Over the last few days, summer has really taken a hold as we work through our second hot stretch of the summer. As you can guess, it was (and still is) time to play some defense. Soil and canopy temperatures have risen to levels that cause stress on the turf, especially the lower cut surfaces. Below are some defensive measures we have taken over the last 2 weeks:
The height of cut was raised slightly (.005″) to increase the amount of leaf tissue on the plant giving it a better opportunity to generate the necessary energy to survive, and irrigation was kept to a minimum. The need to minimize the amount of irrigation may sound counter-intuitive because of the heat, but we need to reduce the possibility of various types of diseases from developing. Moist soils, thatch and leaf blades make an ideal environment for pathogens to grow and create harm to the turf.
By reducing the irrigation, we reduce the moisture available to the pathogen. Even with the reduced irrigation, the increased humidity has kept greens surfaces softer than I would like to see them. We have also spiked the greens to help dry them out further and get a bit of fresh oxygen into the rootzone. These small slits will disappear into the canopy within a day or so.
The two uncontrollable wildcards during stretches like these are the humidity and rainfall. That is where our plant protectants (fungicides) come in. My general philosophy is not to apply these products until conditions warrant the need for them to be applied. Obviously, during periods like this, there is certainly a need to make applications to protect the turf and allow it remain as healthy as it can. Because of this, our sprayers have been quite busy over the course of the 2 weeks or so.
On days when we don’t mow fairways the dew is mechanically removed by two carts dragging a long hose across the playing surface to knock the dew off of the leaf blades allowing them to dry more quickly. In periods like this, every little trick helps.
By combining all of these practices, it allows us to pick up where we left off as soon as the weather becomes a little more seasonable again. Rest assured, the conditioning of the golf course remains our top priority, that’s why we take these necessary steps!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a safe and happy 4th of July holiday!