Turfgrass scouting report: June 16, 2019

5 min readJun 19, 2019


Well folks, the weather is getting better, albeit slowly. We’re getting some heavy rain events and this coupled with some warmer temperatures, means were seeing good turf growth. However, with how wet things are under foot, keeping up with growth in regards to mowing has been challenging.

Daily maximum, minimum and soil temperatures.

Based on daily maximum and minimum temperatures at the Sunshine Course, the temperatures we’re experiencing at the moment are “typical” of the last 30 years. The maximum temperatures have been fluctuating between 70–83°F, while the minimum temperatures have been fluctuating between 45–63°F over the last 2 weeks. There hasn’t been much fluctuation in soil temperatures, typically holding around 65°F.

Precipitation over the last weeks.

We had a few wet days at the start of June and then significant rain on June 12. Let’s hope moving forward the rain stays away and we get some drier conditions moving forward.

It looks like we’ll be cooler than average for the next two weeks. Things do look like there warming up towards the end of the next two week cycle.

One of the sand dune areas developed by Dave Ward and a native Cacti to Chicago.

Did you know there are cacti native to Chicago? Nope me neither, on a recent visit to Coyote Run Golf Course superintendent Dave Ward introduced me to Opuntia humifusa or eastern prickly pear. Dave has developed sand dunes on his property with old bunker sand in the out-of-play areas to promote native pollinators. I thought this was a really good way to recycle the old bunker sand, as well as to create areas of interest for members. During or visit members actually came up and asked Dave several questions regarding the native areas. If you’d like to have some Chicago native cacti on your course it’s relatively easy to establish, all you have to do is get a cutting/piece of the cacti and stick it into the ground. Roots will develop from the meristematic tissue present on the cut edge. For more information regarding the cacti, please see below link. https://web.extension.illinois.edu/fmpt/eb253/entry_12820/

Caterpillars feeding on milkweed.

In the images above you can see the caterpillar stage of the monarch butterfly feeding on milkweed. The butterfly can’t survive the harsh winters of Chicago, therefore each fall the butterflies migrate to Mexico to over winter. The following spring the new generation of butterflies migrate back to Chicago and feed on the milkweed.

Adult monarch butterfly.

Monarchs in the rough, is a program designed to work with golf course superintendents to develop native pollinator areas in out-of-play areas on the golf course. There are a number of courses in the Chicago area currently participating in the program. https://monarchsintherough.org/

Crabgrass in the western suburbs.

Crabgrass has been reported in the area, once soils reach 55°F at 2 inches germination will start. From what I’ve seen the crabgrass is mostly in open noncompetitive areas, and the crabgrass is at varying maturity levels. If your trying to control any weed post emergent, always remember that as plant maturity increases, herbicide efficacy decreases. When it comes to weed management having a good pre-emergent program in place is paramount.

Cottonwood seeds.

Cottonwood seeds are an issue at this time of year every season. It’s easy to confuse these with dollar spot mycelium.

Scalping at the Sunshine Course.

Another issue many may be facing is scalping. Now this could be occurring due to number of factors, areas are still fairly wet, therefore the mowers are digging in. Excessive thatch could also be an issue making the surface “spongy”, meaning the mowers again dig into the surface. A third reason is just simply getting behind on mowing and removing to much growth when cut, resulting in scalping. Don’t worry too much about this given sometime the turf will fully recover. However, if you have excessive thatch or poor drainage these factors will need to be addressed as soon as possible. Pulling a core in the typically wet areas is always a good idea. You may decide you’d like to put in additional drainage options i.e. slit drainage (with a whiz wheel) or additional drainage pipe. Slit drainage should always be back filled with pea gravel where possible, this will maximize the efficiency of the drainage system. One of the challenges with slit drains is maintaining the integrity and functionality of the drainage, due to turfgrass growth. If you have the resources slit drains need to be “recharged” regularly (2–3 years). This involves running the whiz wheel back down the slits and refilling with new pea gravel.

For anyone interested Dr. Lee Miller’s most recent disease report can be found at https://turfpath.missouri.edu/reports/2019/06_04_19/.

Well folks with that I’ll say adios, have a great week and keep it tight out there!!

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


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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.




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