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  • Author or Editor: Steven H. Long x
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Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera var. palustris Huds.) is desirable as a putting green turfgrass in the transition zone as a result of year-round green color, ball roll, and playability. However, management challenges exist for bentgrass greens, including winter temperature fluctuations. Frosts often cause cancellations or delays of tee time resulting in lost revenue. In response to this winter golf course management issue, a research project was initiated at Clemson University from 1 Dec. 2005 and 2006 to 1 Aug. 2006 and 2007 on a ‘L93’ creeping bentgrass putting green to determine the impacts of foot traffic or mower traffic and time of traffic application on bentgrass winter performance. Treatments consisted of no traffic (control), foot traffic, and walk-behind mower traffic (rolling) at 0700 and 0900 hr when canopy temperatures were at or below 0 °C. Foot traffic included ≈75 steps within each plot using size 10 SP-4 Saddle Nike golf shoes (soft-spiked sole) administered by a researcher weighing ≈75 kg. A Toro Greensmaster 800 walk-behind greens mower weighing 92 kg with a 45.7-cm roller was used for rolling traffic. Data collected included canopy and soil temperatures (7.6 cm depth), visual turfgrass quality (TQ), clipping yield (g·m−2), shoot chlorophyll concentration (mg·g−1), root total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC) (mg·g−1), soil bulk density (g·cm−3), and water infiltration rates (cm·h−1). Time and type of traffic significantly influenced bentgrass winter performance. On all TQ rating dates, 0700 hr rolling traffic decreased TQ by ≈1.1 units compared with foot traffic at 0700 hr. In December, regardless of traffic application time, rolling traffic reduced bentgrass shoot growth ≈17%. However, in February, chlorophyll, soil bulk density, and water infiltration differences were not detected. By the end of March, all treatments had acceptable TQ. Root TNC was unaffected in May, whereas shoot chlorophyll concentrations were unaffected in May and August. This study indicates bentgrass damage resulting from winter traffic is limited to winter and early spring months and full recovery should be expected by summer.

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