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Dr. Frank Rossi: Frankly Speaking


Low and Slow

Posted in Tech Turf Talk 30 April 2013 · 2,153 views

Low and slow is an excellent strategy for cooking meats that need time to tenderize. I'm sure the Maestro has a good recipe to insert here. Low and slow also describes the season we have had to date with low temperatures that are keeping the bentgrass from pushing along and slow describes the speed we see on the putting surfaces.

 

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It may not be exactly what the the golfers want this Spring, especially if we did some coring and greens are bumpy AND slow (see figure). But just like preparing the meat that gets better with time, our putting surfaces will benefit from the slow Spring unless we "RAISE the temp" and start pushing them too hard too early.

 

The Spring is the time to use environmental conditions, especially low soil moisture, to manipulate plant growth and precondition for summer stress periods. Allowing some drought stress, going easy on the N, and minimizing other forms of disturbance such as vertical mowing and coring will help select for perennial plants more able to deal with the season ahead. The challenge with using stress is always how much is too much?

 

Allowing some drought stress, going easy on the N, and minimizing other forms of disturbance such as vertical mowing and coring will help select for perennial plants more able to deal with the season ahead.

Last season with the dry Spring many allowed the greens to dry at the surface knowing moisture was present deeper in the profile. Of course grasses that are deeper rooted will benefit from this approach. But if you have had any catastrophic loss in the last few years and annual bluegrass has recolonized the surface, rooting will be shallow and stress tolerance low. Many let it get too dry and the "anthracnose treadmill" begins. Use your soil moisture meter and dial in the numbers.

 

Spring management is about starting the conversation with golfers about YOUR goals for the season. Explain the slow start, that is if you are using it to prevent having to "RAISE the temp", in terms of season long goals. Talk about the golf calendar and how not pushing the surface now will insure greater success later. Just like in cooking "low and slow" prepares you for a great season!

 




What Then?

Posted in Tech Turf Talk 28 February 2013 · 6,356 views

Methiozolin, currently trade named PoaCure, from Moghu Research Center in Korea could be a game changer. Doctor S.J. Koo, lead scientist and Cornell University Ph.D. may have in fact found a "cure" for annual bluegrass invasion. The question are we ready for this cure.

 

There is no question in my mind that it has the kind of selective herbicidal activity as both a preemergence and postemergence product to affect meaningful changes in populations on greens, tees and fairways. It appears to be very slow acting, starting as growth regulation allowing neighboring desirable species to out compete the annual bluegrass during its' slow steady decline into chlorosis and death.

Doctor S.J. Koo, lead scientist and Cornell University Ph.D. may have in fact found a "cure" for annual bluegrass invasion. The question are we ready for this cure.

It is expected to be fully labelled by 2016 barring any unforeseen difficulties. Removing annual bluegrass from fairways, rough and tees will be a welcome relief as much of the annual bluegrass in these areas is the true annual type. Also the transition out of annual bluegrass in these areas could be into a number of cool season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, as well as the fine and tall fescues.

 

What concerns me is WHEN this product works on greens, WHAT THEN? For cool season grasses, the choice for most will be creeping bentgrass. Some might consider velvet bentgrass but my sense is velvet bentgrass has settled in as primarily a niche species. So what will we do when we have pure 100 percent creeping bentgrass greens?

 

First, if you have crappy growing environments, there is no bentgrass on the market that will persist well in low light and poor air movement. Second, if you start play early in the season before the creeping bentgrass begins active growth (known to be much later out of the gate then annual bluegrass) it will thin. If you have treated with PoaCure the preemergence activity will prevent annual bluegrass from filling the voids.

First, if you have crappy growing environments, there is no bentgrass on the market that will persist well in low light and poor air movement...

Finally, it is the generation of annual bluegrass golf turf managers we have trained for the last 50 years that concerns me the most. Ask the guys who manage pure bentgrass surfaces and they will tell you it is different. Water management becomes more critical in that drier is better. Fertility is different, maybe not just lower nitrogen but a more acid environment. Organic matter management will need to be more intense as the significant amount of below ground parts that make up the OM is greater in bentgrass then annual bluegrass.

 

We need some help from plant breeders to develop bentgrasses that get started earlier in the season. We need the experienced golf turf managers who are growing bentgrass to mentor young professionals to recognize the different management of bentgrass. We need turf programs to focus on research on pure bentgrass surfaces. Penn State's Professor Max Schlossberg has done some work on fertility and Professor Doug Soldat at UW-Madison on PGR's and Professor Bingru Huang at Rutgers on water management. Pay attention to this stuff.

I firmly believe the less annual bluegrass we have the more environmentally compatible we will be as an industry.

I have great hopes for PoaCure, as I firmly believe the less annual bluegrass we have the more environmentally compatible we will be as an industry. In short we will use less or at least different amounts of "stuff". Think about all the "stuff" we use to sustain annual bluegrass through the climate-changing seasons we have had the last few years. Imagine if it was easier-what then?




Happy New Chemistry

Posted in Tech Turf Talk 07 January 2013 · 2,398 views

We are entering the new year with many exciting trends in the turf chemical industry. Lower use rates, reduced risk, combination products, pigments and dyes, and of course plant health or induced systemic resistance.

 

Syngenta's move to include Acibenzolar (ASM) with Daconil (chlorothalonil) marked a major shift in thinking by one of the big three (Bayer, Syngenta, BASF). ASM is not a new molecule, in fact it has been widely used in the Ag market for several years. ASM has no measurable effect on plant pathogens; rather it induces the plant to resist disease. This approach is also espoused by the phosphites and Civitas.

 

BASF acquired Becker Underwood, a major manufacturer of pigments and dyes. This acquisition gets them in the turf market colorant game. Bayer continues to find combinations such as Reserve that is Trinity plus chlorothalonil and StressGard FT (Formulation Technology). The pigment market is getting crowded with Harmonizer, Turf Screen, and Foursome (a spray pattern indicator). You have to ask yourself why you got rid of all that Blazon that was sitting around the shop?

 

Secure from Syngenta is being touted as a contact fungicide partner to Daconil and could represent an important option for those interested in reducing (or at least complying with imposed reductions) their chlorothalonil use. Preliminary reports indicate great promise for this product.

What does this all mean to the golf turf industry? First, there will be significant hoopla and chatter in the run-up to the GIS next month..."

What does this all mean to the golf turf industry? First, there will be significant hoopla and chatter in the run-up to the GIS next month. Second, get ready to have all your spray rigs colored green if you get on the pigment and dye bandwagon. Third, finding ways to integrate these technologies into your existing programs should begin now. Check the data from reputable sources such as Professors Vincelli, Kerns, Kennelly, and Ingugiato.

 

Don't get caught up in the hype; there are likely more questions than answers about many of these new products. The claims will start flying around soon and before you know it what you hear may resemble what gets whispered to the 7th person in a circle that began with one thing and now is completely different.

 

Happy New Year!








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