Fall Management Suggestions

By Bud White, director, Mid-Continent Region
October 16, 2012

Cool weather has finally arrived in the Mid-Continent Region! The last two weeks have been a great relief to golf courses. Now that fall has arrived, superintendents turn their attention to winter projects and planning for 2013. To this end, I would like to offer several ideas for fall/winter projects and where potential adjustments may be made in your programs for 2013.

Water Tests

Now is a good time to do an irrigation suitability test to determine if salt levels have been reduced from autumn rains. It is always a good idea to perform a water test during mid-summer, winter, or very early spring to determine water quality at times when it should be at either its best or worst.

Leaching Salts

If you have not already done so this fall, now is a good time to spike, apply gypsum and leach salts from the soils going into the fall and winter. Don’t forget to follow up leaching with fertilization, especially potassium, to replenish nutrients in the soil solution.

Poa annua

With so many new products on the market for Poa annua control, it is prudent to test these materials on your golf course to see which might give you the best results. Always remember to include check plots for any product tested for accurate evaluation.


If you haven’t seen the latest update, golf courses may continue to use MSMA for at least three more years. More information on MSMA extension

Evaluating Your Programs

Close evaluation of aeration, vertical mowing and topdressing from the previous growing season is always critical for future success. Obtain multiple soil profiles from putting greens and closely examine upper portions of the rootzone with the following observations in mind:

  • Organic matter control
    • Is the current sand topdressing program adequately diluting organic matter accumulation?
  • Mat layer composition
    • Sand versus organic matter
  • Depth of mat layer compared to last year
  • Rhizome development below the mat layer – bermudagrass
  • Is black layer present in the rootzone?
    • If so, is there root development below the black layer?

Close evaluation of these items will guide changes, if necessary, to your cultural management programs and greatly reduce the chances of problematic soil layering occurring in the rootzone going forward.

If you would like more information about a Turf Advisory Service visit and how we can help your facility, please contact Bud White at (972) 662-1138 or budwhite@usga.org. I look forward to being of service to you and your golf course. 

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