COURSE CARE
It’s Never Too Early in the Season to Manage Water Resources April 17, 2015 By Bob Vavrek, agronomist, Central region

The time spent training staff to monitor moisture during spring will pay dividends during the peaks months of summer stress when hand watering and judicious use of automatic irrigation are needed to maintain healthy turf and firm, consistent playing surfaces.

Spring is a great time to develop and fine tune your soil moisture monitoring program. Courses across the northern tier of the U.S. are beginning to pressurize irrigation systems while melting snow or early spring rains uniformly apply water to playing surfaces. Having uniformly watered playing surfaces affords an opportunity to determine a solid set of baseline moisture measurements to start the season. Significant variations from the baseline after automatic irrigation is applied strongly suggest an irrigation coverage problem that needs to be addressed before the peak months of heat stress.

In addition, monitoring moisture early in the year provides ample time to:

·         Calibrate moisture meters

·         Replace batteries and worn tines

·         Ensure all the units available for measuring moisture on the course are producing similar readings. Run all the units side-by-side on the same green to document consistent measurements

·         Acclimate new staff to the process of monitoring moisture

Time spent honing your water management skills during spring will definitely pay dividends the rest of the season.

Source: Bob Vavrek (rvavrek@usga.org)

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