Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Couple Issues With Trees

NSCC is fortunate to have golf course with an abundance of trees. While playing a round these trees serve multiple purposes. In addition to providing an aesthetically pleasing environment, trees enhance the game of golf by providing strategic value in certain cases. As many members have noticed, some of the trees at NSCC appear less than healthy. In fact, there are two main issues with trees.

The tree above is a Litteleaf Linden. Littleleaf Lindens are located throughout the golf course and are easily identifiable by their pyramidal growth habit. These trees have proven to be a hardy variety and adaptable to NSCC's heavy, clay soils. Currently these trees have fallen prey to the Japanese Beetle. The Japanese Beetle feeds on the leaves of the tree, causing the tree to look less than healthy. This fall, the maintenance staff will treat all Littleleaf Lindens with a preventative insecticide to allow for a healthier tree next season.

The second issue involving the spruce trees at NSCC has been well documented within both the national and local media. The problem is associated around a new herbicide that was released last fall.

Upon its release, this new herbicide was revolutionary in three ways. First, the application rates were significantly lower than any other herbicide previously released. This is a huge benefit to both the applicators and the environment. Secondly, the herbicide is more effective on a broader spectrum of weeds than most other herbicides on the market. Lastly, unlike most herbicides that can only be applied during dry conditions, this herbicide offers the ability to make an application during both wet and dry conditions due to its systemic activity when taken in by plant roots.

Many golf course managers and landscape contractors began applying this herbicide last fall and this spring. We made our application this spring, predominantly on the Blue and White Nines. A few weeks following the application we, as well as other courses around the country, began noticing damage to the new growth on spruce trees. Since that time, some trees have continued to decline while others have remained the same. We currently have 74 spruce trees with varying degrees of damage. Other course within the state have reported anywhere from nominal damage to upwards of 700 trees.

Currently, there are at least two class action law suits filed against the chemical manufacturer. The EPA has also suspended the usage of the herbicide. The chemical manufacturer has opened a hotline for all affected customer and supplied forms to document the damage. Upon the submission of the forms, the manufacturer will send out professional arborists to further document the damage. Once the damage has been documented by the arborists, the manufacturer intends to introduce a plan for removal, replacement, and damage recovery for all those affected by their product.

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