Golf Course Management

DEC 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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12.18 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 61 species that attack bermudagrass (7). Careful scouting for witches' brooms should begin in areas where the bermudagrass turf appears stressed or thinned. However, plant responses to nematodes, root diseases or moisture stress can be superficially similar to bermudagrass mite damage, and witches' brooms do not al ways appear in some cultivars (for example, Tifway) despite infestation. erefore, ber mudagrass mite presence should be confirmed with careful examination of stems by peeling back leaf sheaths. State extension specialists or plant pest diagnostic laboratories can also confirm mite presence. Resistant bermudagrass cultivars No common or hybrid bermudagrass cul tivars are truly resistant to bermudagrass mite. FloraTex, Midiron, Tifdwarf, Tifgreen and Tifway had demonstrated resistance (11), but the same cultivars have been found susceptible in other experiments and field observations. e senior author has found Celebration to be highly susceptible, whereas other research ers (7) did not find any bermudagrass mite on Cynodon transvaalensis in Australia. Replac ing common and hybrid bermudagrass with C. transvaalensis and other warm season grass species, where possible, is a potential manage ment option for severely infested golf courses. Newly introduced bermudagrass cultivars should be evaluated for their susceptibility to the bermudagrass mite. Biological control e natural enemies of bermudagrass mite are largely unknown. Several species of pred atory mites and pathogenic fungi have been reported, but these species are for eriophyid mites in general, and none has been commer cially produced and sold. Cultural and mechanical control e observations that bermudagrass mite damage is often associated with moisture stress suggest that irrigation management may be a pest management tool. Reducing nitrogen fertilization is also suggested as a management option. Several golf courses in the Carolinas reported lower incidence of bermudagrass mite damage as grass emerged from a winter of extreme cold in 2018. ese reports and management suggestions are, however, largely anecdotal. No study has been conducted to identify the irrigation regime, nitrogen fertil Figure 4. Bermudagrass mite damage is often most severe on slopes and bunker faces, likely because the greater moisture stress in these areas exacerbates the mite damage. Figure 5. Renovation of damaged areas, such as replacing dead patches with bermudagrass sod, does not provide a long-term solution to bermudagrass mite infestation.

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