Golf Course Management

AUG 2014

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

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86 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.14 Is the grass really greener? Pigmented products provided inconsistent health beneft. Bert McCarty, Ph.D. A.W. Gore J.R. Gann The golf course industry is constantly evolving, developing products to improve health and competitive beneft to turfgrasses that are often grown outside their naturally adapted regions. For example, various traits such as low mowing-height tolerance and excellent stand density have encouraged turf managers to establish cool-season turfgrasses in hotter and more humid climates (4). How - ever, issues often arise during stressful sum- mer conditions, resulting in a lowering of quality in what is referred to as summer bent - grass decline (1,2). As a result of this increased summer stress, some recently developed turf products contain various pigments, dyes, paints and other components to assist in sum - mer stress relief on cool-season greens and to speed spring green-up of warm-season grasses. Pigments and turf For turf managers, pigments serve an ad - ditional purpose by masking various imper- fections and inconsistencies, creating a more aesthetically pleasing turfgrass surface. How - ever, frequent use of pigments may alter the re- fection, transmission and absorption of light within the turfgrass canopy, reducing the level of photosynthetically active radiation required for photosynthesis and thus decreasing turf quality over time (6). Pigments consist of dry powders whose chemical composition depends on the spe - cifc color desired. White pigments are com- monly composed of titanium dioxide (TiO 2 ), whereas blue pigments contain phthalocya - nine (a copper-based compound) and green pigments consist of a more stable, chlorinated form of phthalocyanine (6). Previous research has demonstrated that combination products of aluminum tris + mancozeb with Pigment Blue 15 improve turf quality and color greater than combinations of aluminum tris + mancozeb lacking Pig - ment Blue 15 (3). The activity of aluminum tris + mancozeb appears to be synergistically enhanced by Pigment Blue 15. In combina - tion with the introduction of several pigment- containing products, the potential for paints and pigments to improve turfgrass health and mask symptoms of decline has since generated increased interest. Reported research supporting this inter - est is limited, especially on creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) putting greens grown under stressful conditions. The objective of the research was to evaluate the ability of such products to relieve summer stress on creep - ing bentgrass and to promote spring recovery of TifEagle bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] in the hot, humid southeastern United States. Materials and methods Field trials Over the past several years, feld research has been conducted at Clemson University in South Carolina on 12-year-old Crenshaw creeping bentgrass and TifEagle bermuda- grass putting greens built to USGA specifca- tions. Previous research at Clemson University focused on the effects of pigmented products (Table 1) on creeping bentgrass in regard to reducing the effects of summer heat stress (5). Additional research on this topic was initiated in the summer of 2013 and expanded to in - clude the effects on winter survival of hybrid bermudagrass as well as a new collection of potential products (Table 2). Product applications in the initial study began on June 18, 2011, and were made weekly through Sept. 3 at the products' labeled rates at the time of application. Applications were made with a carbon dioxide (CO 2 )-powered backpack sprayer delivering 20 gallons/acre (187 liters/hectare). Plots were arranged in Product/company Rate † Turf Screen (zinc oxide + titanium dioxide + pigment)/Turf Max 2.5 ounces/1,000 square feet (7.97 liters/hectare) PAR (copper phthalocyanine pigment)/ HarrellÕs LLC 0.37 ounce/1,000 square feet (1.17 liters/hectare) Evergreen (paint)/ Milliken Chemical 12 ounces/1,000 square feet (38.26 liters/hectare) Foursome (copper phthalocyanine pigment)/ Quali-Pro 0.37 ounce/1,000 square feet (1.17 liters/hectare) Applications were made weekly. Table 1. Products and rates used in 2011 to determine whether pigment-containing products reduce summer heat stress on creeping bentgrass. 2011 products and rates

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