Annual Bluegrass Challenges Continue

By Adam Moeller, agronomist, Northeast Region
May 29, 2013

Annual bluegrass weevil damage on a golf course collar.

For many golfers in the Northeast Region, Memorial Day weekend is considered the official start of the golf season. Golf course superintendents need time in April and May to groom and condition the turf to produce the smooth, true, and firm surfaces golfers come to expect in June, July, and August. Unfortunately, annual bluegrass (i.e. Poa annua) putting greens are not cooperating and are still bumpy at many facilities in the region, mainly due to the presence of seedheads. Surface grooming, brushing, light verticutting, and regular mowing are all commonly used cultural programs to reduce the bumpiness associated with annual bluegrass seedheads. Plant growth regulation programs also help with seedheads by suppressing them before they develop. Many golf courses are reporting less than desirable control with these plant growth regulation programs this season though. Timing is crucial with these materials and although there are tools to help predict when they should be applied, sometimes the grass does not react as expected. It should be noted that even with excellent timing, it is unlikely that these materials will consistently provide more than 75 percent seedhead control. Thankfully, the presence of seedheads on annual bluegrass putting greens will not be a problem for much longer based on the plants typical life cycle. Golf facilities with creeping bentgrass as the major species on putting greens are much smoother and truer this time of year because this species does not produce an annoying seedhead. This is a major advantage that should be considered for golf facilities examining all the benefits of regrassing to creeping bentgrass and getting rid of annual bluegrass. 

The first sighting of annual bluegrass weevil damage was observed in New Jersey this week. These insects are a major concern on golf courses with high amounts of annual bluegrass on putting greens, teeing grounds, and fairways. Scouting is necessary to make sure these insects are not damaging your turf. If annual bluegrass turf starts to look off color, dig into the soil and look closely for the presence of larvae because they are could be active in your area soon if not already. 

Much needed rain hit the region over this past week. Many golf courses in New England were showing signs of moderate drought stress until the recent rain. Automatic irrigation systems are a supplement to rainfall, not a replacement, so the rain helped replenish dry soils in many areas. 

Source: Adam Moeller (

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image