Golf Course Management

JUL 2013

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

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Recommended reading gcm ex t ra The following references are recommended for readers seeking additional information. • Karcher, D. 2013. Wetting agent research update-Arkansas Turfgrass Science. WA.pdf • Karnok, K.J, and M. Beall. 1995. Localized dry spots caused by hydrophobic soil: What have we learned? Golf Course Management 63(8):57-59. • Karnok, K.J., and K.A. Tucker. 2001. Fight localized dry spots through the roots. Golf Course Management 69(7):58-60. • Karnok, K.J., and K.A. Tucker. 2001. Effects of futalonil fungicide and Primer wetting agent on water-repellent soil. HortTechnology 11 (3):437-440. • Karnok, K.J., and K.A. Tucker. 2002. Water-repellent soils, Part I. Where are we now? Golf Course Management 70(6):59-62. • Karnok, K.J., and K.A. Tucker. 2002. Water-repellent soils, Part II. More questions and answers. Golf Course Management 70(7):49-52. • Karnok, K.J., and K.A. Tucker. 2003. Turfgrass stress, waterrepellent soils and LDS. Golf Course Management 71(6):97-98. • Karnok, K.J., and K.A. Tucker. 2004. Wetting agents: What are they, and how do they work? Golf Course Management 72(6):8486. • Karnok, K.J., and K.A. Tucker. 2005. GCSAA-USGA wetting agent evaluation: Georgia. Golf Course Management 73(4):7074. • Karnok, K.J., and K.A. Tucker. 2006. Which wetting agent is best? Golf Course Management 74(7)82-83. • Karnok K.J., and K.A. Tucker. 2007. More FAQ about LDS: Hot spots and label rates. Golf Course Management 75(6):109-111. • Karnok K.J., and K.A. Tucker. 2008. Using wetting agents to improve irrigation effciency. Golf Course Management 76(6):109111. • Kostka, S.J. 2000. Amelioration of water repellency in highly managed soils and the enhancement of turfgrass performance through the systematic application of surfactants. Journal of Hydrology 231-232:359-368. • Kostka S.J., J.L. Cisar, S. Mitra, D.M. Park et al. 2007. Irrigation effciency — Surfactants can save water and help maintain turfgrass quality. Golf Course Industry 19(4):91-95. • Miller, J.P. 2007. Sensor-based irrigation and wetting agent application effects on a sand-based putting green. M.S. thesis University of Arkansas, United States — Arkansas. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from ProQuest Digital Dissertations database. (Publication No. AAT 442383). • Moore, Demie, S. Kostka, L. Lennert, M. Franklin, P. Bially and R. Moore. The evolution of soil wetting agents for managing water repellency in soils. Aquatrols Corporation of America. • Throssell, C., et al. 2005. GCSAA-USGA wetting agent evaluation. Golf Course Management 73(4):52-91. • Throssell, C. 2005. GCSAA-USGA wetting agent evaluation: Update. Golf Course Management 73(8):71-83. • Tucker, K.A., K.J. Karnok, D.E. Radcliffe, G. Landry Jr. et al. 1990. Localized dry spots as caused by hydrophobic sand on bentgrass greens. Agronomy Journal 82:549-555. • Zontek, Stanley J., and Stanley J. Kostka. 2012. Understanding the different wetting agent chemistries. USGA Green Section Record 50(15). 74 GCM July 2013 Wetting agents were tested at the University of Georgia to determine whether they caused phytotoxicity to turfgrass. The variation in color shows the range of phytotoxicity for several different products. Photos by Kevin Tucker turfgrass wetting agents. Classifcation systems are usually developed by scientifc or professional associations, societies or committees. No such group has developed a turfgrass wetting agent classifcation system. One reason such an offcial system does not exist is that it is nearly impossible to know the exact chemical makeup of a wetting agent without reverse chemical engineering of each wetting agent or without each company revealing the chemical makeup of its wetting agents. A look at the labels of the wetting agents on the market today shows that companies are not forthcoming in providing the chemical details of their products. The exact chemistry of these products is considered proprietary information. Keep in mind that wetting agents — unlike most other chemicals used in turfgrass management — are not regulated by state or federal governments, with the exception of a few states where registration is required. What about the unoffcial turfgrass wetting agent classifcations often seen today? Are such systems valid? Can they provide turfgrass managers a guide to the proper selection of a wetting agent? To answer that question, let's look at one classifcation system, using the results of the Wetting Agent Evaluation Study funded by the Environmental Institute for Golf and the United States Golf Association. The study was conducted in 2003 and 2004 and the results were published in GCM in April and August 2005. In this study, 10 wetting agents were evaluated at nine locations throughout the country. Exactly the same testing procedures were used at each location. Of the 10 wetting agents, nine (Aquaduct, Brilliance, Cascade Plus, Hydro-Wet, LescoFlo, Naiad, Primer Select, Surfside 37 and Tricure) ft into fve of the eight categories of a well-known wetting agent classifcation system developed by a wetting agent company. Since these nine wetting agents are represented in fve different categories, one would expect distinct differences in performance as suggested by the classifcation system. Quite the contrary occurred. In general, the results of this nationwide study varied considerably among locations. In some locations, in some years, there were few or no differences found among the 10 wetting agents in terms of phytotoxicity or their effects on soil water repellency (as measured by water-droplet penetra-

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