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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2010, 06:03:37 PM »



So, theoretically, this picture shows about 50% dead grass, not drought dormant grass.

But, that's totally incorrect.

The plant structure changes, or adapts, to it's conditioning. And until that plant adapts to drier conditioning, then all the statements above about the grass dying suddenly when it is brown may well  be true.

Joe



Okay  Joe, this looks to be an area of rough which can be treated a bit roughly.  What does the fairway look like? - which is what I am really talking about.  Below is what I am on about and I am not sure a lot folks in the States come anywhere near fully understanding the difference between summer dormant and and some brown rough.  As you can see, the grass is still tended and in immaculate condition. This is a difficult medium to achieve and takes one heck of a lot of effort on the part of green staff to get a course tot he point where it can be treated this way yet still look and play fantastically.  Take a good look at the low ground - still brown - still tight.  Now, imo, in Michigan and practically everywhere I have been in the northern US this look is not happening and I think it is because it can't happen.  Your pic and mine are apples and oranges.   


Ciao
« Last Edit: May 30, 2010, 06:08:05 PM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Don_Mahaffey

Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2010, 06:58:37 PM »
Joe's picture shows grass, a mix of grass types, that is in various levels of drought stress. There is zero bare ground in that picture. It is not dead. Rick Sides, are you a supt? What evidence did you use to make the comment that the key to firm and fast is proper syringing? I've played firm and fast overseas, down under, in Mi and OR and never saw a hose dragger.
I used to think that firm and fast could be had and you could have a nice green color as well...until i played real firm and fast in other parts of the world.

To me if you have an army of hose draggers in yur attempt to keep color while maintaining a firm course then your over doing it. I get that the "country club" look keeps most members happy while true golfers and supers like firm, fast turf. Keeping everyone happy is what costs the $$$.

Chris Tritabaugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2010, 07:33:19 PM »
There are too many variables to make sweeping statements.  Depending on soils, turf type and irrigation, it would take some real fancy foot work to keep many courses just on the edge of firm and fast.  So, we can't paint all courses into the same scenario.

But in general, each combo of soil and grass has a certain amount of water availability, measured in inches. It is often in the range of about 3".  Plants wilt at about 33% of feild capacity/water availability, and I doubt many super would cut it that close, perhaps keeping grass at about 50-66% of field capacity at a minimum to avoid death.

In the NE and Midwest, you can water at less than the ET each night (usually either side of 0.2" daily in the summer on a hot day) Eventually your plant goes from 100% full to some fraction and you can count on rain to refill it to 100%.  If the drought lasts long enough, you eventually have to water to full ET or more to catch the soil/turf back up to its comfortable minimum field capactiy. This is often referred to as the checkbook method of irrigation, keeping just enough funds in the checkbook to pay the bills, and maybe a little more.

In the desert, it is obviously harder, as it is with some turf.  Some go dormant, others die when stressed. 

I guess my point is its hard to manage right on the edge all the time.  Most supers do it anyway because their irrigations systems don't allow full watering.  And some overwatering you see is because their older systems require them to grossly overwater some areas to get others moderately wet.



Jeff,
I am going to have to disagree with you on the checkbook method of irrigating. There might be places where that type of watering is needed, I don't know, I haven't worked there. However, in the midwest if you are watering every night to replace ET or even every night in general then your course is probably too wet. The first superintendent I worked for as an assistant was brilliant guy and he told me something I have never forgotten. "Never, ever water your greens two nights in a row." I have taken this statement to the extreme the past couple of years. Deep infrequent irrigation is a fantastic thing and turf can be trained to respond to such a strategy. The irrigating method is just one part of it lots of other practice make D&I effective.

I also agree with Don. True firm and fast is going to show some brown at some point during the growing season. An army of hand waterers is not sustainable by any course other than the very top end multi-million dollar budget places.

Fast and firm is an art without a doubt.

Joe Hancock

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2010, 09:16:58 PM »
Whether or not any golf clients accept brown, irregular turf was irrelevant to my point, which was that brown grass does not equal dead grass.

I didn't make any statement as to acceptability at any level. I was addressing agronomics.

I think golfers and superintendents have similar levels of acceptability when it comes to turf, and it depends on where you are and what your neighbors course looks like. Supers in the NE USA don't compare their course conditioning to courses in Wales....and vice versa.


Joe
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Rick Sides

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Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2010, 09:45:03 PM »
Don,
That grass is dead.  Are you a Super?  I work at a golf course and know a lot about turfgrass management.  What are your credentials?

Anthony_Nysse

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2010, 09:56:13 PM »
Rick,
  Don has been a successful superintendent for years.
Anthony J. Nysse
Director of Golf Courses & Grounds
Apogee Club
Hobe Sound, FL

Joe Hancock

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2010, 09:58:02 PM »
Rick,

That grass greened back up with rain. It was on the course I owned for 11+ years.

20+ years as a super, now in the golf construction end of things.
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Rick Sides

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #32 on: May 30, 2010, 10:04:10 PM »
Anthony,
I am aware that he is a super, but he made a statement judging me without knowing my background so I thought I would ask him to explain his position to me.  I made a joke about the grass being dead and gone because although the grass may grow back eventually, it is dead for all intents and purposes for the time being.  As for syringing the grass, is it not true that the plant requires some water to survive, but not too much water because the plant will lose firmness?  Like Don mentioned, some parts of the world with a marine west coast climate such as courses in Europe which receive ample rain, really don't require much syringing.  Take a northeast course in August and you better syringe the grass or you will have grass that looks like the picture posted.  Don is right that the grass is not dead because it doesn't have barren spots below, but most supers in the US wouldn't have a job long if their course looked like that.

Bradley Anderson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2010, 05:45:38 AM »
Chris,

I agree with the idea that grass can be "trained" but not beyond its genetic design. I mean you can't train Poa annua to have roots as deep as bentgrass roots when soil temperatures are in the 80s. Thats just common sense right?

As I have said before, all you can hope for is that there are stronger varieties existing in your mix, and then manage for the limits of tolerance that nature has designed in those species. Over time those grasses win the battle. Some courses don't even have those stronger grasses in high enough percentages to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Now you can introduce new grasses with seed, after you have addressed the issues that brought the weaker grasses in, e.g. drainage, shade, compaction, thatch etc., but establishing seed in exisiting grass takes time, especially when the exisiting species is aggressive - as is Poa.

Gentlemen, when we greenkeepers come on here we have to be careful not to create confusion or unrealistic expectations. The message that some of us are sending on this thread is that grass species will somehow make a Darwinian leap in species attributes if you would just fire that pussy who works for you and hire a superintendent with balls and courage enough to stand up to the Augusta syndrone and change the whole culture of your club ::)

Not only is that erroneous, it is damaging to our profession.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 05:49:21 AM by Bradley Anderson »

Don_Mahaffey

Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2010, 07:03:43 AM »
Rick,
I wasn't judging you, I just don't agree with you. And i really do not know anything about your background.

Brad.
I think your reading too much into the posts by supers. In Joe's case I know he changed the makeup of his grass over years, not in one season and although I believe he was truly curious to see how far he could go, I also believe his methods were grounded in the economic reality that he had to limit inputs to survive. He simply could not afford to manage for poa. I don't know if you've ever had the chance to talk with him about it but I believe you, and any supt. for that matter, would enjoy that conversation. He was in a situation where he could push the envelope. Most of us are not and he along with the other supts here knows that.
Isn't it a good thing that there are guys out there who are in a situation like Joe's where they can experiment? Whether it's reduced chemical inputs, manpower, water, and whatever else, the economic reality of golf is we need to learn to live with less. When guys who are doing that share their observations I believe that’s a good thing. In Joe's case he's simply saying that not all grasses are dead when they go off color or wilt from drought stress and the more he dried down the more he favored grasses that could handle less irrigation.
He used resistance to develop a more drought tolerant sward. You know when the same herbicide season is used after season it becomes less effective. The laymen often thinks it's because the grass adapted to the chemical. We know that's not the case. The herbicide was effective on 99% of the weeds, but if we don't change it up, soon that 1% grows into a much larger number as the resistant strain takes over. Its no different with drought except you have to take it slow because you can't play good golf if 99% of the course is dead.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 07:24:20 AM by Don_Mahaffey »

Bradley Anderson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2010, 08:23:54 AM »
There are too many variables to make sweeping statements.  Depending on soils, turf type and irrigation, it would take some real fancy foot work to keep many courses just on the edge of firm and fast.  So, we can't paint all courses into the same scenario.

But in general, each combo of soil and grass has a certain amount of water availability, measured in inches. It is often in the range of about 3".  Plants wilt at about 33% of feild capacity/water availability, and I doubt many super would cut it that close, perhaps keeping grass at about 50-66% of field capacity at a minimum to avoid death.

In the NE and Midwest, you can water at less than the ET each night (usually either side of 0.2" daily in the summer on a hot day) Eventually your plant goes from 100% full to some fraction and you can count on rain to refill it to 100%.  If the drought lasts long enough, you eventually have to water to full ET or more to catch the soil/turf back up to its comfortable minimum field capactiy. This is often referred to as the checkbook method of irrigation, keeping just enough funds in the checkbook to pay the bills, and maybe a little more.

In the desert, it is obviously harder, as it is with some turf.  Some go dormant, others die when stressed.  

I guess my point is its hard to manage right on the edge all the time.  Most supers do it anyway because their irrigations systems don't allow full watering.  And some overwatering you see is because their older systems require them to grossly overwater some areas to get others moderately wet.



Jeff,
I am going to have to disagree with you on the checkbook method of irrigating. There might be places where that type of watering is needed, I don't know, I haven't worked there. However, in the midwest if you are watering every night to replace ET or even every night in general then your course is probably too wet. The first superintendent I worked for as an assistant was brilliant guy and he told me something I have never forgotten. "Never, ever water your greens two nights in a row." I have taken this statement to the extreme the past couple of years. Deep infrequent irrigation is a fantastic thing and turf can be trained to respond to such a strategy. The irrigating method is just one part of it lots of other practice make D&I effective.

I also agree with Don. True firm and fast is going to show some brown at some point during the growing season. An army of hand waterers is not sustainable by any course other than the very top end multi-million dollar budget places.

Fast and firm is an art without a doubt.

Chris,

You are misrepresenting your professional peers when you state that watering by ET equates to watering every night.

All the ET programs that I am familiar with have the option of replacing whatever percentage of loss that you are aiming for, and on any interval of days. I am not aware of any program that requires you to water every night when you are using ET as a programming tool. To the contrary, as you learn to use that method, you can gain confidence in stretching your intervals and percentages because you are no longer guessing or fudging at what you are doing.

Surely you are not suggesting that you ignore the wind speed, the temperatures, the amount sunlight and humidity on your course? I mean you do pay attention to those conditions, right? If you answer yes to that question then why wouldn’t you allow a weather station and a computer to track that for you on an hour by hour basis? Why wouldn’t you want the tools to monitor your environment in the most accurate means possible? I guess in your case the weather is so mild it just isn’t as critical for you to keep track of those factors.

My guess is that most of the sprinklers on your course are full circle, and all with the same size nozzles? If that is the case then you can feel comfortable programming by minutes. But if you start trying to program dozens of part circle heads with varying radius, and then throw in a bunch of pop-up heads, and odd nozzle sizes here and there, you better be running ET or you will wasting a lot of your time trying to figure out what the computer already knows better than you ever will, not to mention a lot man-hours and water.

TEPaul

Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2010, 08:54:38 AM »
Guys:

I think this is a pretty informative thread for the layman even though you supers do get a bit technical for some of us.

I would love to see you all discuss the definitional and agronomic ramifications of the entire spectrum of grass "dormancy" and how it might be applied over time in a firmer and faster program, as well as perhaps throw in some fairly agreed upon definitions of some of the more technical terms you use like ET (evapotranposition?).

I've known and talked with a ton of supers over the years (I probably have fifty of them in my cell phone) and I've kidded some of them over the years for what I call their use of "agronomese"  8) with laymen------eg when they really don't want to have a discussion with laymen they tend to use very technical terms which laymen don't understand and which tends to cut off discussions with them.  ;)

I'm familiar with that approach from my father-in-law who was a world famous doctor (dermatologist). Ask him a medical question and his responses sounded to me like he was speaking Latin or Greek. I'm monolingual so I'm not very familiar with agronomese!  ???
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 08:56:37 AM by TEPaul »

Bradley Anderson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #37 on: May 31, 2010, 10:53:54 AM »
Tom Paul,

Sometimes I wonder if having superintendents comment on greenkeeping practices here is more harmful than helpful. Maybe this should just remain a site that is interested in architecture and leave it at that?


Joe Hancock

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #38 on: May 31, 2010, 12:07:09 PM »
Brad,

Anything that promotes exploratory thinking is OK by me. I am of the mind that architecture is totally dependent on course conditioning, and as such it is OK to have this kind of discussion.

Joe
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #39 on: May 31, 2010, 12:15:58 PM »
Tom Paul,

Sometimes I wonder if having superintendents comment on greenkeeping practices here is more harmful than helpful. Maybe this should just remain a site that is interested in architecture and leave it at that?



Brad:

I think it is hard to separate them.  The architecture is so dependent on the conditioning that I think it is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.

I do think conditions vary dramatically from one place to another so general principles are difficult. Chris is in a pretty unique location weather wise (cold winters and unique climate because it is on a huge side slope next to a great lake with extremely cold water temperatures).

Also - as green chair, I know much of the brown ideal would never fly at my club.  The super and I would be in for a lynching if we dried out the entire course and forced the poa to die.  Nonetheless, I am always very interested in these sorts of discussions.

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #40 on: May 31, 2010, 12:25:53 PM »
There are too many variables to make sweeping statements.  Depending on soils, turf type and irrigation, it would take some real fancy foot work to keep many courses just on the edge of firm and fast.  So, we can't paint all courses into the same scenario.

But in general, each combo of soil and grass has a certain amount of water availability, measured in inches. It is often in the range of about 3".  Plants wilt at about 33% of feild capacity/water availability, and I doubt many super would cut it that close, perhaps keeping grass at about 50-66% of field capacity at a minimum to avoid death.

In the NE and Midwest, you can water at less than the ET each night (usually either side of 0.2" daily in the summer on a hot day) Eventually your plant goes from 100% full to some fraction and you can count on rain to refill it to 100%.  If the drought lasts long enough, you eventually have to water to full ET or more to catch the soil/turf back up to its comfortable minimum field capactiy. This is often referred to as the checkbook method of irrigation, keeping just enough funds in the checkbook to pay the bills, and maybe a little more.

In the desert, it is obviously harder, as it is with some turf.  Some go dormant, others die when stressed.  

I guess my point is its hard to manage right on the edge all the time.  Most supers do it anyway because their irrigations systems don't allow full watering.  And some overwatering you see is because their older systems require them to grossly overwater some areas to get others moderately wet.



Jeff,
I am going to have to disagree with you on the checkbook method of irrigating. There might be places where that type of watering is needed, I don't know, I haven't worked there. However, in the midwest if you are watering every night to replace ET or even every night in general then your course is probably too wet. The first superintendent I worked for as an assistant was brilliant guy and he told me something I have never forgotten. "Never, ever water your greens two nights in a row." I have taken this statement to the extreme the past couple of years. Deep infrequent irrigation is a fantastic thing and turf can be trained to respond to such a strategy. The irrigating method is just one part of it lots of other practice make D&I effective.

I also agree with Don. True firm and fast is going to show some brown at some point during the growing season. An army of hand waterers is not sustainable by any course other than the very top end multi-million dollar budget places.

Fast and firm is an art without a doubt.

Chris,

I wouldn't call watering every night by ET the checkbook method, but maybe I mis spoke. I would call the check book method watering when ET has gone down a sufficent amount to get you closer to the minimum available water capacity (or as close to it as you dare given your soils, etc.) I have run some calcs in different zones and believe in many areas you could water every four days or so.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 12:28:19 PM by Jeff_Brauer »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Chris Tritabaugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #41 on: May 31, 2010, 04:03:48 PM »
Damnit! This is way I had stayed away from this and the chem-free thread. The topic is too near and dear to me to keep my mouth shut once I started posting.

Brad and Jeff,
I meant no offense toward either of you and Brad certainly not towards our fellow superintendents. Jeff when you mentioned the check book method and giving it just enough to get by it struck me as a daily watering situation. Sorry to have jumped to conclusions I have no intent or desire to get nasty in this thread. Especially with you Brad, FB buddy!  :D

Brad, believe it or not I actually don't pay much attention to the things you mentioned. I have gotten to the point where I can look at the surface and feel the soil in order to determine water needs. Usually when I feel like I want to water I wait one or two more days before I actually do water. Its such a feel thing and has to be because our irrigation system, but for the osmac controls, is such a dinosaur. Heads and nozzles are cobbled together like you can't believe. Not to say with a new system I wouldn't use all those feature, at least to give me and idea of where I'm at. However, I am glad I learned this course in this manner because it has made me very comfortable with how different areas need to be watered. If I had proper nozzles, part circle arcs and all that programed in I would certainly use something other than pure minutes. Brad you are right we have almost all full circles. Tomorrow I will post a picture of what, this time of year, I consider to be dry enough to need water.

Jason is also right when he mentions our climate. Its very mild. I have been here 3 and a half years and its been 90, 5 times. Last July we did not even get to the 80's. Still, you have to take advantage of that if its going to be an advantage. Reading Don's last post was very familar. It sounds very much like what we have done the past 3+ seasons at Northland. It was easy the first couple of years but lately I have had to cover myself with tank armor. None the less the course is far better off because of what we have done in 3+ years. And to answer TPaul's question I think that is roughly the time frame; 3-5 years. Its not immediate and its not painless but its very rewarding. This winter we had two significant rain events. Many areas of the course were under ice from around x-mas until mid-march. By doing what we have done we were able to present a course to the membership this spring, which was in very good condition. Not perfect but very good.

I think these discussions do have a place on this board. A lot of superintendents are not able to go down these roads because their memberships simply won't allow for it. Like Jason's superintendent. If golf is going to move in this direction there almost needs to be a grass roots movement. A small band of superintendents and supportive green committee people at various courses around the country adopting these practices, showing its success and hopefully gaining more "followers".

I am not trying to throw anyone under the boss here but let me pose a question. If green chairmen at 100 different random courses went to their superintendents tomorrow and said I want you to implement fast and firm you have the full support of the green committee and board of directors and you will not lose you job. You must communicate fully what you are doing to membership, some of them will not like it and you will hear complaints but you are protected 100% by the club leadership. What % of the 100 would fully adopt the practices? I think the number would surprise all of us.

More to come I am sure.

Bradley Anderson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #42 on: May 31, 2010, 07:05:19 PM »
Chris,

I don't think that austere management in and of itself will condition turf grass species' to perform beyond the limits of their genetic attributes. You got to be able to work with what you got. Unless if you're going to gas and grass.

Lets say your greens were sprigged in the 1920s with a vegetative bent. Then over time the greens became predominately Poa annua. Now you start an austere management program to bring those bents back. I know that it works because I have done it. But when I did it back in the 1980's and early 1990's you could provide stimpmeter readings of 9.5. If your greens were seeded back in the day, and maybe they were, you might have enough genetic diversity in there to revive the bents at today's cutting heights. But that's not very likely. If you have a lot of slope on your greens maybe you can get by with a 9.5 and they just seem so fast because of the slopes? But that's probably not likely either.

The thing is, you can get them firm with austere management, but getting them as fast as Poa greens are is a big trick, unless if you have some of the newer bents. Poa can be firm even when you are watering more than you need to water bent. And its not THAT MUCH MORE water really because it isn't the deep infrequent drenching every five days or so, but the more light and frequent apps.
 
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 07:07:32 PM by Bradley Anderson »

Todd Bell

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Fast Firm and Green?
« Reply #43 on: May 31, 2010, 07:50:47 PM »




So, theoretically, this picture shows about 50% dead grass, not drought dormant grass.

But, that's totally incorrect.

The plant structure changes, or adapts, to it's conditioning. And until that plant adapts to drier conditioning, then all the statements above about the grass dying suddenly when it is brown may well  be true.

Joe

I see a putting green over-watered, over-fertilized, and/or a perfect candidate for poa infestation


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