Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rough Road to Recovery

One week ago, we were looking forward to a small break in the heat.  As promised by the weather forecasters, we got just that--a very small break, before the heat and humidity returned.  During the past three weeks, we've experienced above average temperatures 18 out of 21 days, with 13 of those in the 90's.

By itself, these temperatures make for a rough road to recovery from aerification.  However, we also have had to rely largely on irrigation water to keep the turf going, as we are behind in rainfall by close to 75% for the month.  There's no better time to see the uniformity (or lack thereof) in irrigation coverage than under these conditions.  We've been hand watering 150-200 man hours per week, and the golf course still has the Goldilocks syndrome:  Too wet here, too dry there, and just right over here.

It shouldn't come as a great surprise, but any areas which were weaker going into aerification have been struggling to recover.  The extra strike they may be dealing with is high traffic, lack of morning sunlight, poor irrigation coverage, sandy soil, etc.

While the Bentgrass is looking good, the Poa annua in the walk-on/walk-off area of #14 green is still not loving life.

Given what we've experienced this year, one might ask the question, "If environmental conditions are so tough and the turf is weak, then why the heck are we aerifying now?"

Aerification in August generally coincides with temperatures dropping, a strong labor force to complete the task, and helps prevent Poa Annua encroachment in the fine turf areas.  In 2017, we will be starting the aerification process one week later, again, in hopes that the weather is heading in the right direction.  If we look back at how the process has worked over the past 10+ years, we find that the timing has worked well--aerify, heal, and get some great conditions for golf in the fall.
Not just hot, but record heat this month!

Unfortunately, for the moment, we need some patience until we have consistently seasonable temperatures, rainfall...and the needle drops below the red line.

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