COURSE CARE
Be Patient March 31, 2013 By Robert A. Brame

Be patient. Wait until soil temperatures rise and growth begins before applying granular fertilizers. 

Patience is a quality that most of us, if we are totally honest, wish we had more of. Golf course superintendents often find it very difficult to be patient when golfers are ready to tee it up in early spring. It can’t be overemphasized that successful golf turf management demands working with and not against weather patterns. A good case in point, which has been the subject of a few recent phone calls, is fertilization. Applying excess nitrogen fertilizer when soil temperatures are low enough to inhibit plant growth will not force the plant to grow. However, when temperatures do warm up, that same excess nitrogen can result in a surge in growth and a reduction in putting quality. Even though most courses were mowing regularly and fertilizing at this time last year, the colder weather we’ve been experiencing is not allowing much, if any, topgrowth. Wait until temperatures rise to the point that regular mowing (every five to seven days) is needed to initiate plant feeding. 

Whether you feel good about your fertilization program, aren’t really sure, or know adjustments are needed give us a call or email to schedule a Turf Advisory Service visit. The Green Section staff offers candid objectivity and years of experience to help your course with site specific recommendations. Don’t forget about the $500 discount available on visits paid for before May 15th. Even with early payment to secure the lower price, visits can be scheduled at anytime throughout the year.

Source:  Bob Brame,  bobbrame@usga.org  or 859.356.3272