Turf materials: Are you buying enough?

By |  November 13, 2015 0 Comments

march1972_coverOrdering through an early order program allows superintendents to plan their maintenance program for the following year while saving money. However, other factors sometimes can change those plans. ¶ In 1972 various regions of the U.S. had precipitation levels well above the long-term averages. The flooding and standing water experienced in those areas caused excessively wet soil conditions. These new circumstances caused superintendents to rethink maintenance programs for 1973. To help the affected professionals prepare their courses Golfdom provided a list of problems that could occur in its March 1973 issue.

We have condensed that list below. To read the full article visit golfdom.com/exclusive.

Soil compaction

Excessively wet soil conditions during 1972 have most probably resulted in greater soil compaction under turfs than would normally be experienced during a growing season. Wet soils approaching field capacity are more prone to compaction than drier soils. This means that deep-soil cultivation, in the form of coring or slicing, will have to be increased during 1973.

Winter disease

The two snow mold diseases, Typhula blight and Fusarium patch, also are enhanced by wet soil conditions during winter periods when the soil is not frozen. This increased winter disease activity means that snow-mold fungicide application rates, which would normally be effective under drier conditions, may fail to give adequate control. Thus, golf courses that attempt to economize by using marginally low fungicide rates may suffer above-normal damage from snow mold diseases.

Low-temperature kill

The bermudagrasses and annual bluegrass are particularly prone to this type of kill. Standing water at the soil surface, which increases the water content in the turfgrass tissues will greatly increase the proneness to direct low-temperature kill. If the wet soil conditions persist throughout the winter period and the proper combination of low temperatures and frequent freezing and thawing occur, a significant increase in turf damage caused by low-temperature kill can be expected.

Restricted rooting

The excessively wet conditions during the 1972 growing season resulted in many golf course turfs entering the winter dormancy period with a drastically reduced root system. This means that the overall health and vigor of the turf is below the desired standard. If the winter season has been characterized by a lack of snow cover plus increased atmospheric desiccation and soil drought, the turf also will be more prone to injury from winter desiccation.

1973 fertilization program

Excessive rainfall during 1972 has increased the degree of soil leaching, particularly nitrogen. This means somewhat higher nitrogen fertilization rates will have to be utilized to correct the situation. Most frequently, this increased nitrogen fertilization requirement due to excessive soil leaching does not become a problem until the following year. Thus, golf course maintenance personnel should be alert to this potential problem. Nitrogen fertilization levels should be adjusted somewhat higher if the normal turfgrass color, density and growth rate cannot be maintained with the nitrogen fertility levels utilized in previous years.

Spring green-up

The earlier in the spring that the soil warms up, the earlier that turfgrass spring green-up and growth occur. The rate at which soils warm up is strongly affected by the soil mositure level. Wet soils are much slower to warm up than drier soils due to the higher specific heat of water. Thus, if the soils are excessively wet during the spring period, the turfgrass maintenance personnel should not get overly concerned and attempt to stimulate spring green-up and growth by applying nitrogen fertilizer.

Photo: Golfdom

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