Turfgrass Scouting Report: September 13, 2020

Things are definitely getting cooler and more fall like as each day passes. This past week I’ve seen an increase in dollar spot pressure. We have all the seed dropped, and are into grow-in mode at the Three-Hole Sunshine Course.


Weather from August 29 through September 4, 2020.
Weather from September 5 through September 11, 2020.

The seasons are beginning to change and we’re transitioning into fall.

Weather forecast from August 12 through August 25, 2020.

Based on the above forecast, there’s several nights in the 50’s coming up in the next few weeks. By the time your reading this it looks as if the rain will have moved through the area, and we’re set for sunny weather.

Sunshine Course Renovations

In the above image we’re standing at the backdoor of the clubhouse at the Midwest Golf House. Previously this are was an artificial putting green. This are will now be a creeping bentgrass chipping area, allowing better access for people with disabilities to the putting green.

To the left of the property line were creating mounding for native fescue areas, supplied by Chicagoland Turf.

Some more detail work has been completed around number one putting green.

The bunker to the right of number two is now ready to be sodded. Further detail work and tying in to the existing fairway has also been completed.

Above is the bunker to the right of number two.

To the left of number 3 green we’ve changed the bunker into a run off/chipping area.

The areas around the putting green and new bunkers has been sodded with different types of grass. This will act as a demonstration area for superintendents to see different turf options for bunker surrounds.

Above are the final grass selections for the green’s. The putting green now has the three bunkers to the bottom left and the green is smaller.

Above are the final grass selections for the fairway’s. The small “tongue” areas at the front of number 1 and 2 have been removed and are now RTF turf type tall fescue.

Above are the final grass selections for the tee’s. Decisions were made based on availability of seed, and comparisons between shade and full sunlight.

Not in any of the maps is the native fescue areas. These will be established in the area to the left of the property line, where the annual flower trials were.

Recent Turfgrass Publications

Title and Author’s: Brosnan, J.T., Elmore, M.T. and Bagavathiannan, M.V., 2020. Herbicide-resistant weeds in turfgrass: current status and emerging threats. Weed Technology, 34(3), pp.424–430.

Abstract:Herbicide-resistant weeds pose a severe threat to sustainable vegetation management in various production systems worldwide. The majority of the herbicide resistance cases reported thus far originate from agronomic production systems where herbicide use is intensive, especially in industrialized countries. Another notable sector with heavy reliance on herbicides for weed control is managed turfgrass systems, particularly golf courses and athletic fields. Intensive use of herbicides, coupled with a lack of tillage and other mechanical tools that are options in agronomic systems, increases the risk of herbicide-resistant weeds evolving in managed turfgrass systems. Among the notable weed species at high risk for evolving resistance under managed turf systems in the United States are annual bluegrass, goosegrass, and crabgrasses. The evolution and spread of multiple herbicide resistance, an emerging threat facing the turfgrass industry, should be addressed with the use of diversified management tools. Target-site resistance has been reported commonly as a mechanism of resistance for many herbicide groups, though non–target site resistance is an emerging concern. Despite the anecdotal evidence of the mounting weed resistance issues in managed turf systems, the lack of systematic and periodic surveys at regional and national scales means that confirmed reports are very limited and sparse. Furthermore, currently available information is widely scattered in the literature. This review provides a concise summary of the current status of herbicide-resistant weeds in managed turfgrass systems in the United States and highlights key emerging threats.”

Title and Author’s: Peach, M.E., Pries, C.E.H. and Friedland, A.J., 2020. Plants and earthworms control soil carbon and water quality trade-offs in turfgrass mesocosms. Science of The Total Environment, p.141884.

Abstract:Understanding how plants and earthworms regulate soil-based ecosystem services can guide design and management of built environments to improve environmental quality. We tested whether plant and earthworm activity results in trade-offs between soil carbon © retention and water quality. In a 2 × 2 factorial random block design, we introduced shrubs (Aronia melanocarpa) and earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) to turfgrass (Lolium perenne) sandy loam mesocosms in a greenhouse. We measured soil respiration and soil microclimate every two weeks and leachate every two months. After 15 months, we assessed C and nitrogen (N) in bulk soil and aggregates (> 2000, 2000–250, 250–53 μm). Turfgrass mesocosms with earthworms retained less soil C (6.10 ± 0.20 kg/m2), especially when warmer. Soils planted with shrubs were drier and had 7% lower mean respiration rates than soils without shrubs. Turfgrass mesocosms with both shrubs and earthworms retained more soil C (6.66 ± 0.25 kg/m2), even when warmer, and held ~1.5 times more C in >2 mm aggregates than turfgrass-only mesocosms. Turfgrass mesocosms with shrubs and earthworms leached nitrate-N with increased respiration and retained phosphate-P and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) when wetter. In contrast, turfgrass mesocosms with only shrubs had the opposite response by leaching less nitrate-N with increased respiration, and more phosphate-P and DOC when wetter. Overall, shrub and earthworm activity in turfgrass mesocosms led to soil C-nutrient retention trade-offs. Our results reveal potential challenges in managing built environments to both retain soil C and improve water quality.”

Title and Author’s: Barnes, M.R., Nelson, K.C., Kowalewski, A.R., Patton, A.J. and Watkins, E., 2020. Public Land Manager Discourses on Barriers and Opportunities for a Transition to Low input Turfgrass in Urban Areas. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, p.126745.

Abstract:Public land managers are on the front lines of vegetation management and decision making as essential players in urban sustainability efforts. Green infrastructure, including lawns, has the potential to relieve climate change-related strains on municipal budgets while enhancing the quality of life. The most common urban vegetation that managers make decisions about is turfgrass, which dominates urban areas across North America and Europe. Recent appeals for changes in the ubiquitous lawn, promoting a transition from high input (e.g., fertilizer, water) to low input, more sustainable forms of urban vegetation have arisen. Despite the broad critique of the lawn, perspectives from public land managers on issues of transitioning to low input turfgrasses in urban areas remain mostly unknown. We conducted focus groups with land managers across the northern United States, specifically in Oregon, Indiana, and New Jersey to understand factors they consider opportunities and barriers in transitioning to low input cool-season turfgrasses, using the example of fine fescue varieties. Overall, managers articulated significant opportunities for a transition to low input turf. Across all groups, managers noted labor and time savings, as well as anticipated future climate and other challenges (e.g., watering restrictions, declining water quality), which could aid in the adoption of low input turfgrasses now and in the near future. Mangers also articulated significant current barriers such as previously negative experience with earlier varieties of fine fescues and their confusion around the naming of current varieties to overcome before widespread adoption could take place. More work needs to be done to demonstrate the benefits of low input turfgrasses, get managers hands-on experience with improved varieties, as well as work on simplifying and organizing the publicly used names of fine fescues.”

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


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



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