USGA Green Section Florida Regional Update(2)
The Florida Region has seen much rain over the past several weeks. In fact, many golf courses throughout the Naples area have reported 10 to 12-inches falling over a 7-day period. Golf courses throughout the region have struggled over the past year with the prolonged dry conditions, and, although the recent influx of rainfall has caused some significant maintenance and playability issues, the increased rainfall has been welcomed by most golf courses. While the water level in most lakes has increased, Lake Okeechobee (the barometer by which Florida's overall water level is measured) is still two to three feet below normal and golf courses are still under water use restrictions.
It is easy to forget about the irrigation system during these periods of increased rainfall; but diligent scouting should occur, especially on sandy soils to make certain that the turf does not dry out. Dry spots have been observed on recent visits due to heavy rainfall followed by two or three days of dry weather. Sandy soils, especially putting green rootzones, can become flushed following heavy downpours and cause dry conditions to occur.
These long periods of increased rainfall bring continual cloudy weather. While clouds offer golfers and course workers a relief from the brutal heat and humidity, decreased sunlight is a significant stress on bermudagrass putting greens. Low mowing heights and aggressive cultural practices, coupled with long periods of decreased sunlight can kill bermudagrass turf and it is important to incrementally raise mowing heights as needed on bermudagrass putting greens at this time of year.
Higher mowing heights can cause a decrease in putting speed, but it is an important sacrifice to maintain healthy putting greens. Double mowing, rolling and plant growth regulators should be considered in lieu of low mowing heights. Improvements in turf health are often realized, even though it causes a short-term inconvenience to golfers.
Source: Todd Lowe, email@example.com or 941-828-2625