August 27, 2013

Summer Continues, Fashionably Late

The last two weeks have felt like summer has known that it's days are numbered, but for good measure it had to make its presence felt one last time so we wouldn't forget about it.

With the last two weeks of July, and the first two weeks of August being rather cool and mild, the turf on the golf course could not have been happier.  Warm, but not hot days (75-80) and cool nights (45-55) are the absolute perfect growing temperature for our turf grasses, mainly bentgrass, bluegrass, and annual bluegrass (Poa Annua).  While we could have used some more moisture during that timeframe, the favorable temperatures made turf management dare I say easy for a couple of weeks!

But as it usually happens in life, all good things must come to an end.  This late summer heat wave has brought a heavy dose of 90 degree days, and even worse, warm night time temperatures, which prevent the turf from having an adequate amount of time to recover from the hot days.  

The real kicker during a heatwave however is humidity, and how we control soil moisture.  There is a very fine line between too much water and not enough water for us without any drainage on the golf course and a heavy Poa Annua population.  If we overwater the course and the humidity stays high overnight, we have created a perfect breeding ground for disease development.  However, if we under water the course, and the humidity drops too low during a 90 degree afternoon and a south wind picks up, our shallow rooted Poa will burn out in a heartbeat.  Thus far we seemed to have been doing a pretty good job controlling our irrigation output, however, on Monday night we received a quick .10" of rain, and with that followed an extremely sticky and humid evening and overnight period.

While the greens had been sprayed preventatively with fungicide last week before the heat wave started, we didn't have a chance to get around to spraying the tees.  The fairways were due for a preventative application about 2 weeks ago, but since the weather had been so favorable, I made the decision to skip the application since it isn't a cheap one.  It doesn't make sense to spend the money to spray if the weather conditions don't warrant it.  Hindsight being what it is, I am wishing we would have sprayed the fairways.  Such is life...

The greens have held up fine recently, but this morning with the extremely high overnight humidity we saw some of the most active disease development on the tees and fairways that I have seen so far in my 3 summers here.

The black tee on 14 exploded with Brown Patch, the first case I have ever
seen here so far.  Surprisingly, that was the only tee affected.

There is still some question as to whether this is Dollar Spot or
Pythium Blight.  It developed in some of the wet spots in the fairways.

A few of our newly sodded tees developed a very minor case of
Dollar Spot.  Only on 3 and 8 tee have I found any.
We were so close to making it through the entire summer without any major disease outbreaks, but this morning changed that very quickly.  The sprayer spent the rest of the day out on the course spraying both control and prevent fungicides on the tees and a few of the worst affected fairways.
Andy out spraying tees.

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