COURSE CARE
Ahead Of The Game In Every Regard! May 6, 2012 By Keith A. Happ

Playability at most courses throughout the region has been and continues to be very good this spring.

Playability at most courses throughout the region has been and continues to be very good this spring. Recent weather patterns have been more typical of the season and we have experienced several frosts (some very heavy) even in the southern portions of our region where bermudagrass is grown. This has slowed growth of warm- and cool-season grasses which has also slowed recovery of turf following aeration. Mowing frequency has been reduced due to the turf’s response to the lower temperatures. The region has also experienced dry weather and low humidity and this has prompted an early shift to irrigation needs for the turf. While heavy irrigation cycles are not needed, care has been taken to attend to those areas that exhibit early signs of localized dry spot (LDS).

Spring is a critical time to generate the regionalUpdateContent mass necessary for cool-season turfgrasses to survive hot summer conditions. Managing soil water now will help maximize regionalUpdateContent health and regionalUpdateContent mass, but managing water can be tricky. The warmer weather has allowed the turf to grow which has necessitated implementing mowing, fertilization, pest control and water management programs much earlier in the season. For those that need to purchase water, in most instances, this will be an unplanned yet essential expense. Budgets are guidelines and estimations of expenses for the season. Turf management is dynamic and there will be times when action must be taken to control disease, control insect populations and to rehydrate soils. It would be great if all of these issues would occur as scheduled on a spreadsheet but this is not the case. Early season water management to maximize plant health is an issue that must not be overlooked. One can and should dry the soil in the spring to generate regionalUpdateContent mass but not to the extreme of compromising turf health.

Recent Green Section visits have provided proof that Hyperodes weevils (ABW) are on the move. Adults have been captured in traps and soap drenches have been used to detect larvae in the more western and southern parts of the region. Perimeter applications of insecticides have been very productive, allowing for control of adult activity before egg lay occurs. However, the weather patterns have disrupted the movement of this insect which has reduced (in some areas) overall control. Examine the turf and don’t assume that a disease is active because there has been damage from early insect activity. There is still plenty of time to control insect activity and allow the turf to recover.

Waitea Patch (or brown ring patch) has been active on several courses. This pest has been defined as a low fertility disease by plant pathologists. Treating with urea nitrogen has elicited a positive response, in many instances reducing and even eliminating the need for chemical control applications. Fertilize the grass to maximize plant health and use a nitrogen source that can be utilized efficiently by the turf. Air and soil temperatures are key issues regarding nitrogen utilization. Contact our offices if there are any questions.

There are only a few days left to take advantage of the early payment discount for Turf Advisory Service visits. The deadline for payment is May 15th but you may schedule the visit for any time during the season. Should you want to schedule a visit, please contact us if you need any information or an invoice.

Always remember that the agronomists of the Mid-Atlantic Region are part of your agronomic support team. If you have a question of concern, especially now, give us a call or send an email.  Stan Zontek, (szontek@usga.org) or Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org) at 610-558-9066 or Keith Happ at (khapp@usga.org) at 412-341-5922.

More from the USGA