Daily versus monthly calculations of ET and irrigation requirement

I showed how weather data can be used to calculate a daily soil water balance. One can adjust the rootzone characteristics, and the timing and amount of irrigation, so that the calculations are representative of what one wants to know.

By keeping track of what the soil water content would be on each day, given the actual weather conditions, and given the water holding capacity of the specified rootzone, one can find how much irrigation water would be required.

I've also made calculations using the standard method, which takes the evapotranspiration (ET) and subtracts the effective rainfall. I've used this method before to make calculations, and it made sense to me, but I've realized that this method doesn't account for rootzone depth. For turfgrass, one should probably adjust the effective rainfall calculation for each site based on the rootzone depth.

I wondered if these methods give a similar result in predicting the irrigation requirement. I had daily data from Sapporo from 2013 to 2015, and I also got the monthly averages or totals for the same time period. I've just made some calculations to find out.


I looked at the months from April to October in each year. That's a total of 21 months.

For the ET, the result is almost the same whether it is calculated daily, and summed for a month, or whether one calculates ET using the monthly data.


For the irrigation requirement, there is not a consistent agreement. I made these calculations based on an approximation of a loam soil with a 10 cm rootzone depth, a field capacity of 40% (by volume), with irrigation supplied to return the soil to field capacity when soil water content would drop below 20%.


I've got some more calculations to make about this. The standard method seemed pretty good to me until I started making the daily calculations.

The daily soil water balance at Sapporo from 2013 to 2016

One can calculate a water budget for a particular location to get an estimate of how much irrigation water is required. This article from the Green Section Record describes those calculations.

If one considers the depth of the rootzone, and then steps day by day through the year, the irrigation water requirement can be calculated as part of the daily soil water balance.


I downloaded data for Sapporo for the past few years. Since the ground is covered in snow during the winter, I'll just show the daily water balance from 1 April to 31 October. This is for a simulated 10 cm rootzone with a field capacity of 23% and irrigation applied to keep the soil from dropping below 10%. That will be something like a golf course putting green. The blue line shows the soil water content. The black circles show the irrigation events. Interesting stuff.





Dog's footprint and grass susceptibility to this disease

I don't like turf diseases. If there is any fun in them, for me, it lies in only two things. First, is it a particularly well-named disease? Second, how awful are the symptoms?

I enjoy learning disease names and finding those that have the most interesting names. Nothing against brown patch and yellow patch, but those are pretty bland. Dollar spot is more interesting, and elephant's footprint even more so.

Then there are the symptoms. All turf diseases, if left unchecked, can make some hideous symptoms. In their standard form, however, I find some to be more hideous than others. Yellow patch, anthracnose, red thread -- often present, but sometimes only visible to those actually looking for symptoms. Compare to a disease like large patch, which in its standard manifestation is monstrous.

Using those criteria of interesting names and hideous symptoms, one of my favorite diseases is inu no ashiato -- dog's footprint. The name is interesting, and the symptoms are moderately hideous. I was glad to see this new article by Tomaso-Peterson et al. about Curvularia malina sp. nov. inciting a new disease of warm-season turfgrasses in the southeastern United States. From the introduction:

A foliar disease of these warm-season turfgrasses is often observed following prolonged or significant precipitation events such as tropical storms and hurricanes. The disease manifests as distinct chocolate brown to black spots (2–15 cm diam) that appear on Cynodon dactylon or Zoysia matrella putting greens, fairways, and tee boxes. Under high disease pressure the dark spots may coalesce to form large, irregular areas of blighted turfgrass.

"Is this the same as dog's footprint," I wondered?

A Curvularia leaf blight affecting Zoysia spp. in Japan, referred to as dog footprint, shares symptomology to that observed on C. dactylon and Z. matrella in the southeastern United States ... Based on these reports, our hypothesis is that the sterile fungus associated with Curvularia blight and causing similar symptoms in stands of C. dactylon and Z. matrella in the southeastern United States is a novel species of Curvularia.

The species was identified as Curvularia malina.

To date, C. dactylon and Z. matrella are the only golf course grasses from which C. malina has been isolated. Disease epidemics on Z. matrella appear to be more severe than on C. dactylon based on visual field observations. The disease is most prevalent in the spring and fall, which are normally characterized by moderate temperatures and ample precipitation. Symptoms may persist into the summer if prevailing environmental conditions remain favorable and the turfgrass experiences stress from intensive management practices.

So far so good. Dog's footprint is more severe on Z. matrella in Asia than on C. dactylon. However, in Asia the disease is most prevalent in summer, or in conditions characterized by warm temperatures and ample precipitation.

Based on the results of our research, C. malina induces disease symptoms in warm-season turfgrasses similar to those associated with Curvularia leaf blight.

It seems dog's footprint is caused by C. malina. Manilagrass (Zoysia matrella) can get lots of diseases, but in a tropical environment, this species is infected by few diseases, with the most common being dog's footprint.

Here is dog's footprint on manilagrass at Hilo in March.

This is at Okinawa in August.

This is at Manila in August.

This is at Shizuoka in July.

Those are pretty typical symptoms. And they are all on a monostand of one type of manilagrass.

I've noticed that some manilagrass varieties are often showing dog's footprint symptoms, and other varieties rarely do. I usually see this at two different locations in the same town. For example, lots of dog's footprint at site X, and then an hour later at site Y, a slightly different type of manilagrass has no dog's footprint.

Last July, I saw this at one location, on a golf course fairway with a mixed stand of different Z. matrella (korai) varieties and with some patches of C. dactylon.

On one variety of korai, lots of dog's footprint. On the Cynodon and other variety of korai, none.

This disease is ubiquitous on susceptible varieties in East and Southeast Asia. Finding varieties that are less susceptible seems quite possible.

"Anyone who's played golf in Japan will know that many clubs have two greens on each hole"

Selection_101Fred Varcoe wrote about putting greens on Japanese golf courses in the August 2016 issue of Euro Biz Japan. The article, Know your greens (pdf, 3 MB), includes some quotes from me about bentgrass, korai, and how balls roll on putting greens.

For more about the two green system in Japan, see:

And kind of on this same topic, but of more general interest, see Paul Jansen's post on The Japanese Golf Experience.  You'll see more than just grass: breakfast beer, tiny hotel rooms, hot springs, cold springs, blue balls, green tea, and a volcanic eruption.

Shiny app shows the temperature and sunshine combination for 11 cities in Japan


I made a Shiny app with climatological normals data from the Japan Meteorological Agency to show the combination of sunshine and temperature at 11 locations.

@naturalgolf_D asked "What kind of situation is Japan?" With these data, I think it is interesting to compare different locations of interest, and a Shiny app is an easy way to do that.

Six more Shiny apps from ATC are here.

Clipping volume variation from green to green

Ryo Ishikawa won the KBC Augusta tournament at Keya GC in Fukuoka this week. Before the tournament started, he was so struck by the green conditions that he wrote about it on his website.


During the tournament, he putted well, with 27 putts Thursday, 26 Friday, 24 Saturday, and 26 Sunday. He had no three putts and 41 one putts on these korai greens during the tournament.

The greenkeeping staff at Keya GC measure the volume of clippings from 12 greens when the greens are mown. I shared some photos of this process, and some of the results during the tournament this year, in these messages:

I wondered how the clipping volume at Keya GC during the tournament this year compared to other courses. I also wondered if the variation in clipping volume from green to green during the tournament was different from clipping volume variability during a regular week.

To do that, I looked at clipping volume from 7 consecutive days in which greens were mown. Data from Keya during tournament week in 2016 are in the chart below, along with data from the last 7 mowing days at Keya during July 2016, and data from earlier this year from two different courses with cool-season grass.


As far as consistency in the volume of clippings, the tournament data looks impressive. I would expect that this consistency in clipping volume would result in more consistent ball roll on the greens during a tournament compared to everyday play.

I wanted to look also at the variability in clipping volume from green to green on a particular day. Is the variability in clipping volume from green to green lower during the tournament maintenance? To do that, I calculated the coefficient of variation (cv) for these same data. The cv is the standard deviation (σ) divided by the mean (μ).


I like that the cv during the tournament week was on a downward trend. I don't see a huge difference in the overall cv -- the mean cv for these dates is 0.31 for C3 grass #1, 0.37 for C3 grass #2, 0.32 for Keya at KBC Augusta 2016, and 0.32 for Keya during the last 7 mows of July.

One might speculate that greens with the same growing environment and the same soil and the same grass would have a lower cv. The cv shown here may represent some indication of the microclimate effect on growth across a property.

Something you don't see every day

Next week is the KBC Augusta (KBCオーガスタ) tournament at Keya Golf Club in Japan.

This is a rare event -- a professional golf tournament played on korai (Zoysia matrella) greens.

For more about this grass and these type of greens, see:

I may share a few photos and observations from the tournament. If I do, I'll use the #KBCオーガスタ hashtag. You can also find out more about this grass and its maintenance at the Keya Golf Club Turfgrass Maintenance page or by following Keya GC superintendent Andrew McDaniel.

Is it normal to be cloudy like this?

2016-07-17 10.23.40

On July 17, I was in the Tokyo area with Jim Brosnan. The daily light integral (DLI) in Tokyo on July 17 was 14.2 mol/m2. Jim asked me if it was exceptionally cloudy that day. Not really, I answered. I told him that the such cloudiness was normal.

Now that July 2016 is over, I looked at the DLI for every day in July at Tokyo and also at Batesville, Arkansas. Both are at about 35.7°N latitude, so the day lengths will be identical.

The lowest DLI at Batesville in July was 22.8 mol/m2 on July 29. In Tokyo, there were 10 days in July with a DLI less than 22.8 mol/m2, including 5 days with a DLI less than 10 mol/m2. In that context, the cloudiness on July 17 was not exceptional.

To see more, check out the average hourly PPFD and DLI values for Tokyo in this chart and for Batesville in this one.

Warm-season turfgrass growth rates and competition at 35°N

Mike Richardson pointed out that the growth rate of zoysia is less than bermuda, so by implication there must be something other than growth rate that allows zoysia to invade bermuda. That is, in the situations when bermuda and zoysia are growing together -- competing -- when zoysia appears to grow faster, Mike suggests it may be a factor such as turf density that allows such a result, because bermuda grows faster than zoysia.

I've outlined a hypothesis about grass growth rates and their required inputs, and have more to write about that later. In that hypothesis, I mention location, and in my recent discussion with Mike about the growth rate I said that there is a variety by climate interaction. By climate, I mean the same as location. I'll use these words interchangeably.

Let me try to explain what I mean by an interaction by climate. I'll use data from Tokyo, and from Batesville (2016 data) and Fort Smith (climatological normals data). These locations are all about 35°N.

Light, temperature, plant water status, and leaf nitrogen content all influence growth. In turfgrass management, light and temperature generally can't be controlled; plant water status and leaf nitrogen content can be modified by turfgrass managers. We can imagine that bermuda and zoysia are growing side by side, or together, and then think of what may happen with modifications to these growth-influencing factors.

On average, this is the part of the climate that can't be controlled, at Fort Smith and at Tokyo, shown in 2-dimensional space.


That's a similar temperature range but different amounts of sunshine. Thus, there is no overlap during the months when warm-season grasses are growing. I focus on light and temperature because the water and the nitrogen can be adjusted by the turf manager.

Temperatures for 2016 are pretty similar through July 30. I express temperature here as the cumulative sum of growing degree days.


Ok, so temperatures are similar. If it were only temperature that influences growth, one would expect the grasses to perform pretty much the same at these locations. If bermuda does have an inherently faster growth rate than zoysia, then in this side-by-side comparison, with the same temperature, then bermuda should grow faster at both locations.

I downloaded the global solar radiation data also and then converted it into photosynthetic radiation units. This is Batesville for the first 7 months of 2016.

2016 Batesville DLI and PPFD through July 31

This is Tokyo for the first 7 months of 2016.

2016 Tokyo DLI and PPFD through July 31

In 2016, there has been more photosynthetic light at Batesville than at Tokyo.


The DLI was pretty much the same from January to March, but since the start of April Batesville has jumped ahead by about 1,000 moles/m2. In the past 4 months, Tokyo has accumulated about 4,000 mol/m2 and Batesville has accumulated about 5,000 mol/m2. That's a log percentage difference of 22%. The difference has been especially pronounced in June and July -- the hottest months of the year so far.

Imagine growing bermuda and zoysia in 10% shade at the same temperature. Bermuda may grow faster than zoysia. Now imagine 20% shade. Probably the same result. How about 30, 40, and 50% shade? 60% or 70% shade? At some point, the growth rate of zoysia will be greater than the growth rate of bermuda. The bermuda will die in shade under which the zoysia can still produce a turf.

Consider now that there are varying growth rates among bermudagrass varieties, and also among zoysia varieties. That's what I mean by the location (or climate) by variety interaction. Take an inherently faster-growing zoysia, mix it with bermuda, grow it in a climate with high temperatures combined with lower DLI, mow the grass and make sure plenty of water is applied during the dry season, and see which one grows faster. It's not bermuda.

Yes, with a high DLI, plenty of fertilizer, moderate water supply, and high temperatures, bermuda grows faster than zoysia. Here's a photo of the ATC research facility putting green during grow-in. It's easy to tell which plots are zoysia -- those closest to the camera.

grow-in 22 dec

But if one thinks of growth as something that happens over years, at a location, with the grasses maintained as turf, then one can find the growth rate of zoysia can be higher than that of bermuda.

I find it useful to look at growth rate in those terms, rather than trying to explain it as a response to density or as competition for some other factor.

99 article titles


I've been writing a monthly article for ゴルフ場セミナー (Golf Course Seminar) magazine since May 2008. That's 99 articles so far, and 118,518 words. The best of these will be published in English, sometime; for now they are only available in Japanese. The first 36 of these articles are available in PDF format here.

Starting in May 2008 (#1) and going up to July 2016 (#99), these are the article titles in English.

1. What is Greenkeeping? The 6 Basic Principles
2. Soil Water: How to Manage it in the Summer
3. Fertilizer for Grass: Soil, Leaves, and Growth Potential
4. 5 Maintenance Activities That May Increase Roots
5. Coring: Do it Right, and Get Better Greens
6. Simple is Better: An Amazing Experiment at Rothamsted
7. Sand Topdressing by Numbers
8. 2008 International Turfgrass Science Quiz
9. Why is Grass Green?
10. 2008 International Turfgrass Science Quiz - Answers & Discussion
11. Golf Course Maintenance Expenditures in 2009
12. Putting It All Together: summarizing the six points of greenkeeping
13. The most important thing to know about creeping bentgrass
14. The 2009 US Open, Bethpage Black, and Integrated Pest Management
15. Effective spraying: nozzles, water volume, and droplet size
16. The Critical Component of Putting Green Management
17. The Critical Moisture Content of Soils
18. Some New Turfgrass Research Results
19. The Optimum Level of Plant Nutrients in the Soil
20. A Christmas Gift List for the Turfgrass Scientist
21. Two Equations for the New Year
22. Old and New, from Scotland to China
23. Roll Three Times a Week for Better Greens
24. Turfgrass Maintenance by the Numbers
25. Current Trends in GC Maintenance
26. Thatch: Definition & Management
27. Does Phosphorus Cause Algae on Putting Greens?
28. Pebble Beach Putting Greens: Playing Condition vs. Appearance
29. One Good Thing About the Summer
30. The Foundation for a System of Golf Course Maintenance
31. Practical Application of Turfgrass Science Principles
32. Labor Analysis and Priority of Maintenance Work
33. A Scientific Guide to Turfgrass Maintenance this Year: Part 1
34. A Scientific Guide to Turfgrass Maintenance this Year: Part 2
35. A Scientific Guide to Turfgrass Maintenance this Year: Part 3
36. Data + Science + Technique = Better Grass Conditions
37. How Poor Greens Became Excellent Greens at Vietnam: a case study
38. Tublamu Navy Golf Course & the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
39. Thai Country Club: Great greens with terrible water
40. An Almost Insurmountable Problem: nematodes
41. What’s in the irrigation water at the Home of Golf?
42. Converting to Ultradwarf Bermudagrass: why and how
43. Choosing Soil Moisture Meters
44. Using Soil Moisture Meters
45. Firm Putting Greens at Australia
46. Fertilizing Greens in the West Coast Style
47. Using Soil Test Data to Improve Turfgrass Conditions
48. A Common Cause for Putting Green Problems
49. Rolling Greens: What do the Data Show?
50. Green Speed and the Brede Equation
51. Cooling the Soil
52. Soil Moisture Content of Putting Greens in Japan
53. The Clegg Hammer and the “Hardness” of Putting Greens
54. Cooling the Soil at Night
55. Measuring Photosynthetically Active Radiation
56. Green Speed Variability
57. Green Hardness: Yamanaka Tester vs. Clegg Hammer
58. The Surface and Soil Temperatures of Putting Greens
59. The pH, N, P, and K of Putting Green Soils in 2012
60. The Ca, Mg, S, and Micronutrients of Putting Green Soils in 2012
61. Measuring the Reliability of Putting Greens
62. Putting Green Soil Moisture Content and Management in Summer
63. The Effect of Rolling on Green Speed and Green Hardness
64. Putting green surface temperatures and syringing
65. Fertilizer planning and nutrient mass balance
66. Green Speed Summary
67. Temperature-based growth potential: a study in 3 seasons
68. What is the effect of day length on turfgrass growth and nitrogen requirement?
69. Organic Matter Management in Putting Greens
70. When is the best time to core aerify putting greens?
71. A new way to look at turf nutrient requirements
72. A Method to Predict the Optimum Time for Overseeding
73. A counterintuitive approach to irrigation
74. An important note on the timing of growth regulator and nitrogen applications
75. Anthracnose and healthy greens in summer
76. New research about management of thatch and organic matter on putting greens
77. How many nutrient cations can a green hold?
78. Fertilizer, leaching, and cation exchange capacity
79. What do wetting agents really do?
80. Nitrogen fertilizer — when it is used by the grass?
81. Does nitrogen fertilizer increase or decrease roots?
82. Temperature, humidity, and combining them for summertime heat indices
83. Mowing and the 1/3 rule
84. Timing of nitrogen application to greens
85. Putting green performance tests: professional estimates
86. A new summary of putting green stimpmeter, surface hardness, and soil water measurements
87. Are summer nights getting hotter?
88. Fine fescue putting greens and tournament golf
89. Wind, tournament golf, and the 5 day Open Championship
90. Some useful things to understand about light
91. An analysis of three years of tournament green hardness data
92. An analysis of three years of tournament green speed data
93. What do P and K mean, exactly?
94. Two methods for precision water management
95. Course conditioning guidelines for PGA Tour tournaments
96. How much does water use vary from green to green?
97. The combination of temperature and sunshine to compare locations
98. What’s the irrigation water requirement?
99. Green speed, pace of play, and more green speed