The Summer Rolls On July 13, 2011 By David A. Oatis

I can see it now; the summer of 2011 will wind up being ‘average’ when we total the year-end weather data, but for superintendents who manage turf, there really is no such thing as an average year.  Last winter certainly was not average because winter injury was experienced in many parts of the region.  The spring was not average because of the cool temperatures and tremendous rainfall.  Many areas of the region now have gone several weeks without rainfall, and some areas have gone without rainfall for much longer.  Once again, long-standing records will be broken for extreme weather, but the year-end totals will be ‘average.’

Annual bluegrass weevil (ABW) activity seems to be in a lull for the moment, but the next wave of damage will appear at any moment.  ABW populations were very high on many courses a few weeks ago, and, as has been the case annually for the last few years, we saw all phases of the insect at the same time at courses in the Met area.  A combination of a much wider emergence window and resistance to the pyrethroid class of insecticides are the most likely causes.  Control of ABW is more difficult now because different materials are required to control adults and larva, so it is essential to understand your populations.  Knowing the percentage of ABW in the adult, larvae and pupa stages is essential to successful control.  My best advice is to scout before and immediately after control applications so that you can target them more effectively and assess whether or not the control measures were effective.  Based on what we have seen thus far, plan on ABW being a problem for the rest of the season.

Given all the wet weather experienced this spring, one also would suspect that summer patch may be prevalent this year.  We just need some hot, dry weather to kick it off.  If that occurs, beware.

I saw the first Japanese beetle adults of the year on July 7.  Although I have not seen high populations at the courses I have visited, there are reports of extremely high numbers in some areas.  Thus, be sure your turf is protected from this insect pest.  Oh, and if the Japanese beetle traps are being used on your course, be aware that they bring in adult beetles from miles around so carefully choose where you place them. 

In case you are feeling emboldened by your turf performing well, remember some key lessons from last year.  If you want to try a new product, do not try it on all of your greens, tees or fairways.  First use it in a few small areas, in some cases possibly over a couple of seasons, so that you can get a better feel for how the product will work under a wide range of conditions specific to your course.  Once you’ve done that, expand usage to the rest of the course.  Not before!

It seems hard to believe, but the summer is nearly half over, so here’s to hoping your turf has held up well so far and that it continues to hold up for the remainder of the season.  As always, do not hesitate to give our office a call if we can help in any way.  Our visiting schedule is busy, but we can always fit you in if there is a problem.

Source:  Northeast Region Green Section- Dave Oatis, Director; Adam Moeller, Agronomist Jim Skorulski, Senior Agronomist