COURSE CARE
The End Is Near, But Other Issues Are Around The Corner November 14, 2010 By Darin Bevard

On a recent visit, the casting of earthworms was a major source of damage in some fairways.  Conversations with golf course superintendents have indicated that the problem is fairly widespread. 

 

Temperatures have fallen rapidly in the last week, and frost has occurred throughout much of the region.  Leaves are off most of the trees, although leaf cleanup continues on an almost daily basis when the weather permits.  The 2010 growing season is coming to a close, and for many, not a minute too soon.  Although turfgrass growth has slowed dramatically, there are still many things to think about before winter fully arrives.  As I write this update, it is a cold, rainy day outside.  Pink snow mold development will not be far behind, and control options need to be considered in the near future.

As most superintendents are aware, the sale of technical-grade PCNB was stopped by the EPA in late summer.  Essentially, this means that PCNB is not available to most superintendents going forward.   PCNB was the most popular product used in the Mid-Atlantic Region for snow mold control.  Really, there is no other single product that offered the efficacy of PCNB at such a reasonable cost.  For sure, future applications for snow mold diseases will be more expensive!  Application timing also is more important.  Many of the alternative control options are systemic fungicides, which need to be taken up by the plant and not by contact products.  Thus, applications may need to be earlier than previous years.

Earthworm activity on cool-season fairways is a topic of conversation again.  Dry, hot weather in late summer and early fall suppressed earthworm activity.  With rainfall and cooler temperatures, earthworm casting activity increased dramatically in late September and early October, and the damage caused by these casts is slow to heal with cool temperatures.  These casts also affect fairway maintenance under moist conditions.   This cycle repeats itself in the spring and fall on virtually an annual basis at many facilities. Earthworms negatively impact playability, but they are an indicator that soils are healthy.

Note: The 2011 fee schedule for the Turf Advisory Service has been set.  Half-Day visits will be $2,400.00, and Full-Day visits will be $3,200.00.  However, a $600.00 discount is available, if payment is received prior to May 15th, 2011; the fee for a Half-Day visit remains at $1,800.00 and $2,600.00 for a Full-Day visit.  Thus, the cost of a prepaid visit did not increase for 2011!  Don’t delay; don’t miss this $600.00 discount!!!  Can your golf course benefit from a Turf Advisory Service visit?  With all that’s going on in our industry, a Green Section Visit may be money very well spent.  Our goal is to be part of your agronomic team in 2011.

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists are part of your agronomic support team.  If you have a question or concern, give us a call or send an e-mail.  You can reach Stan Zontek (szontek@usga.org) and Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org) at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ (khapp@usga.org) at 412/ 341-5922.