May 1, 2009
Up until a week ago, it was shaping up to be a cold spring, and cool weather diseases still were prevalent. Cool season brown patch was visible on greens at a number of courses in the southern portion of the region, and, based on weather data, much of the region was a week or so behind normal. However, the recent heat spell stopped the progression of that disease and we now are back on track in terms of the norm for growing degree days. That will probably change this week as the start of May is bringing cooler temperatures and rain. Cool season brown patch might become active again. We also are getting into the window where waitea patch may become active, and the two diseases can be confused.
Many courses in the southern part of the region have already applied preemergent herbicides, and those that have not should do so very soon. Annual bluegrass weevil (ABW) populations appear to be moderate, although populations are very high in selected areas. Treatment for adults in the central and southern portion of the region should be made very quickly if they have not yet been done. Scouting is a key to controlling this pest, and it is easy to do if you just take the time. Installing pitfall traps in the early spring in areas near traditional ABW activity is a good idea. However, a simple soap drench can identify populations in just a few minutes. Drench before you apply to determine whether an application is necessary; drench afterwards to determine the level of control. With concerns over resistance to the pyrethroid class of insecticides, using a soap drench is cheap insurance.
Most of the courses I visit have already made at least two growth regulator applications for suppression of seedheads. Thus far, control looks to be much better this year than it was a year ago. However, both annual bluegrass and creeping bentgrass populations are off color in many areas. This may be partially due to the growth regulator applications, but the cool weather and recent frosts also are major factors. Now is the time of year when bentgrass is affected by cooler temperatures, and mechanical injury often is confused with leaf spot infections. Most of the time, the damage dissipates and the color improves with a few days of consistently good growing weather. Minimizing mechanical wear in the short term is a good idea.
Soil temperatures are not yet warm enough to justify preventive summer patch applications in most areas of the region, but monitor soil temperatures carefully because proper timing is very important for effective control. The window of application is right around the corner.
The May 15 prepay deadline for the Turf Advisory Service early season discount is rapidly approaching. This discount is good for the entire year, so be sure to get your payment in before May 15 to save $500 per visit. Many golf courses are dealing with financial hardship, so taking advantage of the early discount is more important now than ever. If money and budget issues are your biggest problem, be sure to make it the focus of your Turf Advisory Service visit. We have hundreds of ways to help you cut costs without sacrificing quality. Call us now to schedule this critical check-up.