Turf Reduction Program Success November 18, 2015 By Patrick O'Brien, agronomist, Southeast Region

New warm-season native grass areas composed of little bluestem and broomsedge at Capital City Crabapple made a dramatic improvement to the golf course presentation and design.

Turfgrass reduction programs are underway at numerous golf courses throughout the Southeast Region. One recent success story was at the Capital City Crabapple facility where 23-acres of native bluestem and broomsedge was established this past summer. These warm-season native grasses replaced TifSport bermudagrass rough areas. A key benefit was to enhance the course visual presentation and design, but an important added environmental value was the elimination of fertilizer and water applications to these areas.

A unique establishment program was used by the agronomic staff under the direction of Kyle Marshall, Director of Golf Course & Grounds, and Michael Studier, Superintendent. Before planting, Roundup and Fusilade herbicides were applied last fall to setback the TifSport bermudagrass. The conversion areas were then drill-seeded using a Truax machine during mid-June. This method ensured excellent seed-to-soil contact improving germination. This process reduced establishment time from years to months.

The contrast of these new native grass areas to the bermudagrass fairways and roughs is dramatic and significantly adds to the course presentation. Membership comments about these new native grass areas have been very positive.

Source: Patrick O’Brien (


Southeast Region Agronomists:

John H. Foy, regional director –

Chris Hartwiger, director, USGA Course Consulting Service -

Patrick M O’Brien, agronomist –

Todd Lowe, agronomist –


Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

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