Friday, July 29, 2016

Late July Golf Course Update

SUMMER STRESS

The past three weeks have been extremely stressful to the golf course.  While the zoysia grass in the fairways enjoys the heat, the rest of the golf course is looking forward to October.  Greens are holding up well, but the past week in particular has been deadly to other cool season turf.  The air temperature, and more importantly the soil temperatures, have gone beyond what cool season turf (bentgrass, fescue, bluegrass) can tolerate. 
“We sure could use some rain” is a popular comment, but unless the temperatures drop significantly, that would actually add to the problem.  Think about steamed vegetables and that is what bentgrass tees and greens are like when high heat is combined with rain.  We can bounce back from dry areas in the fairways and rough much easier than we can bounce back from too much water on greens and tees.  The worst case scenario is a 90+ degree day with high humidity and a late afternoon downpour.  That is exactly what we had last night and it is clear at sunrise this morning that we will have less grass this afternoon than we did 24 hours ago.  Unfortunately the forecast looks bleak for bentgrass.    Please enjoy the healthy zoysia fairways and recognize that everything else is miserable right now.   We are 5-6 weeks away from recovery weather.
 PLAYING DEFENSE

Several steps have been taken to alleviate the damage that this weather is causing.   We are regularly aerating with small tines to put tiny holes in the greens and tees.  This gives us some wiggle room with the weather.  With open holes, they’ll dry up quicker if it rains and re-wet easier with hoses if it doesn’t. 

We are also relying on hoses to water greens and tees.  This gives us the ability to put water exactly where it’s needed and keep it away from where it isn’t.  Using the sprinkler heads would overwater some areas and underwater others.  Hand watering takes more labor, but saves water and grass.  When it rains we lose control over how much water we get.  That’s why we don’t wish for rain when it gets hot.  We have the ability to be very precise with hoses, but when the clouds open up all bets are off. 

Regular applications of disease control products are made to tees and greens in hopes of softening the blow.  Ultimately it will take relief in the form of cooler, drier weather to improve conditions, but fungicides help limit the damage from the hot/wet combo.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult stretch.  Fall is getting closer every day!

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