Friday, July 5, 2013

Rain Rain Go Away

To say that June's weather was unusual would be an understatement.  A cool start to the month turned into day after day of rain.  For the 31 day period from June 3-July 3, the golf course received 13.95" of precipitation.  That sounds like a lot, but what's it really mean?

Well, 13.95" of rain equals 90 million gallons of water falling on course property.  If you add the runoff from the surrounding residential area, that number is significantly higher.  However, 90 million may be a difficult figure to visualize, so here's another way of looking at it:
  • Every individual acre received the equivalent of 12,200 gallons of water each and every day for the 31 day period.

By July 3, we had rain 10 out of 11 days, and conditions were "soupy."  During this time the impact of every maintenance practice from spraying to mowing was carefully reviewed.  With the threat of showers every day, it was often difficult to know if postponing an activity to the following day would lead to better conditions, or possibly worse.

As previously discussed, during June the grounds crew traded watering hoses for bunker rakes and shovels.  Heavy rain events obviously have a short-term impact, but can also lead to long-term bunker issues as well, since these downpours often cause sand contamination.

Other concerns with this weather pattern include allowing traffic on saturated turf as this can cause damage to soil structure, compaction, and loss of roots.  Add high temperatures to saturated soils and it can be a really bad combination, potentially resulting in "wet wilt" or "scald."

One of the areas that got hurt the worst by all of the rains is the upper practice tee.  Standing water and new seedlings don't work well, and despite a preventative spray program on this area, we suffered some turf loss.  We have now used our large, deep tine aerifier on this area to improve drainage, and will follow-up with aggressive over-seeding.

On a positive note, it was nice to see that our on-going drainage work made a big difference in our ability to get both the mowers and carts back on the course after the storms.  One thing is for sure, when the weather is involved, there are no two years alike. 
Ah, memories of June, 2013...

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