Monday, August 10, 2020

July/August 2020 PPCC Agronomy Blog


We hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far this year. As much as you can enjoy it, given the current pandemic and changes to all our lives.


We are having a wonderful transition so far this year. We are very pleased with the health of the Bermuda grass. We have a couple of trouble spots due to shade or high foot and/or cart traffic but many of them are filling in nicely. We are working hard to encourage a natural recovering. We are currently on track to not lay any or very little sod to repair the golf course from this past season's overseed.


We are very happy with the green’s health at this point in the summer. While it has been a fairly hot summer it has also been very dry. The lack of humidity and high dew points has helped with keeping the greens in good health. While green speeds are not as fast as in the fall and spring, we are keeping them slower for health reasons. We do not want to increase the chances of loss during the hot weather months.


As you have probably noticed the ball marks are getting numerous and are slow to recover. The high air and soil temps have now triggered the bentgrass to go into a pattern of self-preservation. Ideal soil temperatures for bent are 50-65 degrees we have experienced temperatures consistently in the 90 for 6 weeks now. This constant stress has shrunk the root length and structure and will continue until September night temperatures begin to cool. While bentgrass can survive these conditions, it does not grow or recover very well. The constant stress leads to root loss and leaf tissue decline which becomes apparent in August and is a delayed response to the root loss experienced in July. Most, if not all, of the plant’s energy has gone into maintaining the existing roots and leaf tissue. This is the opposite effect of what happens in the spring when the greens are growing vigorously and get very firm before we aerify in May. Simply put, the plant health gains in the spring need to outweigh the losses in the summer as it relates to root and leaf growth. Regardless of how healthy we are headed into summer there will be an unrealized loss in leaf tissue density during August and you can expect to experience softening conditions through August and into September before the growing weather switches back in our favor. The softening is due to the decline in density and less roots and leaves to support the impact of a golf ball.


In the meantime, you may have noticed green sand being placed in ball marks. We are using a sand/bentgrass seed mix to help fill the depressed ball marks that are not filling in. We hope to aid the recovery and/or fill in with new grass. We also want to smooth the ball mark to help keep the putting surface from being affected. We use this same method during overseeding to repair the ball marks from summer damage and tried it this summer for the first time. We have seen good results and will continue this practice.


Below is a link to a USGA video and articles that also explains summer stress management and green speeds


You may have also noticed the yellow ring around the green. Once again, we are using an herbicide that helps to significantly suppress the Bermuda grass from encroaching into the bentgrass collars. The Bermuda grass will inevitably encroach, but we are slowing it down and extending the life of the collars with the herbicide.


So far, the bentgrass collars that were installed 2 years ago have given us the desired results. We are very pleased with their performance. We expect the bentgrass collars to be the long-term solution for the collars.


In July we once again closed the course for summer maintenance. We performed very heavy dethatching and aerification across the course. We were very happy with the results of the practices this year. We had a quick recovery with a little disruption to play.


Through the pandemic, the agronomy team has done a fantastic job maintaining the course as well as keeping each other safe. We implemented many changes to our operations to keep our members and staff safe. We appreciate the membership's support through these difficult times.


We wish everyone and their families a safe and healthy remainder of their summer and look forward to seeing everyone back this winter season.




PPCC Agronomy Team.





Ranger helping with drainage
Fransico helping change the drainage and liner on the outside of the greens

Heavy verticut in the fairways

Lots of debris generated from cultural practices - 20 roll-off dumpsters worth

More verticutging

Verticut with small hand machines next to the greens