Golf Course Management

AUG 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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08.14 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 99 CUTTING EDGE Teresa Carson Carbonate accumulation in sand-based putting green soils Bicarbonate in irrigation water has been implicated in the buildup of carbonate in the soil in areas where there is concern that these minerals may precipitate and reduce porosity, leading to decreased hydraulic conductivity. Much of the research on this issue originates from the arid southwestern U.S., yet recom - mendations for managing bicarbonate are made to golf course superintendents in all re - gions of the country despite vast differences in climate and soil pH. In this study, putting green profle samples were collected from 30 golf courses around the U.S. and analyzed for pH and carbonate content by depth. Soil car - bonate content was not signifcantly related to total bicarbonate addition from irrigation water, but soil pH was. There was a strong re - lationship between soil pH and carbonate con- tent. In soils with acidic pH values, carbon- ate contents were very low, and in soils with a pH above 7.1, carbonate content was highly variable. These fndings suggest that carbon - ate accumulation from irrigation is not a con- cern for acidic soils, especially on short time scales (<10 years) where chemical reactions are more strongly infuenced by the soil than by the poorly buffered irrigation water. — Glen R. Obear and Douglas J. Soldat, Ph.D. (djsoldat@, University of Wisconsin-Madison Cultural practices affect frmness of greens Putting green frmness is a key playability factor in the game of golf. The study was designed to investigate how soil moisture content, organic matter content and compaction interact to infuence putting green frmness. The study was set up on three sand-based putting green root zones. Each block in the split-plot design had three levels of compaction, and half of each block was dethatched. All three root zones were brought to saturation, allowed to dry down, and then treated with different irrigation application rates. Soil moisture content, surface frmness, turfgrass quality and green speed were measured throughout each trial. As expected, lower soil moisture content resulted in a frmer surface. Plots that were single cut and rolled daily did not have increased soil compaction, but on occasion had higher soil moisture contents. On most test dates, the plots that received daily rolling had frmer surfaces, despite at times having higher soil water content. The results from dethatching were mixed. At times the dethatched plots were frmer due to lower soil moisture content and at other times softer due to surface disruption. There were no signifcant interactions between factors. — Arly M. Drake; John Street, Ph.D.; T. Karl Danneberger, Ph.D.; and David S. Gardner, Ph.D., Edward McCoy, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio Teresa Carson ( is GCM 's science editor. Photo courtesy of A. Drake Photo by G. Obear

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