by Adam Sando, Assistant Superintendent
I hope that everyone is enjoying the golf season! With cooler daytime temps and recent rainfall the golf course is feeling a bit of relief from a very hot and dry summer. As we transition into fall the golf course will begin to heal from the stress of drought conditions.
One of the major issues we’ve dealt with this season is battling fungal infections on our greens. This is rare for our location, fungal issues typically happen in areas where humidity levels are constantly elevated. There are several environmental factors that contribute to infections, making it difficult to know exactly why it developed.
The irregularities and indentations that you may have noticed on the greens are the remnants of a fungal disease. When it was identified as a disease we immediately sent samples into the CSU plant diagnostics lab to confirm the prognosis and began a preventative treatment with fungicide applications on the greens to slow further development.
The infection on our greens has been identified as leaf spot and melting-out. Melting-out is a two stage infection. The first symptoms are leaf blight with a yellowing appearance on the leaf blade. The second part of the infection moves into the crown and root system of the plant and ultimately causes loss of turf.
We are now at a point where the infection has been contained and we are beginning some aggressive cultural practices to smooth the surfaces of the greens. First, we will begin by vertical cutting the greens at a depth that borders on grading. Second, a light topdress will be applied on the entire surface of the green and a heavier topdress on the affected area. Finally, a drop seeder will be used to over seed the affected areas promoting new growth.
For the remainder of the season we will continually apply light topdressings on the greens to even out the surface. The spring of 2019 we will use tighter spacing on our aerification equipment in the affected areas to remove ample material and create openings for vegetative growth. The process of smoothing the surface of the greens will take time but they will make marked improvements in the weeks to come.
As always the maintenance staff appreciates your patience and understanding!