Pick Up Sticks May 5, 2017 By Bob Vavrek, regional director, Central Region

Investing time and money during winter to remove dead wood and prune trees will pay dividends when high winds sweep across the course during the playing season.

Safety, turf health and overall playability are just a few good reasons why every golf course that has trees should develop a comprehensive tree management program. A sound tree management program includes removing dead wood and selectively pruning trees to maintain a healthy, balanced canopy as the trees mature. Budgeting to have a portion of the trees on the golf course evaluated and pruned by an experienced tree service company every year will help ensure that the trees on your golf course are safe and healthy.

Recent episodes of high winds across the upper Midwest forced some courses to suspend normal spring maintenance and dedicate a day or more to cleaning up twigs and branches. Although routine pruning operations can be expensive, an often overlooked benefit of the program is labor savings following storms. Courses that make a commitment to remove dead wood at timely intervals will experience far fewer issues removing tree debris from playing surfaces after windy weather than courses that neglect their trees.

Proper tree care can make the difference between spending an hour cleaning up after a storm and sending the entire crew out for a day to play “pick up sticks.” Which would you prefer?


Central Region Agronomists:

Bob Vavrek, regional director –

John Daniels, agronomist –

Zach Nicoludis, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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