Air/Soil Temperature & Summer Dormancy

One study I read, said that air and soil temperature can have a very strong effect on summer dormancy. When air temperatures reach and exceed 85 degrees for an extended period of time grass will go dormant regardless of adequate moisture in the soil.

One method of combating this is with syringing. Syringing is a very common golf course management practice. It is the act of giving the turf a very short burst of water in the heat of the day. The purpose of this water is not to penetrate the soil, but to wet the blades of grass for the cooling effect. Imagine that you are standing outside, it’s 90 degrees and you’re beginning to wither. Now spray both of your arms with a mist of water from a spray bottle. What effect does that have on you? It cools you off, possibly having a positive affect on your core temperature. Well, according to this study, syringing has the same effect on turf, cooling the turf and decreasing the occurance of dormancy. Golf course superintendents have been doing this to their greens for decades.

This past summer, I experimented with the practice on my own lawn with good results. The difficulty with this is that it can only be performed by someone on site who is monitoring the turf and the temperature. It can’t be programmed into the controller in advance because no one can know in advance when the 85 degree days are going to be.

I have put this on the website knowing that it might not be helpful to a very large percentage of our customers. You guys are working 10 thousand hours per week, that’s why you hired us after all. But good information is never a bad thing. If you were home for lunch on a 95 degree day and there was a syringe cycle programmed into your controller, it would take you seconds to activate it. Your lawn would be very appreciative of your effort. A syringe cycle uses very little water, the large rotor head zones would run 3 minutes each and the mister style head zones would run 1 minute each. The total run time for the an average yard might be 25 minutes, although every yard will be different.