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  • Author or Editor: Marco Schiavon x
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Replacing cool-season turf with more drought and heat tolerant warm-season turfgrass species is a viable water conservation strategy in climates where water resources and precipitation are limited. Field studies were conducted in Riverside and Irvine, CA, to investigate three methods (scalping, eradication with a nonselective herbicide, planting into existing turf) of converting an existing tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) sward to warm-season turf. Cultivars established vegetatively by plugging were ‘De Anza’ hybrid zoysiagrass [Zoysia matrella × (Z. japonica × Z. tenuifolia)], ‘Palmetto’ st. augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), ‘Tifsport’ hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis), ‘Sea Spray’ seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum), and ‘UC Verde’ buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides). Cultivars established from seeds were ‘Princess-77’ bermudagrass (C. dactylon) and ‘Sea Spray’ seashore paspalum. Neither scalping nor planting into existing tall fescue were effective conversion strategies, as none of the warm-season turfgrasses reached 50% groundcover within 1 year of planting. All of the species except for st. augustinegrass reached a higher percentage of groundcover at the end of the study when glyphosate herbicide was applied to tall fescue before propagation compared with the other conversion strategies. Bermudagrass and seashore paspalum established from seeds and hybrid bermudagrass from plugs provided the best overall establishment with 97%, 93%, and 85% groundcover, respectively, when glyphosate was used before establishment. Quality of seeded cultivars matched or exceeded that of cultivars established vegetatively by plugging. These results suggest that eradication of tall fescue turf followed by establishment of warm-season turf from seeds is the best and easiest turf conversion strategy.

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Aerification and topdressing are important cultural management practices that help prevent organic matter accumulation and soil compaction in golf greens. However, these practices result in surface disruption and decreased putting quality during recovery. A 2-year study was conducted on a ‘TifEagle’ hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis) putting green to determine the effect of different aerification methods and topdressing materials on soil properties and turfgrass recovery. Plots were aerified four times per year (May to Aug.) using 1/2-inch hollow tines, 1/4-inch hollow needle tines, hollow tines 2X + hollow needle tines 2X, or sand injection, and topdressed with either 90:10 (sand:peat) or green-dyed sand. Visual quality, normalized difference vegetation index, percent green cover, dark green color index (DGCI), surface firmness and volumetric water content were measured before initial aerification and at 7 and 21 days after aerification. Saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) and organic matter (OM) content were measured monthly. Aerification with hollow tines and hollow tines 2X + hollow needle tines 2X resulted in lower firmness and OM and higher Ksat compared with hollow needle tines and sand injection. Sand injection showed the highest percent green cover and similar OM content compared with hollow tines and hollow tines 2X + hollow needle tines 2X. Green-dyed sand showed a higher percent green cover and DGCI compared with 90:10 sand:peat. Using hollow tines only or alternating them with hollow needle tines is the best option to decrease OM content while increasing Ksat in hybrid bermudagrass greens; however, their use could result in slower turfgrass recovery compared with other aerification methods.

Open Access

Golf courses in coastal regions of northern California are often faced with severe injury caused by pacific shoot-gall nematodes (Anguina pacificae) on their annual bluegrass (Poa annua) host in putting greens. For years, fenamiphos was used for mitigating disease outbreaks until its registration was withdrawn in 2008. An alternative product containing azadirachtin was intended for nematode suppression. Still, it required repeated applications throughout the year with questionable efficacy, making attempts to lessen the impact of the pathogen costly. This study evaluated fluopyram as a novel nematicide for control of pacific shoot-gall disease. Various application frequencies and rates were tested at several golf courses affected by the nematode. Results revealed that fluopyram applied once at 0.22 lb/acre reduced the number of new shoot-galls and improved annual bluegrass appearance for several months. Increased rates and application frequency occasionally improved the efficacy further. Although the visual quality of turf treated with this plant protection compound was tremendously enhanced, and the number of new shoot-galls was reduced, rarely a significant effect was observed on the population density of several soil-dwelling plant-parasitic nematodes, including pacific shoot-gall nematode. It is hypothesized that fluopyram did not move significantly past the thatch layer and into the soil. However, it effectively reduced the ability of pacific shoot-gall nematode juveniles to induce new shoot galls. Due to its long half-life, it likely protected against both new nematode infections and dissemination of pacific shoot-gall nematode when the shoot-galls decomposed.

Open Access