Trees are important features on most golf courses, but they can also be a source of frustration for both superintendents and golfers. Turfgrass problems caused by shade, limited air movement and root competition are just a few of the reasons why tree pruning and sometimes removal are critically important for many golf courses and form the foundation of successful tree management plans.
Debris removal from trees that drop leaves or tend to be messy is a major factor to consider when developing a tree management plan. Leaf removal in the fall can cost thousands of dollars and require hundreds of staff hours – and it’s not only an issue in the fall, don’t forget about messy trees that drop debris throughout the year. Debris such as needles, acorns, fruit or branches at other times of year also require a significant amount of labor to clean up. When this debris falls on turf surfaces it must be removed before mowing, adding time to prepare surfaces for play. The presence of debris can also make it hard to find a golf ball or create other playability issues. In many cases, this debris eventually finds its way into bunkers, which can negatively impact short- and long-term performance of the sand.
One could argue that all trees are messy, but some trees are worse offenders than others. Below are some of the messiest trees found on golf courses in northern areas: