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Getting Out of Hot Water

Greetings. My name is Lee Miller, and I am the extension turf pathologist at the University of Missouri. I was invited to post a few weeks ago, and gratefully accept the invitation. Every once in a while I’ll join in on the fun with my fellow Midwest colleagues (Drs. Kennelly, Kerns, and Smith) to relay on some of my experiences from the region.

As Damon (and the rest of the world) noted, it is hot almost everywhere in the U.S. and creeping bentgrass is dancing on the coals. Frequent syringing of greens is a must, but with this extreme heat, the water coming out of the hose may also be too hot for comfort. During our historically hot summer of 2010, some Missouri superintendents were reporting 90F + water temperatures in their irrigation lakes and coming out of their syringing hoses. That’s not much relief! In addition, traditional syringing can be difficult to master and often times oversaturated root zones can be a side effect. Hot water in a stressed root zone is a recipe for trouble, and turf pathogens love troubled turf...

A local assistant superintendent has rigged up a misting system hooked up to a Buffalo blower to combat the problem. The system has two holding tanks in the back that hold water that is cooled with block ice. Pumps deliver the water to the mouth of the blower, where it is atomized and blown across the putting green (similar to the fan systems that cool off football players on the sidelines). This is not a new idea. In 2006, Patrick Gross wrote a USGA Green Section article on a misting system implemented at Mission Viejo Country Club.

I produced a short video below showing the system in action, and recorded some before and after canopy temperatures taken across the putting surface. This is not a scientific study by any means, and doesn’t compare this practice vs. normal syringing. From a pathological perspective though, I like this cooling method because it allows for more control over root zone moisture. Most of the samples I have looked at this season have very saturated root zones, and as a result, black layer and Pythium root rot have been diagnosed routinely.

I’d like to hear some comments from those that use a misting system and how you have implemented it into your program.

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