Keep Old Man Winter From Hurting Bermudagrass Putting Greens

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As bermudagrass putting greens enter dormancy over the next few weeks in the Carolinas, now is a good time to review some key management strategies for a successful transition next spring. Just because bermudagrass putting greens go dormant or semi-dormant doesn’t mean your job is over. They still need attention. Below are the keys to success based on our observations over the past several years helping people manage these surfaces.

Turfgrass professionals taking a peek under the covers

Turfgrass professionals taking a peek under the covers.

Disease Management

Even though the turf is dormant or semi-dormant, diseases can still develop when the weather is favorable. Based on years of data collected from the NC State University Turf Diagnostics Lab, these are the primary diseases to focus on during this time –

Pythium Blight and Leaf Spot

We lump these two together for a couple of reasons. The primary being they often occur at the same time and stand symptoms resemble each other which makes field diagnostics nearly impossible. We often suggest growers just go ahead and apply something that covers both just to be safe. For more information about each of these, including control recommendations, please click on the links below:

Pythium Blight

Leaf Spot

White Patches

This category covers just about everything else such as take-all root rot, cream leaf blight, Microdochium patch, and Pythium root rot. Cream leaf blight and Microdochium patch are likely the only two that will be active during this time of year whereas the others may only be expressing symptoms due to damage done earlier in the year. And yep, you guessed it, the majority of the time the only way to know for certain which one you are dealing with is to submit a sample to your favorite (trusted) turfgrass diagnostics lab. For more information about each of these, including control recommendations, please click on the links below:

Take-all Root Rot

Cream Leaf Blight

Microdochium Patch

Pythium Root Rot

Finally, we have also observed that wetting agents coupled with proper use of winter covers drastically improve turf quality throughout the winter months which ultimately leads to enhanced spring green-up. Dr. Mike Richardson at the University of Arkansas has researched both of these topics thoroughly and we have included some of their findings at the links below:

Effect of Late-Fall Wetting Agent Applications

USGA Conversation on Cover Usage