need to prune the roots of trees encroaching into fairways. We
all know to trench in the drip line, but are there any other
tools that do the job and make a smaller trench width? I am
looking for suggestions and contractors.
Jim Hulett, superintendent
CC 22-year GCSAA member
|A vibratory plow is the only
way to go. They also have combo rigs (trencher/plow) that work
very well if you have areas where the plow can't be used and if
you have slopes to work. The trencher is offset, so keep it on
the uphill side while plowing, which will help hold the machine
on the slope and keep uphill wheel spin to a minimum. Don't
crowd the machine too hard because when you contact a big root,
the wheels will slip and leave spin tracks in the grass. Also,
be ready to back off when this happens, and let the ripper shank
cut its way though the root. Wheel roll ripper mark in three
passes. One pass on each side of slot and then one down the
middle should leave hardly a trace.
I don't know what type of trees you have, but I would
suggest at least a 40- to 60-hp machine and an 18-inch or
24-inch shank -- as narrow as you can get (1 inch works great).
Make sure no other utilities, irrigation or control lines are in
the area before you start.
If rental yards can't fix you up, try telephone or
irrigation contractors. Telephone contractors should have all
Francis E. Warren AFB (Wyo.) GC
nine-year GCSAA member
|I don't know how this will
work for you in Arizona, but in Tennessee we run a vibratory
plow attachment on the back of a trencher to root prune trees.
There is no trench to refill after the operation. You will want
to roll down the small area it raises up where the plow travels.
The soil needs to have good moisture. If it's too dry or the
turf is weak, the plow may pull up big chunks of soil. If big
rocks are within 1 to 2 feet of the surface this procedure
probably will not work. I suggest going at least 4 feet from the
edge of the fairway to buy yourself three to four years before
it has to be done again. We also go 4 feet from car path edges
that have trees nearby to prevent roots from damaging the paths.
David Stone, superintendent
The Honors Course
27-year GCSAA member
|A vibratory plow is the way
to go, but I don't know if rock or stone would be a problem in
your area. It's fast, and there is virtually no clean up. We
contracted with a local cable operator in the winter months to
do it for us. They supplied the machine and operator for about
$30 to $40 an hour. All we did was paint a line on the ground
that we wanted trenched, and he did it. The entire golf course
was done in about 2 days. If rental companies don't have the
machine, check with some irrigation installers in your area. The
machine we used would go as deep as 18 inches and did a
David McCallum, superintendent
The Island CC
16-year GCSAA member
Cyber Tips is adapted from
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portion of GCSAA's Web site at www.gcsaa.org.
For more tips from superintendents, see Super Tips in this