Strategies to Combat Goosegrass Pressure
For most turf professionals in the South, goosegrass pressure belongs in the same category as death and taxes- it’s coming. Goosegrass shows up in weak and sparsely-covered turf stands and loves heat and moisture. Highly-compacted areas such as walk-up areas on tees and greens are also susceptible to high levels of goosegrass.
Goosegrass germinates when soil temps hit 60 degrees, generally two weeks to a month behind crabgrass germination. So, in other words, goosegrass is like the “Cousin Eddie” of the turf world; it shows up a little late to the party and tries to stick around to ruin your vacation.
Like many other aspects of our lives, I believe the Covid-19 virus will negatively impact goosegrass pressure this season. In 2020, the US saw an increase of more than 50 million rounds from 2019. With much more traffic on our golf courses comes more compaction in high traffic areas. The increased traffic also makes it tougher to find breaks in daily play to aerate high traffic areas. With the increased traffic, higher traffic areas will produce more compacted, and weaker turf stands and, in turn, higher goosegrass pressure. It is important to remember that aerification and sound cultural practices are crucial in the fight against goosegrass.
So, what is the best chemical plan of action to attack goosegrass? I believe that Ronstar and Specticle are the best choices for pre-emergent herbicides for goosegrass control. However, with a later germination window than crabgrass, a pre-emergent follow-up application is a good idea. Post-emergent options are becoming prevalent, with the Pylex and Drive combination showing great promise in the fight against goosegrass. Please note that Pylex will cause bleaching on Bermudagrass, but ultimately the turf should recover. It is also important to say that many post-emergent options will require multiple applications. If you have questions about the chemical control of goosegrass, North Carolina State has a great website with pre and post-emergent options along with rates and notes.
Good luck this season, and if you have any questions, please contact your ATS sales representative.