Monday, June 3, 2013

Green Speeds

Why do green speeds change?

Ahhh the subject that everyone likes to talk about, and some profess they are experts of.  There are lots of reasons why green speeds change, some we can control and others we can not. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly why speeds change (could be mulitple reasons).   Below are some examples (I am sure I missed a few):
  • Height of cut - important, but not one we move around much except in early spring (lowering)
  • Frequency of cut -single vs double
  • Quality of cut - sand on the green; cut will be poor- slower greens
  • Greens mower/ number of blades - some mowers cut "tighter" than others
  • Rolling- type of roller can affect speed
  • Type of grass -bent is quicker than poa (poa seeds grow quick in spring, thus slower)
  • Density of turf -thin vs thick and healthy
  • Verticutting- affects density
  • Topdressing- reduces effective height
  • Fertility- affects turf growth, density, health
  • Diseases
  • Unrepaired ball marks
  • Dragging/ brushing- reduces density
  • Use or growth regulators - rates, timing, types as they wear off, surges of growth can occur
  • Humidity- high vs low
  • Rain or lack of
  • Soil moisture/ ET rates
  • Time of year/ season- spring surge, summer more consistent, fall less top growth
  • Soil temp - affects overall growth, low or high slows growth
  • Frost - stops top growth, in the fall this can increase speed considerably
  • Location of green - shady vs sunny; high vs low (more frosts in low areas)
  • Green construction - USGA vs push up
  • Drainage -poor vs good (wet vs dry)
  • Morning vs afternoon -the grass grows, so typically later in the day= slower
This past week we saw what the effect of weather has on green speeds.  With maintenance practices the same as last weekend, greens were slower.

Average Humidity:
Fri 5/24 - 67%           5/31 - 82%
Sat 5/25 - 69%           6/1   - 83%
Sun 5/27 - 71%           6/2   - 85%
3 day Ave= 69%                 83.3%

Rain - ET
Fri 5/24 -   0.0" - 0.15"     5/31 - 0.28" - 0.11"
Sat 5/25 -   0.0" - 0.06"     6/1   - 0.07" - 0.10"
Sun 5/27 - 0.02" - 0.11"     6/2   - 0.01" - 0.05"
Total         0.02" - 0.32"                0.36" - 0.26"

As a side note, we had frost today (Monday) - with a low of 36.9 degrees (yes, frost on June 3rd)! 

Drier weather forecasted for this week, I expect things to improve.  We are also verticutting and dragging greens today - this helps to "thin" the greens making them smoother and quicker.

Weather is always a challenge - predictions are rarely correct, yet are very important to the decisions we make in managing turf.  The conditions are constantly changing and as such green speeds will always change as much as we try to keep them the same.

Verticutting Greens today (Monday)