September 22, 2019

6 min readSep 22, 2019


Over the last week or so I’ve noticed a change in the color of tree leaves, as we all know, this signals the start of fall. At this time of year we start to hear the regular sound of leaf blowers firing up in the mornings and lasting most of the day. I’ve always found leaf blowing to be satisfying job, when you start it’s a mess, and when you finish it’s tidy (at least for a few hours).


Maximum, minimum and average soil temperatures (left). Daily rain fall events (right).

Here at the Sunshine Course the maximum temperatures have been fluctuating between ~65–90°F, while the minimum temperatures have been fluctuating between ~53–70°F. Soil temperatures have been ~65°F for the past two weeks. We’ve had several rainfall events already at the start of September, ranging from~0.55–1.40 inches.

By the looks of things we’re going to be seeing a fair number of rain days over the next two weeks. There are a number of days in the 80’s and a few nights in the 50’s approaching. The humidity is still fairly high, so it’s going to feel warmer.

Fall fertilization

Now is a good time to start thinking about and making your fall fertilization applications. Typically this should be the time of year when you apply the bulk of your nutrition via granular application. A good number to aim for with fall fertilization is around 0.5 to 1 lb of N per 1000 squared feet. Now the idea is then to come in and spoon feed nutrition throughout the playing season. By taking this type of approach we’re allowing the plant to store nutrients etc. for over the winter and initiation of growth in the spring. While, spoon feeding throughout the season helps overcome wear and stress.

Dollar spot

Dollar spot activity at the Sunshine Course.

We’ve seen an increase in dollar spot activity once again. The image above is from a non-treated control plot in a trial at the Sunshine Course in Lemont.

The Smith-Kerns model has dollar spot probability at the “high” risk level, meaning we need to keep the re-application intervals tight.

Mole crickets

I got sent this image last week from a course in southern Illinois, and it surprised me. I’ve saw lots of them and experienced the smell when you stand on them down south, I didn’t expect to see much mole cricket activity up here.


Grub activity

This is the time of year we see a lot of grub activity and skunks etc. digging for a meal. On one course I worked on in the UK, we had a bad honey badger problem. Every morning during the fall and winter months there had been over night digging activity, up and down the fairways. After the first month of re-sodding daily damage, it was sole destroying seeing it every morning. If my memory serves me right, it lasted around 4 months, by the time we were done we had re-sodded most of the fairway and rough.

Broadleaf weeds

In the image above you can see voids that have opened up from areas that we sprayed for broadleaf weeds. This is a really good time of year to clean areas up and tie it into your fall fertilization applications. Spraying now will clean the weeds out and give the turf some recovery time to fill in the voids.

Shameless self promotion!!

I thought I’d finish with some shameless self promotion, below is my most recent publication for anyone that’s interested.

Kerr, R.A., McCarty, L.B., Cutulle, M., Bridges, W. and Saski, C., 2019. Goosegrass Control and Turfgrass Injury Following Metribuzin and Topramezone Application with Immediate Irrigation. HortScience, 54(9), pp.1621–1624.

Abstract: “Goosegrass (Eleusine indica L. Gaertn.) is a problematic C4 weedy grass species, occurring in the warmer regions of the world where it is difficult to selectively control without injuring the turfgrass. Furthermore, control efficacy is affected by plant maturity. End-user options for satisfactory goosegrass control has decreased; thus, the need for developing management techniques to improve the selectivity of POST goosegrass control options in turfgrass systems is ever increasing. One possible means of providing control, yet maintaining turf quality is immediately incorporating applied products via irrigation. Greenhouse and field trials were conducted in Pickens County, SC, with the objectives of 1) evaluating turfgrass injury following use of POST goosegrass control options; 2) assessing if irrigating (0.6 cm) immediately following the herbicide application reduces injury of ‘Tifway 419’ bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × Cynodon transvaalensis Burtt-Davy]; and 3) determining if immediate irrigation influences goosegrass control at one- to three-tiller and mature growth stage. Following the application of herbicide treatments, irrigation was applied (+) or not applied (−). Treatments included the following: control (+/− irrigation); topramezone at 12.3 g a.i./ha (+/− irrigation); metribuzin at 420 g a.i./ha (+/− irrigation); and topramezone plus metribuzin (+/− irrigation) at 12.3 and 420 g a.i./ha. Irrigation treatment had minimum effect on greenhouse-grown goosegrass biomass, all treatments provided >85% control of 1- to 3-tiller goosegrass plants. However, control for mature plants was <50% for topramezone- and 60% to 70% for metribuzin-containing treatments. In field studies, at 1 week after treatment (WAT), the irrigated metribuzin and topramezone plus metribuzin had ≈37% and ≈16%, respectively, less goosegrass control vs. nonirrigated treatments. At 2WAT, irrigated metribuzin and irrigated topramezone plus metribuzin–treated plots, had ≈50% less mature goosegrass control vs. nonirrigated treatments. Irrigated herbicide treatments, however, experienced ≈23% less turfgrass injury at this time. At 4 WAT, irrigated metribuzin- and irrigated topramezone plus metribuzin–treated plots experienced reduced mature goosegrass control by ≈65% and ≈59%, respectively. Overall, incorporating POST herbicide applications via 0.6 cm of irrigation reduced turfgrass injury by at least 20% for all herbicide treatments, while maintaining goosegrass control.”

Please don’t hesitate to call or email and I will ensure you get a rapid response.


Subscribe to scouting reports:

Twitter: CDGATurfgrassProgram

Bobby Kerr, Ph.D. Director of Turfgrass Programs. Chicago District Golf Association, 11855 Archer Ave, Lemont, IL 60439. C: (312)-519–7940. W: (630)-685–2307.

Ron Townsend, MS. Manager of Turfgrass Research. Chicago District Golf Association, 11855 Archer Ave, Lemont, IL 60439. W: (630) 685–2310.




Dedicated researchers and turf pathologists working for golf course superintendents in the Chicago area.