Friday, March 8, 2013

Investing your money wisely!

While in San Diego to attend the Golf Industry Show you paid me to attend a one day seminar on "Managing Bentgrass Golf Greens under Heat-Stress Conditions" presented by Dr. Bruce Martin and Dr. Bert McCarty of Clemson University.  I chose this seminar to gain better understanding of all the factors present last year that led to the decline and death of a few of our turfgrass putting surfaces.  (I must be a glutton for punishment as I took the seminar "Advanced Stress Management Strategies for Cool-Season Turfgrasses by Dr. Jack Fry and Dr. Bingru Huang in 2012 after the summer from hell in 2011.)

I gleaned several take home messages from this class but one I would like to share with you.  When reminded that the break even point for bentgrass under heat stress was 86 degrees, that is the point when a plant consumes more food than it can produce in a days time. (Photorespiration) I had a question that just begged to be asked.

So I asked the professors what I could do to alleviate the problem of using "hot water" in this case above 90 degrees to syringe greens in an effort to "cool" them down?  Their reply, "My that is a problem, I'm not sure you can!"  Of course 90 degree water is much cooler than a surface temperature of 125 degrees.  To that end, I will be using an old fashioned temperature probe in conjunction with my moisture meter when deciding to hand water greens in the future and pray that we don't "poach" the roots!

The professors also commented that "excess water" kills more bentgrass and thatch holds a lot of water which reinforces the benefits of aerification.  If anything I'm guilty of maintaining greens too dry.  Firm and fast you know.  High soil temperatures are more detrimental that high air temperatures and root growth stops when soil temperatures are greater than 77 degrees.  Now if there were only a way to lower soil temperatures to 68 degrees with our 90 degree river water!  (The thought of spreading ice cubes over the surface of our problem greens isn't as far fetched as you might think.)

The class started at 8 AM and lasted past 5 PM when questions were still being asked.  As I review the instruction manual, there are far too many sections to bore you with but chock full of strategies to implement should we encounter another stressful summer like those of the past three seasons.  You can never have too many aces up your sleeve! _Mk