5 Ways to Help Your Golf Greens Battle Heat Stress
Aaah summer! The sun, the beach, fresh local produce, vacations and long days playing golf. We humans love summer. But, if you have a golf course in hot climates like the Western United States, your putting greens may not feel the same way.
Heat and humidity in the summer months through early fall create a stressful situation for golf greens and putting surfaces. We spoke with Dr. Todd Bunnell, VP of Agronomy at BrightView Golf Maintenance, to get his recommendations for how golf courses can help their greens thrive, even during these stressful summer months.
He recommends, first Taking Care of Your Turf year round so putting surfaces are healthy going into stressful periods. If your golf greens start showing signs of stress, here are 5 things Dr. Bunnell suggests you do to help them recover and stay greener than competing golf courses this season.
Needle tine before summer heat kicks in … and every 2-4 weeks
Needle tining, or venting, is an important practice to help your golf greens survive the heat. It helps dry out the surface, while increasing oxygen to the roots and lets the plants breathe better.
Adjust the height of cut if stress occurs
Increasing the height of cut on putting greens will quickly reduce stress. This will slow down your green speed, so do so only as needed.
When turf is experiencing stress, it can’t fight off disease as effectively. Proactively applying fungicides can help prevent disease from occurring and cure disease that may already be impacting your turf’s health.
Conduct frequent water flushes
While it’s a common practice to give your turf frequent but shallow watering cycles, if your water contains higher salt levels, you will need to periodically–every week or two–conduct a flush to remove salt from the root zone. But, don’t overdo it! See tip 5.
Keep your eye on soil moisture
Proper moisture management is key to putting green health during summer months. Use a soil moisture meter to take and record regular readings to make sure moisture levels aren’t too low or too high, which could cause other problems. We share details on how to determine your turf’s moisture threshold in our past article.
Remember, it’s easier to get your golf greens back on track before they show signs of stress. Be proactive in helping your turf overcome heat stress and your greens and your players will thank you.