Editors note: (Always wanted to say that.) This was supposed to be posted on Monday, but with fairway aerification and clean-up in full swing I now find it's Friday afternoon. The crew is gone for the day and I'm now able to sit for a few moments at my desk to write this.
It was one week ago today, May 3rd, that Wisconsin Rapids native Mark Grundman, Jacklin Seed technical sales rep and I stood on the 16th green scratching our heads as to why that green still refuses to fill in after all the work we've put in on it. We could see the success of the seeding we completed in early May of last year, but were stumped as to why those turf grass plants steadfastly refused to fill in.
Where's the grass? What's the soil temperature? Mark pulled out a soil temperature gauge he carried with him and plugged it into the ground. It registered right around 60 degrees. Good things should start to pop! Most plants start growing in earnest with soil temperatures above 55 degrees as a general rule of thumb. One week prior, soil temperatures were a chilly 46 degrees after several nigh time lows in the mid to upper twenties.
The dramatic jump in soil temperatures was due to the "warm" spring time thunder shower that soaked the course with over an inch and one half of rain most of Thursday morning May 3rd. I got caught out on twelve green trying to complete the greens mowing before the storm struck but failed getting soaked to the gills as I returned on my snail paced greens mower to the shop. I didn't think that rain felt so warm at the time. We received 3.65 inches of rain from Thursday through Sunday May 6th when we recorded over 2" of rain. The course was saturated. All work was cancelled for the day. (Heads up as this is a prelude to another discussion I'll address in my next blog post.)
Mowing greens on Monday I was in for a shocker! Wow, look at all the grass! For the first time I noted significant green-up and filling in on the 16th green. Many of the seed rows had vanished over the week-end! We still might make a smooth putting surface out of her yet! This green is still very troubled, but I'm now more encouraged than ever that we are on the road back to full recovery. Upon further review, I noted other greens that had ulcerated area's from all the winter injury that carried over into this season looked much better as well. (The seeding of April 30th has begun to sprout, and we are running short daytime bursts of syringe water to prevent dessication and loss of that new plants now that it is sunny, windy and dry.) It was like looking at my grandson for the first time in a couple of weeks and taking note of how tall he has grown in such a short time.
Thank you Mother Nature for the badly needed timely warm rains. No it's time to mow some grass!