Update From The Sunshine State

By Todd Lowe, senior agronomist, Florida Region
July 10, 2013

USGA Green Section interns Brian Glenn and Tina Gu learned a lot about Florida golf facilities from their travels throughout the state.

The Florida region was busy this past week, visiting several golf facilities with USGA Green Section interns and discussing a variety of topics. The 2013 interns, Brian Glenn and Tina Gu, are graduate students at the University of Florida studying specific aspects of turfgrass science. Internships provide an opportunity for students to learn about issues that are important in each region and how superintendents face a variety of challenges. 

One of the most important challenges that our region has faced over the past month has been an increase in rainfall. In fact, much of south Florida has seen more than 10 inches of rainfall in the last week. High water tables and saturated soil conditions have made even daily maintenance practices, like mowing, a difficult task. Increased clippings and increased weed incidence has been noted on many visits of late. Both will improve considerably once the region begins to dry and allows for longer rain-safe periods when using plant protectants. Until that time, some patience and understanding from golfers is certainly appreciated. 

Another challenge that has been discussed with several golf facilities lately is overseeding transition. Overseeding the base bermudagrass with cool-season grasses for the winter season provides improved turf quality for the months of January through March, but it comes at a cost. This practice is stressful to the base bermudagrass turf and there will always be the likelihood of turf thinning as the cool-season cover dies off in late spring/early summer. A practice that continues to become popular in Florida is spraying tees and fairways with a fertilizer/pigment every two weeks in lieu of traditional overseeding (for more information please see Liquid “Overseed”). This practice is not only less expensive than traditional overseeding but actually improves turf health instead of weakening the base bermudagrass. 

Students learn a great deal during their internship week traveling with USGA agronomists to golf facilities throughout their region. We are hopeful that the information they learn, as well as the connections they make throughout the week, are helpful in their careers and future studies in turf management. 

Source:  Todd Lowe (tlowe@usga.org

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

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