Got weed(s)?

The golf course sure does! Its been two banner seasons in a row for weeds and the Green Department has had enough! And I’m sure some of the membership is too!

The definition of a weed is a plant that is growing out of place. A marigold growing in a bed of petunia’s would be considered a weed by some but probably not every one. Our personal preferences can closer define what a weed is. In the golf course maintenance world, annual bluegrass or “poa” for short, is considered a weed by most superintendents but not all of us, just ask the Superintendent at Pebble Beach and other fine courses across the country as many of them have solid poa greens.   Bala has a fair stand of poa in its greens, tees, approaches and roughs but this blog is about the other weeds on the course.

Weeds like clover, spurge, yellow nut sedge, crabgrass, goosegrass and bermudagrass. Some of these are annual weeds, they only live one year i.e. spurge, crab and goose grasses. Others are perennial, live more than one year, bermudagrass, yellow nutsedge, clover. Some are broad leaf weeds, clover and spurge, others are grassy weeds, nutsedge, goose and crabgrass, etc.   Why am I explaining this, these two factors are just many of the considerations to consider when developing a control plan. Other environmental factors that have to be considered are air temperature, applying a herbicide with air temperatures above 90 degrees is risky business but there are certain herbicides that work better under warmer conditions than cooler. This is especially true when treating board leaf weeds. Soil moisture must be adequate for the weed to take up the herbicide  and for the surrounding turf  to be able to resist damage from the herbicide. There should be little or no wind as most of the applications are just a spot treatment versus a blanket application. Little or no wind will reduce the chance of the herbicide missing its target and or creating an over application of the herbicide on the desirable turf.

Location of the weed and what type of turf the weed is growing in also plays a role in determining the corrective actions. When treating weeds in greens, tee, approaches, fairways and roughs, mowing heights can effect the rate of herbicide application. Usually the shorter grasses can only take a low dose of herbicides which may take multiple applications to kill the weed. Fairway and rough height turf can withstand higher dose and usually only require one application. We also have to consider what type of grass the weed is growing in. Treating goose grass in bentgrass requires a different herbicide than treating it when its growing in rye grass. I don’t want to bore you with the many combinations that exist at Bala, instead I will show you pictures of trials I have been conducting since August below. If you don’t think the above condition’s were enough to consider, we can add to the list, no precipitation 24 hours after application. Not mowing the weeds to be treated 24 hours before and after applications, over seeding restrictions once the weeds die and lastly, the golf schedule!

clover in ryegrass fairway

treated clover in ryegrass fairway # 9

Bermudagrass patches in ryegrass fairway

treated bermudagrass in ryegrass fairway # 12

yellow nutsedge in ryegrass fairway

treated yellow nutsedge in annual bluegrass tee # 9

crabgrass in bentgrass fairway

treated crabgrass in bentgrass fairway # 8

As you can see from above, our trials have been successful. Starting this week, we will be treating all of the weeds mentioned above, and some not mentioned above, on all feature areas (tees, collars, approaches and fairways, except greens) and some additional areas of rough in order to have adequate time to aerate and over seed and or sod the bare areas that will become visible once the weeds thin out or die. I would like to point out fairways 7, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17 & 18 and collars around greens # 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, & 18 have a fair amount of bermudagrass in them. You will see the bleaching effect, similar to # 10 & 12’s approaches.

treated bermudagrass in 12 approach

In upcoming blogs, I will discuss what our plans are to prevent the weeds from returning along with an update on the 2019 golf course improvement projects that will be completed this fall. The one item I’m going to mention now that is part of this years golf course improvement project is the herbicide application(s) made to eliminate the bermudagrass growing around #4 green. This is part of the overall plan to renovate the green surround on this hole. Successful bermudagrass elimination with a non selective herbicide must be completed under warm conditions for many of the reasons stated above. The plan is to expand the putting surface, collar, step cut and approach over the next 3 months. This is the first step in converting the areas to more desirable, uniform turf.

Treated area of bermudagrass at 4 green

I thank the entire membership for your patience’s while we go through this renovation period. You will see steady improvements as we go through this weed elimination process.

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