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Localized dry spot (LDS) is the bane of many a superintendent. Powder-dry soil right next to well-hydrated areas on greens, tees and fairways will keep you up at night. Now that we have entered the LDS season, remember these best management practices for battling this pesky malady.

Organic matter dilution: Keeping organic matter levels down will generally reduce the incidence of LDS. Consistent sand topdressing and regular aeration can help when you have elevated organic matter levels.

Wetting agents: Wetting agents work and there are many to choose from. Studies have tried to identify the “best” one but there are so many different variables within each rootzone. Pick one that is working for your course and stick with it. Monitor moisture levels in the soil before and after application to determine effectiveness.

Venting: Creating small holes for irrigation to easily penetrate dry spots helps get water in contact with the rootzone and gives it more time to rewet the soil before evaporating. An aerator is good for venting larger areas of LDS, but you can even use hand tools to poke holes in smaller spots.

Hand watering: Diligent hand watering of LDS areas can work, especially if you have vented them and are using a wetting agent. Hand watering LDS areas for a few days in a row typically solves the problem in the short term.  

Don’t let LDS get you down this season. Keep your wetting agent inventory up and the hand watering staff busy. 

West Region Agronomists: 

Brian  Whitlark, regional director –

Cory Isom, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

Contact the Green Section Staff