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Break The Annual Cycle Of Traffic Damage August 5, 2016 By John Daniels, agronomist, Central Region

Identifying and mapping areas where turf is prone to injury during summer can help you develop and implement a strategy for preventing similar damage next year.

August has arrived and many golf course superintendents are ready to put the “dog days of summer” behind them. The days are getting shorter and soon temperatures will be decreasing rather than increasing, finally giving weak, thin areas of cool-season turf a chance to recover.

It should come as no surprise that the annual cycle of turfgrass injury and recovery generally occurs in the same locations every season. The cycle often occurs in areas of heavy traffic where the cumulative effects of wear and compaction caused by golf carts and maintenance equipment manifest themselves near pinch points created by bunkers, trees and water hazards. Documenting weak areas using a combination of photographs and maps can help break the cycle of damage and recovery. Without records, it is all too easy to forget about areas that are prone to damage when the course looks great again next spring.

Once problem areas are identified, appropriate management practices can be implemented before stressful weather returns. Areas that are typically weakened by heavy traffic can be improved with supplemental nitrogen, targeted aeration, or strategies to mitigate cart traffic such as directional stakes, ropes and signs. Using preventative maintenance strategies can be far less expensive than repairing and replacing the turf in weak areas every year.


Central Region Agronomists:

Bob Vavrek, regional director –

John Daniels, agronomist –

Zach Nicoludis, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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