Wednesday, July 1, 2015

One Down and Two to Go!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Wednesday, July 1st and the first month of meteorological summer is now in the rear-view mirror, and what a month it was!  June 2015 goes into the Charlotte record books as the 10th hottest June ever.  Several new record high temperatures were established along with a streak of consecutive days 95 F or above (13 days). 

Courtesy of Brad Panovich (@wxbrad)
We even managed to reach the century mark (100 F) five times in the month of June, and that typically only occurs four times in an average Charlotte summer (June-August).

So why am I bombarding you with these weather statistics?  You see, five years ago we endured something very similar.  In fact June 2010 still ranks as the 8th hottest June ever in Charlotte, and it was definitely the most difficult and trying period of my professional career.  As this year's heat wave approached a few members that remember 2010 all too well voiced some concern, but the lessons learned from that experience led to adjustments of our agronomic programs and we picked up some new tools along the way.

When the heat wave of June 2010 arrived there were three fans on the golf course (1, 12, and 16).  We quickly realized the need for better air circulation along the perimeter of the golf course property and acquired five additional fans later that summer (located on holes 7, 8, 11, 13, and 14).  In 2012 we began using soil moisture meters (CLICK HERE) to help us better manage water applications to the putting surfaces.  I now have three of these devices and they are used daily.  In 2013 I changed wetting agent chemistry and since we have enjoyed drier, firmer surfaces.  In other words, there are numerous differences between now and then, each of which playing an important role in allowing me and my staff to produce more desirable conditions today.

Here's a look back at the ugly that was 2010 compared to where we currently stand with two more months of summer to go:
8 Green July 2010
8 Green July 2015




8 Green July 2010
















8 Green July 2015
















7 Green July 2010
















7 Green July 2015
















7 Green July 2010















7 Green July 2015

















Professional turfgrass management can be a very humbling profession.  Despite numerous advances in science and technology Mother Nature always wins.  I am very proud of the work we accomplished over the past month, but I am also smart enough to realize we caught some breaks along the way.  Being dry was the best thing that could have happened to us during this year's heat wave.  Many of you always comment to me during wet summers, "You must be loving all this rain!"  The answer is no, no I don't.  If it is going to be 100 degrees then I want to be in control of moisture, because nothing kills bentgrass roots faster than saturated soils on a hot day.  Summer is by no means over and we still have longer to go than what we have endured, but I am very pleased with where we are and I sincerely hope you are too!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS

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