We are now in the full swing of golf season and a lot of our cultural practices slow down with the heat of summer coming. We are now shifting to “maintenance mode” for the next 3 months or so when it comes to bentgrass. This basically means other than venting greens with needle tines and some topdressing, we will be maintaining turf health as much as possible through the summer. Water management becomes the big hurdle we face on a daily basis. If we get too wet, turf thins and gets very susceptible to disease. Too dry, turf wilts and the soil can possibly become hydrophobic, making it harder to get moisture back into the ground. We use several wetting agents across the golf course to help make sure this doesn’t happen. On fairways and tees, we use a penetrating agent to drive moisture off of the surface and down into the rootzone where it is needed most. On greens we are using a combination of 2 different types of wetting agents. We use a penetrating agent similar to fairways but it has a higher active ingredient in it, causing it to last a lot longer in the soil. We are also starting to add in a small amount of a retaining wetting agent in our greens program. Our greens are made up entirely of silica sand, which holds little to no water. The penetrating agent pushes the water off of the surface down to the rootzone but doesn’t leave a lot of moisture in the upper profile. As I have written about in the past, when soil temperatures get too high root growth starts to decline. This can cause root depths in the greens to vary through the summer. Some of the lower areas in the greens hold more moisture while the high spots dry out a lot faster. By adding a small amount of the retaining wetting agent, we are able to keep some moisture in the upper portion of our rootzone making sure we are keeping the water where it is needed most.
We have also started to prune trees on the golf course. As trees grow, it is necessary to prune lower limbs and suckers off to keep their shape as well as to help with air movement and playability across the golf course. This is an ongoing process through the summer but we have started between 16 and 17 fairways and we will moving to out of bounds lines next. This will include the left side of 15 and the right side of number 6 and 7.