Saturday, 21 June 2014

Controlling moisture during dry periods

Now that we are in to a nice dry period controlling moisture in our greens becomes a priority. During a hot, dry period it is very easy just to switch on the irrigation system and overwater the greens. If you did this not only would the agronomics be affected but from a playability view point, the ball tends to 'snake' along instead of rolling smoothly. At Ealing we have a number of tools such as a weather station that gives us the information to allow us to make informed decisions on watering. However there was a tool that came out several years ago which really changed the way we water. It's called a moisture meter!

Our Fieldscout TDR300
We use the Fieldscout  TDR100 and 300 to measure moisture content in the greens. Our Course Manager was out this morning measuring every green to see how each is performing. A Fieldscout uses Time Domain Reflectometry technology. It basically sends a signal between two probes which then converts to a percentage. The higher the percentage the more resistance which means more moisture.

At Ealing because our greens are clay based (fine particles) we will have a lot higher readings that say a sand based green (medium/coarse particles). The figure that we are trying to reach are between 30 and 35%. If they go below the greens tend to get crusty and hydrophobic. Above and they get soft with the ball plugging. From the figures below 12 greens were in the correct zone this morning with 7 under and none over. We will now tweak those 7 greens to try and bring up their percentages slightly. During periods such as this we will take a single green reading daily (2nd green) and all 18 three to four times per week. Another tool which allows us to maximise our greens performance!

Moisture Readings Saturday 21st June
Watering some dry areas