This Blog Post courtesy of Robert Andershonis, Assistant Superintendent
While water is an essential building block to all known life, excessive amounts of water becomes prohibitive to growing healthy turfgrass; and we’ve had nothing short of excessive. To date, during the month of May we’ve measured rainfall at 7.61 inches at Kinloch Golf Club. Golf course greens, specifically the USGA greens constructed at Kinloch, are designed to quickly drain water in the soil, but when there is too much rainfall there simply is nowhere for all of the water to go.
When too much water enters the soil, it begins to fill all available pore space creating waterlogged soil, leaving no available oxygen for both the turf grass roots and beneficial microorganisms in the soil. Just as a plant takes up water through its roots, it also requires oxygen in the soil to respire. Waterlogged soils cause the roots to begin to decay, destroying a plant's energy reserves and ultimately inhibiting its ability to grow deep healthy roots.
So what are we doing about all of this excessive water in our soil? Vent, vent, vent! Just as we aerify in the spring and early fall to promote gas exchanges, seasonal venting is a fundamental tool for us to introduce oxygen into the soil profile. On May 22nd & 23rd we vented greens with a non-invasive 5mm needle tine at a depth of 2.5 inches. By Tuesday morning, after a cut and roll, the holes were barely noticeable and will be fully healed by the end of the week. We will be continuing this practice in the coming weeks while remaining cognizant of play-ability on a daily basis. Hopefully, the weather pattern breaks and the soils will naturally dry and a better water/oxygen balance will occur. Until then, please know that these practices are essential to managing our greens.
Additional reading about waterlogged soils can be found at: