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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92 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.14 Weed management options on golf course putting greens Signifcant weed infestations are not common on creeping bentgrass and hybrid bermudagrass putting greens, but when they are, help is available. The two most common turfgrass spe- cies planted on golf course putting greens are creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) and hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis). When managed appropriately, both species provide high-quality playing surfaces. However, turfgrasses managed for putting green use are subjected to a consider - able amount of stress. These grasses are often mowed daily at heights less than 0.15 inch (3.81 millimeters) and are subjected to heavy traffc from both golfers and maintenance equipment. Broadleaf and monocot (grasses, sedges, kyllinga) weeds can invade putting greens lacking density and vigor. Reduction in den - sity and vigor may come from mechanical in- jury following cultivation and traffc, voids left from ball marks, damage from insects and disease, and environmental stresses, which can all lead to weed invasion. Weed control on golf course putting greens can be diffcult as few herbicides are labeled for use on put - ting greens because stress renders them more susceptible to herbicide injury that can com - promise both aesthetic and functional turf quality. Additionally, putting green turf is the most valuable acreage on the golf course and is expensive to repair if injured. Many com - panies do not register herbicides for use on greens because they want to avoid being liable for potential injury and because putting greens make up an infnitesimally small percentage of the total turf acreage in the world. In many J.T. Brosnan, Ph.D. G.K. Breeden, M.S. A.J. Patton, Ph.D. instances, herbicide labels neither allow nor restrict applications to putting greens, which places all liability on the end users. Grassy weeds Crabgrass (Digitaria species), goosegrass (Eleusine indica) and annual bluegrass (Poa annua) are three of the most common annual grassy weeds of creeping bentgrass and hybrid bermudagrass putting greens. Crabgrass and goosegrass Summer annual species such as crabgrass and goosegrass germinate in spring, and seed - lings mature throughout the summer. Pre- emergence control of these weed species is the easiest means of control. A list of pre-emer - gence herbicides labeled for creeping bentgrass Summer stress from heat, drought, and disease as well as mechanical injury from equipment and golfer traffc can compromise putting green quality and provide opportunity for weed invasion. Photos by A. Patton

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