The Heat Is On

By R.A. (Bob) Brame, director, North Central Region
June 2, 2011

(L) Waitea Patch has been a frequent sighting in the North Central Region and has pulled down the Poa annua canopy to the point where ball roll has been compromised.  (R) A Proxy–Primo tank mix has significantly reduced Poa annua seedhead production.  

The record-setting wet spring has left its mark throughout the lower North Central Region.  Most courses have had to move forward with mowing under less-than-ideal conditions.  Rutting has occurred, which will likely require rolling when things dry out, but on most sites the primary blemish has been mud tracking and clipping clumps.  The next rainfall usually takes care of it, and blowing has helped improve clipping dispersion. 

Now the heat is on, and, unfortunately, a significant number of courses did not complete their planned spring aeration.  If we happen to move into another tough summer, the missed aeration could cause turf weakening and decline.  Small-diameter solid tines on a conventional putting green aerator can help mitigate the vulnerability. Even though it is no substitute for core aeration, this method of opening and venting the soil ensures positive oxygen and water movement and can make a difference.  The ideal frequency will vary, but every two weeks is not uncommon, especially when spring coring was missed.

Disease issues have increased over the last few days.  Dollar spot, Microdochium Patch, red thread, Pythium root dysfunction and Waitea Patch have all been part of the mix.  Waitea Patch, in particular, has been a frequent sighting, and in a couple of confirmed cases, it has pulled down the Poa annua canopy to the point where ball roll has been compromised.  Typically, this has been a disease that does not affect playability, but this has not been a typical spring.  If there is any doubt about the proper diagnosis of a disease, use the services of a diagnostic laboratory.  

Sod webworms have also been sighted, as have the birds looking for an easy meal.  Check out the  Purdue University link on this topic.

Blocking Poa annua seedhead production is a common strategy even though it is not done at all golf courses.  It is very important to consider what is being targeted with growth regulation so that the products and timing are properly aligned.  Establish a couple of small control plots so that cross comparisons can be made.  A Proxy–Primo tank mix can significantly reduce seedhead production, although it will not block them 100 percent.  The cross-comparison confirmed that the value of investing in the tank mix applications and control plots are also a good communication tool.

Should the problems mentioned in this update become a concern, give us a call.  We stand ready to work with you in any way we can. If your course has not yet signed up for a Turf Advisory Service visit this season, we look forward to hearing from you.    


Source:  Bob Brame, or 859-356-3272


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