Golf Course Management

SEP 2015

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

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09.15 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 99 CUTTING EDGE Teresa Carson West Nile virus transmission risk and invasive plant management Artifcial aquatic habitats are highly sus- ceptible to colonization by invasive plant spe- cies. Recent research indicates that the estab- lishment of invasive plant species can trigger ecological cascades that alter the transmis - sion of vector-borne pathogens that imperil human health. In this study, researchers investigated whether the presence or man - agement of two invasive, emergent plants — cattails (Typ a species) and phragmites (P ragmites australis) — in stormwater dry detention basins altered the local distribution of vectors, avian hosts, or the transmission risk of West Nile virus (WNV) in an urban residential setting. Mosquitoes and birds were surveyed at 14 dry detention basins and paired adjacent residential sites. During the study, site managers mowed emergent vegeta - tion in three dry detention basins. Where ba- sins were not mowed, the overall abundance and species composition of both adult vectors and avian hosts differed between residen - tial and detention basin habitats. However, the risks of WNV infection by mosquitoes were equivalent. Communal bird roosts, composed primarily of European starlings, red-winged blackbirds and common grack - les and representing a broad range of WNV reservoir competence, were observed at half (three of six) of the basins containing un - mowed stands of phragmites. The presence of a communal roost was associated with a lower seasonal increase in vector infection rate. Conversely, mowing emergent vegeta - tion resulted in a signifcant and sustained increase in the abundance of WNV-infected vectors in the basins, and the rise in risk ex - tended to adjacent residential sites. These fndings indicate that WNV transmission risk can be decreased by the presence of com - munal bird roosts, and increased by mowing invasive plants in dry detention basins dur - ing the growing season. — Andrew James Mackay, Ph.D.; Ephantus J. Muturi, Ph.D.; Michael P. Ward, Ph.D.; and Brian F. Allan, Ph.D., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Long-term carbon sequestration potential from bermudagrass fairways Previous studies have documented the carbon sequestration potential of cool-season turfgrasses on golf course fairways, but lim - ited research has been conducted on warm- season grasses. The objective of this study was to determine baseline carbon sequestra - tion potential of bermudagrass fairways by evaluating total soil carbon and nitrogen, soil organic matter (SOM), inorganic nitro - gen, and soil physical and chemical prop- erties from golf courses of various ages in Lubbock, Texas. Soil samples were collected from bermudagrass fairways at fve golf Photo by Andrew James Mackay courses ranging in age from 13 to 93 years. Soil samples were divided into two depths, 0 to 3 inches (0 to 7.5 centimeters) and 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters), air-dried, and sieved to pass a 2-millimeter mesh screen. Soil pH, electrical conductivity (EC), total carbon and nitrogen, SOM, and inorganic nitrogen were obtained using laboratory techniques. Soil pH and EC from these loca - tions were typical for soils in the region, with a soil pH of 7.1 to 8.5, and an EC of 510 to 1,181 microsiemens/centimeter. Soil organic matter and carbon accumulated readily in the top 3 inches of soil for the frst 36 years of establishment. However, there was an un - expected reduction in SOM and carbon as the golf courses reached 80 or 93 years. This decline may have been the result of a shift in carbon-to-nitrogen ratio that increased SOM degradation rates. This study was among the frst to examine carbon sequestration potential from bermudagrass fairways. The results can be used to explore how turfgrass management practices could beneft the en - vironment by mitigating carbon emissions. — Prativa Gautam and Joseph Young, Ph.D. (joey., Texas Tech University, Lubbock Teresa Carson ( is GCM's science editor. Photo by Joseph Young

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