COURSE CARE
Soggy Conditions Can Be Challenging June 10, 2013 By Todd Lowe

Wet summer months bring maintenance challenges and standing water identify where additional drainage may be needed.

Tropical Storm Andrea, the first named storm of 2013, came through our region last week and delivered several inches of rain and high winds. Wind can cause tree damage, especially with sustained strong winds, but with Tropical Storm Andrea most golf facilities are simply dealing with debris removal from fallen tree branches. 

Continued rainfall for several days has caused some issues with turf maintenance on golf courses, including reduced mowing frequency. Turf grows aggressively in Florida during the summer months, but it becomes difficult to mow during periods of extended rainfall and on saturated soils. As a result, some areas have not been mowed for several days. When mowing operations resume, the increased clippings and scalped appearance may cause unsightly turf conditions. 

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are particularly important tools at this time of year, as they reduce leaf elongation and clipping production. For these reasons, not only do PGRs reduce the need for mowing, they also improve aesthetics when normal mowing resumes. 

Scheduling cultivation practices like core aeration is difficult during rainy periods. These aggressive practices generate debris that must be picked up and, ideally, the debris is allowed several hours to dry before removal. Rain events cause major problems with scheduling these programs, as they delay debris removal and postpone the resumption of regular mowing. 

Rain events also complicate herbicide applications for weed control. Weeds are particularly problematic in Florida during the summer, as increased heat and humidity encourage rapid weed establishment and growth. Timely herbicide treatments are difficult around summer rains, as many herbicides require a “rain safe” dry period following application. 

Source:  Todd Lowe (tlowe@usga.org

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