Sunday, August 26, 2012


I woke up this morning to a welcome sight.  The rain gauge at the shop showed that we had received a little over 2" overnight.  To say that a large rain event like this was needed is a huge understatement.  We hadn't had any rain over 1" since June 4th!  To make matters worse, during the month of July and first half of August, we were evaporating moisture out of the ground at a rate of .25" per day.  This means that even though last nights rain is very helpful, and much needed, we are still over 13" behind schedule on our annual rainfall.  We need several more big rain storms like this to make a meaningful impact on our subsoil moisture.  This recent rain will however, have a big impact on the golf course turf and home lawns throughout the region.
The most noticeable thing that the rain did for us was give us some more irrigation water.  Our irrigation supply is tied into two ponds on the course.  The small pond on #4 is our primary irrigation pond and the larger lake down on #17 is our reserve.  We can pull water from the lake up to the irrigation pond to meet demand.  As you might have noticed, over the past 6 weeks or so, the lake on #17 has been very low.  We have had to severely ration our water supply to ensure we could water the greens and not run out.
This rain hasn't completely filled the larger pond but significant water is still coming in from the creek to the north, and we may see it full by the end of the day.  In the picture above, you can see the lake level as of this morning.  The vegetation that started growing on the left half of the picture will be underwater when the pond reaches full capacity.
Over the next few days, you should be able to notice a big growth response from the turf now that a large amount of moisture is in the soil.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Venting Greens

With the air temperatures beginning to decrease, we are looking to start back up on our greens cultural programs.  Deep-tining greens, or venting, is a critical process that is completed every 2-3 weeks to keep the root zone healthy.  By improving root zone drainage, and oxygen content, we are allowing the turf to cope with the extreme temperatures of summer in Oklahoma.  Once this process is complete, we roll the surface smooth and apply a granular gypsum into the holes.  Gypsum is used for two reasons, for the plant to take up and use, and for ammending the soil profile.  The first reason is fairly straight forward, the plant needs certain amounts of available calcium for optimum health.  The second reason is a little more complex.  Applications of calcium are typically used to remove excess amounts of Sodium from the soil.  Sodium is used in small amounts by the plant and most of the unused Sodium hangs around in the soil and ties up essential nutrients.  The main cause for Sodium buildup is irrigation water.  Eventhough we have relatively small levels of Sodium in our water, the large volume that is applied this time of year can quickly lead to excess amounts.  Calcium is introduced and the Sodium is knocked off the soil particle along with the tied up nutrients essentially making them plant available.  Monthly applications of gypsum are very helpful in maintaining this soil balance and keeping as much of the nutrients in the soil available to the turf.