Fairway Fumigation Case Study

by Steve Godbehere, Director of Research stevegodbehere@usa.net
Hendrix and Dail, Inc. Submitted October 24, 1997

Fairways tend to decline over time. This decline is caused by several factors: intrusion by undesirable grasses, injury due to herbicides used in the control of intrusive grasses and weeds, the buildup of damaging populations of nematodes, damage by soil insects, non-uniform application of irrigation, and development of off-type grasses.

The total investment of a tee, fairway, and green is substantial. In order to maximize that investment, the golf course superintendent must maintain the quality of the entire hole over a long period of time. Renovation of a hole is both expensive and disruptive to the course.

Many golf course construction projects specify fumigation of the greens. However, many of these same projects miss the benefits of fumigation of the fairways. Fumigation of the fairways is a very small percentage of the total cost of new construction. It is even more cost effective on renovation projects.

The following pictures and descriptions illustrate the process of solid tarp soil fumigation on fairways and some of the benefits that occur.

(1) Injection of methyl bromide - chloripicrin mixtures 8 to 10 inches deep and the soil immediately covered by a continuous polyethylene tarp.

(2) The fairway remains covered a minimum of 48 hours with polyethylene tarp. Once the tarp is removed, the soil is allowed to air out for at least 3 days prior to planting or seeding.

(3) During the grow-in period, note reduced competition from grasses and weeds in the fumigated area.

(4) Later, during the grow-in period, note the heavy grass pressure outside of the treated area.

(5) Note the color difference in the treated area on the right of the slide. This is due to a healthier root system as a result of fumigation.

(6) Fairway at Riviera Country Club, Coral Gabels, Florida. Notice the transition in this fairway from the non-fumigated mottled area on the right, into the healthier, fumigated area on the left.

(7) Close-up of fumigated area of fairway at Riviera.

(8) Close-up of non-fumigated area of fairway at Riviera. Note the development of off- types and non-uniform coloring.

An investment in fumigation for new course construction or a renovation project will be repaid many times over in longevity of the stand, shortened grow-in period, and substantial savings in herbicide and nematicide applications.

Thanks to Mr. Steve Godbehere of Hendrix and Dail for his submission of this case study.

Steve can be contacted at:

Hendrix and Dail, Inc.
Steve Godbehere
905 4th St., N.W.
Cairo, GA 31728
Voice: (912) 377-6386
Fax: (914) 728-2814

or contact

Mr. Roger Hruby, Chief Operating Officer

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