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Meet Renata Mundim

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I have always loved nature. Growing up in a rural area in Brazil, plants have become a big part of my life.

I became a qualified Biologist at the age of 21 and then moved to the US where I could work and continue my studies. I then had the opportunity to take a course in Golf Course Management, learning more about turf was a big game changer in my professional career.

For the past ten years I have then been involved in the Turf Industry. I have taken several educational courses in this area, worked with field research and finished a Master’s Degree in Horticulture and Crop Science at The Ohio State University.

As a Business Development Assistant at Bernhard, I am now able to mix my knowledge in plants with my passion for marketing through this blog.

Case Study - Highgate G.C. Lighting Rig Trial

Posted on August 22, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Shade has been a permanent problem on the first green at Highgate Golf Club in London. After several attempts to re-establish the grass and get full coverage on the green, Derek Mason bet on the use of supplementary lighting. During one of the darkest months of the year and in front of the February “Beast of the East”, we did a month trial with an MLR lighting rig just to confirm the benefits of providing the grass with the required amount of light.

Background

Highgate Golf Club is the closest 18 hole course to central London. The club was founded in 1904 on a very well-preserved farmland. It has been designed by Billy Winton and re-designed by C.S. Butchart. Although being in London, when entering Highgate Golf Club one can not imagine how peaceful the place is. According to the course manager Derek Mason, the members state that the club is an escape from the busy city and all its problems. Definitely a hidden gem in the big smoke.

Problem

The first green was remodeled in 2010, it was laid with a bent-fescue mix and since the beginning the grass did not establish well in some areas, becoming weak and poor in coverage. It was also possible to see algae formation. After analyzing the causes through collection of soil nutrition information and nematodes population activity, it was found that the biggest problem on the green was actually the shade created by both the fence and trees located right behind it.

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Light plays an essential part on grass health, as it is required not only to the plant’s photosynthesis process, but also to warm the soil and to dry the plant surface from morning dew or rain, reducing the risk of diseases infection and algae proliferation. Shade becomes an even worse enemy on greens, as the short mowing height reduces the leaf blade surface, consequently reducing the caption of light for photosynthesis. During winter the problem is aggravated through reduced sunlight hours, longer shadows and the cold.

Solution

In order to diminish the shade on the first green at Highgate G.C. and verify the usefulness of supplemental lights in this situation, we agreed on doing a trial using the Loki MLR lighting rig.

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It is important to emphasize that this rig is not designed for greens, but in face of the immediate need of a remedy for the first green and the opportunity of finding out if the supplemental lights would be beneficial, the parties have agreed that the trial could be a good temporary solution.

The lighting rig was then implemented on February 19th, 2018, and the trial was set to last a month. The main questions we would like to answer through this short study were:

  • Will supplemental light motivate growing in the most shaded area?
  • Will turf colour be affected?
  • Will soil temperature increase during usage of supplementary light?
  • Will soil moisture decrease under the light footprint?

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First day of trial – area under shade has only 50% of grass left. It is possible to see algae on the green.

 

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During the trial the weather conditions worsened with the arrival of an unusual cold front that brought to Great Britain temperatures below zero and snow. The lighting rig was kept on even during the snowing days.

 

 

 

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Data Collection

Data on soil moisture (Volume water content - VWC%), soil temperature, rainfall and air temperature were collected every two days during a period of 31 days. Root growth was measured on a weekly basis.

The study showed that in this case, supplementary lighting did not negatively affect soil moisture. Through measurements it was found that the biggest variation on volume water content in the area under the lighting rig was only 5% less than in areas that did not receive supplemental light, a value not significant enough to require an increase on irrigation.

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Although the air temperature remained below zero for most of the trial period, and that ground was frozen for several days, when measurement was possible it showed that the soil temperature under the lighting rig footprint varied between 2 and 5 degrees higher than the area of the green that was not receiving supplementary light. 

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By the end of the trial, it was possible to see an overall improvement of the green, even under difficult climate conditions. Color appeared brighter. New shootings were emerging on the area that before had no turf and the crowns looked strong and healthy. Advancement in root growth was also verified through root measurement.

2 weeks after installing lighting rigs

2 weeks after implanting lighting rigs

3 weeks after installing lighting rig

3 weeks after implanting lighting rigs

Visible root improvement

Visible root improvement

End of the Trial

End of the Trial
 
 

Video Interview with Highgate G.C. Course Manager, Derek Mason