Thursday, March 7, 2019

Forging Ahead, Chicken Dinner and The King!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Thursday, March 7th.  I'm sure you're all familiar with the proverbial saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."  I never dreamed the lemons in this case would be enough water to make over 139 million gallons of the tart, summertime elixir.  Let me explain.

If you've wondered recently if it has ever rained this much in Charlotte, the answer is NO.  The past six months have been record breaking, as in the all-time wettest September through February ever, and Charlotte weather records date back 141 years.  We recorded 41.07 inches rainfall at the golf course during this period.  The city of Charlotte receives about 40 inches rainfall annually, meaning we received one year's worth of rain in half the time!  
Now take into account the past six months are the six months of the year with the slowest plant growth (turf is either preparing for winter or dormant during winter) and you gain a better understanding of the existing course conditions.  And if that doesn't impress you, here are some other numbers about the recent wet weather that may give you a different perspective.  One acre foot of water (that's water twelve inches deep across an entire acre of surface area) is 325,851 gallons.  An acre is 43,560 square feet for those wondering.  If we convert our rainfall from inches to feet we get 41.07/12 = 3.4225 feet of rainfall.  If we multiply that by the total number of irrigated acres maintained on the golf course (125) we get 3.4225 x 125 = 427.8125 acre feet of water.  Multiply that by the number of gallons in one acre foot and we get 427.8125 x 325,851 = 139,403,130.9375 gallons of water fell on the golf course this fall and winter.

And how much water is 139 million gallons you ask.  It's more than the total amount applied to the golf course through the irrigation system since 2012!  That's right, we've only applied 131.7 million gallons combined the past seven years (2012-2018) for an average of 18.7 million gallons per season.  And it turns out it wasn't just the Queen City, as this past winter (December-February) was announced to be the all-time wettest in U.S. history.
Moving on, despite the wet conditions my team and I continue to forge ahead.  We managed to get started on spring pre-emergent applications yesterday as we identified the driest of holes and the process will continue again today.  This isn't the latest we've ever made these applications as each year can be different but considering Forsythia (indicator plant) bloomed early thanks to the warmer than average February, the saturated conditions were frustrating.  So take home message, if you haven't treated your home lawn for crabgrass it isn't too late, but don't delay.
Above Avg Temps
It's also time to clean up and prep our cool-season native areas.  We will be mowing and removing the cuttings in these areas like we do each spring.  This allows us to treat with pre-emergent products for crabgrass management and encourages new seedhead production which will flourish in May and turn golden brown in early June.  At this time I would like to sneak in a friendly reminder the golf course is scheduled to be closed this coming Monday and Tuesday (March 11 and 12) for greens aeration.  This will be a repeat of last year's process where we will both deep solid tine and core aerate the greens prior to topdressing.  Just hoping we don't repeat the temperatures from last year!
March Aeration 2018 - Brrrr!
Despite the wet conditions the 2019 golf season is upon us.  Congratulations to Brett Boner and Stephen Woodard on their victory in the Pine Needles Invitational Four-ball this past weekend!  The lads carded rounds of 64, 66, and 67 at Pine Needles, Mid-Pines, and Pine Needles respectively for a 197 total (-19) and a six shot victory!  Well played gentlemen.
Winner Winner!!
Always good to get that first win out of the way early.  We're so proud of you both, team CGC!  Here's the write up from our good friends at 

And don't forget golf fans today is Round 1 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida.  I miss the King and I'm rooting for Justin Rose since he selected an awesome way to honor and pay tribute to Arnie with his twitter account this week.  Nice avatar Justin, I'm sure Arnold would approve with his signature thumb's up!

See you on the course... soon I hope,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

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