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It is my intention to give the readers a better understanding of what we do to maintain The Farms Country Club's 18 hole championship golf course and grounds.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Excess Moisture Can Damage Turfgrass Too

This season will certainly go down in the record books as one of the most stressful years for superintendents around the country. We've all been tested by extended periods of record temperatures and humidity, drought, excessive rains, etc.
Turfgrass on our course has survived exceptionally well through the most difficult time of the season. While I'm incredibly pleased with our conditions for this time of year, we have experienced thinning and some turf loss in certain areas. Most thinning and loss is attributable to areas where water collects and/or the soil remains saturated for long periods of time. Even in areas where drainage has been enhanced over my 25+ years, we still have issues because the soil is a heavy clay. The best example being #10 fairway. We have turf loss in areas that consistently puddle yet are within feet of drain lines.

#10 Approach
The water does not move easily to drain lines because of the heavy clay soil. Those same drain lines lose turf because the sand based soil above them wilts much quicker. We can not use automatic irrigation to give the drain lines sufficient moisture because adjacent depressions would be constantly puddled. In years past we would hand water the drain lines to combat the problem. Hand watering fairway drain lines is very labor intensive and quite frankly, budget restraints have limited our ability to do some of the little things we'd done in previous seasons. While #10 fairway is an the extreme example, in an extreme year, it is the only fairway that has been an major issue. I consider #18 approach to be a close second, but that area is affected more by non-existent drainage. The damage on #10 fairway must be considered as acceptable because the labor costs of repeatedly hand watering fairway drain lines would far exceed the cost of overseeding.

Some of our greens, like #'s 12 and 13, remain puddled and saturated during extended periods of heavy rains which causes thinning. The near four inches of rain since Sunday has not helped the cause this week.
The photos below were taken this morning to help you visualize the conditions we are seeing in the above mentioned areas.
The weather will finally be turning the corner in the next couple of weeks allowing us to overseed the effected areas and begin the road to recovery.
#12 Green
Corner #10 Fairway
#18 Approach