SHEDDING LIGHT ON SHADED TURF

Is your shaded turf looking peaked, thin and chlorotic? That's no surprise — turf grown in shade generally is thinner, lighter green, more succulent and more susceptible to diseases and traffic. This is especially problematic for turf in heavily shaded tee boxes, where it is further stressed by high traffic, divots, low mowing and often times excessive irrigation. Recently published research from the University of Wisconsin sheds some light on managing shaded turfgrass. Creeping bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass and supina bluegrass were treated with the plant growth regulator trinexapac ethyl (marketed as Primo by Syngenta, and Triple Play by LESCO) and either liquid or granular nitrogen fertilizer to identify the turfgrass species that best tolerates shade (80 percent), low mowing that is preferred on tees, tee traffic and treatments that address problems associated with turf color and succulent, elongated shoots. Supina bluegrass treated with plant growth regulator at least bimonthly and with granular nitrogen applied in the spring and the liquid nitrogen formulation in the summer and fall exhibited the best overall turf quality. Divots in creeping bentgrass recovered faster than those in either Kentucky or supine bluegrass. Neither the plant growth regulator nor nitrogen source affected divot recovery.

Steinke, J. and J.C. Stier. 2003. Nitrogen selection and growth regulator applications for improving shaded turf performance. Crop Science 43:1399-1406.

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