Masters Tournament and our first stretch of warm weather reminded us that spring
is here. The grass is growing and most golf courses are now bright green. Even
bermudagrass has started to green-up which is a welcome sight after such a
harsh winter. Unfortunately, the warm weather has also confirmed that there is
a lot of grass in the northern tier of the Mid-Atlantic region that will not be
greening-up anytime soon. Poa annua
populations on putting greens in these areas suffered significant winterkill;
however, the severity of the damage varies from golf course to golf course.
there are areas of your putting greens that have yet to green-up after recent, warm
days it is likely that the grass is not going to green-up, at least not in a
timely fashion. With damage confirmed, recovery plans are now being developed.
Options are available to provide reasonable recovery but patience will be
strategies should be considered:
•Limit Traffic. Whether grass is weak
because of winter stress or new seedlings are emerging to aid in recovery, foot
traffic is not going to help the recovery process. Restrict traffic from
damaged areas. Establish temporary greens if necessary. Temporary greens are
nobody’s favorite, but the short-term inconvenience can help restore
playability more quickly.
•Overseed. Unless sodding is going to be
performed, overseeding greens with creeping bentgrass will help with recovery.
Small aeration tines and spikers can be used to incorporate seed into the soil
surface. Slit seeders can work very well but be aware of potential surface
disruption. Multiple, light-rate seedings – .25 to .50 pound per 1,000 square
feet – every seven to 14 days may be more effective than a single heavy-rate
If covers are available they can speed seed germination and seedling
development. Covers also protect the grass from temperature swings and help to
retain moisture. Do not leave covers on for too long. When environmental
conditions favor turfgrass growth, covers should be removed so that the grass
can acclimate to its environment.
•Maintain Soil Moisture.
Although overwatering established grass is detrimental, adequate soil moisture
must be maintained during seedling development and recovery of weak grass.
Rooting in compromised areas is likely weak. If seedlings dry out they will die
or, at the very least, their growth will be stunted.
addition to maintaining moisture, nitrogen fertility is also important.
Remember, a little goes a long way. Light spoon-feeding applications through a sprayer
to provide about 1/10 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet should
suffice. These applications can be repeated every seven to 10 days or as
needed. Starter fertilizers can also be helpful for seedling development.
and recovery are very frustrating. It is difficult to endure a long, harsh
winter only to find out that turfgrass conditions are compromised. Realize that
recovery is a slow process that won’t occur as fast as many believe it should.
Be patient and be sure to communicate.
Source: Darin Bevard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service
Contact the Green Section Staff