Sustainable vegetation management in golf courses
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A paper presented at the Australian Golf Course Superintendent Association Conference at Twin Waters, Qld, June 2013. Topics covered include: the importance of trees in golf courses, the range of ...

A paper presented at the Australian Golf Course Superintendent Association Conference at Twin Waters, Qld, June 2013. Topics covered include: the importance of trees in golf courses, the range of vegetation disorders observed, alternative approaches to sustainable management including the use of novel and innovative remote sensing techniques, and the importance of adhering to the Australian Standards. The content is applicable to the management of vegetation throughout the urban forest, not just within golf courses.

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Sustainable vegetation management in golf courses Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Sustainable vegetation management in golf courses Paul Barber 26 June 2013
  • 2. Contents •  Why are trees in golf courses important? •  Vegetation Disorders in Golf Courses •  Alternative Approaches to Vegetation Management •  We All Have Standards •  In Conclusion
  • 3. Why are trees in golf courses important? •  Improved health and well-being •  Increased biodiversity values and refuge (habitat, food, shelter) •  Reduction of urban heat island effect (UHIE) •  Increased carbon sequestration and climate regulation •  Maintenance of heritage and cultural links •  Increased noise and pollution capture •  Improved stormwater management and flood mitigation •  Increased house and course values •  Increased safety to occupants and nearby commuters •  Highly valuable asset – social, environment, economy WHAT ARE THE COSTS:BENEFITS OF MAINTAINING YOUR VEGETATION? ECONOMIC AND ENERGY COSTS MAY BE HIGH USING CURRENT APPROACH
  • 4. Vegetation Disorders in Golf Courses – Devt & Overpruning Yulia, Hardy, Barber and Dell (2013) A severe canker disease of Corymbia ficifolia caused by Quambalaria coyrecup in native and urban forests Western Australia. Forest Pathology (submitted) •  Wounding is required for canker development to occur. ECONOMIC AND ENERGY COSTS MAY BE HIGH USING CURRENT APPROACH
  • 5. Vegetation Disorders in Golf Courses – Climate Meineke, Dunn, Sexton and Frank 2013 Urban warming drives insect pest abundance on street trees. PLoS ONE 8 •  First evidence that heat can be a key driver of insect pest outbreaks on urban trees •  Urban warming similar in magnitude to predicted global warming over next 50 years
  • 6. Vegetation Disorders in Golf Courses – Soil, Water, Nursery Stock Ishaq, Barber, Hardy, Calver & Dell (2013) Seedling mycorrhizal type and soil chemistry are related to canopy health of Eucalyptus gomphocephala. Mycorrhiza Cai, Barber, Dell, O’Brien, Williams, Bowen & Hardy (2010) Soil bacterial functional diversity is associated with the decline of Eucalyptus gomphocephala. Forest Ecology & Management
  • 7. Vegetation Disorders in Golf Courses – Pests & Diseases
  • 8. Vegetation Disorders in Golf Courses – Pests & Diseases Barber, Paap, Burgess, Dunstan & Hardy (2013) A diverse range of Phytophthora species are associated with dying urban trees in an Australian capital city. Urban Foresty & Urban Greening (submitted)
  • 9. Vegetation Disorders in Golf Courses – Pests & Diseases Predisposing Factors • Urban Environment! Inciting Factors • Poor pruning • Construction • Mowers/Whipper Snippers • Hail damage • Golf Balls! • Pathogens/Pests Paul D. Manion 1991. Disease Decline Concepts Contributing Factors • Phellinus • Phytophthora • Stem-borers
  • 10. Alternative Approaches – Diagnose & Treat Pathogens/Pest • Presence of pathogen/pest • Pathogenic • Adaptability • Dispersal efficiency • Survival efficiency • Reproductive fitness Pathogen/Pest Environment Disease Host • Susceptibility • Growth stage and form • Population density and structure • General health • Suitability to site Disease Triangle Host Environment • Temperature • Rainfall • Humidity • Leaf wetness period • Soil temperature • Soil water content • Soil fertility • Soil organic matter content • Wind • Air pollution • Herbicide damage • Mechanical damage • Pruning
  • 11. Alternative Approaches – Diagnose & Treat Same same but different....trees are complex! •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Many endemic pathogens favoured by the urban environment •  Irrigation, fertilisers, low soil microbial activity, disturbance, mechanical damage New incursions a major threat •  Myrtle rust Increased susceptibility to decay/failure Water management is a major concern for tree managers in Australia South-west WA > 25% decrease in rainfall over past 30 years Climate change – more extreme weather events How do trees respond? May be delayed in response, or other inciting or contributing factors
  • 12. Alternative Approaches – Diagnose & Treat
  • 13. Alternative Approaches – Diagnose & Treat
  • 14. Alternative Approaches – Diagnose & Treat
  • 15. Alternative Approaches – Look down, not just up! Monitoring change in canopy condition over space and time
  • 16. Alternative Approaches – Look down, not just up! Quantifying change in canopy cover, impervious layers, soil etc. •  •  Model developed to select vegetation within scene. Overlay of shapefile of vegetation (red) on highresolution true colour airborne imagery. First version of model > 95% accuracy. Calculated 18.4% canopy cover within scene 500   Change  2010  to  2011   Soil   0   -­‐500   Vegeta Impervi ous   &on   Shadow  
  • 17. Alternative Approaches – Look down, not just up! Quantifying change in canopy cover and shadow 2009-­‐2010   2009-­‐2011  
  • 18. |
  • 19. 2.5 2 801 1.5 802 1 803 0.5 0 2007 804 2008 2009 2010
  • 20. Alternative Approaches – Costs:Benefits Don’t just think short-term costs:benefits when considering your actions, but think more broadly and longer term – client, society, environment, global community Some Items to consider: •  Trees are long-lived •  Do you have a long-term plan for your course and the trees? •  Match species to site – also root volume & crown space •  Suitable nursery stock (tube stock V advanced), species to site •  Soil preparation, planting technique, timing of planting, irrigation
  • 21. Alternative Approaches – Costs:Benefits Some Items to consider: •  Formative pruning to minimise future management •  Adequate protection to minimise damage •  Is pruning really necessary? Would you scalp your turf •  Monitoring program – early diagnosis – pro-active •  Correct diagnosis = correct management
  • 22. Alternative Approaches – Costs:Benefits Aukema et al. 2011 Economic impacts of non-native forest insects in the continental US. PLoS one 6:9 •  Costs largely borne by homeowners and municipal governments •  Wood-borers (e.g. Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) to cause nearly $1.7 billion in local govt expenditure & $830 million in lost residential property values (replacement & treatment far more expensive than containment) McCullough & Mercader (2012) Evaluation of potential strategies to slow ash mortality caused by EAB. International Journal of Pest Management 58:1, 9-23. •  Ash survival dependent on 1) early detection & treatment, 2) # of trees treated, 3) distribution of treated trees c.f. introduction point.
  • 23. We all have standards Three standards worth taking note of when it comes to your trees •  AS 4454 (2012) Composts, soil conditioners and mulches •  •  AS 4970 (2009) Protection of trees on development sites •  •  Will go a long way to minimising introduction and spread of disease Tree Protection Zone (TPS), Structural Root Zone (SRZ) and lots more AS 4373 (2007) Pruning of Amenity Trees •  All your pruning should be carried out to this standard….cheaper contractors may cost you more in the long term
  • 24. In Conclusion… •  Golf courses are incredibly important refuges within the urban area, and the trees within them provide a wide range of values – social, environment, economy •  Many predisposing, inciting and contributing factors can impact upon vegetation health •  •  Devt & overpruning, climate, soil, water, nursery stock, pests, diseases, pesticides These disorders can be diagnosed •  Accurate diagnosis is critical to the sustainable and cost-effective management •  We must think outside the square when it comes to diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, management – there are alternatives to current ‘business as usual’ •  Sit down and weigh up the long-term costs and benefits to different approaches •  Make careful decisions about how you manage the health of your vegetation – there are standards and many different approaches
  • 25. Acknowledgements •  AGCSA •  Darren Wilson & Adam Robertson •  Contact details •  Dr Paul Barber | email: p.barber@arborcarbon.com.au | Ph: +61 419 216 229 | www.arborcarbon.com.au