Article by: Pamela Sherratt With the beginning of spring it's time to start planning season fertilizer programs! Important tasks carried out now in preparation for the season ahead may include a soil test. Conducting a spring soil test provides a historical record of the soil pH and soil nutrient status. This supplies information on how well last year’s fertility program provided for the need of the turf. It also provides information that is used to develop your fertility management plan for the current season. Soil pH and soil nutrient analyses are critical.
Calcined clay is a popular soil amendment used on baseball infields for water management and soil conditioning. Clay is heated at a high temperature, about 1500 degrees Fahrenheit to expand the clay forming calcined clay. On baseball fields calcined clay is used to fill in infield depressions caused by cleats and smooth the surface to provide a true baseball bounce, which contributes to the safety of the field. Calcined clay absorbs water that can help dry a field after a rainstorm, and firm the surface.
Creeping bentgrass is considered a weed on athletic fields and lawns. It produces a superb playing surface for golf and it has great recuperative potential, but it’s shallow roots and lack of wear tolerance make it unsuitable for most athletic sports.
Tenacity (mesotrione) is the first herbicide that results in rapid, easy to visualize reductions in weedy perennial grasses, including creeping bentgrass. Best control, according to most research of creeping bentgrass, is achieved if three applications are made on 14-21 day intervals.
Whether you like it or not, spring highlights the amazing ability of Poa annua to produce seed. The ability to produce copious seed is an evasive characteristic of Poa annua's evolution of different survival strategies (Cline et al., 1993). I think one of the most amazing characteristics of Poa annua, and also a detriment from a golfing perspective is the flowering ability of Poa annua under low mowing heights.
Crabgrass (Digitaria spp) is a major problem in both cool-season and warm-season turfgrasses As a general rule, crabgrass tends to be more of a problem in temperate climates and less of a problem in tropical regions. In temperate regions the most important and likely the first weed control practice of the year is the proper timing of a pre-emergent herbicide application for crabgrass.
Typhula blight, also known as gray snow mold or speckled snow mold, is most severe under extended periods of deep snow that covers a wet turfgrass on unfrozen soil. The pathogen Typhula incarnata is most active when temperatures are 1-2 C. Grayish to straw colored circular patches ranging from 2.5 cm to 1 meter in diameter appear at snow melt. A grayish mycelium may be present infected turf, which gives it the grayish or speckled look.
Covering greens to protect them from winter injury (see Winter Injury publication) are often used in the northern temperate regions. Covers can be broken down into two major categories permeable and impermeable. Permeable covers allow for air, light, and water to penetrate the cover. Permeable covers are used to protect greens from wind and sun exposure (desiccation). In addition they are often used in the spring to promote spring green-up and where turf has been damaged used to help in turf recovery.
Frost is a common reason for morning tee time delay. The reason for the delays is the damage that can occur from foot or equipment traffic to the turf when frost is present. Generally speaking, nice fall golfing days and frost go hand-in-hand. With more frost days expected, this is a good time to look at the conditions favorable for frost.