Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall (Spring) Solstice

Recently I spent time collating photo's in an effort to identify trees which cast the most shadows on our greens.  Shadows as you know prevent uniform melting and drying down of turf under a blanket of snow and or ice.  Ice crystals pierce cell walls killing them when the crowns of the plants are refrozen if they are holding excessive amounts of water. 

I took photo's as near to the first day of summer, cloud cover permitting with the idea of comparing those with the first day of fall.  It's in my minds eye September photo's should mirror those the first day of Spring come next March.  All things being equal, we should get an idea what trees are casting shadows that prevent good snow melt.  I didn't take Noon and 2 PM photo's on June 21st as the sun was too high in the sky to determine which green I was standing on.  I also tried to remember which sprinkler head I stood on to keep sun angles as near the same as possible.

I'll be honest with you, this is a lot more difficult than you might guess but is truly eye opening.  Trees that are well off the green can create the most problems. 

#2 green June sunrise.  Trees are well back up the fairway.
 Now take #16 for example.  On the first day of summer, it is the trees on the right side of the fairway that eliminate early to mid morning light. 

#16 green on a June sunrise.
Naturally it is the trees on the left that cause problems when the sun reaches the equator.
#16 green September sunrise.
I know through my education that morning sun is the best sun, but at what time of the day are you OK with shadows?  10 AM?  Noon?  2PM?  Questions that are not easily answered when you consider day lenght changes. 

Oh, Arborcom, where are you when a real golf course cut from native forest lands needs you but isn't able?  _Mk