Drought And Encroachment

By Bud White, director, Mid-Continent Region
September 17, 2013

Mechanical edging, such as with this standard stick edger, is a most effective method to control encroachment of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass into putting greens.

Drought and heat continue to persist in many parts of the Mid-Continent region. Many consider this summer to have been mild, yet when we look at weather data we see it has actually been very hot and dry overall. A pair of cool spells was experienced earlier in the year, but Dallas, for example, has had 29 days with temperatures of 100°F or more this year when the average number is 18. 

With that in mind, golf facilities with water restrictions must look closely at soil conditions in playing areas and irrigate as much as feasible to hydrate the soil and turf going into the fall. Remember that bermudagrass is more subject to winterkill injury if it is in drought stress when going into dormancy. 

Other questions that to evaluate: 

  • What is the state of our drought conditions?
  • Do we need to restrict traffic to protect turf?
  • What are the highest priority areas for water when water is restricted?
  • Do we have a drought-contingency plan developed?


Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass encroachment and contamination into greens has been one of the most discussed concerns this summer during on-site visits to golf facilities. Over the last three years, intense heat has produced optimal growing conditions for these warm-season species and their contamination into greens has been worse than I can ever recall. Edging is an effective method to control bermudagrass or zoysiagrass encroachment into greens. For more information on mechanical edging, please view the webcast Encroachment Prevention. The edger featured in this video and in the photo is a standard stick edger. It seems to be the most effective way to control bermudagrass and zoysiagrass encroachment. Edging frequency is important, along with pulling turfgrass runners, i.e., stolons, by hand when necessary. 

Source: Bud White (budwhite@usga.org

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

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