COURSE CARE
Five Sure Ways To Mess Up Overseeding September 16, 2014 By Brian Whitlark

Aggressive vertical mowing and bermudagrass scalping will lead to air pollution, exhausted employees and equipment, and a huge pile of green waste that is expensive to haul away.

Golf courses in southern Nevada have already begun the overseeding process and courses in southern Arizona and Palm Springs, Calif. will soon follow. The strategies involved in a successful overseeding have evolved over the past decade (A New Era for Overseeding Strategies). This regional update presents five sure-fire ways to mess up your overseeding:

  1. Turn off the water before seeding. In the past, superintendents would turn off the irrigation system for up to a week to dry out the bermudagrass. This practice can create hydrophobic conditions and, as a result, the soil can become very difficult to rewet following seeding.
  2. Use preemergence herbicides with a short overseeding window. When using preemergence herbicides before overseeding, the young ryegrass seedling must be watered to maintain moist conditions at the surface for several weeks after seeding. A short – i.e., two weeks or less – overseeding closure period makes it difficult to water adequately once play resumes.
  3. Aggressively vertical mow greens, tees and fairways. Aggressive vertical mowing in the fall stresses bermudagrass at a time of year when day length is decreasing and the bermudagrass plant is preparing for winter dormancy.
  4. Aggressively scalp bermudagrass to near ground level. Scalping the bermudagrass stems and leaves may open the canopy to receive ryegrass seed, but this practice creates air pollution and significant green waste that is expensive to haul off-site. Furthermore, this practice injures the bermudagrass and may delay spring recovery.
  5. Forget to spray Primo®. One or two applications of Primo® on young ryegrass will encourage tillering and density.

Finally, once the overseeding practice is complete, begin planning for spring transition. Overseeding into healthy bermudagrass always produces a better ryegrass canopy compared to seeding into bare ground.

Source: Brian Whitlark (bwhitlark@usga.org)

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