Winter Injury Recovery Woes, Challenging Rough, And Pest Activity

By Adam Moeller, agronomist, Northeast Region
June 12, 2014

Slow recovery from winter injury on putting greens continues to be frustrating for superintendents and golfers. Patience is necessary until more consistent soil and air temperatures develop, which will improve turf recovery.

Several common topics have dominated the discussions during Course Consulting Service visits over the past two weeks. Unfortunately, slow recovery from winter injury has continued to frustrate golf course superintendents and golfers at many courses in the region. Temporary putting greens remain at many golf courses. Although these are never popular, temporary putting greens should not be abandoned until the putting greens are fully healed. Watch the USGA Green Section webcast Assessing Winter Injury and Promoting Turf Recovery in the Northeast Region for information regarding the best management practices for promoting a rapid and sustainable recovery from winter injury on putting greens. The Green Section Record article Winter Damage is an excellent reference for information on why putting greens experience injury and how to best limit future problems.

The cool weather coupled with ample rainfall this spring has made the rough challenging for middle and high handicap players at many courses. Increased mowing frequency and even plant growth regulators have been used to combat the rapid growth of rough. Lowering the mowing height may offer some relief, but this adjustment will also increase the turf’s susceptibility to drought stress so caution is advised.

Annual bluegrass weevil damage and anthracnose disease have both been observed at courses recently. Careful scouting for annual bluegrass weevils is very important to ensure insecticide applications are made when and where necessary. Golf course superintendents battling anthracnose disease should review the Golf Course Management article Best Management Practices for Anthracnose on Annual Bluegrass Greens and make adjustments as necessary. Increasing the mowing height, applying 0.1-0.125 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. every seven days, and light and frequent sand topdressing combined with regular fungicide applications are often the most impactful changes to combat an anthracnose outbreak.

Source: Adam Moeller (amoeller@usga.org)

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