If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Say what you want about Poa annua, but I'd be willing to bet that the number of golf courses that elect to manage for Poa on greens--as opposed to controlling it--is bigger than you think. The course on which I worked in Massachusetts was a Poa course. Sure, the greens were originally seeded to bentgrass, but Poa was an ever-present force that we eventually capitulated to and joined the "If-you-can't-beat-'em, join-'em" crowd. Remembering the Poa greens I once pampered, this issue focuses on golf courses.

Apparently a few researchers at universities across the country recognize the dilemma superintendents face in dealing with Poa. This collection of researchers is trying to capitalize on Poa's persistence and develop commercially viable Poa varieties. Dr. David Huff, a turfgrass breeder with The Pennsylvania State University, is conducting a Poa breeding program that he hopes will produce the long-sought-after commercially marketed Poa annua varieties.

Most of the research on Poa has been directed at how to control it, and little is known about how to manage it, let alone develop varieties. During the years that he has worked with Poa, Dr. Huff has found a considerable amount of variation among Poa strains. Each strain responds differently to management, and--because of this--universal Poa management recommendations are difficult to formulate. Beginning on page 12, Dr. Huff offers some insights on managing Poa from what he has gleaned from his breeding program and superintendents' observations on the Poa they manage.

On the other side of the coin is Poa control. There still is no silver bullet that will take out Poa with a single shot. Your only viable strategy is to commit to a long-term effort of cultural and chemical control. Dr. Bert McCarty, professor of turfgrass science at Clemson University and author of "Controlling Poa annua in bentgrass greens" (page 17), will help you develop an overall strategy to keep Poa in check.

The course on which I worked was built in the early 1960s with push-up greens that eventually converted to Poa. Although all of us who worked on the course took pride in what we were able to achieve with what we had, the course doesn't compare to some that are being built today. Sycamore Ridge, in Spring Hill, Kan., is one such course. Being built so close to our editorial offices, we have been presented with a unique opportunity to follow the making of a golf course from beginning to final completion. From now until it is completed, we will publish a series of articles that cover the course's development. Look for the start of this series on page 32.

In our efforts to continually improve Grounds Maintenance, we have made a recent addition to our editorial staff. Doug Billings joined the staff as Technical Editor of equipment and irrigation. Prior to joining Grounds Maintenance, Doug worked for a landscape-contracting firm in Kansas. During the 7 years he worked for this firm, he was responsible for researching and purchasing grounds-care equipment, corporate-client relations, project management and sales-force planning. Doug also presented a wide range of proposals for mowing, irrigation installation, landscape installation and snow removal. Topping off his work experience, Doug has a bachelor's degree in communications and journalism and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, both from the University of Missouri--Kansas City. Doug will work with equipment- and irrigation-related articles for Grounds Maintenance and will write our new "Researching Maintenance--Equipment and Irrigation" department (page 86). Look for his byline in the pages of Grounds Maintenance.

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