Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hot water heater!

It's very frustrating to come to work in the morning after an irrigation cycle to find greens looking like boiled cabbage!  Greens, instead of looking better after a boost from a drink of cool water looking much worse after a soak in the hot tub.

That's right, the temperature coming from our irrigation system is a tepid 84 degrees.
It was one Sunday afternoon in Mid July while taking soil moisture readings that I was asked if I was taking soil temperatures with my probe.  In conversation with Dr. Christy and Jerry Hassl enjoying a good cigar after their rounds of golf I learned that the water temperature in the Wisconsin River was in the mid 80's!  Not unusual but arriving much earlier in the season than normal according to their source.  This is due to low river flows. When considering the lack of snow, the extensive heat wave and drought we've encountered to date it only figures.  We began monitoring the water temperature on a weekly basis and have found it ranged from a low of 78 degrees (fifteen feet below surface levels as it entered the turbines at the Centralia Dam) to a high of 86 degrees at the craft mill.  I heard an unconfirmed report of 88 degrees as of August 3rd.  This all thanks to the warmest, driest July on record.
I never dreamt our hand watering of wilted collars would precipitate further decline of putting surfaces and is the principle reason you no longer see us out "cooling" our greens.  It can't be done when using this luke warm bath water!  With soil temperatures at 78 degrees, we found we were compromising root systems by making the soil profile warmer!  Not good for the plants, not good at all.

If you were with us in 1988 you might remember we did not struggle with our greens like we have this year when all watering was done by hand.  Then 100% of our water came from a spring feed quarry, one semi tanker load at a time!  That was a very bad year, this year by my estimation has been much worse.

Pray for a good soaker of cooling rain that lasts all day.  No wind storms please.   _Mk