Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Always Evolving Whitevale

         When we were going through the planning process for the new Clubhouse one of my major goals was to save as many of the mature trees as possible around the site. New trees are easily planted, but mature trees are highly desirable especially around such a beautiful club house. One tree many members who were here before demolition will remember is the beautiful Magnolia that stood to the right of the old pro shop door. I went to great lengths to protect, and preserve this tree. Unfortunately the harsh winter of 2014 caused its demise, and in the spring we had no choice but to remove it. I hope to replant a new magnolia near the same spot this spring, but it will take years for it to become as mature and beautiful as the one we lost.

         Unfortunately we have experienced the same issue with another mature tree we had saved during the development. An ash tree that stood approximately 40’ high in the island between the parking lot and the club house had succumbed to the emerald ash borer. The tree was in a state of decline and last fall I was hoping it would survive another year, but upon close inspection last week it was clear it was dead. I had no choice but to take it down.
To the untrained eye it may not be obvious a tree is dead until mid-May or June when all the leaves are out on most trees. But there are clear signs this early in the season to the health of all plants.

 Here are the healthy buds ready to explode out of a Maple tree.

More buds swelling as we get closer to spring weather. Now compare these two pictures with the next one below.
This is the ash tree. No swelling buds anywhere...........

.................and the bark is easily separated from the branch. The most obvious sign of the emerald ash borer has infected the tree is by looking at the trunk.

This damage is visible from a significant distance and tells us this tree, if it's still alive will be dead in the not too distant future. If you keep an eye out you will see this damage around town. If you live below highway 7 you may have a difficult time finding this as most trees have already died and been removed. There is plenty of this to see in my neighborhood in Stouffville.

           One of the high priority agenda items on the Greens Committee’s plate this season is getting a tree plan together for the entire property. A big part of this plan is selecting the best species for each location so we don’t negatively impact the course when the tree reaches maturity. Many trees have been lost to disease and insects over the last 5 years. Others had to be removed to allow sunlight onto the putting surfaces. And, unfortunately there are other trees currently standing that I can see are in a state of decline that we cannot save, and will have to be removed in the future.

It may be hard to believe but after the course restoration in 2004-2005 we planted over 150 new trees on the property over the following 4 years. (This does not include the new planting at the parking and entrance drive). New plantings around the course will begin this fall.

On a positive note, here is a look at the 4th green this morning, after the first mow of the season.

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