Friday, August 23, 2013

Apache Plume: An Underused Shrub

Photos by Linda Langelo
Apache Plume is a plant that I consider still very underused in the landscape.  This is a native of the southwest which provides interest year-round.  In late spring a flush of white roselike flowers appear and continue through midsummer into fall.  Once the flowers disappear there are feathery cream to pink styles that stay behind shown in the first picture where they are silhouetted and the second where you can see the light pink color.  Lastly, in winter the shrub habit gives a light and airy texture. 
This shrub does best in sunny, hot and dry locations.  It requires very little supplemental water.  It bears the same characteristic as pinyon pines.   Neither do well in regular irrigation.  In fact the two would do well to be used as companion plants in a landscape. 
Plant them and neglect them.  Pinyon pines that thrive in New Mexico which gets less than 9 inches of water a year do well.  Apache Plume which also does well in New Mexico would do well on as much water.   Apache Plume also thrives in Utah, west to California and down into north-central Mexico. 
This shrub loves the full-sun exposure, but can tolerate partial shade.  When placing this shrub be sure that the partial shade is very limited in the plant's exposure. 
This plant is not fussy about soil type.  It will do well in either sand or clay. 
We are in zone 5 in northeast Colorado and this plant does well in zones 4 to 8 with an elevation range up to 7,000 feet. 
Think about adding this plant in your landscape either as an accent or in grouping.  It is very attractive and conservative on water along with no input for fertilization, pruning or disease and pest problems. 

Tending to the Golf Course

Ballyneal Golf  Course Photo By Linda Langelo

Tending grass is the crop of choice for golf courses.  Among superintendents in the golfing world, according to James Francis Monroe in Green Section Record March/April 1998 of the United States Golfing Association brings to light an old saying: “Your greens are your resume.” Golfers always have a perception of the course based on the green.  When the putting surface is less than perfect, the superintendent is called on the carpet. 

One way to evaluate the course is to find a middle ground between the superintendent and golfer’s expectations of how the course should be.  Talking to the regular golfers is one way of learning how your greens are performing.  You also can find out the golfers’ expectations of your greens and what the golfers who use your course use to gauge your greens performance.  Communication, communication, communication is the key.  No surprise here. This is like any other success in the world; it is a two-way communication. 

If I were a superintendent, and I am not, I would have some way reporting daily to the golfers coming on the course that day.  Something a kin to the weather forecast.  This is a way of saying this is what you can expect today.  This covers you for the things in life that just happen and are not within your control such as irrigation issues or weather.  If you, as a superintendent, have plans for your golf course to play at tournament level every day, it will stress the turf way beyond what it can handle according to David L. Wienecke, author in United State Golfing Association. 

So what is the best that any golfer or superintendent can expect?  That you as a superintendent tailor your maintenance program to meet your golfer’s needs.  What does every maintenance program entail? 

Here are the basics of what a superintendent oversees to maintain a healthy course according to David L. Wienecke, of the USGA:
• Mowing properly
Factors involved with mowing properly include the grass variety on the green; the local climate and expected quality of play.
• Roll the greens
Doing this regularly helps keep the greens firm and smooth. 
• Cultivate your turf frequently
This means core aerify or deeply vertical mow at least 20% of the putting surface area each year.
• Apply turf growth regulators
This is a relatively new maintenance feature which is used to increase putting surface density and smoothness.  It also eliminates Poa annua seeding.
• Water properly
Deep, infrequent irrigation is important.  The putting green needs to be watered separately from the rough.  Any hot spots, which are always present, need to be watered by hand.
• Fertilize properly
Each course’s program will be different.  The basic principle is just to supply fertilizer as a foliar application at low rates to match the growing needs of the turf.

No two golf courses are alike.  Locally, we have Ballyneal Golf Course, a link’s course and Holyoke City Golf Course.  Ballyneal participates in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses.  By implementing and documenting a full complement of environmental management practices, a course earns designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Some areas addressed by the ASCP are:
Environmental planning
Wildlife and habitat management
Chemical use, reduction, and safety
Water conservation
Water quality management
Outreach and education
Participation in these programs is the main difference between our local courses.  There are other differences as well.  Ballyneal Golf Course grows fine fescue because it helps mimic the traditional playing surfaces of golf.  Holyoke City Golf Course uses bent grass and Kentucky Bluegrass.  Bent grass and Kentucky Bluegrass require more water and fertilization.  Fine fescue is a low-input grass.  Ballyneal Golf Course is built on sandy soil.  Holyoke Golf Course is not totally sand.  It is a given that soil structure and type of grass dictate how to manage the course aside from the regulations and rules of golf played on that course.  Keeping the golfers happy is really a large part of the management.


Photo by Linda Langelo

One of the most common problems with grapes in our area is sensitivity to 2,4-D herbicide.  Homeowners use the 2,4-D to control broadleaf weeds in the lawn.   The grapevines are very sensitive.  When 2,4-D is applied under windy or high temperatures, it can cause great injury to the grapevine.  According to Kansas State University Agriculture Experiment Station the type of injury to your grapes depends on several factors listed below:

  • Application methods
  • Herbicide behavior in the environment
  • Weather conditions
  • Herbicide properties
  • Susceptibility of grape cultivars
  • Grapevine age and vigor
  • Proximity of grapes to herbicide application areas.   
Unfortunately, the injury sustained by the grapevine will take up to a minimum of five years before the grapevine returns to full production.  If you are using the grapevine to harvest a crop, this is a long time without production.  And still, you have to wait another season, your sixth season to have a harvest. 

The reason this and other herbicides are damaging is because they are highly phytotoxic and readily translocated from leaves to roots to growing points. The herbicides change the hormonal balance at the growing point.  See picture below:

Along with 2,4-D there are other hormonal-type herbicides which control broadleaf weeds that can cause damage to grapevine such as the following:
  • 2,4-DB
  • MCPA
  • MCPB
  • mecoprop
  • dicamba
  • clopyralid
  • triclopyr
  • fluroxpyr
  • picloram
  • quincloac

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Zimmerman Pine Moth

Zimmerman Pine Moth have been more evident this growing season.  If you take a look in your Austrian or Scotch pines at the branch crotches and see this popcorn pitch mass accumulating, this is a good symptom indicating the larvae are active.  The larvae tunnel under the bark and weaken the crotch area.  The next high wind or thunderstorm or snow storm may snap these limbs off.
The Zimmerman Pine Moth has one generation per year.  At this time in late July and August, the adults are active.  The females are laying eggs again near the popcorn pitch masses previously made or by new entry wounds on the tree. 
It is key to control with a trunk spray in mid-April and again in August.  The larvae will overwinter in a cocoon under the bark scales.  

Growth Regulator Herbicide Galls on Honey Locusts

Photo by Linda Langelo

This is honey locust showing the "growth regulator herbicide galls".  Chemicals such as dicamba, triclopyr and clopyralid are known to cause these galls.  These herbicide chemicals imitate growth regulators.  They are phenoxyacetic acids, benzoic acids (dicamba) and pyridines (triclopyr and clopyralid).

Chemicals such as triclopyr are used for broad leaved weeds and is effective on woody plants.  Several trees that are also affected are as follows: 
  • Aspen
  • Basswood
  • Buckthorn
  • Cherry
  • Chokecherry
  • Cottonwood
  • Elm
  • Hawthorn
  • Mulberry
  • Pines
  • Poplar
  • Oak
  • Sumac
Triclopyr controls broad leaved weeds such as field bindweed, dandelions, curled dock, burdock, pigweed, smartweed and wild lettuce.  This chemical imitates a growth regulator and causes rapid growth.  The rapid cell growth causes cells to rupture.  As cells rupture throughout the plant, the plant cannot translocate food and water.  It kills the entire plant including the root system. 

These chemicals need to be used properly.  Please read the labels carefully because the label is a legally binding contract and you will be held legally responsible. 

Our trees in the Golden Plains Area or northeast corner of Colorado have enough to survive all of our extreme weather conditions.  They do not need our carelessness added to environmental conditions such as extreme drought.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Prairie Garden

This is just one of the sites selected to grow native flowers to enhance the aesthetics of the landscape and attract pollinators.  Now in this picture you will see a non-native annual California Poppy.  We used some of those to add more seasonal showy color while other plants are much younger and establishing themselves.  Next spring, there will be color provided from Penstemon species and native Columbine species.

With the native flowers around the sign, this landmark becomes more than a sign letting people know they are now passing through Julesburg.  The place comes to life because tourists stop and want to have their pictures taken by the sign.  Along their travels, Julesburg becomes a memorable moment and a place they will tell others about.  After all this is Colorful Colorado!