aerial view of golf course with trees

5 Ways to Help Your Golf Greens Battle Heat Stress

Professional recommendations for keeping greens thriving during summer heat

Aaah summer! The sun, the beach, fresh local produce, vacations, and long days playing golf. We humans love summer. But, if you have a golf course in hot climates like the Western United States, your putting greens may not feel the same way. 

golf course lined by trees
Be sure to take good care of your turf year-round to give it the best chance of thriving during the summer months.

Heat and humidity in the summer months through early fall create a stressful situation for golf greens and putting surfaces. We spoke with Dr. Todd Bunnell, VP of Agronomy at BrightView, to get his recommendations for how golf courses can help their greens thrive, even during these stressful summer months. 

He recommends taking care of your turf year-round so putting surfaces are healthy going into stressful periods. If your golf greens start showing signs of stress, here are five things Dr. Bunnell suggests you do to help them recover and stay greener than competing golf courses this season. 

1. Needle tine before summer heat kicks in... and every 2-4 weeks 

Needle tining, or venting, is an important practice to help your golf greens survive the heat. It helps dry out the surface, while increasing oxygen to the roots and helping the plants breathe better. 

2. Adjust the height of cut if stress occurs

Increasing the height of cut on putting greens will quickly reduce stress. This will slow down your green speed, so do so only as needed. 

3. Apply fungicides

When turf is experiencing stress, it can't fight off disease as effectively. Proactively applying fungicides can help prevent disease from occurring and cure disease that may already be impacting your turf's health. 

4. Conduct frequent water flushes

While it's a common practice to give your turf frequent but shallow watering cycles, if your water contains higher salt levels, you will need to periodically - every week or two- conduct a flush to remove salt from the root zone. But, don't overdo it! See tip five. 

5. Keep your eye on soil moisture

Proper moisture management is key to keeping greens healthy during the summer months. Use a soil moisture meter to take and record regular readings to make sure moisture levels aren't too low or too high, which could cause other problems.

Remember, it's easier to get your golf greens back on track before they show signs of stress. Be proactive in helping your turf overcome heat stress and your greens and players will thank you. 

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