Take five researchers. Six minutes and one slide per researcher. And Beth Guertal, Ph.D., the guiding force behind GCM's monthly Verdure column. What do you have? Verdure Live! An hour of fast talking and clear explanations of significant research that assists superintendents in making informed golf course management choices.
Like Guertal's Verdure column, the research topics ranged from older but still relevant work to more recent findings. Kevin Frank, Ph.D. from Michigan State University started the morning with a study about the relationship between a wetting agent (Revolution) and moisture on a USGA Poa annua putting green under three levels of traffic and three levels of irrigation. The quality of annual bluegrass was better when the wetting was applied, but the wetting agent had varying effects under the three levels of irrigation.
The herbicide methiozolin (aka PoaCure) has been studied by U.S. researchers for several years, and registration of the product has been eagerly anticipated by superintendents who strive to remove Poa annua from their greens. Scott McElroy, Ph.D., at Auburn University is one of those researchers. He wanted to find out how methiozolin works — do foliar applications or applications targeting the soil have the greatest effect on the annual bluegrass plant? When methiozolin was applied directly to the leaf, the chemical stayed in the leaf and did not move throughout the plant, but methiozolin applied to roots was transported throughout the plant. In the meantime, superintendents still wait for what they hope is a magic bullet they can employ against Poa annua.
Over the years, numerous studies at Rutgers University have examined the effects of topdressing on turfgrass. Jim Murphy, Ph.D., presented the results of multiple studies that showed that sand topdressing protects bentgrass turf from heat and drought stress and scalping. The research showed that turf that was under greater stress (maintained at a low cutting height and received low levels of nitrogen) received the greatest benefits from sand topdressing.
Methyl bromide for bermudagrass removal has has been a mainstay of golf course renovation, construction and reconstruction. Methyl bromide will likely not be available for golf course use, and scientists have been looking for other means of removing bermudagrass (and its seed) from areas that are under new construction or are being renovated. Fred Yelverton, Ph.D., at North Carolina State University shared his suggestion: Roundup + Fusilade followed by Basamid takes longer than methyl bromide or Roundup alone, but it is effective and far less expensive. (for the full story, see the December 2016 issue of GCM.)
The final speaker, Erik Ervin, Ph.D., Virginia Tech, showed how cytokinins derived from natural seaweed (rather than synthetic cytokinins) were effective in preventing and lessening summer stress in bentgrass greens.
For more Verdure, see Beth Guertal's columns in past, current and future issues of GCM.