Test To Help Set Up Best Management Practices

By Keith Happ, senior agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
March 20, 2013

Monitor insect movement to implement control procedures. The use of intercept traps for Annual Bluegrass Weevils provides evidence that treatments can be effective.

Spring is the time of year when equipment is sharp and like new. Most if not all equipment repairs have been completed so that the grass can be prepared to meet golfer expectations when growth begins. However, mowing the grass is only part of the program and while it is the most obvious task performed to ready the course for play, there are several other proactive tasks that can and should be completed. The spring is a great time of year to test and scout for issues that can be controlled preventively.

If you experienced nematode problems last year, consider sending samples to a diagnostic laboratory for a bio-assay. The test should be submitted when the soil temperatures reach about 55 degrees F. The nematode populations will become active at this temperature and will begin the life cycle (egg lay) at about 64 degrees F. Knowing how many nematodes are present will help to determine if any level of treatment is necessary. First and foremost, maintain healthy grass. Healthy grass will offer greater tolerance to this pest with or without treatment programs. Maximize root mass with sound aeration, topdressing and fertilization. If you need a suggestion for a laboratory or if you would like us to review test results, do not hesitate to contact our offices.

Spring is also a good time to submit soil tests. The results of these tests can determine what supplemental nutrient inputs are needed. At the very least, representative samples from greens, tees and fairways should be submitted each year. The information gained will help to identify fertility needs for the season.

We have had reports of adult Annual Bluegrass Weevil movement. Adults have been collected in intercept traps at various courses. Also, scouting procedures using soap flushes have exposed adults in bordering areas of courses. While this movement indicates that populations are present, it is not yet a signal that treatment programs need to begin. The weather continues to be the determining factor. The colder weather will disrupt the migration patterns and slow their movement significantly. This spell of colder weather will reduce the effectiveness of adulticide applications. To gain the most from any treatment it is critical to exercise patience and continue to monitor weevil populations. It is still early in the season.

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

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