Summer Survival Mode

By Jim Skorulski , Senior Agronomist
July 16, 2010

The extreme weather is impacting golf courses around the region with conditions not seen since 1988.  Some parts of the region have the added challenge of drought conditions that are straining water supplies and raising concerns over water use restrictions. With soil temperatures consistently in the 85-88 degree range, significant stress on root systems abounds.

The higher-than-normal stress has ramped up disease pressure, especially dollar spot, brown patch and summer patch activity. Parasitic nematode populations also are impacting a number of golf courses. There is a potential new bacterial threat to creeping and velvet bentgrass reported by Dr. Mitkowski at the University of Rhode Island. The bacteria, Acidovorax avenae, is active during hot weather causing plants to bleach out (etiolate) and wilt. The bacteria has been isolated from infected plants collected from several New England golf courses.

The following are some basic tips for surviving the extended heat and humidity:

  • Be conservative - this is not the time to experiment with new products or tank mixes. Spoon-feed with light rates of a balanced soluble fertilizer.  Go with the basics that have a proven track record. 
  • Avoid applying DMI chemistries in the heat. Annual bluegrass is susceptible especially triticonazole and metaconazole so rotate to other fungicide classes until the heat breaks.
  • Be careful using growth regulators on stressed annual bluegrass. Trimmit and Cutless are excellent products with bentgrass greens, but should not be in the mix on Poa annua surfaces in high heat conditions. Stick with Primo for Poa annua greens and keep the rates sensible.
  • Avoid combining Primo, Cutless or Trimmit with any DMI fungicide. The combination can result in over-regulation of heat-stressed annual bluegrass.      
  • With the increased disease pressures, shorten up intervals between fungicide applications. Check sprayer calibration and nozzles, and apply at water volumes to reach your target.
  • Follow your gut. If your intuition says don’t do it …don’t. Self-inflicted damage is the hardest to accept. Yes, we need to mow, roll, topdress, and vent greens during some difficult weather, but skipping a mowing or a rolling when the surfaces are saturated can make the difference between success and failure.
  • Reemphasize the importance of equipment operation on and around greens. Make sure mower baskets are emptied frequently. Save the venting and topdressing practices for days when the weather breaks.  
  • Monitor soil moisture closely to program irrigation and direct hand-watering and syringing practices. This is not the time to saturate the root zone. Train competent staff about the difference between hand watering and syringing, and be sure they realize the importance of the task.   

 

Stay focused and remain flexible to survive the difficult weather period. It’s the first time in a few years we have experienced an extended heat wave, and fortunately they are fairly rare in this region. Hopefully, the weather pattern breaks and brings with it the more seasonal conditions rather than one that will be long remembered.       

Source;  Northeast Region Green Section- Dave Oatis, Director doatis@usga.org; Adam Moeller, Agronomist amoeller@usga.org Jim Skorulski, Senior Agronomist jskorulski@usga.org.
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image