Wednesday, July 6, 2011

There is Strobili all over the greens!

As a turf manager on a golf course, it's hard to find a positive thing to say about trees.  I mean all they really do is fight against us on our quest for perfect turf.  They shade our turf.  They block wind flow around our turf.  Their roots take water from our turf.  On top of all that we spend countless hours picking up after them.  Lately I'm sure you've noticed an excessive amount of irritating little kernel things all over the greens. Below is a picture of what I'm talking about and these things are the male cones (strobili) of a Douglas fir.
The classic cone that we think of is actually the female cone which is larger and woody.  Those cones, which are also a nuisance, contain the seed.  The male cones which I'll refer to as irritating little things (ILT) produce pollen.  The pollen of the Douglas fir is why no one around here washes their car in May.  If you did wash your car this past May, I'm sure you remember the next day it was covered in yellow pollen. There are many different kinds of pollen.  For instance pollen on most flowers are sticky or maybe have little barbs so they can stick to insects and then get dispersed via the bug's journey.  The pollen of the Douglas fir is winged so it gets dispersed by riding the wind.  This is why no matter how far away from a Doug fir you park your car, it will still get painted yellow with pollen.  Anyway, back to the ILT. This spring we had some unusually breezy weather and therefore had several days where the ILT was really irritating.  Below you can see that some areas were literally covered in the ILT and looked orange in appearance. 
The good thing is that compared to the female cone, the male cones blow off easily and don't need to be picked up since they disappear in the rough.  Unfortunately, like the pollen they produce, they are easily wind blown so it only takes a slight breeze to make everything messy again.  Today, most of these ILT are out of the trees but we are still almost daily blowing out those bunkers which are directly under fir trees.  Please bare with us as we fight this battle.  It will soon be over.........that is until fall when the wind picks up again and we have all kinds of irritating things coming out of the trees.

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