The Education Season Is Upon Us – Don’t Miss Out February 19, 2013 By David A. Oatis

The winter education season is in full swing, and upcoming educational opportunities include the New England Regional Turf Conference, the Long Island GCSA Winter Education Seminar, and a trio of USGA Regional Meetings in the coming weeks. These are great opportunities to learn about new products and practices, and the USGA Regional Meetings provide a great opportunity to help educate your green committee and course officials. Dates and locations are listed below.

February 27, 2013

Long Island GCSA Winter Education Seminar
Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale, N.Y.

March 4-7, 2013
New England Regional Turf Conference
Providence, R.I.

March 21, 2013
USGA CMA Regional Meeting
Transit Valley CC, East Amherst, N.Y.

Register for the conference here:

Event Code: 0311

March 26, 2013
USGA Massachusetts Golf Association New England Regional Meeting
Blue Hill CC, Canton, Mass.

March 27, 2013
USGA Metropolitan Golf Association Green Chairman Education Meeting
Willow Ridge CC, Harrison, N.Y.

The days are getting longer, and although you may not be ready yet, the 2013 season is just around the corner. Who knows what surprises it will bring? Another round of extremes, perhaps? To put things in perspective, two years ago at this time many courses in the region were encased in ice, and concerns over the possibility of winter injury were rampant. Indeed, there were a lot of winter injured greens that year, but thankfully temperatures moderated a bit in late winter and widespread catastrophic damage was avoided. We were just one or two more freeze/thaw cycles away from major damage on many courses, so it could have been much worse. Moving to the opposite end of the spectrum, at this time last year many courses were beginning to mow grass. Temperatures were so mild that turf growth was initiated more than a month early, and pest development occurred on a similar timetable. The grass never stopped growing, so it was an exceptionally long season.

Thus far, it has been a good winter for facilities in most of the Northeast. There are always a few concerns regarding winter injury, but temperatures have been consistently colder this year, and cold temperatures foster hope that nematodes and insect populations may be naturally held in check. One certainly hopes so.

Even with cold temperatures, it will not take adult annual bluegrass weevils long to become active once warmer temperatures arrive. Therefore, now is the time to fine tune control strategies and prepare to install pitfall traps. Annual bluegrass weevils remain the biggest insect challenge for turfgrass managers in this region, and staying on top of their development and migration is key to their control. They seem to get moving earlier every year, so start looking before you actually expect to see them.

It is impossible to predict what we will encounter this year, so now is the time to relax, plan and take advantage of remaining winter educational opportunities. Best of luck for a successful 2013 season and, as always, give us a call if we can help you and your facility.

Source: Northeast Region Green Section - Dave Oatis, director; Adam Moeller, agronomist Jim Skorulski, senior agronomist