The heat is on in the northeast. Summer is here and you can really feel it. This season is one of the most challenging for golf course superintendents. Heat can be very stressful on golf greens. Luckily there are several ways courses that can be prepared ahead of and during the summer to keep greens from becoming too stressed in the summer heat.
One of the most important things you can do to keep greens from becoming too stressed in the summer heat is to keep track of your soil’s moisture. The best way to do this is to use a soil moisture meter and take weekly readings. The meter will also track if the moisture level is too high. Adjust your watering amounts accordingly to meet the meter’s findings.
You’ll also have to closely watch for signs of disease as turf that is stressed is more susceptible to stress. Be proactive and apply a fungicide before the disease can occur. One of the most common diseases turf can get in the summer is Pythium Blight. It thrives in hot and humid weather. Pythium Blight often grows in areas that have been saturated with water for a long while.
To take care of greens, you can increase the height of the cut. This will swiftly reduce stress but remember that it will also slow down the speed of the greens. Only increase the height if and when needed. If your course uses an irrigation system, make sure it is working properly before summer droughts begin.
It is also good to make sure your members and their guests know that turf and greens are vulnerable in the summer. Make sure they are repairing their divots and not walking or driving on turf that is diseased or stressed. You can always rope the area off to make sure the greens and turf stay protected and have a chance to recover.
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