Guest blogger superintendent Joe Wachter
Monday, August 20, 2012
by Kari Soderberg
This summer, BASF Turf Talk is featuring several superintendent guest bloggers from around the country. Each guest blogger will share their top management practices to keep their courses’ turfgrass healthy and playable this summer. Read on as Joe Wachter, superintendent at Glen Echo Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri, shares his insights.
Guest blogger superintendent Joe Wachter discusses top summer practices
This summer we broke the all-time record for average temperatures in July. Since we started the month with 100 degree days, we began alternating between rolling and mowing, and will continue this practice throughout the rest of the summer. We also increased our mowing height seven percent —just enough to give the turf a break.
Last year we experienced similar heat and drought conditions, but I probably let the greens get a little too dry. This year I modified my watering practices to help give us a more consistent moisture content in our sand capped push up greens. We went out each morning hand watering as needed and also shortened our syringing intervals in the afternoon from two guys watering nine greens to three guys watering six greens. These practices keep us from playing catch-up during the hottest summer that I’ve ever experienced.
Two hydrojecting and one needle tine applications to all of our greens over the last 50 days has helped our greens breath and given us plenty of openings for moisture to move through profile.
A new tool we’ve started using in the last month is a soil moisture meter. It’s been interesting seeing how it works. We use it 4-5 days each week, before any hand watering, to get a moisture percentage. It’s a good addition to our program and it’s helped us keep the moisture levels more consistent.
I’ve also started using Turf Screen over the last month. It appears to be reducing wilt and has helped speed of turf recovery in weak areas. It’ll be interesting to see how the product continues working through September and October when we are involved in a course wide bunker project and will have reduced time with course operations.
Regulating our greens has been important as well. Last year we made applications every week, but that was a little too harsh. This year we switched to a bi-weekly schedule, which seems to be a bit easier on the greens.
Learn more about Joe and his turf maintenance practices on his blog, “Glen Echo Country Club Golf Course Management” http://geccgcm.blogspot.com/