Area Superintendents Learn Latest Research Findings at Recent Ohio Conference

Nearly 100 golf course superintendents from western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio braved snow and ice to attend Bayer Environmental Science’s Conference at the Border in late January.

Hosted by Jerry Cox, superintendent at Tippecanoe Country Club, Canfield, Ohio, the conference featured an educational program and gave superintendents in both states the opportunity to earn professional educational credits and state certification.

The group, representative of superintendents at the 16,143 courses across America, heard the latest research findings from a variety of university experts. They included:

  • Penn State Plant Pathologist Dr. Wakar Uddin, who warned that anthracnose on turf is a growing concern in the mid-Atlantic region. “This is usually a disease of stressed turf,” he said, “but recently it is attacking vigorous turf. It is becoming more aggressive, more virulent.”
  • Dr. Karl Danneberger, Ohio State turfgrass specialist, who stressed the basics: proper water management, good air movement across greens, managing organic matter accumulation. “Small things impact turf growth,” he said. “You can have all the money you want in your budget, but without good agronomic practices, you will lose your greens. Money will cover up poor management for a while, but the problems will catch up to you.”
  • Penn State Turfgrass Specialist Dr. Thomas Watschke, who advised superintendents to suppress Poa annua seedheads on annual bluegrass as a best management practice. He said to keep suppression goals reasonable. Even 50 percent suppression means 50 percent better playability, he noted, and anything in the 50 to 80 percent range should be considered good.
  • Ohio State Entomologist Harry Niemczyk, who said the reason for almost every instance of unsatisfactory pest control is that the control agent did not reach the target. “There is no evidence that there is resistance buildup to the compounds we have today,” he said.

Rather, Niemczyk said, the likely causes for problems are poor timing of application, equipment difficulties causing rate or distribution problems, improper watering of the material, or material getting tied up in the thatch and not reaching its target.

In addition to turf problems, Pat Jones, principal at Flagstick LLC, said superintendents will deal with the 4 Cs in the coming year: Competition, especially from other courses; Convergence, as course owners and managers get more involved in the agronomic management that used to be a superintendent’s bailiwick; Consolidation, both of golf organizations and vendors providing product; and Cooperation, with area courses working together to buy materials and share equipment.

The program, part of Bayer’s on-going series of educational events, was supported by several distributor partners including E.H. Griffith, Harrell’s Turf Supply, Lesco Inc., ProSource One, and Verdicon.

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© 2016 Penton Media Inc.

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