Saturday, April 9, 2011

Covers Removed and Course Clean-up Begins

                                                                             # 4 green

This past Wednesday we removed all the covers from the greens.  Based on reported conditions around the Twin Cities, I'm quite pleased with the condition of our greens.  There are a few blemishes on a few greens such as 4, 6 and 13, but these are minor and will recover or can be repaired quite easily.  The green with the most damage was on the 1st green.  Damage occurred in the middle of the green (a very strange location) in a 250 sq. ft. area.  The plants have severe leaf tissue damage, but the crowns of the plants and the roots appear healthy.  We have covered this area in an attempt to raise the soil temperature to try and stimulate some growth.  We will attempt this method first so we can determine what our next phase in the recovery process might be.  Hopefully the plants are not completely dead.
The covers we utilized to protect our greens through the winter are an impermeable plastic.  We use this type of cover to protect the plants from free water or ice.  We also install a 1/8" rolls of foam to protect the plants from freeze/thaw cycles which can also kill plants in the middle of the winter.  Although we are trying to eliminate free water from reaching the plants in winter, one disadvantage to the impermeable cover is that no snow melt is allowed on the greens. So when we remove our covers, the greens are dry and require water very soon following the removal.  A lesson we have learned the hard way in the past. Now with the use of our TDR 300 moisture sensor we can easily monitor our moisture levels. 

This year, only two days after removing covers greens needed water asap. We checked moisture levels as soon as the covers were removed as well as the following 2 days.  It was obvious with moisture levels falling below 10% or delicate poa annua plants would require water very soon.  Since the frost is gone we were able to pressurize the irrigation system on Friday.  Based on the plants needs we broke one of the cardinal sins of our Rick Krause, our irrigation technician of 27 years, never pressurize the irrigation system on a Friday.  Unfortunately the plants don't know or care what day it is and they needed water. That's two years in a row of breaking that rule, last year we pressurized on a Saturday.

It appears we did a great job with the blow-out last fall with the irrigation system. We were able to pressurize in a little under 2 hours and have no leaks or breaks.  Greens we flooded with a 30 minute water cycle and field capacity moisture levels were obtained. The affect of the water on the plants was almost immediate.  Good to know we have a solid irrigation system that we can count on, money well spent 8 years ago.

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