USGA Green Section Florida Regional Update - January 2009
January and February are often the busiest Turf Advisory Service (TAS) months in Florida. It is not that those months produce difficult pest problems or diseases, but January 1 st is the unofficial beginning of our peak golfing season, when courses are slammed wall-to-wall with play. It also happens to be the coldest time of year; and warm season grasses on Florida golf courses hibernate as soil temperatures drop below 65 o F. These factors, coupled with unrealistic golfer expectations, often keep us busy educating golfers on the impacts of weather and play on turf.
Our winters are roller coasters with regards to temperature. Turf quality throughout Florida fluctuates up and down, as cold fronts can be followed by weeks of moderate temperatures. Several early frosts in late October/early November were followed by weeks of warm weather in December and early January, as daytime highs reached the lower 80's. This created healthy green color on golf courses; and golf courses that decided not to overseed this year felt confident in their decision. A cold front came in this week, and we were covering our plants, as temperatures reached the freezing point in some areas. Lower temperatures will now cause the turf to go off color once again, and, no doubt, there will be some grumbling by golfers over lack of color.
If your golf course is experiencing discoloration at this time, rest assured that it will soon be green again as we go back up the temperature roller coaster. If you have made the right decision not to overseed for winter color, strengthen your resolve and remind yourself of the improved long-term turf benefits, decreased expenses, improved consistency throughout the year, decreased Poa annua, and better turf health through spring transition. If you need help educating golfers on important issues like weather, overseeding, and impact of play, give us a call to schedule a TAS visit at your golf course.
Source: Todd Lowe, firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-828-2625