1. A Credible Resource: Question: During the recent Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) conference and show several of my fellow superintendents from the Midwest were discussing the possibility of an abnormally hot, dry summer season. Can the USGA point me in the direction of a credible source of long-range forecasting, given the ominous implications of such a weather pattern? (Iowa) Answer: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was created in 1970 to, in part, develop a more comprehensive understanding of weather phenomena. It is a multifaceted agency of the Commerce Department and is composed of the National Ocean Service, National Weather Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. Based on accurate predictions of the El Niño and La Niña events over the past three years, their long-range forecasting credibility has reached new heights. To assess the probability of a future drought in your region, visit their website at www.noaa.gov. Our Experts Explain 2. The Right Combination: Question: I need to repair some thinned turf from a drought last summer and also will be seeding two new greens this fall. If I seed at a rate higher than the recommended 1-2 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft., say a 4-5 lb. rate, will I be able to open the green sooner? (Wisconsin) Answer: The results from several independent research studies indicate that excessive seeding rates only produce an abundance of weak, crowded seedlings. The rapid cover over the green provides a false sense of security. The heavily seeded green is generally not ready to accommodate play any sooner than a green seeded at a more appropriate rate. The dense stand of crowded seedlings is often more susceptible to a variety of disease pathogens and matures more slowly compared to turf on a green seeded at a lower rate. Stick with the recommended seeding rate. Our Experts Explain: 3. Question: We are in the fourth consecutive year of a drought. Our superintendent says our turf is yellow because we haven’t had enough rain. What is the story? (Arizona) Answer: We have been seeing drought-related turf problems for the past several years, and it is primarily due to salt concentration. Nothing moves salts deeply into the soil and away from the turf better than a half-inch to 1 inch of natural rainfall. Drought-stressed turf (having small amounts of rainfall) will actually wick salts up into the root zone and cause the yellowed condition seen throughout the Southwest. The natural flushing action of rainfall also eliminates the hydrophobic (or water-repelling) problems seen in drought-impacted soils, making subsequent irrigation much more effective at moving into and through the soil. Although this condition can be seen year-round, it is most prevalent in winter on overseeded bermudagrass since the cool-season grasses are less salt-tolerant, as a rule, than warm-season turf species.