COURSE CARE
Early Fall Preparations September 16, 2014 By Elliott L. Dowling

Control as many weeds as possible now, before they go to seed. As with many things, the better control you achieve in the fall, the less of a problem it will be in the spring.

Although fall does not officially begin until Sept. 23, it is not too early to begin preparations. Thankfully, this summer has been relatively mild throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. If there is any turf recovery that needs to take place, it is probably a result of recent aeration programs. Fortunately, the long-range forecast looks ideal for turf recovery. Warm days and cool nights – plus football on my TV – indicate fall is coming. Hopefully, it is safe to say that the worst is behind us. Now is the opportune time to begin preparing for fall and catch up on some issues that are difficult to manage during summer.

Weeds were a constant battle this season. Numerous Course Consulting Service visits centered on weed management and eradication. With the arrival of cooler weather, more aggressive application rates of postemergence herbicides can be applied. Early fall is when difficult-to-control weeds like crabgrass, goosegrass, kyllinga and sedges go to seed. Although the first frost will kill most of these weeds, aggressively controlling weeds before they produce viable seed potentially will reduce weed populations next season. Additionally, consider applying a preemergence herbicide to control winter annuals. Residual product will remain in the soil through winter, providing a small level of protection into early spring before spring herbicide applications are made.

Once again, annual bluegrass weevil damage was a major topic of discussion this season. It seems that no matter what is done, this pest is always around. Initiate adult controls this fall to reduce the population during winter. The more adults you control now may result in fewer adults to produce larvae, ultimately leading to fewer larvae feeding on your turf next spring.

Finally, we experienced a good summer for conditioning playing surfaces in the Mid-Atlantic region. Although turf recovery is not a major concern, it does not mean your job is done this year. Planning early for fall preparations will ensure nothing is missed. Hopefully, the current weather is a sign of great things to come.

Source Elliott Dowling edowling@usga.org

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service  

Contact the Green Section Staff  

More from the USGA