April Showers Bring...More Rain In May

By Darin S. Bevard, senior agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
May 18, 2011

Frequent rainfall and warmer temperatures are producing rapid turfgrass growth.  Thick, penal rough has been a source of frustration for the golfers.  Excessive clipping yields and lack of routine maintenance schedules are major sources of frustration for superintendents.  Too much rain is not good for any part of the golf business! 

The spring weather continues to provide challenges.  Milder temperatures have been the rule, which has been great for turfgrass growth.  However, frequent rainfall events are making golf course grooming difficult in many parts of the Mid-Atlantic Region.  Complaints about thick, difficult rough and inconsistent green speed have been prevalent in recent visits.  For most golfers, common sense tells them why these issues are present, but it does not do much to ease their frustration.  Many good golf days have been washed out, and when they can get out on the course, they are met with less than perfect conditions because maintenance staffs cannot groom the golf course on a routine basis.  Be patient, and realize that just about everybody is in the same situation, and soon enough, we will probably experience long stretches of dry weather.  It just seems that our weather has been the average of extremes in the last few years!

Poa annua seedhead control measures are beginning to wear off.  Even through the best-timed applications, there will be a small flush of seedheads that will affect playability for a period of time.  Remember, even under research conditions where applications are made to small plots on a single green, 90% seedhead reduction is the very best control achieved.  On a golf course that has eighteen different growing environments for its greens, control levels much lower than this should be expected.  Complaints of seedhead control “not working” should be evaluated carefully.  If you don’t think these programs have worked, try not applying seedhead control next spring, and your opinion may change.  Most of the treated greens that we have seen have achieved a good level of control, although some are better than others, even on a given golf course.  Our expectations for what can be achieved with any agronomic strategy must be realistic, just as expectations of golfers for daily playing conditions must also be realistic.

In the southern portion of our region, bermudagrass is growing aggressively and fairway playing conditions are improving rapidly.  If your golf course is overseeded with perennial ryegrass, if you choose to spray out the overseeding with a herbicide for a more rapid transition to base bermudagrass, the time is getting near for these applications.  Spring dead spot continues to be a major nuisance on many bermudagrass fairways, and it seems that virtually every variety of bermudagrass is being affected.  Fungicide treatments in the late summer and early fall will help to reduce spring dead spot activity and speed healing in the spring.  If your bermudagrass fairways are heavily affected by spring dead spot, fall fungicide treatments may be an option to improve spring playability.  Please call our office if you are interested in additional information on spring dead spot.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional agronomists are part of your agronomic support team.  If you have a question or concern, give us a call or send an e-mail.  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.


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