Monday, May 11, 2015

Spring Irrigation start up

Spring is always an interesting time on a Northern golf course; a solid month of proper winterization the previous fall must now be reversed to get up and running for the current season.  Everything that you worked so hard for the previous fall shows its benefits now and with a little help from Mother Nature this time can be very rewarding.  
One thing is for sure; there is never a dull moment when waking up a golf course and all of its so many moving parts.  Emerging turf conditions, equipment start up (and failures), employee hiring and training, irrigation pressurization and audits and repairs, cultural controls to the turf, staff meetings, product deliveries and applications, etc. this list could go on and on.  
Our largest piece of equipment is our irrigation system.  Proper winterization in the fall is absolutely critical.  If this process is not done right it will cost thousands of dollars to repair and take countless hours to fix; those valuable hours should be dedicated to other spring tasks.  
This past winter was very kind to us.  The early snow insulated the ground eliminating frost problems.  The soil was warmer in the spring and there were no distributive frost heaves to break irrigation pipes or heads.  

We pressurized the Greywalls irrigation system in only 6 hours.  The only problem we ran into was a mouse nest on our VFD which over heated the unit.  After a few hours of cleanup the problem was solved.  
Mouse nest in the electrical control panel 

Conduit used by the mice to travel from the electrical control panel to the sealed VFD cabinet.  

Mouse nest on the VFD causing it to overheat.  It did not smell good but an hour later the problem was solved.  I will be aggressively managing the winter mouse population in the pump house next winter.  

Quick couplers are used to bleed off air when pressurizing an irrigation system properly on the spring. 

A transducer malfunction delayed us a day in the start up of the Heritage irrigation system.  A phone conversation with a pump house repair technician gave me the answer.  I was able to re-wire and bypass the wet well level transducer and get the controls working again.  

Dry spring conditions put a hurt on the poa annua but had no effect on the deeper rooted Bentgrass growing on the Heritage putting surfaces.  

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