There is a saying in Oklahoma, "If you don't like the weather here, wait five minutes and it will change!" However, in my profession, these constant fluctuations in the weather patterns makes it extremely difficult to predict when the bermudagrass is going to break dormancy The pictures below are looking down #9 fairway, one year apart on April 15, and depict vastly different golf course conditions.
Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club #9 fairway, April 15, 2012.
As you can see in the photo above, the trees and bermudagrass were actively growing and green. In March of 2012, the temperature was an average of 14 degrees above normal and never dropped below freezing. Additionally, the rainfall was approximately three inches above normal for the month. These optimal conditions created higher soil temperatures, that allowed the bermudagrass and trees to break dormancy and actively grow, while allowing the ryegrass overseed in the fairway to slowly lose its dark green color.
Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club #9 fairway, April 15, 2013.
The differences in the photos from 2012 and 2013 are incredible. As you can see above, the ryegrass overseed is dark green, the bermudagrass is still in the process of breaking dormancy and the trees are just beginning to leaf out. In March of 2013, the temperature was an average of 12 degrees below normal and we had 11 days that were at or below the freezing mark, four of those days the temperature was 25 degrees or lower for several hours. The rainfall for the month of March was also approximately two inches below the average for the month.
This year’s weather has created lower soil temperatures and obviously less than optimal early bermudagrass growing conditions. However, with the recent rainfall and warmer temperatures, the bermudagrass has finally began to break dormancy and begin growing.
We will begin to promote growth with several fertilizer applications in the month of April. However, it will be the beginning of May before the photo on the bottom resembles the one on the top, putting us at least a month behind where we were at this time last year- what a difference the Oklahoma weather can make.
As always, any questions, comments or concerns are always welcome.
We'll see you out there!