Necessary Weed Control Measures This Fall

By Darin S. Bevard, senior agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
September 21, 2011

During the heat of the summer, bermudagrass populations will expand into areas of weak turf or bare ground.  Control of bermudagrass in cool-season fairways is extremely challenging. 


The first real cold front of the fall season swept through the area in the past week, bringing in much cooler temperatures.  This is welcome relief for the grass in what has been a long, and for much of the time, hot growing season.  Fall offers the opportunity for some of the best golf course conditions of the season. 

With shorter days and cooler temperatures, turf growth is slowing rapidly.  Unfortunately, rainy weather patterns have limited opportunities to consistently groom fairways and greens for optimum playability.  Temperatures are more favorable for cool-season grasses, but under wet conditions, mechanical damage can occur.  Thus, with wet weather, it may be necessary to suspend mowing until turfgrass areas dry out.  These delays in mowing can be difficult to implement, but this will prevent rutting of turfgrass areas and other damage.  Be patient, and don’t inflict damage on yourself.

One area of difficulty in 2011 has been weed control.  Oftentimes, weed control is an afterthought.  In the past, preemergence herbicides in the spring, along with one or two broadleaf applications, were made per growing season and the golf course was reasonably well weed free.  This has been changing in recent years, with increasing populations of more difficult-to-control weeds that have proven to be far more challenging to control.

Of greater concern are the increasing populations of nuisance weeds that have proven difficult to control.  Bull paspalum (not to be confused with Seashore Paspalum) and kyllinga are becoming more widespread.  Control in cool-season grasses is especially difficult, and herbicides often cause temporary thinning and/or discoloration of cool-season grasses.  Remember, these weeds are perennial in nature.  If control programs are not implemented, they will return next year and populations will increase over time.  Bermudagrass populations have also increased on many cool-season golf courses in the past two growing seasons with the extreme hot weather.  Bermudagrass populations take advantage of thinning of cool-season turf and often expand into voids that occur during the summer.

In cool-season fairways, eradicating bermudagrass is time consuming and costly.  This is especially true in creeping bentgrass fairways.  “What are we going to do about bermudagrass?” is a common question.  We see instances where bermudagrass is not killed with multiple applications of non-selective herbicides in fairways.  This has even been the case when the treated area is stripped and resodded with creeping bentgrass.  Maybe there is a message there.  However, anybody reading this update needs to realize that if controlling bermudagrass in cool-season grass was easy, the problem would not exist!

The bottom line is that weed control is becoming more difficult in many respects, especially in cool-season grasses.  Golfers should expect more discoloration from herbicides to control these emerging weed problems, or expect these problems to expand.  Often, multiple herbicide applications will be needed.  In the case of rogue bermudagrass in fairways, eradication has proven very difficult without significant disruption to the appearance and playability of the golf course.  Weed control may require increased focus going forward.  Keep in mind the fall is a good time for traditional broadleaf and clover weed control programs.

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 e-mail.  You can reach Stan Zontek ( and Darin Bevard ( at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ ( 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,, 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

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

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

AmEx image