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Stress stress stress, why a putting green is like a toddler, and localized dry spot

We've had a stretch of hot weather, high humidity, and very high night-time lows. On Monday and Tuesday I had about half a dozen conversations which started with a superintendent saying "everything looked fine Friday, and by Monday it was in a tailspin."

Root problems in putting greens are common this week. If I only had 1.5 inches of roots, I’d be hurtin’, too:

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.

Just scroll down a little bit. That's where you'll learn how putting greens are like toddlers.

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.

One response to “Stress stress stress, why a putting green is like a toddler, and localized dry spot”

Chelsea Martin said...

My dad purchased a golf course this year. He built his greens himself but we can not seem to keep them alive first there was a weed infestation now we have these spot of a tan color of dying grass that dies very quickly we have tried to fight it with water.. using fungi stuff that says it will kill off diseases but nothing seems to help we really need tips and ideas of what we can do to keep our greens alive every time they start looking good they then start dying off in front of us its extremely irritating. We have sent in soil samples to see if those results help locate our problem but if we could find some other tips as to what we might be doing wrong that would be awesome.

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