Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ice Storm Clean Up Continues

This past week the weather finally cooperated enough that I was finally able to bring in some staff to continue clean up of damage caused by the December ice storm. Although we still have approximately 90% of the golf course still under snow and ice, this layer actually helped us get around the property without causing any damage to the softening turf. In order to keep our limited equipment working I set up split shifts where one crew worked the morning and early afternoon and the second worked afternoon until dark. This allowed 13 hour days on the tractors and chain saws. Due to the remaining snow and ice, using trailers to haul the brush away was very dangerous and had to be discontinued.

This is how our clean up is proceeding. First we used the forks on our loader to lift the large branches out of the snow and ice. Then we used a chain saw to cut the branches into lengths that we could fit onto the front of the loader. When we had a good size load, we drove to one of about half a dozen spots we have deemed brush pile locations.

These carbide tipped additions to our shoes help prevent us from slipping and falling on the ice as we continue the clean up.
As of yesterday, we finished the clean up in the valley, at least all the large branches we could get at that were sticking out of the snow. Until we get a substantial melt, we really don't know how many smaller branches await underneath.

I also rented a Genie boom lift last week in order to get up into the canopy of the trees to cut away branches that were broken but still hung up. This would be a safety hazard if not removed. This was only partially successful as we were only able to maneuver it on relatively flat areas. The significant ice layer made it impossible to climb any grade. Getting into the valley with it was not possible. We will have to bring in a trained and insured tree climbing company to finish this type of work before we open the course to play.
This pile of branches is only from the 7th and part of the 6th holes. We have done our best to pile branches where they will be out of all play, minimally visible, in a location we will not have to handle them a second time and possible burnt at a later date so we don't have to wait for them to decay on their own over the next 100 years. Over the next few weeks as the melt continues and frost begins to come out of the ground, all areas on the golf course will become incredibly soft. I find this to be the most frustrating time of year. We have so much work to accomplish, yet there will be a window where we can't do anything out on the turf because of the damage we would cause. Every year this length of time we must wait is different. If we have regular rain events the course does not dry and firm up enough to get our crew back outside to continue preparations for opening day. Hopefully we will have a dry and warm April which will allow us to be as productive as possible.

This picture might just help all of us find our happy place for just a little while.

No comments:

Post a Comment