Bees and Trees
Bees and Trees – by Superintendent David Escobedo and President Jill Riedel
BEES. You saw David’s article on the bees located (AND REMOVED) from the tree overlooking the practice green at the Vistas Golf Course. This appears to be a busy bee time in the Valley for bee stings have been reported on many of the surrounding golf courses. Bees are an important part of our environment and we must share the world with them. There are golf courses that have started “bee hive” colonies on their course, but that is NOT something our crew is trained, knowledgeable, or willing to take on. So don’t go there my fellow members.
There is a way for you to reduce the risk of bee attacks. Bees often settle in the irrigation valve boxes. When you drive your cart over them you just might find a bunch of angry bees chasing you down the fairway or attacking the nearest cart to them. The more time you spend on the cart path is the greatest way to prevent bee attacks. The further away from those irrigation valve boxes around the greens and tees, the safer you will be. We place bee signs when we find an active area and call the bee keeper to come carry them off. But we don’t find them all. You be the judge on how safe you want to be out there by understanding where you drive your cart. Funny thing is where we have asked you NOT to drive your carts turns out to be the riskiest areas. I wonder if those bees are helping us monitor those cart rules?
- Age, dying, unhealthy
- Age and growth now blocking ball flight with limited trimming success
- 30 year growth blocking a large portion of the tee box playing area
- Root structure tearing up brick or concrete work
- Root structure growing in a way of uprooting a tee box or green
- Canopy increasing the number of shade hours negatively impacting tee box or green
The cost of removal is approximately $200-$1000 depending on the tree, size, root system and stump removal challenge. Obviously that means we can’t do this all in one year. David has listed and prioritized the trees that meet the above criteria. His budget and labor force drive how many to be on the “hit list” each year. Sometimes the priority changes. I would like to say the storms that come help us in that number, but alas, they usually leave the ones we want to fall and strike down the ones we want to keep.
We have mentioned before that when many golf courses were built in the 80’s and 90’s, it was a popular thing to plant trees on golf courses like it was a park. The water shortages in Arizona and the reality that golf courses are NOT parks require us to review the age and health of our trees. Many of these 30 year old trees have “grow up and out” causing difficulty in maintenance and the game, not to mention their health. Trimming them over and over is not a cost effective way either and often tips the tree and weight distribution to become a danger. It is past time for us to “thin the herd” of trees on both courses. Even our beautiful palms have been identified and recommended for thinning. There are 149 palms at the Vistas. Double that at the Lakes. There are easily 25-30 palms that were “accidental” plantings and have no rhyme or reason being there. The palms are on the bottom of the list for thinning. We have prioritized unhealthy, unsafe, or trees that cause course damage or impact game play higher on the list than the palms.
Below are some pics of trees that MUST go!
TREE FUND. Last year we planted approximately 25 trees. We don’t want to plant a tree for every tree removed for that defeats the purpose of thinning the herd. However, there are many places we are using trees versus shrubs and bushes to keep the course beautiful. After all, trees help provide oxygen to the community. Our tree budget is focused on removal first and planting second due to the age of the existing trees and advice from the arborist and USGA agronomist. Our TREE FUND helps the planting of trees sooner than later. We could use our members help in this category.
Donations of any size are received by BJ in the Admin Office. When the fund allows, we can plant a tree. They will be small low maintenance desert trees requiring low water usage. We also want a root structure that will not damage the area around it and strong enough to withstand those microbursts. And of course in compliance with the HOA ACC trees and plants standards.
Your Superintendent is in the process of updating the Tree Plan that identifies removals and locations for plantings. The Greens and Grounds Committee is also assisting in identification of “ugly, unhealthy” trees. But for now, we wanted to let you know why we are removing a number of trees this year and how you can help financially support the planting of new trees.
David and I wish our members a great Westbrook Village Golf Club season.