"Spring" update

We returned to the normal Vineyard weather this week with temps in the 40's and wind. Some rain and clouds just made for a raw 45 and not the most pleasant weather to be outside. We did have a few hardy golfers and on Friday when it was sunny and 50 the place was mobbed. Many Farm Neck people I am guessing as they are still not open.
picture does not do this justice: cold, raw you could not pay me to play in this weather
 Another normal occurrence in weather was the forecast was showers less then .1" and our work with the moisture meter showed a steady decline so we watered. It rained .3" the next day so we really gave the greens a deep soaking which is how we want to water now anyway, and the rain gave the whole place a boost. But not a precurser to thier ability to predict the rain for the entire season I hope!
moisture meter display. gives ind. reading and average. stores in data logger to be uploaded to computer

 The way to utilize the meter readings is to track the numbers and match them to conditions. We normally use visual inspections: color, feel, signs of wilt or drought stress as well as soil conditions when changing cups, or probed to determine when to water. We match the old indicators to the number readings and this gives value to the number. The numbers also show variation within a green and from green to green. For instance, most green averages were in the 20's when we started. The nursery is the driest and 2,5 and the putting green, I think, were the wettest. I am typing this up from memory so accuracy is not crucial. Understand the number at which the turf will wilt now is probably not the number it will be in July and August but the concept is the same. I should explain the number is % volumetric water content, so if you place the probe in a bucket of water it reads 100, or so I have heard. The nursery went down to 7.8 without major signs of drought stress, due mostly to current low soil and air temperature. I watered it for an hour. (2) 30 min cycles. A normal heavy watering for me might have been 15-20 min. The next day it was 18. something in the morning and 16.7 by afternoon. Only after another hour (the watering we did of all greens,tees,rough at night) and the .3" of rain did it get into the 20's. Some of the greens may have hit thirty? Another interesting point to the tool was the day after the irrigation Kev and I took the readings together and we noticed some issues with the sprinklers on some greens. We are just turning the system on so there are always a few bugs to work out. We discovered on a few of the greens two or more heads had not run. some greens were off entirely due to a leak etc. All these anomalies showed up in the meter reading numbers. If all heads worked the avg increase was 5-6 points. If a green was off the number was flat or went down. We are using the green avg on 12-16 readings right now to set a baseline. The tools main function allows you to pin point the exact drier spots and water only those thereby saving water and being more efficient with your water. The readings will show just how poor your sprinkler coverage really is. This has been and will continue to be an interesting experiment.
Other highlights from the week: Bert and I went to Farm Neck to purchase some used sprinklers from the contractor who purchased the old system (Costa Paganis). We did our Spring dredge of the jetty. The osprey showed up Monday. The pump station company came out and serviced our station and did the flow meter calibration (more on that later) and we prepped the course for weekend play.
Bert inspecting pile of used heads at Farm Neck
Handy playing in the sandbox

Kev mowing. 3rd time this year and not even April yet

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