Thursday, February 20, 2014

Warm season turf, has it survived the cold winter season?

I think most of our warm season turf should survive this past winter but I'm doing a plug check in the window of the office just in case.  Some of my peers to the south are keeping their fingers crossed hoping the  bermuda greens that were hit with severe cold this winter were not severely injured.  Our zoysia turf is rated well below freezing for winter kill potential but our bermuda turf that contaminates many areas of our property could have been injured.  That is not necessarily a bad thing but if you lose too much turf at once, it could create some voids in our key areas such as fairways, green surrounds and tees.  Also, our long range tee has a bermuda grass that is known for cold tolerance but I have noticed it slow to grow in the spring following a colder than normal winter.

I do expect the bermuda in the fairways that I sprayed as a part of our bermuda eradication program to wake up at a slower rate than the non-sprayed areas.  The spray applied in early October right before dormancy injured it and the colder temperatures should have pushed this injury even further.  There were seven acres of fairways sprayed with this material.  I would expect these areas to delay in greening up.  As they begin to emerge and there are larger areas of zoysia in some of these sections, I will probably spray them again delaying there growth further and allowing the zoysia to begin to fill back into the area.  With The Invitational(Member/Guest) Tournament occurring the 2nd weekend of June, I will be working the spray application timing before and after this event to insure we have the best possible conditions for the event.

A word of warning to warm season turf owners.  Do not get in a big hurry this season to do anything to your turf until it begins to green up and require mowing.  Fertilization should always be delayed until you are sure all large patch on zoysia/bermuda is not actively growing.  Usually mid to late May in St. Louis at the earliest. Dethatching a warm season lawn should be delayed until the lawn is actively growing and needs mowing. Performing these type of practices too early to your lawn could injure and allow for the emergence of summer weeds.

Warm season plugs from left to right.
1.  Westwood bermuda from 1 fairway sprayed with Fusilade II/Turflon in early Oct 2013.  Stems are slightly green.
2.  Meyer zoysia fwy plug from #1.  There is green leaves showing and green in the crown.
3.  Patriot bermuda from the long range tee.  Stems are smaller than westwood but do seem viable, slightly green at this          time.

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