Perfect! Saying that can get you in trouble, but in a week it really was true. We saw some of our best days of turfgrass growth. For cool season turf, it meant the weather had finally cooperated. What does that look like? The days were not too hot (80s for highs), the nights were not too cool (60s for lows) and frequent, severe thunderstorms were absent (a relief). Likewise, our field research projects saw turfgrass with highest quality to date. For example, a creeping bentgrass fairway fungicide study had Shehbaz calling ratings of: 9, 9, 9, 8, 9, 8 (1–9 scale, 9 = best). I said, “Are you kidding me?”.
This Illinois-week it felt less like July and more like June. In the landscape, Kentucky bluegrass lawns are healthy. No drought stress. No disease. Just the usual dog patch or two (Canis lupus familiaris). In the landscape it is increasingly obvious the perennial flowers are having a good year too. Things like purple coneflower (Echinacea) are 2–4 ft tall and the Rudbeckia isn’t too far behind. We continue to enjoy a relatively cool summer for the upper Midwest. I said it last week and I’ll say it again, get outdoors. Perfect!
Turfgrass Quality Peaks
Pythium Root Rot of Creeping Bentgrass
We had expected some trouble after last weeks tremendous rain and we began to see some of that this week. Root rots are a risk after heavy rains anywhere poor drainage exists. Other site related factors are important when it comes to root rots. Those should be documented so that changes can be made in the future. Here are some of the factors in this case:
Rapid — damage on green occured surprisingly fast
Older — push up construction with poor drainage
Small — prone to greater stress due to foot traffic and compaction
Height of Cut — a greater level of plant stress occurs on greens
Shallow Rooted — has a history of root rot
Shaded — near a fence line with trees
Pythium Fungicide Application — must water in immediately after application (needed when targeting a root rot)
Green Research — July 19, 2023 by Shehbaz Singh, MS
This is our fourth monthly investigation at the Bob Berry Sunshine Course in Lemont. Investigations continue to evaluate each green for quality, agronomic, and playability characteristics.
Three greens and one practice green
Greens 1, 2 and 3 are around 5,300 sq ft each. The practice green is about 7,811 sq ft. As a part of renovation project in 2020, the grass on greens 1, 2 and 3 was killed. The uppermost mat layer was removed and then reseeded to newer creeping bentgrass varieties. The practice green was completely reconstructed as a variable depth green and then reseeded with two varieties that split it in half. All work was conducted by Wadsworth Golf Construction Co.
Green 1. Pure Distinction
Green 2. OO7
Green 3. PC 2.0
Practice Green. Penn A1 plus Penn A4 (half of green) & 777 (half of green)
Evaluation procedure. On each green, three points were selected in a systematic way (straight center line in front, middle, and back). Three data readings or samples were collected around each of the three marked points. Five sets of data were collected (see below).
Visual Quality (1–9 scale with 9 best and 6 = minimum acceptable)
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) using GreenSeeker by Trimble
Soil Moisture using TDR350 by Spectrum Technologies
Surface Firmness using Field Scout TruFirm by Spectrum Technologies
Shear Strength using Shear Strength Tester by Turf-tech International
Ball roll using a USGA stimpmeter
Maximum Root Length average of four 0.5-inch diameter soil cores
Nematodes extracted from soil via lite sucrose and centrifugation