Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Low Direct Light Intensity Readings in January and February in SW Florida

Growing turfgrass has been a challenge in Southwest Florida in January and early February due to the cool temperatures and the much lower than normal light intensity. The weather has required numerous changes in the facilities agronomic practices.

Cool and cloudy conditions in January and early February required the staff to make adjustments in the management of the turfgrass at Olde Florida Golf Club

Increased rainfall has also created dificulties this winter. The historical monthly average rainfall in January is 1.9" and the average for February is 2.0". From January 1 to February 16, 2016 Olde Florida Golf Club has received in excess of 13" of rainfall. 

The lake on hole #16 after 5" of rain on January 27 and 28. 

While this article on the direct light intensity (DLI) in Januray in SW Florida is fairly technical in nature, it helps to explain the reason why turfgrass growth in the region this year has been reduced. Fortunately, the forecast is improving each day and Olde Florida has been able to hold its own during the less than ideal growing conditions of January and early February. 

In part, the golf course fared well due to the health of the turfgrass entering the stressful period. December 2015 set several records for high temperatures. While managing the excess growth in December was often dificult, it enabled Olde Florida to enter January 2016 in great condition. 

It was a challange to maintain the desired heights of cut in December due to the excessive growth 

One change that was required in December was increased nutrient input. While it might seem counter intuitive to feed the plant when it was growing so aggressively in the winter, we were aware that the plant was rapidly utilizing its stored reserves, which needed to be replaced prior to entering the cooler months of January and February.

Providing the plant the necessary nutrients prior to entering the stress period was critical