Replacing The Carpet

By Larry Gilhuly, director, Northwest Region
April 23, 2012

 (L) Poa annua simply does not have the strength to survive in many winter conditions including those that the Crosswater course experienced in 2010. (R) New carpeting at the Crosswater course proved the right choice for this winter.  

 

Three years ago during a Turf Advisory Service visit to the Sunriver Golf Resort in central Ore., Mr. Tom O’Shea, the managing partner of this exceptional destination, made an observation that was one of the best I have heard in nearly 30 years of USGA Green Section visits. He compared the resurfacing of a putting green with a newer variety of creeping bentgrass to the installation of new carpet in a clubhouse or hotel. While the overall scope and size of the projects may differ, his analogy was spot on. Poa annua had become the dominant turf on the greens at the Crosswater course and, unfortunately, the greens had started to show signs of winter damage including turf loss from desiccation, freeze damage, disease activity and ice coverage. Mr. O’Shea understood in 2010 that something needed to happen and directed that one green be completely resodded with a new variety of creeping bentgrass. Following the winter of 2010-2011, severe damage to Poa annua was noted on most of the greens on the golf course. Not surprisingly, the only green showing virtually no damage was the green that was resodded to a pure stand of new bentgrass. As a result, the decision was made to “replace the rest of the carpeting” on the remainder of the golf course during 2011.

After a very successful resurfacing of all the greens, the winter of 2011-2012 started mild enough but, beginning in mid-January, a combination of snow and ice arrived that would have caused issues in the past. Whereas the nearby Woodlands Course is currently resodding several greens because they suffered severe Poa annua turf loss from ice covering the greens for nearly two months, Crosswater came through the winter in outstanding condition. The combination of great timing and planting the right grass has yielded extremely good results. Course opening at the end of May will be nothing but positive for all concerned due to the correct decision to “replace the carpet” at this difficult site.

So, what does this have to do with anyone else in this part of the country where Poa annua thrives?Beginning in the fall of 2013, a new product will be introduced that has the potential to provide selective control of Poa annua in bentgrass greens. PoaCure (methiozolin) will be tested on numerous sites in the Pacific Northwest on both sides of the Cascade Mountain Range. With the unique combination of both pre- and postemergence modes of action it is possible that the golf industry will finally have an effective tool to control Poa annua. For those that strive to maintain very high populations of creeping bentgrass this will be a product that will be worth observing. At the very least it may offer a way to avoid replacing your carpet and the costs associated with this operation. 

Larry Gilhuly (lgilhuly@usga.org) and Derf Soller (dsoller@usga.org) will be happy to assist all golf courses in “carpet replacement” or any other portion of your golf operation. Contact them and pay for a half-day or full-day TAS visit by May 15 to receive a $600 discount on the regular fee.

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