The world is facing uncertain times with the current COVID-19 issue and its impact on society. It is impossible to predict the long-term impact on golf courses, but here are some tips to help you weather this storm of uncertainty, realizing staff and budget may become limiting. The Bayer Green Solutions Team offers the following for golf course maintenance teams. For more guidance, the Bayer Green Solutions Team contacts are listed further down, and for Bayer updates related to COVID-19, visit the company’s website.
Increase plant growth regulator (PGR) use to limit mowing frequency.
- PrimoMaxx ® and Aneuw® are widely used and have flexible rates and timings to maximize growth reduction
- Trimmit®, Cutless® and others can also be used, but can negatively affect Poa
- Reduced turf growth decreases recovery from diseases, so consistent preventative fungicide applications are still most effective in terms of cost and labor
- Increased PGR rates may cause some reduction in turf color but this is temporary. Turf quality will improve as the effects of the PGR wear off.
Increase mowing heights.
- Mowing all playing surfaces higher reduces mowing frequency but be careful not to raise mowing heights excessively, as it may be difficult to resume regular mowing once this storm passes. A 25 – 40% increase in mowing height is recommended.
- Alternating rolling with mowing can help reduce mowing stress, maintain speeds, and limit scalping when regular maintenance continues. Also, increasing sand topdressing can help to raise effective mowing height.
Pest management: Preventative applications made in the spring for the most problematic pests are critical for reducing costs and labor later this season.
- Preventive Weed Control: Goosegrass, crabgrass, and general weed control is best addressed in the early part of the year with preventive herbicide applications. Tools like GDD Tracker and other app-based weather and soil temperature tracking tools are useful in timing these applications appropriately.
- Preventive Disease Control: Most of the important diseases on cool-season turf begin infecting in the early part of the year. Root-infecting diseases like Pythium, patch diseases, as well as foliar and crown diseases like dollar spot and anthracnose are all best controlled with preventative applications well before symptoms start. Nematodes also fall into this category. Well-timed applications of effective chemistries like DMI fungicides can help optimize inoculum control and save time and labor later by not chasing diseases curatively.
Getting aggressive with aerifying/topdressing.
Many clubs struggle to find the right time of the year to aerify for various reasons (volume of play, shortened playing season due to weather, uncooperative management or membership etc.). With limited or no play during a mandatory shutdown, now is a great time for aggressive aerification and topdressing, especially in areas that need it most.
We should all follow CDC’s precautions to stay safe during this time. At Bayer, we care for you and your well-being and please do not hesitate to call on us when needed.
Bayer Green Solutions Team
Laurence Mudge, Manager Turfgrass, Southeast US
Rob Golembiewski, Ph.D. Turfgrass, Southeast US
Zac Reicher, Ph.D. Turfgrass, Midwest and Western US
Paul Giordano, Ph.D. Turfgrass, Northeast US
Todd Lowe, M.S. Turfgrass, Florida
Aaron Palmateer, Ph.D. Ornamentals, US