Thursday, November 21, 2013

Knowledge is Power

As the main golf season wind's down, a great deal of reflection goes into this past season and potential changes or improvements in the program for next season.  Along with the evaluation, comes an increase in opportunities to gain knowledge about what we do as growers of turf grass and managers.  There are educational opportunities throughout the season but a majority of my time in the slower times of the year is devoted to gaining knowledge.  Some of the educational opportunities include;

  1. Trade journals either in paper form or digital.
  2. Forums on professional sites such as TurfNet or Superintendent Association site.
  3. Monthly local meetings or visits to golf courses.
  4. Vendors or field reps from companies talking about their products and solutions or problems we might be seeing.
  5. Turf advisory visit from USGA agronomist which occurred this season.
  6. Webinars presented on different sites.
Dr. Rossi Cornell University Opening Slide

Today with the wet and cold weather, I sat in on a webinar presented by TurfNet(Internet Golf Course Communication Company) which was present by Dr. Frank Rossi from Cornell University regarding Plant Health.  Superintendents from all over the country sat in on this power point presentation regarding the health of golf greens and how the impacts of our work impact their plant health.  Many times, these presentations spend most of the time discussing how we can improve plant health without using chemicals to fix or cure our problems.  There are many cultural practices which can improve and or negatively impact plant health.  In many cases its about proper application, operation and timing.  Get one of those three out of order or sequence and problems can occur.  Keep those in the proper order, and great putting greens can be in your future.  One of the most interesting slides he used during his presentation the production of energy and the use of energy in the plant. 

Last week, in the discussion regarding trees I spoke about shade weakened turf on greens and how they can become deprived of energy during the summer.  During the webinar, a slide was used by Dr. Rossi that relates to energy production and use.  The yellow line which represents use peaks at the top in the summer.  The white line which represents production bottoms out directly underneath the use line in the middle of summer. 
Dr. Rossi', Conrell University's slide regarding production and use of energy.
There are many abiotic(non-living) stresses in turf which can negatively effect the production of food and the use of food.  
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Drainage
  • Air movement
  • Sunlight
  • Mowing
  • Golfers(Yes I know your living but the effects of walking on greens, ball marks etc)
Too much or not enough depending upon the type of stress can widen the gap between production and use.  Our attempt is to keep the gap as narrow as possible so when the worst weather of summer comes along, our turf is prepared.  You can also see the blackened areas which represent storage.  The greatest time for storage in a plant is during the fall.  The sun's angle in the fall is flattened which reduces light.  Trees living on the eastern and southern sides of greens negatively effect this storage because of reduced light.  Leaves are usually on trees until November so any trees close to greens on the sun side of the green reduces the greens ability to build up reserves going into winter and the following spring which are terribly important for plant survival the next summer.

I missed a number of webinars this season and intend to go back into the archives and watch them   Hopefully I can learn something new or refresh some information that gets pushed down in the memory bank to assist the staff and I as we hope to keep your golf course in great condition again next season.

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