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Is That You, Spring? April 17, 2015 By Elliott L. Dowling, agronomist, Northeast Region

Golf courses throughout the southern tier of the Northeast Region are in spring mode, completing aeration, preemergence weed controls and fall projects before the summer stress begins.


While most of the northern portion of the Northeast Region continues to struggle with winter injury, golf courses in the southern states are preparing for the upcoming season. Winter injury has been of little concern in Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware and Virginia.

If you have read any of the 2015 Northeast Regional Updates, you have undoubtedly read that winter injury is significant throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, New England and Canada. Time will tell the full extent of winter damage. Know that if your golf course experienced damage, it is critical to manage traffic and promote turf health during spring and early summer to avoid delaying recovery. For additional information, refer to Adam Moeller’s video update dealing with winter injury recovery.

Many courses are finished, or soon will be finished, with aeration. Aeration promotes early spring rooting that pays dividends throughout the summer. Shattering zones of compaction with core and/or deep-tine aeration provides increased pore space for root growth. Timing spring aeration is difficult and differs from one course to another.

Throughout the traditional mid-Atlantic region, the timing is right to apply preemergence herbicides for crabgrass and broadleaf weed control. If you have not applied preemergence herbicides, it is recommended you do so as soon as possible. Proper timing for applying preemergence herbicides depends on soil temperature. Soils need to be 55 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 to 48 hours for crabgrass to germinate. Many preemergence controls must be in the soil and activated by irrigation or rainfall before crabgrass germination for optimal control. Applying preemergence herbicides one or two weeks early will not negatively affect weed control – as soil temperatures rise, the preemergence products will become active in the soil.

Lastly, annual bluegrass weevils (ABW) soon will begin to leave their overwintering sites and move toward playing surfaces. Research suggests that panicking and applying controls at the first sight of ABW may accelerate the onset of chemical resistance. Rather, use natural indicators – such as forsythia bloom – and scouting to determine when to apply ABW controls. Controlling the first generation adults and larvae is the goal for season-long success; to do this wait until adult ABW populations peak before making a control application.


Source: Elliott Dowling (

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