It’s That Time of Year - Recovery and Rejuvenation Is a Priority!

By Keith Happ, senior agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
October 19, 2011

Fall colors can be spectacular, however, leaf collection must occur before fall recovery and rejuvenation programs can be initiated.   


The fall brings us changing colors and moderate temperatures.  Leaves are turning colors rapidly, and in many areas of the region, early fall frost has triggered significant leaf drop.  The abundant color can be beautiful, but the leaf cleanup process is all-consuming (and all important) for golfers and turf managers.  At the same time, fall golf course work must be completed to allow for rejuvenation of damaged and stressed grass from the summer.   

Golf course superintendents cannot invoke the “leaf rule”, but golfers often use the leaf rule when playing in the fall.  It can be frustrating when that slightly-off-line shot ends up under leaves.  Turf managers know that the leaves need to be removed, or at least mulched.   With luck, golfers will exercise patience when playing this fall.  While making USGA Green Section Turf Advisory visits, we have seen lots of crews out cleaning up their courses.  They are also trying to complete their important turf rejuvenation and recovery programs, such as reseeding the rough, sodding small damaged areas, and distributing fertilizer.  It would be great if all the leaves fell in just a few days, but this seldom occurs.  Priorities need to be established, and the weather patterns often dictate what tasks must receive attention first.  For turf recovery and rejuvenation to occur, leaves must be removed so that when seed is sown, maximum soil contact can be achieved.    

Many superintendents are aggressively seeding their courses, and selecting quality seed is only part of the process.  Proper incorporation of the seed into the soil is a key to successful establishment.  The tools used to incorporate seed into the soil provide an opportunity for the seed to compete for space as they mature.  SEED-TO-SOIL CONTACT is very important, if not ESSENTIAL, for a good catch.  Simply broadcasting seed over the surface may make the birds happy, but may not achieve your agronomic goals.   Results of seeding are further reduced if the ground to be seeded is covered with leaves. 

All seed is not created equal!   Testing is conducted every year to evaluate a wide variety of factors, including seedling vigor, disease tolerance, mowing quality and overall visual quality.  If you have any question about specific seed varieties or blends, give our offices a call.  We can discuss the specific application you have in mind as well as provide supporting data with respect to variety performance. 

Turf advisory visits this fall have provided evidence that Hyperode weevils are still active!  First and second instar larvae have been seen and extracted from the profile.  These larvae develop into adults that will overwinter in habitat near their feeding and egg laying sites.  Don’t rule out the option to treat in a site-specific manner to control adult Hyperodes populations before their fall migration begins.  Fewer adults should mean fewer problems next year.

Note:  Most golf courses are preparing budgets for 2012.  Two things are important in your planning process.  First, the basic Green Section Turf Advisory Service (TAS) fee REMAINS THE SAME, $1,800, if prepaid by May 15, 2012.  There will be a $200 increase in full-day visits.  Second, participating in a Green Section visit will continue to qualify for CEUs from the GCSAA for both superintendents and assistant superintendents.  If you have any questions about these or any other points, or if you have other questions on fees and services for 2012, please feel free to contact either of our two offices in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

The fall conference schedule will soon be here.  There is much to be gained from attending these sessions.  Doing so provides an opportunity to revitalize crew members and turf managers while learning the latest in golf course turf management procedures. 

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.


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