Golf Course Management

APR 2018

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

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72 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.18 The art and science of syringing for turfgrass canopy cooling Does syringing effectively cool plants under heat stress, and are there drawbacks to the practice? Bingru Huang, Ph.D. Stephanie Rossi Patrick Burgess, Ph.D. High temperature is a primary factor limit - ing the growth of cool-season turfgrasses. One of the main contributing factors of heat stress is closure of the stomata (apertures on the leaf surface), which otherwise allow carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) influx for photosynthesis and water ef- flux for transpirational cooling. Prolonged sto- Canopy temperatures of a bentgrass putting green before syringing (A) and at one minute (B), 15 minutes (C) and 20 minutes (D) after syringing when air temperature was at 85 F in August 2016. This was a native (push-up) putting green in Colts Neck, N.J. Photos by Patrick Burgess matal closure can elevate internal leaf tempera- ture, further intensifying heat damage to plant tissue during hot summer days. Golf putting greens are especially susceptible to excessive heat accumulation during the summer because low mowing heights expose the turf and soil to more solar radiation and further jeopardize the physiological health of the turf. Various man - agement practices, such as syringing, are used to prevent or minimize heat stress damage on putting greens during the summer. Syringing Syringing involves applying a small volume of water (for example, mist) to moisten the up - permost region of the turfgrass canopy, with the intention of promoting evaporative cooling and reducing leaf temperatures. Superinten - dents commonly invest significant resources in syringing practices by delegating staff members to conduct cyclical rounds of syringing across multiple golf greens during hours of peak sun - shine in the summer. Does syringing cool plants? A quick search of the internet supplies staff testimonials and industry articles supporting the practice of golf turf syringing, including recommendations by United States Golf As - sociation agronomists and university Extension specialists (3). However, applied research that quantifies the effectiveness of syringing for turf canopy cooling and the duration of beneficial cooling effects is limited. An early study (2) found that syringing reduced the canopy temperature of a creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) putting green displaying wilt symptoms by less than 2 F (-17 C), and that the beneficial cooling effects lasted only 30 minutes after application. In contrast, syringing of non-wilted turf produced

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