Thursday, February 25, 2010


We were informed yesterday that we would be having a snowday today. The forecast was calling for about 12 inches of snow, and we recieved 1 or 2 inches. We also learned today that class will be cancelled tomorrow, how much snow will we receive tonight?

Turf School Day Thirty-Three

There is a big storm brewing in the Northeast. We learned that class will be cancelled on Thursday...and possibly Friday.
We started our day with a weed identification and management class. The class has now shifted with more importance on management and control. We went over various biological control ideas and how we have experienced different control strategies on our courses.
Our next class was effective communication. We went over things we could do to get over our anxiety and fear of public speaking. We also discussed what to do if your run out of information to share if you still have time during your presentation. Some ideas were given to continue to talk, tell another story, and ask questions... The teacher simply told us to stop talking and sit dow
Our last class was irrigation. We talked about wiring systems and satellite boxes. At the end of the class we had a demonstration about making a lightning rod. The demonstration consisted of fusing two pieces of copper wire together using an electrical device and some solder. we hooked everything up and a guy in class was told to hold a button down until a light stopped blinking. When the light stopped blinking, he was supposed to let the button go. After he let the button go, he was supposed to press it one more time. He held the button down the whole time, and it sent an extra amount of energy to the solder and.........then fireworks resulted. There are now burn marks on the floor of our classroom.
After class we went to a presentation about the evolution of golf and how technology is changing the game of golf. It was not the greatest presentation, but we did get free pizza!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Turf School Day Thirty-Two

This morning we had our final for stress physiology. This was the only chance we had to gain points. The final was not too surprising, it was just like the review we were given from the teacher. I think I scored well on it.
Our second class was landscape plants. We learned about some more trees and their application and use on a golf course. We learned some flowering cherries and magnolias that are very showy, with all their blosoms.
Yesterday while we were being scolded for our inadequacies in class, Rich Buckley mentioned how mad at us our landscape plants teacher was because of our low grades in his class. when class started we asked him if he was really mad at us. He told us that he never talks to Buckley. He said he was not mad, he was disappointed that we (most of the class) did poorly on his exam. We had a 20 minute talk about how we can help the program improve and provide better feedback about professors.
We ended the day learning about turf cultivation in our turf maintenance class. We discussed topdressing, aerification, spiking, verticutting, using a graden, and the results of not cultivating. We learned that 15% of the thatch should be removed each year, and that .5" tines at 2" spacing remove 5% of the thatch. To compensate for this, aerification can be completed two, or three times each year. OR another cultivation practice can be implemented to increase the 5% to 15%. We also learned that the effects of aerification last about 90 days.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Turf School Day Thirty-One

We have four weeks left.
This morning we had a quiz in botany. Our quiz was about the various tissue systems in the plant. After our quiz we learned about the purpose of the flower and the pollintion process. We also discussed water movement and transpiration within the leaves.
We then had our pest management class. Our quiz covered a possible 18 chemical classes, 35ish common names, and 60ish trade names. The quiz format was not too complcated. We were given a Chemical Class, and we had to fill out one common name and one trade name.
After our quiz the class, was disruptive. The teacher asked people to quiet down, then he asked again, then he answered a question by a student in the front of the class...while the rest of the class was being disruptive; Then he snapped! He yelled at the class to Shut the F*** UP!!! He explained how he was trying to teach and how our class had recieved a reputation of being disruptive. He also talked about how we are one of the worst classes with regards to kids failing tests. It was pretty intense, he was mad and rightfully so. The majority of the class was disruptive.
Our day ended with a class in turfgrass diseases.The class was well behaved after our quiz. We were quizzed on summer and take-all patch. We then learned about dollar spot and anthracnose.
Today was one of those experiences I never had to worry about before at bYu.

Here is a grade update through 6 weeks:
Irrigation: A...........................................................................A
Botany: 10/10, 10/10..........................................................A
Soils: 10/10, 10/10, 10/10..................................................A
Turf Maintenance: 14/15....................................................A
Landscape Plants: 27/30, 17.5/20....................................B+
Turf Diseases: 10/10, 9/10, 8/10, 9/10, 10/10..............A
Turf Identification: 95/100, 100/100, 100/100............A
Turf Development: 11/10, 11/10, 8.5/10, 103/100.......A
Pest Management: 8/10, 7/10, 9/10, 8/10, 10/10.........B

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Turf School Day Thirty

Today is Friday, but it seems the entire week has run together.
We had a soils quiz this morning. It was fairly stright forward. After our quiz we finally began talking about golf courses and soils!!! We discussed topdressing, obtaining a textural analysis, and amending the soil on an individual site.
We also had our construction and surveying class today. They are two seperate classes, but they are very similar in content. In construction we discussed bunker construction with flashed sand and with grass down to the sand. In surveying we talked about the dumpy level and the act of surveying.
It was a good week, and weird to think we only have 4 more weeks!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Turf School Day Twenty-Nine

We began our day with a tree identification quiz. We were given a list of 40 trees and the quiz was over ten of them. The quiz lasted one hour. We then went back to the classroom for a 25 question written quiz on trees.
After we completed these quizzes we had a 25 weed identification quiz of 35 potential weeds. There was a lot of information to remember, but the quizzes were not too hard.
After our quizzes we had Bingru, for stress physiology. Today we had a review for our upcoming final. The final is the only work we complete in the class, so we must do well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Turf School Day Twenty-Eight

Today we had a panel discussion with 3 former students. One was a director of parks and rec. and the other two are superintendents of different courses here in New Jersey. We discussed topics such as becoming a superintendent, dealing with employees, managing shrinking budgets and expectations. It was good to be able to ask "professionals" questions about topics we have been learning about.
We then had an effective communications class. I was selected as one of three students to get up and give a three minute re-cap of our previous class discussion. We did a good job on our speech considering we only had three minutes to prepare.
Our day ended talking about irrigation valves. Be discussed ball, gate, and electric valves. We also discussed the importance of putting an adequate number of valves in during construction to save time and resources in the future when problems may arise.
It was a good day. Currently I am prepping for two id quizzes we are having tomorrow. 10 trees and 25 weeds... should be a piece of cake :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Turf School Day Twenty-Seven

Today we had our turfgrass maintenance class. We discussed irrigation techniques and how much water to apply to your turf. We also discussed evapotranspiration, how much water is lost form the soil and plant. The ET is affected by sunlight, humidity, temperature, and wind.
We had a mowing maintenace class. We learned the about backlapping, facing and sharpening a bedknife, and adding relief to a reel.
We examined different diseases in microscopes for our disease lab.

I had a better post written, but due to technical difficuties... It Vanished!!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Turf School Day Twenty-Six....The Beginning of the End

We resumed schooling today after our mid-session break. My trip to Detroit was very fun. Thank you Christina and Don for allowing me to come visit.
We had our botany class today again all about hormones. I do not know why, but this class is very boring. We are learning more about the discovery and formation of the hormones than their use in turf management. Maybe that is why I think it is so boring.
In our pest management class we learned about the different classes of chemicals. There are 15 classes we need to learn and we need to know which chemicals are in each class. It will be difficult to do, but it will be very beneficial for the future.
In our turf disease class we learned about summer patch, take-all patch, and dead patch. These diseases can be very destructive if not prevented. Prevention is the key to dealing with turf diseases. Keeping records, recognizing when favorable conditions for each disease occur, and planning ahead to apply chemicals before outbreaks occur.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day!!!!

Well in a record setting year for storms hitting New Jersey, we had class cancelled today. this was good news, because I was ready for a break. It was not good news because I was supposed to be in Detroit tonight. All flights were cancelled in Newark today, and I am now scheduled to arrive in Detroit tomorrow night at 8:45.
I took a few pictures today during the storm. Walking around tonight it was so peaceful and beautiful with all the snow-covered trees.
I also now know why parents do not like snowdays. The kids upstairs has been crazy all-day long.
Notice the difference between snow fall this morning and this evening. The previous storm (Saturday) was a light, powder type snow. Today the snow has been very wet and heavy.

The contrast between the dark bark and the white snow is lovely.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Turf School Day Twenty-Five

We began the day with a quiz in turfgrass maintenance. The quiz mostly covered information about the soil and nutrients. It was 20 questions true or false, and was pretty simple. We then learned about setting up a fertility plan. how much to fertilize, when to fertilize, and what type of fertilizer to use.
We then had our tree and weed identification classes. We learned a few new trees today then went out and walked around the Rutger's Gardens to look at some different trees. For the weed id class the teacher went out and collected some weeds for us to indentify to prepare us for our upcoming id quiz.
The classes are interesting and I am beginning to study and remember the various weeds and their names.

There is a big storm rolling in so our class is cancelled for tomorrow. Hopefully they do not close down the airport so I can get to Christina's. Can't wait for some good home-cooked meals, and to see the Tarbets!!!!

Turf School Day Twenty-Four

Today was an interesting day. We have officially entered our 5th week and are starting some new classes. This morning was our first new class of the last 5 weeks. The class is called botany, but it is all about the hormones of the plant. It was very boring this morning. I think the subject matter coupled with the way the teacher spoke, it was not very exciting.
We then had our usual pest management and turf disease classes. Each class had a quiz, and I think I did satisfactory on them...I think.
In our pest management class we discussed control measures that can help keep the plant healthy, or they can lead to increased disease pressures. The class is very basic, but it is a critical thinking class and that makes it more difficult. Trying to think about the principles and how they apply to running a golf course.
The day ended with turf diseases. We discussed fairy ring, which is when a circular patch occurs usually appearing with a ring of mushrooms. We also discussed the Rhizoctonia disease complex including brown patch, yellow patch, leaf and sheath spot, and brown ring patch. It was interesting to learn about some diseases that I am familiar with. I have seen fairy ring and I think one disease was brown ring patch.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Turf School Day Twenty-Three

Today we had soil science. The teacher finally told us that she had been teaching us information that was not extremely useful. She told us we would start learning information that would be useful. So today we learned about the different soil colors and about pore space.
In our golf course construction class we learned about teebox construction. We learned how teeboxes are sloped and how to install tee box drainage. We also learned about the importance of having the teebox point in the correct direction down the fairway. We discussed possible solutions like mowing the teebox differntly to avoid costly construction.
We ended the day with our turfgrass identification final. It was pretty easy so I should have finished with an A!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Turf School Day Twenty-Two

Today was the last day of our management communications class with Ned Lipman. Ned has been teaching us a lot about trust and becoming trusted leaders. The class was probably the best one I have ever had. I wish we would have had courses similar to this at bYu.
We then had our last math class prior to our final exam. Our quiz today was on the concepts of calibrating spreaders and sprayers. After our quiz we learned about calculating irrigation amounts and how much seed to properly apply.
We finished the day with stress physiology with Bingru Huang. Today we learned about the use of plant growth regulators and plant hormones. This class was very interesting in learning about the different products that we all use that provide similar results. In Utah we used humic acids that are produced near Emery, and out here they use sea weed, since the sea is close.

Turf School Day Twenty-One

Today we started out with a botany quiz. The botany teacher is a really nice guy and before we took the quiz we had a life lesson about the importance of not drinking and driving. After our life lesson and the quiz we learned about the different tissue systems in the plant.
We then had our irrigation class. In irrigation we learned about the different piping material that was available for repairs, mostly for repairing bigger pipes, like mainlines.
We ended the day with a management communication class talking more about the resume. We had to complete an assignment where we described different accomplishements and experiences that we can include in our resume.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I thought that I would let all of you know what it is like to attend the Rutgers Turf Program.
Here is our daily schedule:
  • 9:00 to 10:30 First Class
  • 10:30 to 10:45 Smoke Break
  • 10:45 to 12:15 Second Class
  • 12:15 to 1:00 Lunch
  • 1:00 to 3:00 Third Class

The class schedule is not too rough, the rough part is sitting listening to the same subject for 1.5 to 2 hours straight. Luckily we have a few classes that are about leadership and the management side of things. Those classes provide a nice break from all the turf and science side of the business.

Turf School Day Twenty

Today was a laid back day. We started off with turf maintenance. In this class we discussed the soil and how it stores nutrients that can be used for the plant. We discussed the pH of the soil and how it can be altered from too acidic to more alkaline or from too alkaline to acidic. We are using the same textbook that we used in the turf class at bYu so it is all review.
We then had a mower maintenance class. We learned about grinding the reels and how to check them for bad bearings. Properly setting the mower up is a complex process, but the grinding of the reels (with proper technology) is rather simple.
We ended the day with a disease lab. We were looking through microscopes to spot the causal agent of Microdochium nivale. The causal agent that we were looking for was a small lunate shaped conidia. The were very small even magnified 400x.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Turf School Day Nineteen

Well today was class president election day. Last week they brought up that we were going to be voting on the class president today. Two kids said they would like to run and that was it. Today when they asked who would like to run, those two kids raised their hands and so did I. We all had to get up and tell why we should be president. We then voted on the matter. It was a very close race, I lost by one vote. (Andrew 19, Ryan 18, Mike 7)

We had our first final this morning. One of the classes that only lasts 5 weeks is now over. The final was very straight forward and I think I will get a good grade.
Following that exam we had two quizzes, one in pest management and one in turf diseases.
The quizzes were not as hard as I expected and I did rather well on them too. In pest management we discussed the four ways to control pests:
  1. Exclusion- preventing pest movement
  2. Eradication- eliminate or reeduce pest levels
  3. Resistance- improve plants ability to tolerate attack from pests
  4. Protection- Prevent attack with chemicals

In our turf diseases class we covered Pythium blight and Yellow tuft. In this class we study nine tings about each disease:

  1. Common Name
  2. Causal Agent
  3. Host
  4. Signs
  5. Symptoms
  6. Disease Cycle
  7. Predisposing Conditions
  8. Management
  9. Chemicals to treat it

We have covered red thread, pink patch, cream leaf blight, pink snow mold, gray snow mold, coprinus snow mold, snow scald, pythium blight-- patch, root rot, and root dysfunction, and yellow tuft. It is a lot of information, but once you know what to look for it gets easier.