COURSE CARE
Mild Temperatures Increase Rounds, Revenue And Weeds July 19, 2019 By Brian Whitlark, agronomist, West Region

Despite preemergence herbicide applied in spring, crabgrass has inundated this bermudagrass area as a result of mild temperatures and above-normal precipitation.

Southern Arizona, southern Nevada, the Coachella Valley in California, and central California typically see triple-digit temperatures through much of May and June. Rounds at most golf facilities decrease as golfers try to escape the heat, but this year courses in these areas are generally reporting double-digit percentage increases in golf rounds and revenue over last year as a result of milder temperatures. Although the uptick in revenue is a welcome sight for golf facilities, the weather pattern has resulted in increased weed pressure and slow bermudagrass recovery from overseeding.

Courses in central California towns such as Fresno, Modesto and Visalia are challenged by significant crabgrass and goosegrass pressure despite having applied preemergence herbicides in the spring. Courses are scrambling to spot treat with postemergence products in high-profile areas, but this leaves visible scars that last for weeks and results are often inconsistent. In many cases, it is best to delay spray applications until next year and potentially expand the preemergence coverage by planning for two spring applications. For grassy and broadleaf weeds, use a combination of preemergence herbicides in the fall and spring, and utilize postemergence winter weed control in dormant turf. For difficult-to-control weeds such as Kyllinga and nutsedge, use a combination of postemergence and preemergence control methods over several years.

A shift to more proactive transition programs for overseeded courses has been widely successful in encouraging bermudagrass recovery. However, despite these improved programs, bermudagrass growth remains stagnant this year due to the mild temperatures and a significant delay in the monsoonal flow of moisture from Mexico. Resist the urge to apply additional nitrogen to encourage growth. Once humidity increases, the bermudagrass growth will increase substantially and excess nitrogen will only increase thatch and mowing requirements.

Every day, every year, golf course superintendents adjust agronomic practices and programs based on local weather conditions and patterns. This year, the primary challenge observed throughout the Southwest has been increased weed pressure and a significant delay in aggressive bermudagrass growth and recovery from overseeding due to mild temperatures in May and June. 

 

West Region Agronomists:

Patrick J. Gross, regional director – pgross@usga.org

Larry W. Gilhuly, agronomist – lgilhuly@usga.org

Brian S. Whitlark, agronomist – bwhitlark@usga.org

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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