Bayer Sponsors Education for Superintendents

Golf course superintendents from the Ohio River Valley earned credits toward professional certification at a meeting held recently at The Golf Center at King’s Island, near Cincinnati, Ohio.

The event was sponsored by Bayer Environmental Science with support from its distributor partners—Helena Chemical, Lesco, Inc., Simplot Partners, ProSource One, Turfgrass Inc. and United Horticultural Supply. University and industry turf specialists gave superintendents a look at the future of their business, offered tips on how to be more effective managers, and provided agronomic updates.

Karl Danneberger, Ohio State University turf specialist, urged superintendents to continue supplying plant foot via turf roots. “Today, with the move to foliar fertilizers, you are forgetting about the importance of the root system,” Danneberger said. “Plants evolved by taking up N through the roots, not the leaf cuticle.” He conceded that foliar feeding has a place when average daily soil temperatures are above 70 degrees or in stressful periods. However, he said, roots should be the focus of a complete feeding program.

Dan Potter, University of Kentucky Entomologist, said masked chafers, which have a red-brown head, and Japanese beetle grubs are the most destructive insects in the Midwest. He added that the adult Japanese beetles can smell a damaged plant and the pests will aggregate on injured plants. Potter noted that preventive treatments are very effective when applied before egg hatch. He recommended mid-June to mid-July as the best window for preventive control of the aforementioned grubs. He also noted that rescue treatments in late summer, after damage appears, usually give only partial (75 percent to 80 percent) control. “All grub materials need to be watered in to the zone where the grubs feed,” Potter continued.

Bruce Clarke, Rutgers University Plant Pathologist, said one of the best ways to fight diseases like anthracnose is to reduce plant stress. Typically seen on the stem or leaf, the anthracnose fungus also can be pathogenic on the root tissue. “During the past few years, we have seen an increase in the incidence and severity of anthracnose on golf courses throughout the east coast and mid-western states,” Clarke said. He added that current management practices on golf courses actually favor anthracnose. Drought stress also appears to predispose turf to anthracnose, he said. “The tendency to maintain dry turf and soil to improve playability and to enhance the competitiveness of bentgrass may actually stimulate disease development on annual bluegrass,” Clarke said. His recommendation: avoid wilt stress, particularly in the late afternoon hours.

A.J. Powell, extension agronomist at the University of Kentucky said getting the “right” species to thrive is another major challenge superintendents face. Plant growth regulators (PGRs) continue to be popular for Poa annua suppression in bentgrass greens. “You need to be particular about the application period,” he told superintendents. He recommended a three-week interval – no longer than four – to avoid recovery. Noting that PGRs typically are root-absorbed, Powell strongly recommended irrigating with a quarter-inch of water to get the material into the soil. He also recommended applying about a quarter-pound N from urea and some iron. He told superintendents to delay aerification or topdressing for two weeks after applying a PGR and to put off the next application of their PGR until two weeks after completing aerification.

A complete program for PGR use on Poa is at the University of Kentucky’s website: Follow the link to “golf” and then to the Poa suppression pages.

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