turf areas and feed by cutting notches in the edges of grass blades or holes in stems near the leaf bases. Larvae feed by severing stems from the plant crown, first causing small yellow-brown spots along the edges of fairways, tees and collars of greens. Moderate infestations cause small irregular patches of dead turf and heavy attacks (up to 500 per sq.ft.) kills turf in large areas. Damage begins to become obvious in late May or early June and is occasionally attributed to other causes. Damage on greens and tees may appear patchy because larvae feed on P. annua and leave the bentgrass.

Control Approaches

  1. Reduce Habitat Suitability– Other than reducing the amount of annual bluegrass in sensitive areas such as tees, greens and fairways, there are few cultural practices that can reduce the threat of damage from this pest. Natural Control – Predators and Parasites – Few natural controls appear to exist for this pest though natural parasitism by a common soil inhabiting nematode, Steinernema spp., has been observed.
  1. Biological Control – Entomopathogenic Nematodes- Commercial formulations of the insect parasitic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae, applied when the larvae are feeding at the base of the plants, has provided 70% or more control. To achieve this level of control, carefully follow the label instructions concerning application and posttreatment irrigation.
  1. Curative Treatment- The curative approach to control damage from this pest has not been as effective as preventive methods. Rapid acting insecticides should be applied when the larvae are feeding at the bases of the plants and followed with sufficient irrigation to move it to this target site.
  1. Preventative Treatment- Application of selected organophosphate or pyrethroid insecticides during the third week of April, when overwintered adults return to annual bluegrass to begin egg laying, has successfully prevented first generation larval infestations. This application should coincide with the full bloom of Forsythia. Combinations of these insecticides with chloronicotinyl insecticides are reported to prevent damage from first and second generation ABGW. This treatment should also provide control of black turfgrass ataenius, most late summer grubs and a range of other insect pests as well.

Here at Westbrook we have already taken preventive measures to protect the integrity of the turf against the weevil. The weevil has not been spotted on the property yet, however, rest assured we are keeping a vigilant eye out for this new pest.

**Please note pictures will soon follow.

Cicadas

Common Facts 

The cicada is a super family, the Cicadoidea, commonly known as tree bugs or jar flies. There are over 1,300 species and many more that have yet to be identified and named. They typically live in trees most of their above ground life, feeding on sap and singing to avoid predators. The Cicada is a cryptic creature, meaning, they are considered to be periodic cicadas appearing only in seventeen year spans and spending most of their lives as underground nymphs. The cryptic nature of the Cicada allows the family to reduce loss by satiating their predators. Made conspicuous by the courtship call of the male, Cicada’s will range from two to five centimeters in length (one to two inches) in total length. Most know them by their song or prominent red eyes that are set apart on the sides of their head. The largest Cicada species has been located in Japan and had a wingspan of seven to eight inches wide!

First Known Biomaterial

You may be wondering as I, what use if any do Cicadas have today? Some cultures eat them being a high source of protein, they are described in biblical times as a destructive plague and were worshipped by the people of Egypt, and in the early eighteen and nineteen hundreds you would find them in short American Novels. However, today they have a much greater purpose.

The surface of the forewing is super-hydrophobic and covered with minute waxy cones and nano sized spikes. They create a water repellant film allowing rain to roll across the surface of their wings cleaning off dirt. They have been known to leap several millimeters in the air to allow the water to coalesce over their wings cleaning it as well. Scientists have now found that bacteria landing on the wing surface is not repelled rather the membrane of the bacteria is torn apart by the nano sized spikes, making the wing surface the first known biomaterial that can kill bacteria! The study was published from Spain and accredited in the North American Journal of Medicine. They tested their theory by, “cooking some bacteria in a microwave to cause different degrees of elasticity in their skin. Those specimens were then dropped onto a to see what would happen—unsurprisingly, those that were more elastic were torn apart, while those that were more rigid, were not. It’s the first time anyone’s seen a fend off bacteria using nothing more than the shape of their .”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-cicada-wing-bacteria-contact-video.html#jCp

We Know Them by Their Song… 

Popular to contrary belief singing of the male cicada is not achieved by stridulation such as many familiar species produce. (ex. the cricket) Instead, male cicadas have a noisemaker called a tymbal below each side of their anterior abdominal region. The tymbals are structures of the exoskeleton formed into complex membranes with thin, membraneous portions liked thickened ribs. They can produce 120 decibel of sound per acre having a deafening effect on those around. The North American Cicada has three different types of songs, that if you listen closely change from morning to evening.

Homeowners

  • Cicadas are harmless so even though if they may seem large and scary do not by alarmed. They do not bit or sting.
  • The Cicada can not be killed by common insectisides because of the nature of their skin and wings. Even though they are a nuasance it would be a waste of money to spray or treat for them.
  • Finally, enjoy their song! This is a rare seventeen year occurance that most only get to see three to four times throughout their life! Enjoy it while it last which is only five to six weeks 🙂

 

Spring Aerification

Last week at Westbrook Country Club annual spring aerification took place on Monday and Tuesday. You will notice that there are tiny holes that have been filled with sand on the greens. This is the process of aerification and aides in providing oxidation (the process of circulating oxygen through the ground) oxidation also provides oxygen to the root system. If the root system does not have oxygen the roots will suffocate and die. Finally, it resolves compaction related issues. At Westbrook we have many factors that go into this process which will be listed at the conclusion of this article. Furthermore, Eric Howarth and myself, with consultation from agronomist, Brian Mavis (specializing in the effects of soil in the natural environment) have determined that using a solid tine method is the best method when it comes Westbrook. Some would argue that pulling soil cores would be of benefit however, this causes adverse and sometimes harmful effects on the quality, playability, and overall structure of the plant.

A study in 2012 by Michigan State University showed this method to be highly effective in the relief of soil compaction and aiding, as mentioned above, in oxidation. “In conclusion, soil porosity, micropores, and macropores showed great enhancement when the solid tine cultivation was utilized…” To further understand this statement micropores and macropores refer to the two general sizes of soil porosity. Macropores, are large soil pores that allow air and water movement and root exploration. Micropores aide in water retention. This study shows that STC (Solid Tine Cultivation) enhanced factors of water movement, root exploration, and oxidation. Making the study conclusive in the benefits of this method in the industry.

The steps of aerification are simple but take time to accomplish.

  • Mow the green.
  • Pull flags and cups.
  • Complete the aerification process.
  • Top dress the green.
  • Brush and fill the holes.
  • Roll the green.
  • Fertilize the green.
  • Replace flags and cups.

Some additional facts.

  • 12 million holes were punched.
  • Two people spend an average of a half hour per green punching holes.
  • 11-13 greens can be accomplished in one day.

As you can see there are many factors in this process. Some of the process you will see pictured below. We appreciate the patience and consideration in doing our best to provide the best playing conditions and turf quality that we can.

Emerald Ash Borer

Agrilus planipennis commonly known as the Emerald Ash Borer is a green jewel beetle native to Eastern Asia. The beetle is a invasive species highly destructive to the Ash trees. The natural range of the beetle and where it is most commonly found is in Eastern Russia, Northern China, Japan, and Korea. However, the beetle entered the U.S in the late 90s by way of timber shipments in Michigan and Canadian provinces that border Lake Ontario.

Treatments for this invasive pest have shown little to no success. However, insectisides with active ingredients such as imidacloprid, emamectin benzoate, and dinotefuran are currently being used as systematic treatments to the beetle. Universities such as Purdue and Wisconsin are seeing 1-3 years effectiveness against the beetle with these systematic treatments. The treatments are most successful when applied via direct injection into the tree itself. There has been minimal success in the use of soil drenching with systematic insectisides. Even though some of these treatments show success they are very costly to maintain and would only be applicable to specimen trees. Since none of our ash were specimen trees we decided against the treatments. 

You may be wondering, “how does this apply to Westbrook?” and the answer is it applies very much so and has affected aesthetics and playability of the course itself.

The Facts 

  • Since 2006 when the beetle was first discovered in Ohio and progressing towards Westbrook ten ash trees a year have been preemptively removed.
  • In 2012 the beetles were discovered on the grounds.
  • Since the discovery of the beetle over 233 ash trees have been removed from the property.
  • Most of the ash are in fence rows surrounding Country Club Dr. and other boarding streets.
  • Prominent areas such as the wildlife habitat between 13 tee and 14 green have been affected.
  • The right side of number five rough and other various areas on the golf course have lost prominent ash trees due to this infestation.

The facts present a dismal message and show how and invasive species can have such a negative effect on a plant population. However, as mentioned with most of the ash trees being along fence rows and in deep rough the overall aesthetic of the course and playability of the course has been minimally affected.

Below you will see pictures of some of the ash that we have taken just this year alone. You will also find an educational video from our friend at the Wisconsin Emerald Ash Borer Program who are bringing awareness to the infestation.

Tips for Homeowners

  • If saving your ash trees are crucial to you we would recommend hiring an arborist or plant geneticist to aide in the best solution for saving your trees.
  • If your ash trees are infected they need to be removed as they present a liability to your home and surrounding homes.
  • Follow proper EPA and quarantine guidelines in disposing of the ash. All ash can be burned but if you are transporting the ash to pallet companies or out of the state of Ohio check the EPA guidelines for transportation and removal of wood infected by an invasive species. You can view them via the Ohio Department of Agriculture here.

Pylex Experimental Herbicide Test

Pylex herbicide is the standard for the control of Bermudagrass and goosegrass in cool-season turf, providing unmatched performance on these difficult-to-eliminate weeds. It has also shown excellent control of nimblewill, crabgrass, clover, speedwell, and others. Pylex herbicide should always be used with a crop oil concentrate (COC) to improve herbicide coverage, resulting in improved weed control.

Pylex herbicide has shown it is safe to most cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass.  It has shown varied tolerance on bentgrass (moderate to severe injury) and annual bluegrass (minimal to moderate injury) at labeled use rates. Warm-season turfgrass is sensitive to Pylex herbicide, with the exception of centipedegrass, which is tolerant.

We are testing the use of Pylex in removing Bermudagrass in fairways. Are test plots this past year were on the front of two and approach and middle of seven. You may have noticed some discoloration and bleaching of the bentgrass however, the immunable qualities of the plant to these applications allowed the plant to recover and not be harmed.

For more information on this study please contact Eric or myself. In trying a study of your own please note to always follow proper label rates, instructions, and safety measures when applying this product. You can view Pylex Herbicide Label here.

  • Please note updated pictures of this study will be soon coming.

 

Why Cutting Down A Tree Saves Lives

Throughout the winter season at Westbrook we have been busy taken down trees. Most of the trees that we are cutting are ash trees that I have contracted the Emerald Ash Borer. Thus far we have removed trees along the left side of number twelve, the right side of number five and plan to remove the dead trees in the wildlife habitat zones on number 13. Cutting down a tree properly and safely is the number one rule. Not only does this ensure the safety of the crew. It also ensures the longevity and safety of the golfer, surrounding trees, and other obstacles such as shelter houses, bathrooms, and homes. Eric always makes safety his number one priority. Studying the direction that the tree is going to fall, carefully planning the cutting, looking at other trees around the surrounding tree, and if necessary using safety line and ropes to guide the tree to a safe landing.

There are many facets that have to be taken into account when cutting. Below you will find helpful links to proper cutting technique and tree removal.

Please note. Even though these links may be helpful and educational the primary goal is safety. If you do not feel comfortable in cutting always call a professional. IMG_1056

Spirit Week Completion

Good morning on this frosty Sunday. Most of us have made it through Thanksgiving and are now anticipating Christmas. The Greens Dept. had a great holiday as we completed the Spirit Week Projects the week of Thanksgiving. We are excited to announce the many new views that you will see in the spring. Starting with a new ladies tee on hole number one and ten, a new senior and ladies tee on hole number eight, a complete redesign of the tee complex on number fourteen to make the hole a true dog leg and the renovation and addition of new fairway and greenside bunkers. The most drastic change you will encounter is on hole number eight with the addition of three new bunkers. Two fairway bunkers and one approach bunker.

Through the kind generosity of the membership in their donations and being able to work closely with a golf course architect Eric and the Greens Dept. were able to achieve a lot. By bringing in no outside contractors and completing the projects in house we were able to save a substantial amount of money and stretch the allocated dollars farther to be able to do more. The addition of repositioned tee complexes on number eight came towards the end of the project period. Eric, the architect, and myself thought it would be crucial to the authenticity of the hole to remove the current tee complex and move them to a more logistical, and aesthetically pleasing position. By moving the ladies tee forward this gives the ladies a fair chance at hitting the fairway. By building a new senior tee complex this gives the seniors their own tee to play off of. Below you can view pictures of everything that we have completed over the last ten weeks.

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Finally, a final thank you from all of us in the Greens Dept. especially Eric and myself for making these projects possible through your kind donations. We trust that each of you will have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed season with family and friends. We hope to see you in the spring!