Tuesday, July 27, 2010



This article is written by Dr Treadway from NC State in reference to the benefits of air movement around green sites. Referring to the tough summer alot of golf course have had this year

Posted by Lane at 1:38 PM Tuesday, July 27, 2010 Labels: bacterial wilt , brown patch , creeping bentgrass , putting greens , Pythium root rot , Rhizoctonia , Southeast , summer decline , summer patch , summer stress
I'm back.

For those of you who were hoping that my first post would be on bacterial wilt, I am sorry to disappoint you, but we have more important problems here in the Southeast right now.

Several years ago, I got a call from an angry homeowner who lived in a golf course community. The golf course superintendent had installed a fan adjacent to the green in her back yard. Said fan was preventing her from enjoying her patio, keeping her awake at night, and reducing the value of her property.

She must have been a scientist of some sort, because she asked me if I had a mathematical model that could be used to determine if a fan was necessary. So I broke out my plant physiology, meteorology, and calculus books and after several weeks of analysis, I came up with the following equation:


I don't think she liked that answer because I never heard from her again. But this summer is proving my equation to be correct: I have never seen fans make such a huge difference in the survival of creeping bentgrass putting greens as they are this year. Just about everywhere I've visited, the creeping bentgrass being impacted by fans is relatively healthy, whereas the turf furthest away from the fans or on greens without fans is really struggling.

It's been a difficult summer and there's no sign of it getting any easier. But if one positive thing can come out of it, we can use it to demonstrate the benefit of turf fans, fine tune the placement of existing fans, or fight for the money to install additional fans. Don't miss this opportunity!

On the disease side, a number of superintendents in our area are still struggling with Pythium root rot, and some summer patch is also showing up on creeping bentgrass greens. For more information about these diseases, please see the following post from last year.

We have also seen a couple of cases of Rhizoctonia zeae on creeping bentgrass greens. This pathogen induces similar symptoms to brown patch, but is active at higher temperatures and the patches or rings have more of an orange coloration. Most fungicides labeled for brown patch will provide good control of R. zeae, but this pathogen is not sensitive to thiophanate-methyl and is less sensitive to iprodione so you should avoid these products.

irrigation storage pond

The irrigation pond is getting extremely low. We will be cutting back on watering fairways and roughs to a couples days a week until rain fall can replenish the pond. In past years we have seen this trend. Usually by late August to early September or as hurricane season starts in the tropics. This should bring better chances for heavy rains and property runoff that will help with pond replenishment

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

course Updates

The Venting of the greens using the 9mm tines went well on Monday. The greens have been rolled and there is hardly any evidence that anything was done. Although there is litlle disruption these tiny holes do provide a good channel for air to move into the root zone which helps to cool the plant.

The Bermuda grass is really growing with the hot temperture and weekly fertilization. The beginning of the summer was truely a beast. The early extreme heat really effected the transition of the rye to Bermuda grass along with the heavy shaded areas along the fairways cut. We have replaced the big areas of Bermuda grass that we felt would not grow in before fall. These areas should all blend in nicely during the next couple of weeks.

The shade lines on 3,10 and 15 will be sprayed out and reseeded during the middle of August. We will use a blend of shade tolerate fescue and rye grass. This is a better option for these heavy shaded areas. Will will also be looking at tree removal through out the entire property to help with better Bermuda growth in the future.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists (USGA)

By Darin S. Bevard , Senior Agronomist
July 16, 2010

A large portion of the Mid-Atlantic Region has experienced a long spell of dry, hot weather – burned-out rough, drought-stressed fairways, water supplies running on empty and temperatures hovering near 100 degrees. While some areas received timely rains, many remain dry. Luckily, limited rainfall occurred with the high temperatures, which made the high temperature conditions tolerable until the other shoe dropped.

Torrential rains have occurred in many areas, especially the eastern half of the region. While cool season grasses tolerate hot weather very well, the combination of high temperatures and high humidity had predictable results - turfgrass stress and decline occurring on putting greens in these rain-soaked areas. Poa annua is the most affected to date.

Now is the time to be conservative on putting greens. Mowing heights should be raised, if necessary. Putting green mowers should be outfitted with a solid front roller if stress is noted on greens. Aggressive grooming practices should be suspended under harsh environmental conditions. These decisions are not arbitrary. If your grass is performing well, monitor it closely and make wise decisions, but maintenance can continue as normal. If any stress is noted, consider some practices to alleviate stress.

Water management also is critical. With torrential rain, Mother Nature is in control of the water. When she isn’t, minimize use of overhead irrigation to the extent that your resources allow. Hand watering is labor intensive, but when talking about the difference between survival and decline of the putting greens, labor must be allocated for this important practice. Hand watering allows the areas that need water to be addressed site-specifically without over watering other areas.

The next month will be difficult as turfgrass roots have been compromised. Disease pressure is extremelyhigh. The goal is to keep the grass as healthy as possible even if some level of playability must be sacrificed. Pushing for green speed under current weather conditions may lead to rapid grass decline. Some golfers may be upset that the greens are a little slow, but all golfers will be upset if they are a little dead. Superintendents must make good decisions, and golfers need to respect them.

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists are part of your agronomic support team. If you have a question or concern, give us a call or send an e-mail. Stan Zontek ( and Darin Bevard ( at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ ( at 412/ 341-5922.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Disease management of new greens

Getting a handle on pythium root dysfunction
by John Reitman

A fungicide program along with regular aerification and topdressing can help ward off this disease that targets new stands of bentgrass
A variety of words come to mind when the subject of pythium root dysfunction arises. Although none of those words is particularly nice, among the ones that at least are fit to print are frightening, frustrating, dreaded, debilitating and even ironic.

Caused by the pathogen pythium volutum – at least in the Southeast – pythium root dysfunction is a fungal disease that attacks the roots of creeping bentgrass, limiting its ability to extract water and nutrients from the soil. It is not found on old or compacted greens that one might typically associate with disease pressure. Instead, it targets those greens that many golfers covet, primarily those that are less than 10 years old and have been constructed on well-draining, sandy soils. In fact, the same conditions that make sand-based greens susceptible to other diseases – a porous profile and aggressive management practices – also make bentgrass putting surfaces prime for outbreaks of pythium root dysfunction.

“In sand-based putting surfaces it is not unusual for them to percolate 20 inches an hour to maintain a firm putting surface,” said Lane Tredway, Ph.D., turfgrass pathologist at North Carolina State University and a leading author on pythium root dysfunction. “The problem is, if the putting surface is moving water that fast then it’s not holding any water at all, or any nutrition either.

“Pythium volutum results in damage to the roots and makes the plant more susceptible to drought. It just can’t survive.”

Despite its relatively recent appearance on golf course turf, pythium root dysfunction is a disease for which there exist preventive and curative control options, namely a rotational fungicide program and management practices that alleviate stress to the turf, possibly including a routine of reduced mowing coupled with lightweight rolling.

Although no rolling research has been conducted with pythium root dysfunction in mind, many who have studied the effects of rolling believe that promoting better overall plant health through mowing less and rolling more is a win-win situation that can help protect turf against many diseases.

“I would agree with that,” said John Sorochan, Ph.D., of the University of Tennessee. “For a disease to be a problem it needs a susceptible host. By implementing a mowing/rolling program you can maintain healthier bentgrass, and it becomes less of an ideal host for this disease.”

Adding to the contradictory nature of pythium root dysfunction are the preventive steps that researchers who have studied the disease recommend for minimizing the chances that it manifests on a new – and expensive – putting green. Although it is found on fast-draining, sand-based greens, more topdressing as well as punching holes in the surface are recommended.

Tredway specifically suggests a program of hollow tining in the spring and fall, accompanied by use of solid tines during the summer, as well as light, frequent topdressing applications.

“That seems counterintuitive since (pythium root dysfunction) is more severe in sandy soils and well-aerified situations,” Tredway said. “The problem with some of the newer bents is that the topdress is so dense that the surface seals up quickly and there is not enough oxygen in the soil profile, so the roots have a hard time persisting in hot weather.”

First observed in the late 1970s in parts of Canada and the Northern Plains, pythium root dysfunction is caused by different pathogens in different parts of the country (pythium arrhenomanes and pythium aristosporum were documented as pathogens inducing PRD in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic). The pathogen that causes pythium root dysfunction in the Southeast – where it still is a relatively new disease – typically infects bentgrass roots during warm, dry periods in the spring, fall or winter.

Symptoms of infestation, which comprise circles or patches that range in size from a few inches to a few feet in diameter, do not manifest until summer after being prodded along by additional stress factors such as low mowing heights, searing heat and traffic on a surface maintained with little water and even less fertilizer. By then, roots have died back and root hairs –which the plant needs to absorb water and nutrients – have all but disappeared. Infected roots begin to dieback rapidly when soil temperatures exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Among the major factors at play are that superintendents are not irrigating or fertilizing enough,” Tredway said. “It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Symptoms are similar to those found in take-all patch, a disease for which pythium root dysfunction often is mistaken. In fact, Tredway surmised that pythium root dysfunction might have been misdiagnosed for years, before it was first correctly identified.

According to university research, fungicides typically used to control standard pythium have resulted in poor control of pythium root dysfunction when used alone. Researchers at North Carolina State recommended – for golf courses in the Southeast – a rotation of pyraclostrobin (BASF’s Insignia) and cyazofamid (FMC’s Segway), both applied at a rate of 0.9 ounces per 1,000 square feet, as well as a combination of Signature and Banol (4 ounces plus 2 ounces per 1,000) or Signature and Subdue Maxx (4 ounces plus 1 ounce per 1,000) to reduce the threat of resistance. Preventive treatments were applied every 21 to 28 days in the fall and spring when soil temperatures were between 50 degrees and 75 degrees. Curative applications were made every 14 days to 28 days depending on the severity of the outbreak, according to research.

Research conducted at several universities, including Michigan State, Rutgers and Tennessee, have shown that mowing three to four times per week and rolling daily can leave putting surfaces less susceptible to diseases such as dollar spot and anthracnose.

Although no research as been conducted that measures the effects of reduced mowing and lightweight rolling on pythium root dysfunction, many agree that any management practice that results in a healthier plant could help ward off diseases like PRD.

“We don’t have any data to prove that, but it makes common sense,” Tredway said.

“The key thing is to alleviate stress. What you are seeing in the turf are signs of stress.”

In a TurfNet University Webinar conducted in 2009, Thomas Nikolai, Ph.D., of Michigan State presented a slide stating that “Rolling every day and mowing every other, that’s right, rolling every day and mowing every other . . . results in the most uniform playing conditions (green speed) throughout the day and from day to day on bentgrass, better turf quality than mowing every day and rolling every other, and more uniform playability with possible economic savings and decreased disease.”

Nikolai also noted in an e-mail that his early rolling research showed that rolling as little as three times per week led to increased root mass compared with the control plots.

Tennessee’s Sorochan has conducted extensive research on the effects of lightweight rolling on putting surfaces, including some with Nikolai.

“It’s not a silver bullet, but it is another tool to improve the quality of greens,” he said.
“I think Dr. Nikolai’s point was to show at what point are you killing turf, and it didn’t happen. I don’t know if there is such a thing as rolling too much. . . . I would recommend rolling, and rolling often; even multiple times per day. People think it’s crazy, but the data doesn’t lie.”
- Paul Giordano, graduate student at Michigan State University
As a graduate student at Michigan State studying under Nikolai and Joe Vargas, Ph.D., Paul Giordano is preparing to defend his thesis on the effects of rolling on disease incidence – specifically dollar spot. He contends plants that are permitted to age – even by two days or so – more than daily mowed plots exhibit more natural disease resistance, and that a regular rolling regimen (with less frequent mowing) could help in the battle against pythium root dysfunction as well as other diseases.

His research indicates that rolling results in higher bacterial populations that could compete with fungal pathogens for food sources or even attack pathogens in soil-dwelling diseases.

And for those who fear regular rolling might lead to compacted greens, research at MSU shows that rolling as often as eight times per day resulted in improved turf quality compared with plots rolled daily or twice per day.

“I think Dr. Nikolai’s point was to show at what point are you killing turf, and it didn’t happen,” Giordano said. “I don’t know if there is such a thing as rolling too much.

“I would recommend rolling, and rolling often; even multiple times per day. People think it’s crazy, but the data doesn’t lie.”

Monday, July 12, 2010

We will be spraying for grubs in the fairways on July 12th. Over the next several days you may notice them on top of the ground.

The greens have been topdressed to help maintain a smooth putting surface. This will also help with some of the algae that may be present on a few greens. We will be spraying an algae-cide on July 13 to also help with these areas. This is not a big problem and is manageable.

Weak areas in the fairways and tees have been topdressed today to create a good surface for the Bermudgrass to cover over.

The Bermuda grass is growing good. With a little rain we will see a big difference in the density of the playing surface. We are using the irrigation water sparingly because the lake level is becoming very low.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ryegrass Transition and Bermudagrass Replacement

The turf care staff and east coast athletics company have completed laying sod on 10 fairway and around three green complex and approach. The turf care staff will be laying one more truck of Bermuda grass around six green,the left side of four fairway along with 10, 11 ladies tees. The high temperatures during the early part of June has most differently made it tough to transition from Rye grass to Bermuda grass. The shade line areas mostly around 3,4,5,6,10 have made it very challenging this year from the extended snow cover during the winter and the shade cover that has reduced the light for good Bermuda grass growth. Our plan for these heavy shaded areas are to selectively remove trees along 3,4,5 and 10 along with additional fescue seeding in the fall of the year. This will allow for good turf cover year round without any problems associated with shade. We will see very good coverage of Bermuda grass during the next few weeks.

We have been open for 12 months thus far after an extensive renovation to the golf course. We have had some challenges but over all the things we have been able to con trol I feel we have done well with. It takes around 3 years to have mature turf after a golf course has been renovation using Bermudagrass.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

native areas

We have been able to reduce are water input to the golf course by approximately 120,000 gallons of water per week. This is a big help for water management. By having the native areas we have saved money in labor,equipment cost,fuel, pesticide,fertilizer and power.