A Taste Of Summer

By Darin S. Bevard, senior agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
June 5, 2012

Dollar spot pressure has been high this spring. Be sure to check the label on the fungicide used to ensure application rates (both water and chemical) are appropriate.

Golf courses in our region continue to report increased rounds. Superintendents are starting to report signs of wear and tear on high traffic areas of the golf course, but increased golfer traffic is a good problem to have. Our burst of summer in the last week of May was short-lived, but created a number of challenges for golf course superintendents. High heat and heavy rain are not a good combination at any time during our growing season. Cooler weather has returned for now, but we were reminded of how quickly the wrong weather conditions can create problems. 

These include: 

Disease Pressure 

Dollar spot pressure was incredibly high in the last week of May. We received many reports of fungicide programs breaking down, and significant dollar spot damage occurred on some golf courses. This damage will recover, but it is an important reminder. When disease pressure is high for dollar spot or any other disease, spray intervals must be compressed or disease control will break down. When diseases are active, curative rates of fungicides should be applied. There is a reason why the fungicide label has preventative and curative rates. Remember, all products cannot be delivered the same! Examine the product label to ensure that spray volumes are adequate to deliver the fungicide to the target. Materials vary in their movement in the plant. Contact fungicides should not be applied to wet grass. The goal is to keep the product on the leaf. 

Mind your nitrogen fertility. Maintain spoonfeeding inputs on a regular basis to keep the grass growing. Application rates should be low (1/10 of a pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft.), but it is necessary to feed the grass. 

In addition to dollar spot, etiolation (rapid, yellow growth of tillers above the canopy) was noted in those areas where heavy rainfall occurred in conjunction with heat. The exact causes of this rapid growth are not known, but turfgrass thinning in collars in conjunction with this condition occurred. More frequent mowing to control the visual impact of this condition can also help. Avoid sand topdressing in collar height turf. The mechanical abrasion of the sand may have a negative impact under high humidity conditions.

Water Management 

With more frequent heat, water management practices must be closely monitored. Too much or too little water can create major problems under high heat. While hand watering of putting greens is labor intensive, it can be the difference between keeping the grass alive or seeing a decline in quality. Even the best overhead irrigation systems need to be supplemented with hand watering. 

In summary, disease pressure and water management are just two issues to consider. The most important thing to realize is that as the weather creates more stress for the grass, the margin for error within turfgrass management programs becomes much less. There must be a heightened awareness of superintendents to monitor conditions on the ground for potential problems. Golfers need to be aware that maintenance intensity may have to be dialed back in the interest of turfgrass health under certain conditions. We still have a long growing season ahead of us, so preserving the health of the grass at this point just makes good sense. 

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists are part of your agronomic support team.  If you have a question or concern, give us a call or send an email.  You can reach Stan Zontek (szontek@usga.org) and Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org) at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ (khapp@usga.org) at 412/ 341-5922.

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image