www.usga.org/turf

 

Why are the sprinklers running during the day?  This question has probably come up during the recent dry spell. There are several reasons for watering during the day.  One of which is to preserve water by not watering the same night it rains. So, if it doesn’t rain that night then we try to water in the morning. Golf courses are under more pressure each year to reduce water usage. In fact, recent legislation has mandated that flow meters be installed in irrigation pump houses with monthly and yearly gallonage reports going to the DEP. With this information the government will request and enforce reduced water usage during drought emergencies

 

Humidity levels play a big factor in daily watering. We may know it is going to be 90 degrees the next day, which most people would think to water the night before, however, if the humidity level is high then the evaporation rate is low and moisture stays in the turf and there is no need to irrigate.  There were a few hot days in row which included a couple 90 degree days, during this period we did not use any water because the turf remained moist due to high humidity. On the other hand if the humidity is low and the temperature is 90 degrees with a little wind you may see the turf wilt and start turning yellow right before your eyes.

 

Have you ever been to a golf course where your ball plugs in the fairway during the middle of a dry spell?  This is due to watering heavily at night. So, better playability is another reason for watering only when the grass plant needs it.

 

Most turfgrass diseases are caused by fungi. How do fungi spread and infect large areas of turf? The answer is: through water. So reducing water usage also reduces the possibility and severity of diseases.

 

Watering during the day also lets us inspect the irrigation system and see if heads are turning and spraying correctly.

 

Syringing is a light application of water sprayed on the greens, tees and fairways during the heat of the day to reduce the turf canopy temperature by a couple of degrees. This is done because the turf at Seven Oaks is comprised mostly of creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass which is properly pronounced Poa annua not Po anna.  Creeping bentgrass has a drought mechanism which allows it to survive under the stressful summer heat. Poa annua or annual bluegrass does not have this mechanism, so by syringing the turf during the heat of the day we can lower the temperature at the turf canopy by a couple degrees which is often enough to allow the survival of the annual bluegrass.

 

Well it rained last night how come you are watering today?  During periods of high temperatures the grass plant can not move enough water from the roots and out through the leaves to stay cool.  A light syringing of water will help the plant out in these situations.

 

We will try to make your round as pleasant as possible by only watering during the day when it is absolutely critical to the health of the turf.

 

Dennis Kaminski

Golf Course Superintendent