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LIGHTNING STRIKES ON GREENS

September 23, 2016

Nick Christians

September 23, 2016

 

This is about two lightning strikes on creeping bentgrass greens in Iowa during the summer of 2016.  The first was at Des Moines Golf and Country Club and they come from superintendent Rick Tegtmeier. 

The strike occurred on July 12, 2016 and it was spectacular.  Luckily it happened at night when no one was on the green.  The question was, how long will it take for recovery. 

The next picture was taken on August 8 and is showing quite a bit of recovery.  Rick did not do anything special, there was no overseeding or plugging.

The final picture was taken on Sept. 21, 2016 and shows nearly complete recovery.

A second strike took place a few miles away at Terrace Hills Golf in Altoona, IA on August 2, 2016.  The pictures are from superintendent Kurt Seedorff.  It first appeared that there was live grass in the damaged area.

However, by August 15, it was apparent that the creeping bentgrass was dead and would not recover.

The final picture from Kurt was taken on Sept. 22, 2016.  Most of the grass that has returned is Poa annua that has germinated into the area.

 

While the first one recovered in about 8 weeks, the second one did not.  In the future, I will recommend that the superintendent do some plugging or overseeding shortly after the strike to assure recovery.

 

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DROUGHT HARD ON IOWA LAWNS IN 2017

August 15, 2017

Thiis has been a very dry year in parts of Iowa and lawns have been suffering.  Today is the 15th of August, and I have mown my own lawn once in the last 12 weeks and that was to kill the ragweed and trees that were growing in it.  I am now getting several calls from people with dry lawns, they mostly center around the following questions?

WILL MY LAWN COME BACK?

The answer is yes if you had Kentucky bluegrass. Kentucky bluegrass has an underground rhizome system that allows it to come back from extended drought periods.  The worst drought that we have had in the last 40 years was 1988.  Kentucky bluegrass came back fine in the fall after a drought that lasted from early May to mid-September.  If you have dead spots, reseed them with a good Kentucky bluegrass blend.

SHOULD I FERTILIZE IN AUGUST OR WAIT UNTIL LATER?

I recommend that you fertilize in August.  I plan to fertilize in the next week.  When the lawns do come back, the fertilizer will help with recovery.  One pound of nitrogen per 1000 sq ft in mid-August would be money well spent.  If the rains come and we get some recovery in the next few weeks, follow that up in about a month with another 1 lb of N/1000.  If the fall is dry, do not put on the additional application.  Wait until spring and apply some fertilizer with your preemergence herbicide at that time.  A preemergence herbicide will be very important next spring because the thinner lawns will likely be more prone to crabgrass next year.

HOW ABOUT APPLYING A BROADLEAF HERBICIDE NOW IN AUGUST?

I would wait on the postemergence broadleaf control application until October.  You can even do it in November.  There will be weeds like dandelion germinating during the recovery period of the lawns and it is best to wait and hit them late in the season.

HOW ABOUT AERATION?

If you have received some rain and the lawn is recovering, core aeration would be a good idea.  I would schedule that for a couple of weeks after the fertilizer application.

I predict that we will get rain again and that most lawns in Iowa will recover fine.  If you do need to do some seeding of dead areas, the best time is between August 15 and the end of September.  For more information on all subjects concerning lawn care, see the Iowa State University extension page at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/turfgrass/search/content?f%5B0%5D=im_field_category%3A3&retain-filters=1 and go to the “publications” section.

 

The two lawns below are typical of the type of drought damage that has taken place in Iowa this summer.

 

 

 

This is what the rhizomes of Kentucky bluegrass look like.  The can survive extensive droughts.

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FLOODING DAMAGE AND TURF RECOVERY

July 14, 2010

Here are some more flooding pictures and comments on recovery. These are from Russ Appel, Supt. of Briggs Woods Golf by Webster City, IA. Some are from 2008 and some from 2010. Russ has a lot of experience with flooding and recovery from flooding. He can be reached at briggswoodsgolf@wmtel.net.

I'm still looking for other pictures and feedback on flood recovery. This information is very useful to those dealing with flooding for the first time.

Nick Christians

Here are Russ' comments:
Here are some pictures from 2008 and 2010. As I said before 08 was about the same as this year. Water was on the greens for about 4 days, and in fairways and on tees for over a week. The only difference was silt. The green on 13 was covered with about 2 inches of silt. We shoveled it off, and hosed the remaining off. The green looked totally dead, or dormant. I was sure we would have to reseed. The next day I went down to see if anything was coming back, and it was. I decided to let it go, and it eventually all came back. The fairways and tees never came back.

Russ

 


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