Fall Color In The Southwest

By Brian Whitlark, agronomist, Southwest Region
October 28, 2013

Non-overseeded ultradwarf bermudagrass putting greens can provide excellent putting surfaces and more golfing days than their overseeded counterparts.

Most people’s perception of fall color conjures images of bright red and yellow maple leaves in Vermont. Fall color takes on a different meaning for golf facilities not overseeding bermudagrass greens in the Southwest. October is typically the time to begin applying colorants to non-overseeded bermudagrass greens, and most superintendents have already begun due to cooler weather this fall. Through 24 days of October, the average temperature is four degrees cooler than last year and soil temperatures are two degrees cooler than in 2012. Bermudagrass growth has slowed and it has begun to lose a bit of its natural green hue. 

Here are a few tips to begin coloring non-overseeded ultradwarf bermudagrass putting greens in a desert environment: 

  • Begin using colorants when growth slows yet the turf remains green.
  • If mowing operations yield substantial clippings on a daily basis, consider tank mixing a growth regulator such as Primo to minimize colorant loss due to clipping removal.
  • Plan to spray on a 7- to 10-day schedule.
  • Most of the colorants on the market today do not contain binding agents and therefore can be applied through a centrifugal pump or even a backpack sprayer.
  • A walking spray boom works well, but similar results can be achieved with a boom sprayer.
  • If time permits, spray in two directions to avoid/minimize streaking.
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what is beautiful at your course may be different from a neighboring course. Experiment with different rates and products to determine what will work best for your facility.
  • Green is king. Remember this when applying colorants. Spray at high enough rates and at frequent intervals to achieve results that your golfers will be proud to invite their guests to see.
  • Do not plan on saving money on non-overseeded greens when compared to overseeding. The benefit to your members and/or golfing patrons is more consistent putting surfaces through the entire year.

In addition to the tips listed above, several paint recipes currently utilized by three superintendents in Arizona are offered below: 

  • Golf facility “A” utilizes the turf colorant Endurant and applies every 10 to 14 days at 1.5 gallons per acre. The spray volume is doubled to accommodate a bidirectional application. Nitrogen is included in the tank mix at light rates.
  • Golf facility “B” has used several blends over the past few seasons, including the following:
    • PAR Turf Enhancer at a rate of 10 to 16 ounces per acre, mixed with 1 gallon per acre of SP Darken.
    • Green Tee applied at 3 to 6 ounces per 1,000 square feet mixed with SP Darken at a rate of 1 gallon per acre.
    • Transition HC applied at 16 to 24 ounces per acre mixed with SP Darken at a rate of 1 gallon per acre.
     
  • Golf facility “C” applies PAR Turf Enhancer at 8 ounces per acre weekly beginning late October. In late November, the rate is doubled to 16 ounces per acre and as much as 21 ounces per acre is applied weekly from late December through January. This superintendent reduces the rate once warmer temperatures resume and eliminates the colorant from the program come March.

 For more information on this topic, please review the following references:

Source: Brian Whitlark (bwhitlark@usga.org)

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

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
   

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
   

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, www.usopen.com, 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 http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

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 http://www.lexus.com/

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 www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image