Golf Course Management

FEB 2018

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

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80 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.18 greens is key to minimizing the risk of intensi- fying anthracnose under a very dry irrigation program (for example, 40% ET o ; 24). Thus, training staff to recognize when, where and how much light hand-watering is needed on putting surfaces is important to prevent fre - quent and repeated wilt stress and intensifying anthracnose during hot, dry weather. Topdressing Topdressing with sand throughout the growing season is a very effective practice for maintaining a firm and fast playing surface, and, fortunately, is also effective at reducing anthracnose severity. The most effective top - dressing programs strive to keep the canopy full of sand and apply subsequent applications to match the growth of the turf. However, cost and interference to play can be significant chal - lenges to implementing a routine topdressing program on putting greens. Studies over the past decade indicate that frequent topdressing (100 pounds/1,000 square feet or 0.49 kilo - gram/square meter every two weeks) during the playing season (summer) will greatly re - duce anthracnose severity (18,19,25). Heavier topdressing during the spring is also effective at suppressing anthracnose, and is critically important if a frequent topdressing program during the summer is not practiced (11). The rate of sand topdressing needed during the spring to suppress anthracnose ranged from 400 to 800 pounds/1,000 square feet (1.95- 3.90 kilograms/square meter) (11,33), which is a quantity sufficient to fill both the surface thatch and turf canopy layers. (Note that greater quantities of sand will likely be needed when coring holes are also being filled.) Heavy fall topdressings are less effective than summer and spring topdressing at sup - pressing anthracnose; the suppressive effects of fall topdressing on anthracnose do not last beyond spring (33). Prior to our research, initial speculation frequently suggested that sand topdressing would contribute to anthracnose epidemics on putting greens. However, topdressing has consistently reduced anthracnose in numerous research trials. Thus, any perceived increase in anthracnose associated with sand topdress - ing is likely due to indirect effects rather than wounding. As mentioned earlier, nutrient de - ficiencies and frequent drought (wilt) stress will weaken annual bluegrass and increase sus - ceptibility to anthracnose. Thus, any increase or continuation of a routine sand topdressing Top: Sand topdressing treatments were applied using a drop spreader. Photo by James Hempfling Bottom: Brushing was used to incorporate sand topdressing on the research plots. Photo by James Murphy

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