Golf Course Management

JUL 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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07.17 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 73 CUTTING EDGE Teresa Carson Aesthetics and playability in secondary roughs To reduce inputs, many courses have opted to eliminate mowing roughs during the grow - ing season. These areas, called "secondary" or "naturalized" roughs, successfully lessen in - puts, but often suffer from reduced playabil- ity and lower overall aesthetic value from in- creased weeds. The objective of this trial was to evaluate the effects of differing turf species and herbicide programs on aesthetic value and playability in secondary roughs. The trial area was seeded with two different fescue mixes: a range mix that included six grass species and clover, and Kentucky bluegrass that was not re-established but left in place. Eight herbicide programs, including pre-emergence and post- emergence herbicides, were applied in spring and fall of 2015 and 2016. The entire trial area was mowed once in fall of each year. No fer - tility or irrigation was added. Weed control, playability, inflorescence and quality were evaluated. Herbicide programs that included sethoxydim, a post-emergence grass herbi - cide that is safe on fescues, provided more playable secondary roughs in both years. However, later in each year, these programs reduced inflorescence in the non-fescue roughs. Herbicide programs that included triclopyr and clopyralid, whether ap - plied in spring or fall, pro- vided the best control of dandelion relative to pro - grams that included 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba. The range mix that included many grass species had the lowest overall quality until summer 2016, after certain herbicide programs had effectively removed some of the grass species and the clover. Seedhead production seemed to be the determining factor in perceived stand qual - ity, especially when the rough was viewed from a distance. — Aaron Hatha- way (hathaw21@msu.edu); Thomas A Nikolai, Ph.D.; and Kevin W. Frank, Ph.D., Michigan State University, East Lansing Sand topdressing effects on earthworm activity in turf In low-cut turfgrass systems such as golf course greens, tees and fairways, surface cast - ings from earthworms can result in a muddy playing surface, ball roll issues, water reten - tion in the canopy, weed and pest invasion, reduced aesthetics, surface softening, and de - creased photosynthesis. In the United States, the only legal options for earthworm control are cultural practices. Sand topdressing has been studied as a possible means of earth - worm control on golf courses, under the as- sumption that abrasive sand particles would deter the soft-bodied earthworms from re - maining in the system. Results have varied, however. Researchers at the University of Arkansas tested the effect of heavy (1 inch or 2.54 cm/year) or light (0.25 inch or 0.64 cm/year) sand topdressing treatments on cast - ing activity of earthworms in Patriot bermu- dagrass (Cynodon species) in both native soil (Captina silt loam; fine-silty, siliceous, active, mesic Typic Fragiudults) and sand-capped root zones (6 inches or 15.24 cm of medium- coarse sand that meets USGA particle-size specifications for putting green construction). Preliminary results suggest that casting activ - ity peaks in spring and fall, and that casting rates are higher in sand root zones, regardless of topdressing treatment. Within the soil root zone, heavy topdressing resulted in higher casting rates, whereas in the sand root zone, casting rates were similar, regardless of top - dressing treatment. Soil properties and earth- worm species are being investigated to gain insight into why casting is greater in sand root zones and in soil plots receiving heavy sand topdressing. — Paige Boyle; Michael D. Rich- ardson, Ph.D. (mricha@uark.edu); Mary Savin, Ph.D.; and Douglas E. Karcher, Ph.D., University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Editor's note: Earlier versions of t ese summaries were publis ed in t e 2016 ASA-CSSA-SSSA Meeting Abstracts, ASA, CSSA and SSSA, Mad - ison, Wis. Teresa Carson is GCM 's science editor. Photo by Michael Richardson Photo by Aaron Hathaway This research project was funded in part by the USGA.

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