There are many factors one must consider when talking about green speed. Factors such as type of soil, soil moisture content, weather, morning dew, time of year, fertility, height of cut, grass variety, amount of topdressing, and rolling the green can all contribute to how far the ball will roll. However, the biggest factor that is sometimes uncontrollable is the weather. Unpredicted rain events can sometimes make managing the soil moisture content very difficult. To fight against these weather events, research and science has provided the turf industry with products such as wetting agents. Wetting agents have multiple purposes, but the most important role is drawing the water down in the soil profile, firming the surface, and providing a re-wetting factor for the soil and turf. It is extra important this time of year due to increased humidity and surface temperature. Two of the most favorable conditions for turfgrass disease are warm and moist. Applying a wetting agent (soil spray) will not help pull the water through the soil profile, but putting some extra specials ingredients in the tank will help feed the soil bugs and roots.
From approximately Memorial Day to Labor Day, we try to maintain the green speed at a very consistent level; only changing consistency to make the greens faster for major events. There a few ways to increase speed, but the most important factor is making sure your turf can handle this change. Root stability, overall plant health, and the right amount of moisture everyday will help allow for the turf to be tweaked during the time of an event or time of season.
For a majority of the season, turf health has been our primary concern and taking the plant to a “fast” speed just really hasn’t been a thought. Well, the good news is that our attention to health has really paid off. Most areas have completely healed and speed will begin to increase over the next few weeks. Weather will also be on our side in regards to humidity. By spraying our usual monthly wetting agent, greens will continue to redistribute the water within the profile, and you may just start draining more putts (hopefully)! Thanks for your continued support this season! See you on the course!
-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent