It Is Never Good To Procrastinate! February 27, 2015

It Is Never Good To Procrastinate!

By Keith Happ, Senior Agronomist
May 4, 2009

Erratic spring weather patterns have resulted in temperature fluctuations by as much as 60 degrees in only six days. For example, snow blanketed the southern portion of West Virginia and southwestern Virginia during the third week in April, however, the last week in April brought temperatures near record highs with bright sunny skies and dry winds. This temperature change has triggered a turf response. Cool-season grasses are flowering and warm-season turf has broken dormancy and is beginning to grow.

Poa annua seedhead control in the spring is always an important discussion topic. Without seedhead suppression, turf can become bumpy with an uneven ball roll. Several different strategies have been used throughout the region to control Poa annua flowering. Timing is everything so treating early may not deliver the best results. Monitoring growing degree days has worked well, and leaving a check plot provides a clear picture of the differences in surface quality that can be achieved. During Turf Advisory Service (TAS) visits this spring, as much as 90 to 95 percent control has been witnessed, although any amount of suppression of Poa annua seedheads is important for improved playing quality.

Turf managers who delayed spring putting green core aeration until the turf is growing have been rewarded with faster recovery in contrast to an earlier timing when the grass was still semi-dormant. Also, as soils warm, the turf responds better to fertilizer applications. This is particularly important if bentgrass is the primary turf on greens, tees or fairways. The bermudagrass in the southern tier of the Mid-Atlantic Region is finally beginning to grow as a result of the recent warmer weather.

TAS travels have provided an opportunity to examine all areas of the region for insect activity. Adult Hyperode weevils have been found in Pittsburgh, Wheeling, WV and in Berkley Springs, WV, as well as most of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Black turfgrass Ataenius adults have been found in abundance in Charleston, WV, Bluefield, VA, Roanoke, VA and Winchester, VA. Scouting for these adult insects allows control programs to be implemented in an effective manner. Controlling the adults can minimize the occurrence of many problems later in the year. Contact us if you have questions regarding control procedures.

Finally, continue to monitor drought conditions in your area. Don't be caught off guard by a regulatory authority enacting a drought watch or warning. Be prepared to submit all pertinent information. While very little irrigation has been necessary, it is still important to document monthly irrigation totals.

The May 15 th , early payment deadline is fast approaching for Green Section TAS visits. To take advantage of the $500 discount, payment or the appropriate purchase order (military and municipal facilities only) must be received by May 15 th . Your visit can be scheduled at any time during the season. More than ever, it is important to save money, and TAS visits can be tailored to cost saving recommendations.