Water: One of the most important, and often uncontrollable, variables in the field care equation. July is Smart Irrigation month, an initiative started by the Irrigation Association to increase public awareness of the value of water-use efficiency. Maintaining a properly hydrated field while conserving as much water as possible can certainly pose a monumental challenge, particularly to groundskeep- ers dealing with the effects of recent storms – or lack thereof. So far this summer, it seems like the majority of the U.S. is dealing with one of two extremes: drought or flooding. While some crews in the Southwest struggle to hydrate dried-out turf, others in the Midwest and Northeast are still cleaning up after devastating spring floods. Unfortunately, the outlook for the remainder of the summer does not guarantee any relief from your water woes.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center expect that drought will persist in the interior Carolinas and through much of Louisiana and adjacent areas throughout August. They are predicting some degree of improvement throughout Texas and the High Plains, where many locations experienced the driest October through May period on record, although they emphasize that, “there is nothing to indicate that widespread, significant drought relief should be expected.”

For those in the Northeast still reeling from an overabundance of H2O, you may have even more wet weather to contend with throughout the remainder of the summer. For the Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 to November 30), meteorologists are predicting above-average activity: 12 to 18 named storms, of which, six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or higher).

While there’s nothing we can do to change the weather, preparation is key to recovery. Proper drainage and adequate irrigation are your best defense against an abundance, or lack, of moisture. See page 10 of this issue to learn more about dealing with drainage on your field.

Next month’s issue will feature our annual Buyer’s Guide, a comprehensive and user-friendly directory of the industry’s top manufacturers and all of the gear you need to keep your fields perfectly playable, making this an issue you’ll want to keep on your desk all year.