We developed this blog to provide golf course maintenance information to our members. From projects, small and large, to updates on course conditions, we want to provide as much information as possible. Although we hope this blog answers all of the pertinent questions regarding our operation, we always welcome more personalized dialogue. If you have questions beyond the information found on this blog, feel free to contact our golf course superintendent, Trevor Hedgepeth.



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Oscillating Fans

One of the best tools that a grass grower possesses is oscillating fans situated near putting green surfaces.

Do you ever wonder why the healthiest greens are those perched on a hill or sitting near a lake?

The reason is air flow. When we get hot, we sweat. The perspiration released onto the surface of our skin helps to cool us. If we didn't sweat, we would die due to heat stress. Grass plants are no different. When grass plants get hot, they release water droplets through tiny openings in the leaves. (stomata) As wind passes by, the leaf surface is cooled and the plants internal temperature is regulated. However, plants obey osmotic principles above all else. For a plant cell to release water, there must be less water outside the cell than within. In the summertime, humidity builds over the putting green. If there is no wind due to the green's micro-environment, that humidity becomes a blanket of sorts. With all that moisture in the air, the plant has nowhere to release water droplets. If the plant cannot release water droplets, it begins to overheat and eventually die. Furthermore, plants that retain moisture in their leaves pull less moisture from the rootzone. Too much moisture in the rootzone creates anaerobic conditions that lead to root death and potentially wet wilt. The moral of the story is that plants need to sweat. (evapo-transpire) On sites where natural air flow is limited, oscillating fans are unbelievably useful. By providing the environment with consistent breezes, humidity cannot build into a thermal blanket. Without excess humidity, the air surrounding the plant tissue has less water than within the plant tissue and sweating can commence. This allows the plant to stay cooler and not fall victim to heat stress. Not to mention the plant pulls more water from the rootzone thus leaving more pore space available for oxygen. All in all, oscillating fans are a very good tool for today's superintendent.