Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Heat Blisters Turf, Scorches Roots

By Curt Harler
This year will go into the books as one of the toughest seasons on record for superintendents in the Midwest. Drought and record hot July temperatures slammed courses across the region.

By late August, Derek Settle, director of the turfgrass program for the Chicago District Golf Association, was able to say with relief that he was seeing Bentgrass beginning to take off.

“We muddled through this year. I think things will be better in September,” Settle continued.

Muddle is the word for it. With the drought, root mortality was high almost everywhere. There were an extraordinary number of localized dry spots. A lot of wetting agents were used. Fairy ring became a serious problem on several courses.

The cooling weather brought no relief. “Take-all is a problem now with the soil temperatures dropping below 70 degree averages at the two-inch depth,” Settle continued. That was the first time since June 13.

“We still have shallow roots. Greens are fragile,” he said. “Fairways, too. It’s pretty easy for golfers to make divots.”

This fall will be pivotal for 2013. “Right now it’s all about root growth,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to keep the grass green for one more year!”

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