Spring is officially over (well at least meteorologically speaking), and what a wild spring it was! The roller coaster temperatures of May left us a little less than a degree cooler than normal, making it the 3rd consecutive month below. This made it the 7th coolest spring on record, and the coolest since 1984. Precipitation came in the form of snow early in the month, and abundant rains since. Every month in 2013 has recorded above average rainfall, and except for the Springfield area, most areas in Missouri recorded anywhere from 2-5” above normal during the month of May. In Columbia, this is the 3rd wettest year on record, the 4th wettest spring on record, and the 8th wettest May on record. 10” up this year so far… remember when we were 13.5” in the hole just 9 months ago?
The bottom line is native soils are cold and waterlogged, making our neighbor farmers peeved and unhappy. Like these farmers, spring renovation and establishment of turf areas has also gone poorly, as washouts and other issues have delayed or damaged germinating seedlings. Mowing of cool seasons has been baling hay, (honest now who’s been removing only 1/3rd?), and zoysia and bermudagrass still aren’t pushing growth like we’d normally see in early June. That being said, we should be fairly thankful we manage a perennial crop this year, and extremely thankful if it has subsurface and surface drainage that is working effectively.
The forecast holds a slight chance of storms over the weekend, and then we look to dry out and finally get some 80’s next week. If the forecast holds, this would make the first half of June at least a little bit drier, except for the locally heavier amounts that hit some areas during yesterday’s storms. Hopefully, this also means a decrease in the tornado threat, particularly speaking on the EF3, 150 mph wind twister that hit St. Charles county last Friday. According to the NWS, the tornado was on the ground for 35 minutes, traveled 32.5 miles through southern St. Charles and northern St. Louis county, and was a mile wide. Luckily, no one was killed, but considerable tree and property damage occurred.
Despite the intense flooding last Friday of our creek, three brand new plots will be established at the MU Turf Farm over the coming weeks. I can tell you that two of them will be turf pathology related, one will be the only of its kind, and one will only be conducted in one other location in the U.S. The trials will have far reaching implications for home lawns, golf courses, and sports fields alike. Curious? Good. We’ll lower the carrot this coming field day on July 30th.
And speaking of the MU Field Day, I wanted to highlight another of our three prime afternoon tours we will be offering. Joe Herzog, golf superintendent, will graciously open the doors at Columbia CC and speak to attendees about the trials, challenges, and triumphs of renovating a course after an Interstate exchange plows through it. I took a brief tour a few weeks ago, and it’s an incredible transformation. Exhibitor/vendor registration is now open, the complete agenda will be finalized shortly, and attendee registration will be open soon. Hope to see you there.
Have a great weekend.
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Extension Turfgrass Pathologist
University of Missouri