At approximately 5:00pm (EST) on Sunday the 9th Sydney was hit with the biggest hail storm its seen this decade. Currently the bill is running from shire to shire, Blacktown its self has just hit the $230 million dollar mark.
After interning at the Breakers in Florida I thought I had seen everything! I've been through a mild hurricane, countless tropical lows, and freek frosts, but I can say I've never seen anything like this!
Since the storm we have been attempting to rectify the situation by coring with 0.25 inch mini tines, and heavily topdressing with 100% sand. The heavy topdressing is causing us much concern because our greens have a high percentage of Poa annua mixed in with our creeping bentgrass. With temperatures in Sydney averaging 84 F to 100 F in December, you can imagine the stress both on the turf and the staff.
Since Monday, December 10th we have also used 1200 plugs from our nursery green ranging in size from 4 to 12 inch in diameter. The tedious work of lifting and pulling hail plugs has been performed by our team of enthusiastic apprentices. The greens look at least 50% better now (December 17th)after the aerification, topdressing and plugging.
(Editor's Note (Danneberger):Hail is produced inside storm clouds primarily cumulonimbus. Small ice pellets form at the top of the cloud and as they fall through the cloud moisture freezes on the pellets. As the pellets fall they hit the upcurrents within the cloud sending them back to the top of the cloud where the process repeats itself. Once the hailstones become heavy enough they fall to the ground. Hailstones can grow to dangerous sizes before they fall and have to be at least 5 mm (0.2 in) in diameter to be considered as hail. Most are small in diameter less than 2.5 cm, but some can be as big as a cricket ball, tennis ball, or as large as a grapefruit. The largest hailstones can weigh just under one kilogram and fall at more than 50 meters per second. The biggest hailstones in the world tend to fall in north-east India. However, where conditions are favorable hail can occur.
Authors: Stuart Smith
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