The Calendar Says April, But What About The July Feel?

By Adam Moeller, Agronomist
April 15, 2010

A soap flush is an easy method to determine annual bluegrass weevil adult activity. 

Invariably, springtime obstacles are challenges for golf course superintendents. This year, the early April weather patterns seemed more like July, as some areas closed in on the 90° F mark. All things considered, the warm weather caused many superintendents to raise an eyebrow and ask the question: Is this a sign of what is to come? The warm spell has improved recovery from winter damage --- a welcome sight at facilities that experienced problems this year.

The good weather also has been great for golf, and likely resulted in an increase in revenue. But golfers need to be mindful that good spring weather does not guarantee mid-season peak conditioning. Core cultivation and other programs are still essential, and these practices may result in temporary disruption, but are needed to produce the best playing conditions for the summer. Courses with drainage problems may still be wet from the heavy late-March rains, and cart traffic probably needs to be restricted to paths only in some cases. Cart damage always is frustrating, and it has been observed too much already this spring.

For most of the Northeast Region, annual bluegrass putting greens have begun to produce seedheads, while seedhead production has not yet been readily observed in Canada. Although there are a few different strategies to suppress seedheads, control is ultimately determined by proper application timing. If a lot of seedheads have developed on your greens or fairways and tees, it is probably a good indication that the timing was off.

The atypical early April weather also has influenced annual bluegrass weevils on golf courses. The question remains, just how much? The traditional phenological (seasonal) indicator for an insecticide application for adult control is when forsythia are at the "half green/ half gold" state. Adult weevils might not respond to the warm-up as fast as forsythia bushes, and therefore this indicator may not be as accurate compared to past years. That being said, continue to monitor for adults as much as possible, to help determine the best timing. A soap drench is an easy technique that can be very helpful in determining adult activity.

Soap Drench

  • Mix 2 oz. of lemon joy soap with two gallons of water in a bucket.
  • Pour the solution over an area located on a fairway edge with a history of adult activity.
  • Adults will float to the turf surface after a few minutes

 

Keep in mind, resistance issues to pyrethroid materials is a significant problem, and other control options may be necessary. Annual bluegrass weevil pyrethroid resistance kits can be used easily to determine if you have resistance at your location. If you’d like a free pyrethroid kit, contact Dr. Richard Cowles or me at the following locations:

Adam Moeller Dr. Richard Cowles
amoeller@usga.org Richard.Cowles@ct.gov
United States Golf Association Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
PO Box 4717 Valley Laboratory
Easton, PA 18043 Windsor, CT 06095

If cool, wet weather moves into the region over the next few weeks, conditions would be favorable for cool-season brown patch (i.e. yellow patch) disease on putting greens. Most often, this disease is only cosmetic, and symptoms disappear with warmer weather. But, if conditions persist, control measures may be warranted.

Supporting Turf Research

The 2010 Rhode Island Turfgrass Foundation golf tournament is scheduled for April 27 at Agawam Hunt Club. The Rutgers Turfgrass Research Golf Classic is scheduled for May 3 at Fiddlers Elbow CC. Attend these events to support the turf programs and enjoy a great day with your colleagues. More information about the Rutgers Turfgrass Golf Classic can be found at: http://www.njturfgrass.org/pdfs/2010GolfInviteLetter.pdf

Turf Advisory Service Visit

USGA agronomists can provide insightful and vital information involving all areas of golf course maintenance to help maximize turf health, playability, and efficiency. Contact Dave Oatis, Director doatis@usga.org; Adam Moeller, Agronomist amoeller@usga.org; or Jim Skorulski, Senior Agronomist jskorulski@usga.org for a Turf Advisory Service visit this season

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