Sunday, October 2, 2016

How do you spell R-E-C-O-V-E-R-Y?

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

The weather over the last month has provided ideal recovery conditions.  Cool nights and warm days coupled with low humidity is the recipe for successful turf management.  The average morning temperatures lows have been in the mid-50s and afternoon highs have been in the 70s.  These weather conditions reduce the risk is of turf loss because of cooler temperatures, shorter day lengths and low evapotranspiration rates.  Also with low ET rates little rain or irrigation is needed to provide the turf with adequate moisture.  Unfortunately we have received 4.27” of rain this month.  The time needed to dry out has now increased due to lowered temperatures coupled with shorter day lengths.  With that being said you may have noticed some different conditions that develop with prolonged periods of moisture.

Pictured to the right is algae; it develops during long periods of warm rain, wet and moist conditions.  If monitored and controlled immediately, it will not overtake the turf, just give the greens a black speckled look.  Chemical applications are used to eliminate the algae but will not prevent it from returning.  Below are the ways we prevent/minimize algae from developing on our greens.

  • Maintain good soil fertility and pH
  • Improve drainage
  • Increase light penetration and air circulation
  • Aerate soils
  • Irrigate deeply and infrequently

During periods of long wet periods in late summer and early fall, different varieties bluegrass can develop rust.  The yellowing of the turf is the first sign of rust (pictured below).

Overtime, the turf turns a red-orange and starts to thin out.  Rust is transferred through spores (pictured below); which you might see on your shoes when you walk through, or an orange cloud when you mow, the infected turf. 

Rust does not kill turf but opens up susceptibility to other infections.  Below are ways we minimize the spread of rust.
  • Lessen mowing frequency
  • Good fertility
  • Chemical control (last resort)

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