From one extreme to the other, we’ve seen it all this season at Heritage. The monsoon that was June turned into a very hot July. The course finally dried out and for about 3 weeks we saw less than an inch of rain. These conditions make the course firm and fast, something the golfers love to see. With extreme temperatures peaking in the 90s and temperatures at night only falling to the 70s, we have to be careful. Every type of stress on the turf is amplified during these periods of heat.
When the air temperatures rise, so do the soil temperatures. Soil temperature is a leading factor to the health of the plant. Cool-season grasses prefer soil temps between 50 – 65 degrees and air temps between 60 – 75 degrees. When soils reach higher temps the roots of the grass can stop growth and even recede. Ground temps can reach highs of 85 and up, this will cause permanent damage to the roots. We have experienced many days with temps exceeding the optimal range. This is expected during summer but with the trends we’ve seen, weeks at a time in the high 80s and 90s can be very tough on the course. With the addition of foot and cart traffic, the plant almost doesn’t stand a chance. With that said, my crew and I have been cooling off the turf non-stop on days without any precipitation. We have done a very good job of keeping the course alive and healthy with only a few small scares that will heal up in no time.
Disease pressure is also elevated during periods of heat and moisture. The fungicide program that I established in the spring is still on track and working like a champ. We have had zero disease on our greens this season. We will continue with the current program for the rest of summer and into fall when the pressure of inculcation decreases for most diseases.
Please be mindful of the stress our course is under during summertime. 90 degrees from the cart path can make a world of difference and help save our turf from further damage. It only takes one cart driving across wilting grass to cause permanent damage.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and hit ’em straight!