Dirty Greens Drainage Secret
I wanted to share this tip on how several XGD clients prepare their clubs for winter and possibly damaging ice cover. As you can see in this picture at Ridgemoor Country Club superintendent Peter Hahn had us install these temporary seasonal surface inlets on a few of the greens that typically receive ice damage.
Not too many pushup greens remain with surface grading issues as most have been updated with some minor surface regrading, or over the last 100 years those surface depressions have been topdressed up, either intentionally(topdressing) or unintentionally(Mother Nature).
Each club that has us do the above will spin out the riser and catchment inlet(4″) in the early spring and cap with a short stub of XGD pipe and endcap, and some choose a metal screw to locate with a metal detector once the cool weather returns in the late fall. This will greatly help getting that surface moisture off of the greens surface before the soil freezes for the winter period, and once the spring thaw initiates.
This type of XGD application may lead to another really good question? Does an internal subsurface greens drainage installation aid in combating ice damage? Well yes and no on that one. Ice damage occurs due to wide variety of climatic conditions, but for the most part the freeze/thaw cycle is the single largest variable. XGD helps you greatly up to the moment when your soil freezes. After that tipping point, internal greens drainage cannot help you out. Having said that, having your subsurface moisture dry before the freeze is always a positive side effect of the XGD System.
Conversely, once the greens soil thaws out and the XGD System is active again in the early spring we can positively impact any last freeze thawing that may be occurring by lowering the gravitational groundwater table.
One last point on all this winter damage as well: We find that and XGD greens soil temperature will warm up about two weeks faster than a non XGD green in the same environment. This occurs as the useless gravitational groundwater is removed which acts as a cool conductor of soil temperature. Once the groundwater table is lowered and more pore space is opened up, warmer oxygen is penetrating in to the greens soil profile allowing it to warm up two weeks faster. This goes without saying that this is another little known XGD secret that few think about, but faster spring soil warm up is paramount to promoting a much healthier greens sward, serving the turfgrass manager well when those stressful summer situations inevitably happen. Basically, early season advanced root growth mean deeper,healthier roots come summertime. The same soil warming will happen the last 2 weeks of the fall growing period as well, however not too many place as great an importance on this as the early spring warmup.
In summary, I will always hammer home to turfgrass managers the hidden advantage to XGD is not just soil moisture control, but all the benefits that go along with that, not the least of which is highlighted in this post in general: an overall healthier stand of turfgrass.
Happy Thanksgiving, Poor Old Dirt & Grass Farmer