Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Prevent Defense!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Tuesday, June 14th and I'm writing this as a strong thunderstorm is dropping much needed rain on Carolina Golf Club! Prior to this storm we had only received 1/4 inch of rain the entire month, and with temperatures reaching 98 degrees yesterday and establishing a new record you can see why I would welcome some natural rainfall.

Ironically today's rain event was not forecast as temperatures were originally expected to climb north of 100 degrees later today. Will be interesting to see if that remains the case with this much needed reprieve. Considering the temperature was 85 degrees when I left the house this morning, can't say I'm surprised this storm system strengthened as it approached the Queen City.

But enough about the rain, what I really want to talk to you about is the heat. Earlier I mentioned we set a new record high temperature yesterday and the extended outlook for this week and most of next is hot and steamy to say the least. It is in these conditions that we manage our bentgrass putting surfaces differently in order to protect them from these extremes.

In fact, we initiated these steps last week when the greens were vented. This process helps promote gas exchange, improves water infiltration, and is recommended by the United States Golf Association Green Section.

Yesterday we applied a plant protectant fungicide to help prevent the formation of Pythium Root Rot, a fungal disease of turfgrass that can be prevalent during summer thunderstorm season. We combined yesterday's application with a wetting agent to help remove water from the surface and penetrate deep into the root zone.

Another preventative step we take this time of year is to raise the height of cut (HOC) on the greens and replace the grooved front rollers with smooth rollers. The HOC adjustment helps with photosynthesis and the smooth rollers assist with reducing stress on the turf during this sensitive period.

Of course, our fans are also an important tool that aids bentgrass survival and they have all been reinstalled and are operating. I have some great info on exactly how the fans work in helping cool-season grass survive the heat and humidity that will be appearing in the next Ross Report, so please check that out later this month.

In the meantime, here is a link Click Here to a post from 2016 that goes into even more detail about the way we manage the greens during the spring and fall as opposed to the summer. It contains a link to a great USGA article about putting green speeds, so please be sure and give that info a quick read.

Sounds like the storm is nearly passed, time to go assess course conditions and determine our strategy for the remainder of today. Stay cool and walk in the shade when you can.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

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