Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 28, 2010

Our weather is definitely the hot topic these days, so I thought we would focus on our water management practices a little more. Some of the tools we utilize to keep the course adequately watered are wetting agents. Wetting agents are soap-like substances that decrease water tension and allow water molecules to “spread out”. If you want to see it in action, try this quick experiment. Cut a square of waxed paper. Using a spoon or dropper (if you have one handy), make two separate, but small “piles” of water. Add a drop of dish soap to one of the water piles. This puddle should immediately flatten and spread in all directions. By adding soap, you have decreased the surface tension of the water and allowed it to adhere to a surface it didn’t like. I recommend using waxed paper because the waxy coating closely reflects the conditions of dry, sandy soils. Soils actually develop a wax-like surface that won’t allow water to penetrate the soil, or to infiltrate it very deeply.
There are three different forces which act on water and affect the way it behaves. The first is gravity, which pulls water down into the soil. The second is cohesion, which allows water molecules to band together and form larger drops. The third is adhesion, or water’s ability to stick to other surfaces. Adhesion is the one we’re most interested in altering. If we can decrease the surface tension of a drop of water and increase its’ ability to adhere, then we can water more efficiently, as well as make that water stick around a while longer.
It would seem to be a pretty simple principle to follow, but not all wetting agents are created equal. Some have longer-lasting effects, while others have the potential to burn if they are not watered in right away. Not all of them can be mixed with fertilizers or other chemicals (this is especially important to us). Wetting agent designers use many different compounds to achieve the desired results, so each wetting agent has a unique set of characteristics. In addition to their composition, these substances are available in different forms: liquid, granular, and water-soluble tablets. At Greate Bay, we use several types of wetting agents, depending on where and when we are applying them. When making the decision to apply wetting agents we have to consider our watering schedule, fertilizer applications, fungicide sprays, weather conditions (current and future), the amount of time that has passed since our last application, and many other factors.
Wetting agents are an important part of our water management program, helping us to use less water more efficiently, and increasing the amount of water that makes it to the plants roots.

(This post was contributed by Chris Lare, Assistant Superintendent.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8, 2010

I really wish that were another topic to write about other than this week’s weather – but it is the story.

Last month was the warmest June on record since records have been kept, which goes back 136 years. Fifteen days in June were 90 degrees or higher.

July continues the trend with record highs. We even hit the 100 degree mark, which made 90 degrees seem like a cold front! At the same time we have been without any precipitation of any consequence – a few sparse tenth’s of an inch since early June.

Lately you have seen most of our staff carrying and using hoses to water dry areas, and to syringe greens. Watering is adding water to the root zone, while syringing is applying a fine mist to cool the temperature of the turf. You probably have also seen the fairway heads come on and quickly “march” down the fairways. This is a syringe, but on a much bigger scale. We time the heads to make approximately one revolution – applying only enough water to cool the radius of turf surrounding them. What we are trying accomplish with all this is to control the temperature of the turf through out the course, and get water to the roots only in the areas where it’s needed.

The short term forecast is for a return of temperatures in the 80’s! I don’t think that any of us will be unhappy about that!!!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 2, 2010

Thank You!

I very much want to thank all of our members and guests for taking such great care of the golf course. It seems that everyone is replacing divots, or filling them with sand from the bottles. Every time during the day when I check the course, I see very few unattended divots.

This is huge!

Besides not having your best shot of the day roll into a crater for an impossible shot, the amount of repaired divots has enabled the staff to do other tasks, like hand water, and keep the course in the shape its in!

Again, I just want to thank all of you! Your efforts to take care of the course are not going unnoticed!!!!!! And I appreciate it so much. You guys are Greate!!!!