COURSE CARE
Is It Winter Yet? February 27, 2015

Is It Winter Yet?

By Darin S. Bevard
November 14, 2008

With the growing season winding down, the conference season has started with ample educational opportunities available. The Penn State Golf Turf Conference was held November 11-13. Some very good information was provided on a variety of topics. Some highlights are provided below.

• Jeff Borger, instructor of turfgrass weed management at PSU, presented information on herbicides and growth regulators, and Dr. Wakar Uddin, turfgrass pathologist at PSU, presented information on control of Pythium blight and dollar spot. Both provided results of research trials performed in 2008. More impressive than the results achieved is the number of confidential compounds that are being tested in each discipline. As certain products are removed from the market place, it is good to see that companies continue to develop new products to help combat the weed and disease problems superintendents face on a regular basis.

• Steve McDonald, president of Turfgrass Disease Solutions, presented information on the decline of bentgrass collars during the summer months. The primary cause of decline is sand topdressing applied to turf under environmental stress, which contributes to abrasion of the plant leaves, in addition to mechanical wear from equipment. Increased rolling and double cutting are major contributors to this mechanical stress. Creeping bentgrass collars also exhibit a high degree of stolonization that increases the chances for problems. Basically, plant density is low in collars, but the amount of leaf tissue is high. Pathogens generally are not the primary reason for decline. Site specific fertilizer applications and cultural programs such as grooming or light vertical mowing may help to reduce leaf tissue and increase density to improve wear tolerance of collars.

• Michael Morris, certified golf course superintendent from Crystal Downs CC in MI, discussed his experience with finding the ideal green speed for the members at his club. The biggest take home message he provided is that the Stimpmeter should be a tool that you use to your benefit, not detriment. It is difficult to evaluate what cannot be measured. Knowing the speed of your greens and knowing what members expect in terms of green speed are critical for managing healthy grass and overall satisfaction of everyone.

Regionally or in the field, most maintenance crews are focused on leaf cleanup and preparation for the coming winter. Irrigation systems are being winterized and snow mold control products are being applied or they soon will be.

Turf Advisory Service fees for 2009 have been determined. TAS fee increases have been kept to an absolute minimum for 2009. In fact, the general operative fund of the USGA subsidized more than half of the cost for administering the Turf Advisory Service. A half-day visit will cost $2,300, and a full-day visit will cost $3,100. A $500 discount will be offered for course who prepay for a Turf Advisory Service visit by May 15 th . The actual visit itself can take place anytime during the 2009 season. Can your course use a visit? Contact our office for more information.

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