As many parts of the country are flirting with some of the hottest conditions of the year while summer winds down, it might be hard to focus on winter and the challenges it can mean for golf course superintendents. But harsh winter conditions often can have disastrous results for superintendents managing cool- or warm-season turf. And they'll be here before you know it.
Whether it is ice-covered Poa, or Bermudagrass left uncovered during periods of extended cold and windy conditions, winter can be a cold, lonely time for golf course superintendents on multiple levels.
In 2017-18, winter conditions left a trail of dead or stressed turf that former Clemson turf pathologist Bruce Martin, Ph.D., said affected about a third of the roughly 100 golf courses on the Grand Strand. With that in mind, as summer winds down it is never too soon to start thinking about winter prep, especially on warm-season grasses.
Jim Kerns, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University recently tackled that subject in a free TurfNet University Webinar on Sept. 3 titled "Preparing for fall and winter diseases of warm-season turfgrasses". Presented by BASF, Kerns addressed low-temperature stress, including snow and ice, and their effects, and management strategies to promote acclimation to cold weather conditions. The presenter include information on cultural practices and how they can influence dormancy and how to promote recovery and spring green-up. He also addressed the most common diseases in warm-season turf, including take-all patch, leaf spot and Pythium root rot and the importance of establishing a good relationship with a diagnostics lab.
On cool-season turf, periods of freeze, thaw, freeze can leave cool-season turf, especially Poa, vulnerable to winter's harsh reality.
On October 1, Kevin Frank, Ph.D., of Michigan State University explore that side of that story when he presents another free TurfNet University Webinar titled "Preventive measures for minimizing winterkill on annual bluegrass" a topic Frank knows all too well.
In this presentation that is presented by Grigg and BASF, Frank will focus on winter prep efforts and the most recent research results to help mitigate winterkill.
Topics will include fall management practices such as topdressing, aeration, surface drainage improvement, fertilization, plant growth regulators, wetting agents and adjusting mowing height.
Successes and failures from the field will be discussed and the most recent research efforts to mitigate winterkill from around the country will be presented.
There are several other webinars planned for the remainder of the year, including "Update on what's new in Microdochium patch control" by Alec Kowalewski, Ph.D., at Oregon State on Sept. 26; "Considerations for building a course pesticide program" by Ken Cropper, Ph.D., at the University of Kentucky on Nov. 19; and "The year in review" on Dec. 19 by Frank S. Rossi, Ph.D. There will be additional titles before the end of the year. All are presented by Grigg and BASF.
All TurfNet University Webinar are free for members and non-members and all are recorded for on-demand playback on our Archives page which houses more than 250 Webinar recordings.
TurfNet members should be logged in to their account and non-members should register for a free guest account to view them.