The “dog days of summer” will be here shortly and summer stress will take its toll on courses. Being properly prepared leading up to these periods can make all the difference—and can help your turf come out on the other side unscathed. Here are a few reminders as we head into the stressful season.

1. Start With Proper and Balanced Nutrition Leading Up to the Heat

Use soil tests and/or tissue tests to be sure your nutrients are in optimal zones. Lean on potassium. Potassium is one of the hardest nutrients to maintain at a consistent level. Rarely do you see a soil report come back consistently with potassium levels in the target range. Be diligent. Keep consistently applying potassium in your foliar spray programs bi-weekly, if possible. Foliar-Pak 1-0-15 is a great option as a foliar application and Armament K works well as an addition to your soil applications. Use phosphites to trigger plant health responses. Foliar-Pak Gold Standard 45 is a highly concentrated phosphite with low use rates and no burn potential. Utilize amino acids. When summer stress hits, aiding the plant in shortening ATP/chlorophyll production can be a great benefit. Applying an amino acid product directly saves the plant’s precious resources by saving it the energy needed to produce it on its own. Foliar-Pak Foundation Forty is formulated to do just that. It contains specific amino acids beneficial for plant health and chlorophyll production, not simply a broad range of amino acids that may or may not target what you are looking to achieve. Keep your nitrogen to a minimum. Foundation Forty, in conjunction with Magnesium, Carbosential Fe, and Armament Concentrate, can be an effective option for excellent color and health through June, July, and August with minimal nitrogen inputs. Lastly, utilize silicon. There has been much discussion surrounding this nutrient. Studies have shown that it strengthens cell walls, improves turgidity, and improves overall stress tolerance. Foliar-Pak CSi L is an effective silicon product. It has low use rates and performs well in a tank mix with other products due to its unique formulation.

2. Manage Water

Manage irrigation practices as concisely and uniformly as possible. In most cases, less water is better than more. Use wetting agents. Today’s arsenal of penetrants, hydrants, and combinations of both allow you to dial in your water management at a precise level. Take the time to do so. Refer to Hydro-Pak’s extensive product line to choose the product that is right for your application.

3. Adjust Your Fungicide and PGR Applications

From a fungicide standpoint, remember the disease triangle: Host-Pathogen-Proper environmental conditions. Stress falls into the environmental conditions category. As it increases, so too does your chance of disease infection. Fungicide trials are not performed in the same conditions that you are maintaining your greens (in most cases). Tighten your application windows. You may not see a fungicide perform as well as it did a month ago in better weather with less mowing, less rolling, and optimal water content. On the PGR side, keep clipping yield consistent. Don’t over- or under-regulate. Growing degree days (GDDs) affect PGR performance. The same thing applies here; Tighten your application window accordingly as temperatures increase. Increasing the rate will increase the severity of regulation but may not affect the length of regulation.

Outside of agronomics, use good judgement, give yourself 24 hours before making a decision, be consistent, understand that sometimes less is more, and also keep in mind that sometimes not doing anything is the best option. Day-to-day and tournament/member expectations can drive us to make decisions that we wouldn’t normally make. Keeping yourself from doing so is one of the hardest talents in the golf course industry. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t!