Recently, the agronomists in the Southeast region had a chance to collaborate with one another and review items of interest occurring in the region. Each agronomist had the chance to share their comments below:
Cool, wet conditions have persisted over the past few weeks and are keeping some areas saturated. Leaf spot disease on greens has been the most common and persistent issue discussed in recent travels. Normally, this problem subsides in early to mid-January but moderate temperatures and wet conditions are favoring persistent disease outbreaks. The frequency of preventative fungicide applications may need to be increased until areas dry out. Poorly draining greens may be more susceptible to turfgrass decline, so make every effort to ventilate greens at least every three to four weeks throughout the winter months. However, venting should not be performed when nighttime temperatures are in the 50 degree Fahrenheit range or colder.
Play continues to occur throughout a good portion of the Southeast region during the winter; thus, a key concern is the resulting damage caused by golf cart and foot traffic. Proactive traffic management is even more important during the winter when turf is in a semi- to fully dormant stage and not able to recover. While never popular; ropes, stakes or even directional signs need to be placed before turf becomes completely worn-out. Furthermore, traffic diverters should be regularly moved to redirect concentrated traffic patterns. It also is recommended that multiple cart-use policies be used to distribute traffic over as large of an area as possible.
The use of turf colorants in place of overseeding has become an increasingly popular management practice utilized by golf course superintendents to conserve resources such as water, fertilizer, fuel and labor. On Feb. 9, 2015, the USGA will hold a complimentary Fairway Turf Colorant Workshop at the Country Club of Landfall, Wilmington, N.C. The workshop will be a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity to study the art and science of using turf colorants on warm-season fairways and there is a great lineup of speakers scheduled. We also will spend time on the golf course viewing existing plots treated with colorants and a demonstration of applying turf colorants to fairways. If you would like to attend, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no cost for the workshop other than your own travel and meal expenses.
I had the opportunity to attend the Arkansas Turfgrass Conference recently and noticed several items of interest. First, the University of Arkansas continues to test the cold hardiness of warm-season grasses commonly found on golf courses in the transition zone. Although much of the winter has not been unusually cold, the University of Arkansas’ location – in Fayetteville, Ark. – is prone to experience cold northern air.
A unique presentation was made by Daniel O’Brien, a graduate student at University of Arkansas, describing his research to quantify different aspects of putting green performance with a moisture meter, firmness meter, and smartphone app that digitally measures turf color/quality. I am interested to follow this project to see how frequently obtaining precise measurements can aid superintendents in more efficiently and economically managing putting greens.