In turf, and in other plants, all the soaking rains have damaged the root systems and now that it is turning hot, it does not take much to push putting greens over the edge. I asked Dr. Jack Fry to give us some pointers on the tricky balance of water management. You can find his comments HERE.
Along with compromised rootzones, hydrophobic soils/localized dry spot can sneak up fast in weather like this and cause wide-spread damage in a short time.
Check out the photo below:
The upper inch or so of the profile is fine–the water drops were absorbed instantly and you can see how the soil is wet. And, from 2-inches down is okay too. Unfortunately, there is a stubborn layer of hydrophobic soil from about 1 to 2 inches down. I put the water droplets there, took the photos, then went to work on some other samples. When I glanced over again 30 minutes later, they still had not been absorbed.
If you have known hot spots of hydrophobic soils it is critical for you to keep an eye on them this week, and as long as the heat continues. Get a soil probe and use it. When you water, take some plugs out and make sure the water is actually getting down where it needs to go. Use a wetting agent, and water it in, following all label instructions.
In hot, dry conditions it’s dangerous to aerify, but if we get a stretch of cooler days, you could use solid tines.