Golf Course Management

MAR 2017

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

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78 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.17 ity, good turf cover, and resistance to weed invasion throughout the two years, although some brown patch (R izoctonia solani Kuhn) did appear in the first year of the study. The colonial bentgrass was also prone to thatch de - velopment over the two years of growth. For the prairie junegrass, the released culti - var (Barkoel) did well, with superior turf qual- ity at a mowing height of 1.25 inch (3.175 cm). However, prairie junegrass selections from na - tive populations never did well and had poor quality throughout. This was related to poor establishment and leaf shredding at mowing. The tufted hairgrass selections looked good in the spring, but then declined in quality as a result of disease (mainly rust, Puccinia species) and general summer stress. And the Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass? They rarely had satisfactory quality. Mowing height had widely varying effects on turfgrass quality. For example, sometimes the lower mowing height created a higher- quality turf, (prairie junegrass, hard fescue, Kentucky bluegrass). With other species/cul - tivars, turfgrass quality improved as mowing height increased (perennial ryegrass, colonial bentgrass, tufted hairgrass). In general, in - creased nitrogen increased turf quality, regard- less of species. It was noted that the selections from na - tive populations of prairie junegrass and tufted hairgrass did not do well, which was evidence that selection for improved genetics is needed with these grasses. The species/cultivars that performed well for low-input turf were hard fescue, colonial bentgrass and Barkoel prairie junegrass. In climates like Minnesota's, hard fescue, colonial bentgrass and Barkoel prairie junegrass all have utility in low-input areas. These species (and the specific cultivars tested) performed well across all mowing heights and nitrogen rates. Source: Hugie, K.L., and E. Watkins. 2016. Performance of low-input turfgrass species as affected by mowing and nitrogen fertilization in Minnesota. HortScience 51:1278-1286. Beth Guertal, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., and the editor-in-chief for the American Society of Agronomy. She is a 19-year member of GCSAA. Beth Guertal, Ph.D. Twitter: @AUTurfFert (verdure) Published scientific research often focuses on the area of highest visibility and use on a golf course: the putting greens. However, a great golf course is certainly much more than its greens. Out-of-bounds and rough areas may not be the place a golfer wants to be, but the turfgrasses there can provide stunning backdrops to the fairways and greens. These areas, of course, are often mowed at a higher height and receive fewer inputs. Given the low-input needs of these areas, the folks at the University of Minnesota (Eric Watkins, Ph.D., and his graduate student Kari Hugie, now Dr. Hugie at the USDA) examined the impact of mowing height and nitrogen fertilization on the performance of four low-input cool-season turfgrass species. The intent of the work was to study the per - formance of these grasses as an alternative to Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass. So, in the summer of 2009, four different entries each of hard fescue [Festuca trac p lla (Hackel) Krajina], colonial bentgrass (Agrostis tenuis Sibth.), prairie junegrass [Koeleria mac - rant a (Ledeb.) Schult] and tufted hairgrass [Des ampsia cespitosa (L.)] were seeded at two different locations in Minnesota (St. Paul and Chaska). The various entries included selected cultivars and experimental populations. For comparison, one cultivar of perennial ryegrass (Arctic Green) and one cultivar of Kentucky bluegrass (MSP 3769) were also seeded in the studies. Treatments were three mowing heights (1.25, 2.25 or 3.25 inches [3.2, 5.7 or 8.3 cm]) and three nitrogen rates (none, 49 kilograms nitrogen/hectare/year [1 pound/1,000 square feet/year] in September, or 98 kilograms ni - trogen/hectare/year [2 pounds/1,000 square feet/year]) applied as split applications in May and September. The nitrogen source was an organic fertilizer with an 9N-0P-7.4K analy - sis. These treatments were continued over two years (2010 and 2011), with no irrigation or pesticide applications during that period. Col - lected data included turfgrass quality, percent live turf cover and percent weed cover. Hard fescue was the best performer for turfgrass quality, generally having the high - est quality scores as compared with all other grasses. It kept this higher quality over the range of nitrogen rates and mowing heights tested. Colonial bentgrass also had good qual - The species/ cultivars that performed well for low-input turf were hard fescue, colonial bentgrass and Barkoel prairie junegrass. Don't worry about me; I'm low-maintenance

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