Audio Blog: Combatting Summer Stress on Golf Courses

Keeping turfgrass healthy during the sweltering summer heat can be a challenge, especially on the golf course. There are a few important things superintendents can do, and products they can apply, that can help turfgrass survive and thrive into the fall.

What is Summer Stress? 

Abiotic stressors, such as drought and heat, can set summer stress in motion. Biotic stressors like illness can, too. Biotic stressors include illnesses caused by fungi and/or pests.

Proper agronomic practices, like ensuring proper mower heights, and cultural practices, like needle tine aeration, can help mitigate some of the risk. While practices like these certainly help, a few practices and products can make even more of an impact.

Apply Fungicides

A proper fungicide program is going to be a must—especially as Pythium root dysfunction, Pythium root rot, and many other diseases begin to appear. When combating potentially serious issues like Pythium diseases, staying ahead of them with a preventative plan is the best way to go. There are many product options to consider while developing this plan, including demethylation inhibitor (DMI) fungicides. Some of the most powerful Pythium-fighting fungicides include Serata, Banol, Lexicon, and Insignia.

Fight Traffic Stress and Drought Stress

One tool that fights both traffic stress and drought stress—two of the biggest risks to golf courses—is Foliar-Pak CSi L.

Traffic Stress

The presence of silicon is an important part of cell wall health. It helps strengthen turf and enables it to withstand heavy traffic. Unfortunately, it’s often missing in sand-based soils common on golf courses.

CSi L contains a form of silicon that turfgrass plants can absorb through their leaves and quickly use to strengthen their cell walls. This silicon is especially beneficial to the cuticle, the part of the root cap that protects the plant from external stressors. Strengthening this “outer shell” means the stand can handle daily wear and tear much better.

When superintendents seek to increase firmness, maximize green speeds, and improve overall playability, they often use practices like double-cutting, rolling, and verticutting. These mechanical practices are very stressful and can thin out the turf stand, making it more susceptible to disease. Silicon results in more upright growth of the leaf blade, which means increased density and a better cut. A turf stand with these qualities needs less double-cutting, rolling, and verticutting to achieve necessary green speeds.

Drought and Heat Stress

We also like to incorporate a few foliar products to help with summer stress. One of the main ones is Foliar-Pak CSi L, which is 25% silica. It also has a specific amino acid that helps keep water in the cell and improves turf rigidity and turgor. On the cellular level, it improves the turf’s ability to maintain proper hydration during drought conditions and heat stress.

CSi L works well with Foliar-Pak Foundation Forty, an amino acid product that helps increase nitrogen fixation, chlorophyll production, and carbon fixation. Foundation Forty also helps produce and store carbohydrates, helping turfgrass plants build up energy reserves.

Moisture Management

Using a moisture meter is a great way for superintendents to measure and manage moisture on their course, and without any guesswork. The FieldScout TDR 350 moisture meter is a time-tested choice for superintendents looking to measure soil moisture in all kinds of conditions. Moisture meters are especially beneficial for finding areas prone to LDS and moisture loss.

Irrigation Management

Proper irrigation is a key component of managing summer stress, and too much or too little water can have a major impact on the course. Areas with shallow-rooted turfgrass need light and frequent irrigation rather than heavy and deep irrigation. Too much water and the turf will be overwhelmed. Too little water and growth can subside due to lack of photosynthesis and respiration. Be sure to implement a proactive irrigation plan that can be adjusted as needed.

For more advice and product recommendations, reach out to your ATS representative. If you’re new to ATS or can’t remember your rep’s name, use our rep finder tool to find them in seconds.

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