Home Forums Events & Projects LZ Grass & Gopher Control Status Update

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    The picture in the first post should do most of the talking, but for anyone interested here are a few more details of how we got here, where we are, and what is next:

    – The general health of the grass has dramatically improved.  The amount of rainfall we have gotten this winter along with the cooler temps is definitely a contributing factor, but we have put in considerable work and cost starting back in December up until now to ensure that this healthy turf ‘sticks’.

    – The broadleaf weed concentration is relatively low.  There is still a good bit of clover but that isn’t a bad thing.  The dormant grass (gold & brown color) is dramatically yielding to rich green. The fertilizer applied in December is a time-release deal and is keeping everything healthy.  We shouldn’t have to fertilize again until the Fall of 2024, but there are some additives that we will probably deploy later in the Spring.

    – The ‘additives’ are a post-emergent fertilizer that was donated by Site-One Landscape Supply.  We don’t have enough of it to use it on the entire LZ but we will deploy it in areas that appear to need it the most.  We also have a spray called ‘Moisture Manager’, this is a product that helps the grass retain it’s water absorption to keep it healthy in the very hot summer months.

    Overall, we are looking really good.  The new seed should germinate and sprout from late March through May so our green level plus turf density will increase more.   The nutrients we have added along with the spike-aeration should help keep the grass greener, longer.  I can’t promise that we won’t get singed in the summer, but I firmly believe we won’t be landing on dirt patches in the summer heat.


    As far as the Gophers go, I’m not declaring victory just yet but we are FAR better off than we have been in the past.

    – We hired a professional Pest-Control company, Gopher Champs.  the have made 3 trips to the site and have one more visit on the contract in about 2 weeks.

    – The overall population has been decimated.  When I was at AJX on Saturday (17 FEB), I found only about 10 fresh signs of Gopher activity.  For comparison, In January before the first treatment by Gopher Champs, there were over 200 tunnel mounds on the LZ, some almost knee high.

    – We’ve knocked back the population before the breeding season, so hopefully it will be easier to manage the issue going forward.  No one can expect that we got every single rodent or that they won’t eventually come back, so maintenance is important.  We are planning to use snare traps that don’t require digging big holes to place traps into the tunnels.  We can also use the Gopher Blaster, which we now own two copies of in case one malfunctions.

    – I’ve heard the concerns of some members concerning the use of poison baits which is the method employed by the professionals to get this problem under control.  I understand that people are concerned about Pets and local wildlife.  The poisons are underground, and they are not the type of bait that any animal besides ground-burrowing pests are attached to.  So far I haven’t seen any evidence of any animal trying to dig up and consume the baits from the surface, so there shouldn’t be any dead wildlife laying around or any Pets harmed.  I hired professionals for a reason, they know what they are doing and they know the potential dangers (if any) of the products they deploy.  The ground is NOT ‘poisoned’.

    – Some of the comments about the poisons used are honest concerns, and I’ve responded to them.  Some of them comments about the poisons are straight up snide remarks, so to those folks I will say that I expect you to be the first people to volunteer to come out to the site early in the morning to check traps, and then back in the evening to set them.  Also, if you want to go ahead and skip a flying day, you are welcome to hitch up the Gopher Blaster and pop some tunnels… I’m more than happy to show you how to use it.  I mean, since we vastly reduced the population of gophers then the maintenance shouldn’t be a big deal, right?  I drive 2 hours each way to get to AJX and I’ve been on-site almost every single weekend (flying or not) to do site work.  How far do YOU have to drive and how much time are YOU willing to give to the Club?

    Jonathan Dietch
    General Member

    Thanks for keeping our LZ attractive and functional so we all want come out and fly. Why not post your recent landing videos so everyone can see how easy it is to touch down now without tripping?

    David Webb
    General Member

    Looking goooooooood. Thanks for your efforts.




    The above pictures were taken after mowing on Saturday, 09 March 2024. The overall green level is looking good and Gopher activity is at a minimum. The fun fact is that we are just now arriving at the explosive growth season for the grass (after the time change = more sunlight).
    a special thanks to Mario for coming out Saturday morning to knock down some weeds on the approach near the train hill, and Tim Ward for running the mower around the base of the training hill to clean up more weed growth.


    Future plans for LZ care: in mid to late April we will deploy the remaining bags of fertilizer that were donated by Bill Blackman from Site One Landscape Supply. These bags are ‘post emergent’ nutrients that will help ensure good levels of soil supplements to keep the grass healthy through the hot summer. Towards late May/early June we will be spraying a liquid supplement called ‘Moisture Manager’ on areas that start to experience yellowing from heat or lower irrigation coverage. This product helps regulate moisture absorption and prevents water loss during hot weather. (It has what plants want! It has what plants need!)


    Our Gopher Control professionals will be on-site for the 4th visit on Wednesday, 13 March. They have done outstanding work in drastically reducing the burrowing rodent population, the efficacy is apparent when you look across the LZ and don’t see any visible gopher mounds.
    The Spring pupping season for the little bastards continues through the end of May, so we plan to have the Gopher Champs team continue their work for 2 to 4 more visits. The cost for these visits is significantly lower than the initial treatment cost and I think membership will agree that vigilance is money well spent.

    Mario Miralles
    General Member

    Thanks Luke, you guys have done a great job. The place looks seriously inviting.


    Pic taken Friday, 10 May 2024.IMG_8770

    Mark Hoffmann
    General Member

    Green Acres !!

    So nice to not have gopher holes!!!




    The above photo was taken Saturday, May 25th after mowing.  Gopher activity is at a minimum and restricted to North edge of the grass by the road.

    The obvious sore spot is the big yellow area close to the PG Kiting corner.  A huge thanks is owed to Owen Morse for helping troubleshoot the issues he found and resolved with the irrigation system.  We discovered an error in the program for Zone 4 and corrected it.  Zone 4 covers that area that is yellow and while it was functioning (kind of), it was only spraying that area for about one minute every night the program was running.  We had a really wet winter and spring, but now that excess moisture in the soil has been depleted and we are seeing the effect.  With the fix done to the program cycle Zone 4 should now get a full 15 minutes of water when the program runs every night.  Hopefully we will see improvement within a week to 10 days.

    Owen, Jamie, and I also replaced a few damaged solenoids to correct issues with Zones 5 & 6.  Several other sprinklers have been replaced due to damage (at least 5) and about 10 sprinklers have had improvements made to the spray pattern so we aren’t wasting water over the edge into the weeds and keeping it on the grass.  Two weeks ago Owen discovered that Zone 1 (the far Southeast corner), wasn’t even running in the program.  Since that was corrected we already see the green level back to normal in that area.

    In Zone 9, the sprinkler that is closest to the Pavillion in the corner by the road, has been adjusted so that it tracks from the front edge of the turf over to the road edge – it won’t be spraying into the corner of the Pavillion anymore!

    Mark Hoffmann
    General Member

    Thanks Grass Keepers :) and gopher re-locators.

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