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Sudden Hot Weather Checklist and Recommendations

Dave Wilber

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(I know in my last post I promised a continuation of the Plant Physiology stuff, but am taking a break for a more relevant thing, we will return to the geekery rsn (that's real soon now...non-nerd).
 
Ok, so... the phone has been ringing off the hook as unseasonably hot weather hits most of the Western US. In particular, the Sacramento area is getting a real wallop but isn't alone. I put this out to my Sacramento Turfhead friends and wanted to share. I hate ambulance chasing, but here are 10 tips that you may want to look at and see if you've covered the bases. Based on being called to many turfgrass crime scenes, this list comes from experience and is in no particular order.
 
1. Don't believe the Syringing Myth. Syringing isn't all it is cracked up to be as far as cooling greens and in fact can stop the process of Evaporative Cooling. My esteemed agronomy colleague, Dr. Micah Woods, from the Asian Turfgrass Center has it very well in this post.
 
Here's the bottom line from Dr. Wood's work:

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What would I do if I were a greenkeeper today? I wouldn't even think about syringing. Rather, I would:
  1. Monitor turf conditions and soil moisture content. If there are places were water is required, I would apply water immediately. If I could anticipate that water would be required later in the day, I would apply water in advance, if I could, to prevent that stress.
  2. Use fans if I could. 
  3. Focus on ensuring that the grass is supplied with the right amount of water. 

Now, granted most of Micah's work is in Asia, but it gets damn hot and sticky in lots of Asian places. So this is critical info and I love it. Thanks Dr. Micah!
 
2. When you do water, water right. This means knowing your water quality and doing the right thing. This TurfNet Blog Post, from my blog, is an important primer for that. Read the Ed Miller article that I reference. You shouldn't be allowed to turn on a sprinkler unless you have taken this in.

"Don't believe the Syringing Myth. Syringing isn't all it is cracked up to be as far as cooling greens and in fact can stop the process of Evaporative Cooling."

3. Have the right surfactant applied at the right rate. There are Penetrators, Wetters and Movers. And inside of these categories, the rate you use is critical in how it works.  Make sure that you don't confuse what you are trying to do...this weather won't give you a break. Skipping it all together can be worse than anything.

 

4. Stay under regulation or get under regulation. If you are using a growth regulator program, don't quit. Stay on it unless you really understand the rebound effect. In fact, as it comes to Primo, it is one of the best stress conditioners going, so stay with it. If you aren't on Primo, there's never a bad time to start.
 
5. Phosphites are good. Phosphites (in particular one of my faves, Grigg's PK Plus) are a huge help key to summer stress. I wouldn't do anything in dog days that didn't have 3-4 oz./1000 of PK Plus in the tank.
 
6. Don't quit topdressing. You may have to back way off on the amount, but topdressing needs to go out. Doesn't matter what your mechanic says. The hotter it is the less you can put out, but never stop.
 
7. Vent. Small tines, small holes, needle tines, spiker, planet air...whatever. Vent your greens and difficult areas. Doesn't take much. Don't disturb much. Just make a million little holes and let the gasses exchange.

"Don't feel alone and don't think there are stupid questions. You are working absurd hours. So are we supporters, for you."

8. The Wilber Hot Weather Mineral Stack. 4 oz. Ferrous Sulfate Heptahydrate, 3 oz. Manganese Sulfate, 1 oz. Solubor, 3 oz.  of Earthworks Sea3 or Algae Green, 3 oz.  Earthworks Calvantage. Leave on plant for 20 min and then water in lightly. Can be sprayed with your Primo. I like to add 2 oz. of Black Strap Molasses or iMol in really nasty weather. I didn't name it, others did that for me.
 
9. Roll by the numbers. Know your soil temps at 6 am, 10am, 2pm and 8pm. Know your moisture percentage (what...you don't have a moisture meter?), know high and low air temps. Know Relative Humidity and Dew Point. Sometimes we think it is hotter than it is. ET will fool you. Pay attention to the changes and take advantage of even the smallest breaks.
 
10. Have a real fungicide plan. Don't just open the chem shed doors and spray what you've got. If you are confused about what to do, talk to somebody who really gets it. I happen to have Dean Kinney on my team, so I'm lucky beyond measure.
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11. Take care of you. Hydrate. Sleep. Eat well. Call a friend if you are confused. Cancel some meetings (they will understand). More mistakes have been made do to bad self care than I want to remember.
 
Don't feel alone and don't think there are stupid questions. You are working absurd hours. So are we supporters, for you.
 
I hope this helps you organize your thoughts or helps you see what may be missing. Stay in touch. I want to know how you are doing. And remember there are no stupid questions.


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Got a nice email this morning and a couple of phone calls. Seems that someone has been listening to me, just a little. There actually is a #12!

 

12. Smooth Rollers. Change out the grooves for smooths for summer stress. And if you are a bentgrass promoter, this should be a natural move.

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Great stuff as always Dave. This may be the most important thing you have written here, which is saying a lot!

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And here I thought that Mexican Caddies and Monkeys are the show stealers.

 

Seriously. Thanks Jason. Coming from you, that is indeed saying a lot.

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Great blog Dave. Few questions.What area is the

Wilber Hot Weather Mineral Stack sprayed over(metric dude here). How effective is primo if it is watered in after 20 mins? I am also a believer in the no shringe!

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Dane, those numbers are in oz per 1000 square feet (93 square meters). The iron sulfate, manganese sulfate and Solubor are by dry weight in ounces (28.35 grams) and the rest is by liquid ounces (29 ml).

 

Primo has max uptake in the first 17 min. So 20 is safe. An hour is ultra safe.

 

Thanks for the comment!

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