COURSE CARE
Summer’s Last Gasp September 2, 2014 By Darin S. Bevard

Dragging or brushing sand to fill aeration holes is an important agronomic practice. However, the abrasiveness of these strategies can damage the grass, especially under conditions of high heat and humidity, so do not overdo it during this brief spell of heat in early September.

Summer has finally arrived in the Mid-Atlantic region, albeit in September. Hot and humid weather has affected much of the region for the last five or six days, and this weather pattern is expected to continue through the weekend. This short burst of heat and humidity is nothing to be alarmed about, but exercise discretion with maintenance practices while this weather pattern is in place.

Many golf courses are being aerated this week. With hot temperatures and, in some instances, wet conditions, there is opportunity for mechanical damage. Filling core aeration holes completely with sand is very important, but if excessive dragging is necessary to accomplish this, it could damage the turf. If necessary, wait until cooler weather prevails and add additional topdressing sand where needed.

The bottom line is that the summer season has been a very good one in the Mid-Atlantic region. Mild temperatures have allowed exceptional playability and turfgrass health to be maintained through the summer stress season. It only takes one day of high heat combined with the wrong maintenance practice to undo a very successful summer, so be careful and take nothing for granted.

Source: Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org)

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