During a recent Course Consulting Service visit to a golf course in southeast Florida, multiple putting greens have experienced recurring damage caused by sandhill cranes searching for white grubs. Over the past year or so there has been a rather dramatic increase in turf damage caused by sandhill cranes, armadillos and other critters foraging for grubs. Further adding insult to injury, white grubs have become a much more significant pest problem on Florida golf courses in recent years. For more information on white grubs, please see White Grubs on Greens.
The Florida sandhill crane is a nonmigratory, year-round resident that is listed as a state-designated threatened species. Florida sandhill cranes are attracted to open settings, such as golf courses, that have abundant food sources like acorns, earthworms, mole crickets and grubs. We can successfully coexist with these beautiful birds; but a proactive grub-management program, along with string mounted on stakes about 2.5 feet of the ground, is recommended by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to provide a protective “fence” around high-value turf areas and minimize putting green damage.
Source John H. Foyjfoy@usga.org
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