Weeds And Seeds
By Jim Skorulski, senior agronomist, Northeast RegionJuly 23, 2014
|Frequent mowing, an
herbicide program and patience are required to transition woodland and scrub
areas into naturalized grasslands.|
It has been said, and is worth repeating, that naturalized rough
areas are not necessarily low maintenance. The golfer’s idea of naturalized
rough leans toward thin, wispy fields of fescue and little bluestem grasses scattered
with a few wild flowers for interest and color. However, this does not occur
naturally at most golf facilities unless they happen to be located on sandy,
dry sites. Even courses with ideal growing conditions are faced with managing
unwanted plants to keep naturalized roughs playable. Furthermore, transitioning
from woodland or scrubland to naturalized rough presents an ever greater challenge.
Mowing Is Your Friend
The transition to naturalized rough can be hastened with a renovation
program utilizing glyphosate. Using glyphosate may be the most effective
approach for areas that need to be grubbed of tree stumps and rocks or where
the existing grasses are not suitable for naturalization. Another option involves
a slower process that encourages the growth of existing grasses while
selectively controlling unwanted plants. In this case, mowing is your friend.
Areas that are being transitioned into grasslands should be cut often in the
first season or two. Frequent mowing will help “free” the underlying grasses
while removing any unwanted broadleaf plants. Animals can also be used effectively
to revitalize and help transition areas into grassland or meadow environments. Grazing
goats and sheep may be an option for areas that are rocky or too severe to mow regularly.
Goats are effective at browsing woody plants while sheep typically graze on grasses
Herbicides are also an important tool when transitioning to
naturalized rough. Herbicides containing 2,4-D, 2,4-DP, dicamba and triclopyr
generally control most broadleaf and woody plants that may impede the
transition to grassland. Herbicide applications can be made in the spring, but the
best results are usually obtained with late-summer and early fall applications.
The Difficult Weeds
Deer-tongue grass and dewberry are common plants that are
difficult to control in naturalized rough areas throughout New England.
Dewberry is generally suppressed by broadleaf herbicides, but complete control
is not easy and requires subsequent applications. Target dewberry in spring
when the plants are blossoming or in late summer. Selective use of
non-selective herbicides may be the best option against deer-tongue grass and
other difficult-to-control plants. Multiple applications of glyphosate should
ultimately control the plant.
Source: JimSkorulski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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