The final day of The Greenbrier Classic featured an emotional start and conclusion between a fog-covered maintenance shift. It was a day those who experienced it will never forget.
With summer here, superintendents are focused on course aesthetics and playability, no matter what weather element, human element or disease is thrown their way.
In cool-season turf states, it is generally peak golf season, and prime time for peak turf stress.
“Basically, what happens, people get excited about playing golf, then it suddenly gets very warm,” says Kyle Miller, senior technical specialist BASF Professional Turf and Ornamentals. “Cool-season grass gets under pressure with the warmer weather and we get more and more foot traffic on the golf course, and we go from bad to worse almost in regard to maintaining the golf course and keeping stress at a minimum.”
An influx of eager players brings a necessary evil to the golf course – foot traffic. Once turfgrass is damaged, it doesn’t return to normal overnight. “Foot traffic, golf cart traffic, it’s high wear. And golfers go to the path of least resistance,” says University of Tennessee distinguished professor of turfgrass science and management Dr. John Sorochan. “Those always make for high stress.”
One way to alleviate turf stress is to direct players to take different paths is by simply cordoning off certain sections when turf stress begins to appear.
“Move where golfers enter a tee or putting green, try to adjust that to minimize wear and tear,” Miller says. “Just the pin placements (superintendents) use, they can alleviate some of that stress. Put a pin where it causes people to move in a certain direction, move them away from areas that don’t tolerate stress as well.”
Dr. Thomas Nikolai advocates customer satisfaction, and that comes with maximizing the playing condition of putting greens. “We can do that during any stressful time,” says Nikolai, associate coordinator of Michigan State University’s two-year golf turfgrass management program. “Most of the focus is on the putting surface. That’s where the basic customer satisfaction (starts). When you get that done, then everything else has to be perfect.”
Add summer heat, and superintendents should adjust how they treat their greens. “Under conditions of high heat/humidity and with greens under stress, don’t mow the green, roll in place of mowing,” Nikolai says. “On cool-season grasses that applies. It helps relieves other stresses like traffic disease stress.”
In addition to rolling, Miller says superintendents can consider raising cutting heights. “During the summer, your root system is going to fall off some,” he says. “Be ready to comprise a bit because the turf is going to be under stress. We are taught, when your turf is under stress, raise your mower height. Rolling your greens routinely to keep the speed where the golfers want it, and the super is helping out those greens. It doesn’t take that much to make a significant difference.”
Dealing with diseases
Depending on your region and turf type, various diseases may pop up during the summer.
Dr. Bruce Clarke, a specialist in turfgrass pathology at Rutgers University, says universities are ready to help superintendents identify diseases that crop up on their courses. “Typically, if they already know what the problem is (or don’t), they send a sample to the Rutgers plant laboratory,” Clarke says. “If it turns out to be a disease, they would tell them how to treat it.”
If there isn’t a university by a superintendent’s golf course, they can find local laboratories to assess possible diseased turf. Although each region in the United States has its own common diseases, there are plenty of diseases potentially popping up. “There are well over 200 diseases, depending on weather, type of grass and how the grass is being maintained,” Clarke says.
Stress on a golf course can also stem from the beauty of the course such as its trees. “Shade is an area of stress,” Sorochan says. “It blocks the sunlight, stops the area from producing energy. Trees are important for aesthetics, bringing challenges to the game and golfer protection (from the heat).”
Superintendents must manage these areas differently than the areas without cover and how much water reaches all areas, no matter if it’s an extremely dry or rainy year. “I prefer the right amount of water,” Sorochan says. “Too much water is more of a burden (than not enough), and it’s a waste. It can cause a socially bad image as well as the waste.”
Water is important, but finding the right balance is key. “If you don’t have enough water, it’s a real bad problem as well,” Sorochan adds. “But grasses don’t need as much water as we really think. Providing enough so it doesn’t wilt is all that you need.”
The stress for perfection
Building up relationships with other superintendents so they can trade knowledge and bounce ideas and problems off one another is another suggestion of Nikolai.
“(Good superintendents that I know) they first talk to other supers, which is a great place to start,” Nikolai says. “Golf courses have never looked better than they have now. Of course, the closer you get to perfection, the more your imperfections show. Supers are often putting stress on themselves that other people don’t even see.”
When you take care of a course nearly every day, you see things that players, who might only be there for a few hours a couple of times a week, don’t see. Nikolai recommends superintendents don’t fret over every little stress they find.
As an example, Nikolai referenced a superintendent he was trying to help with fairy ring. “It couldn’t have been more than a foot-and-half circle in front of a green,” he says of the problem. “It’s the only problem on all of the 18 holes. When I asked, no one ever mentions it to him.”
Fairy ring can get dry and mushrooms might be appear if not maintained, but that was not the case in this instance. The superintendent simply wanted his course 100 percent perfect, which brings on an internal type of stress. That’s not the only person who wants the course looking perfect. Nikolai says stress on superintendents also originates from ownership and the players. “You have a lot of people that are uninformed of the dangers of stresses,” he says. “I can walk into a maintenance building and can tell in five minutes if there is good or bad management.”
“The way I would try to relive stress is to take time off, get away from the course, allow everyone to get away from the course time to time. This should be one of the most enjoyable places to work. The main reason it isn’t is higher stress.” — Dr. Thomas Nikolai, Michigan State University
A day off now and then may sound crazy to some superintendents, but Nikolai recommends it. “The way I would try to relive stress is to take time off, get away from the course, allow everyone to get away from the course time to time,” he says. “This should be one of the most enjoyable places to work. The main reason it isn’t is higher stress.”
Nikolai adds that he doesn’t think anyone should work more than 13 days in a row. Miller agrees, that if it’s possible, a day away couldn’t hurt a superintendent. “If you can do it, it’s probably not a bad idea,” Miller says. “But as a super, it’s hard to not to get your mind off your golf course.”
Miller suggests a good time for a summer respite might be when a cool front moves in. “Take a day off, step away and get back on it,” he says. “It’s hard a thing to do and feel good about doing it. We’ve had meetings and supers struggle with that even though they might have able-bodied assistants. It’s their baby. They don’t want to lose their job. It’s a tough one.”
Scheduling might be a way to ease the stress of supers and their assistants. “There are supers that have gotten innovated with their scheduling,” Nikolai says. “They have night crews now, and always have at least two people on the course, just in case something goes wrong. This is as opposed to having one or two assistants there all day long, giving people time off.”
In the end, communication, researching and simply taking an occasional breath are three ways superintendents can avoid the agronomic and personal perils of turf stress.
Water is liquid gold these days. More and more states require water-withdrawal permits and water use must be reported annually, requiring proper recordkeeping and data management.
However, those numbers have other uses, too, and can be mined for valuable insight to improve the quality of your turf management program and strengthen your budget.
Five key metrics to record irrigation and water usage are evapotranspiration (ET), plant water requirements, soil type, soil moisture and precipitation rate, says Steve Sakurai, data management and irrigation systems for Ewing Irrigation.
“All of these five metrics depend upon each other in the context of irrigation and water usage,” he says. “Evapotranspiration showcases how much water is lost during the day due to current weather conditions. You need to determine what kind of turf you are caring for to understand its plant water requirements.”
ET is calculated using weather station data to estimate water loss from the plant/soil system, says Dr. Doug Soldat, associate professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Soil Science. He adds any factors – such as grass type and course microclimates – influence the actual water loss from an area, but estimated ET puts a superintendent in the ballpark.
Soldat recommends superintendents set their irrigation to run off ET data, which is a more “quantitative and efficient way” to irrigate than using run times to schedule irrigation.
“At first, some areas will be too wet and others will be too dry,” Soldat says. “But by using a soil moisture probe you can find them and percent adjust heads up or down accordingly.”
Annual ET, precipitation and irrigation use can be compiled at the end of the year to represent irrigation efficiency. The data is useful for demonstrating the efficiency of irrigation water use on a course and can be used as a target to base future improvements, Soldat says.
Soil type dictates how many cycles a runtime needs to be separated into to achieve a plant’s water requirement, Sakurai says. For example, a sandy soil might be able to handle 15 minutes of consistent watering, while a heavy clay soil would require three five-minute watering cycles. The existing soil moisture levels determine how often the soil needs watered.
“A precipitation rate is the rate that sprinkler heads apply water in a given period of time, Sakurai says. “Another factor to be considered is the distribution uniformity (DU) of the rotor. A sprinkler with a higher DU will put water down more efficiently, saving water and time.” He adds these metrics work together, and recording and interpreting the data will make an irrigation system run more efficiently.
Irrigation data collection should focus on the amount of water applied, weather readings, chemicals applied, cultural practices undertaken, and soil moisture and temperature, says Paul Standerfer, product marketing manager for Toro Golf Irrigation. However, he adds these data elements are most likely at the top of most superintendents’ lists, as they all impact each other.
“Turf health and vigor is based on recognizing what Mother Nature is doing and using the tools available,” Standerfer says. “At times of the year, the superintendent is very reactionary and at others very anticipatory. With experience and information, you can read the conditions and have the correct action plan.”
The time of the year and the length of days have a significant impact on plant needs, Standerfer says, adding measuring environmental components is more important today than ever.
“What we used to think was normal is increasingly abnormal,” Standerfer says. “You can no longer time an application or cultural practice based upon when you’ve always done it. Soil temperatures are warming sooner. Frost dates are moving. Putting down materials at the wrong time is wasteful and expensive.”
Water use per source is another key metric that must be monitored and data collected on, says Brian Vinchesi, design engineer for Irrigation Consulting Inc.
“To manage water, you have to measure it,” Vinchesi says. “Without useful information you are just guessing, or worse, assuming. All water sources should be measured with a flow meter to get the total picture of how much water is used to support the course’s water needs.”
For example, measure pump station water use with regard to the amount of water coming out of the pump station per cycle and per day, week, month and annually, Vinchesi says. “If you have only one water source, it may be the same as what you measure from the source,” he says. “But, if you have multiple sources, measuring all will show you the inefficiencies inherent in the water supply system. That will allow you to identify the efficiencies and improve overall water management strategy.”
When considering electricity usage the irrigation pump system is “far and away” the largest energy consumer on the golf course. And in some regions, such as the Northwest, variable utility rates can have extreme effects on course budgets.
“Optimizing pump station use and narrowing a watering window, watering during off peak times, or managing the flow through a modern pump system can impact annual electricity bills,” says Tory Perren, senior marketing manager for Toro Golf Irrigation. “Monitoring metrics like these help a superintendent dial in systems to maximize resources and provide the balance between usage and turf quality, thus lessening overall environmental impact.”
Water withdrawal data is another important element of proper water management, says Ian Williams, national specification manager for Rain Bird’s Golf Division. Consider that a course’s irrigation activities could draw water from various sources, such as wells or other private sources, municipal water supplies, a reclaimed water source, or natural streams where water must be transported to a holding area by mechanical means. Accurate metering is essential. In many cases, metering may be done by the provider. Sometimes the property is responsible for self-recording. Records of withdrawal quantities can be manually collected or accessed remotely and entered into software to generate reports, he says.
Water usage metering includes measuring what is being discharged through the irrigation system, Williams says. To ensure accurate measurements, superintendents must install flow meters on the discharge line of the pumping source according to manufacturer guidelines and calibrated them correctly. While superintendents can collect these values manually, Williams says computer software can also generate detailed reports that include power consumption, hours of operation, as well as detailed pressure and flow values at any time throughout the irrigation cycle.
Understanding the distribution uniformity (DU) of sprinkler heads on a golf course helps superintendents make decisions regarding irrigation system maintenance and upgrades.
“Routine water audits performed by a certified golf course irrigation auditor expose uniformity deficiencies that can lead to over-usage of both water and energy,” Williams says. “Poor-performing sprinklers can, at times, be corrected inexpensively, which will lead to better performance.”
Soil moisture and temperature – either measured throughout the day by permanently installed soil sensors or periodically by portable sensors – is arguably the most important data used by a turf manager to make irrigation and other maintenance-related decisions, Williams says.
Permanently installed sensors offer data throughout the day at user-defined intervals. Reading and interpreting more data points received throughout the day during periods of plant stress permits the superintendent to document climate and turf-reaction trends.
“Understanding predictive trends in turf grass behavior from the data gives the manager the ability to develop a proactive water management plan,” Williams says. “Understanding volumetric soil moisture content can be used to guide irrigation scheduling.”
Measuring water fraction volume “as the turf sees it,” or more importantly as utilized in the most active region of the turf system, is vitally important, says Carmen Magro, vice president and chief agronomist for Stevens Water Monitoring Systems Inc.
“The balance of air and moisture is critical for the efficiency of photosynthesis (Ps) and respiration (Rs),” Magro says. “These processes are not givens in turfgrass growth and performance. Each depends on very specific variables, such as the availability of free diffused oxygen in soil solution, available moisture for the plant to take from the rootzone, free exchange of CO2 that comes from the soil, and several other factors including how the turf utilizes nutrients.”
Just because nutrients are present, does not mean the plant will utilize them, Magro adds. An imbalance of moisture in the most dominant upper region of the rootzone will negate any efficient uptake or use of those nutrients, and will hinder the fundamental, basic physiological functions of the turfgrass system.
“The best way to measure water fraction volume is by using scientific grade, precise and accurate moisture monitoring technology designed to be capable of measuring accurately through changing turf conditions over time,” Magro says.
Electro-conductivity (EC) – aka salinity – is very important in understanding what impact free ions have on the turf system, Magro says. “Basically, any ion in solution impacts EC as the turf sees it,” he adds. “Understanding what the turf sees on a consistent basis from day to day and throughout the year will indicate the health of the system from a salinity perspective. Since higher EC levels indicate higher salinity levels, and because salts are very good at stealing moisture from the plant and making any available moisture harder to take up, EC has an impact on water management. Everyone and anyone managing turfgrass, irrigation and/or nutrition (all turf managers) should be mindful of EC so that they not only know the consistent (or lack of) availability of nutrients to their turf and to understand the impact these (salts) have on the availability of moisture to the turf.”
In golf irrigation, most inefficiencies are in the database that is operating the system, Vinchesi says. For example, the database’s data assumes the installed sprinklers are operating at a specific pressure and at a specific spacing and it then uses that information to calculate the sprinkler precipitation rate and the operating time which effects water use. If the database has the wrong sprinklers, nozzles, pressure or spacing, it will most likely use more water.
“To be efficient with water and to keep your use minimized, database management is essential as it operates the system and keeps the superintendent feedback to make decisions,” Vinchesi says.
John Torsiello is a Torrington, Conn.-based writer and frequent GCI contributor.
The toughest part of the golf season is arguably the 97 days or so that we call “The Test.”
This is more popularly known as the summer golf season, and in the United States it spans from Memorial Day until Labor Day. It comes each year full of promise and panic. No matter where you are on the map, or what sector of the industry you ply your skill as a golf course superintendent, you know that summer means stress. And a quick glance at the cell phone weather app you know the heat is on – and on the prowl.
So, are you prepared? No worries. Let’s take a walk through some strategies to keep you cool and successful even when the thermometer melts and you start thinking that ET (evapotranspiration) is just an old sci-fi movie.
I have worked more than 35 years in two markets: Georgia and Texas. So, I have some first-hand experience in the many ways the heat will test you, your staff, your turf, your equipment and your members. Let’s start with the heat that is on you, the superintendent and your staff.
Heat, stress and the human element
Often, superintendents place themselves at the end of the priority list, especially in the summer. We justify long hours, high stress, too much caffeine and sugar, emotional outbursts, and general chaos in the operation with words like “driven,” “tough” and “resilient.” Here is the summer truth I want to pass on more than any other, and I got it from my grandfather during a drought that brought tough times to everyone I knew (I was five years old). Everything in nature has a breaking point. Everything. Usually, what tips the scale to failure is a collection of stresses without time to replenish/recover. The superintendent and his staff are not immune to this law. As integral parts of the golf course ecosystem, they must be aware of the ebb and flow of all the processes and programs. This awareness allows for making sound decisions that ultimately lead them through the stress to success.
Prepare for the physical stress
Drink plenty of water (avoid sodas and teas) eight, eight-ounce glasses per day is a good start. Drink more as temperatures rise.
Use sunscreen SPF 30 or higher and reapply often, wear broad-brim hats and lightweight breathable clothes Take breaks out of the sun exposure. And schedule your yearly physical with your doctor prior to Memorial Day.
Take more breaks
Get out of the sun and rehydrate. Take a status check – both physically and mentally – and then move on to the next task. Remember recovery/replenish applies to people and plants. Watch for signs of heat stress in people – just like plants. We are trained to see the heat stress in turf, slight discoloration, moisture probe readings in the single digits but what about heat stress in people (staff, golfers, vendors/contractors). The symptoms of heat stress and the more severe heat stroke include heat stress – very hot to touch, dizziness, mild headache and heavy sweating; heat stroke symptoms include lack of sweat, throbbing headache, core temperature over 104 degrees, fainting. In both cases call 911 or emergency services and then get the person out of the sun, apply ice or cool water and fan them until help arrives. I have maintained active CPR and First Aid certifications throughout my career and I have been the first responder numerous times, and truthfully 90 percent of these incidents happened in the summer and were compounded by heat stresses. Consider having you and your assistants certified in CPR and First Aid.
Review and practice emergency response procedures
Make sure that everyone in your staff are trained on what to do if they see or suspect heat-related or other emergencies. Time is critical during these situations and every minute lost can have severe consequences. Place posters or give out business cards with phone numbers and procedures.
Keep good records.
Weather data, work assignments and history, budget items, Integrated Plant Management notes and the list goes on. In the summer, it can be tempting to let a few housekeeping chores like record keeping slide but that is exactly when you need to capture accurate data the most. This data will help plan next summer.
Set a good example.
Take care of your business, guard your assets, especially your staff and members. And just like every airline flight attendant reminds us to put your oxygen mask on first so you can then help others, you are the asset at the club that connects all the parts so take care of yourself.
Agronomics, high temps and expectations
Our success as superintendents is measured by our ability to bring our agronomic assets (especially greens) through the stresses of summer at or above property expectations but within budget guidelines. Stresses that stand in our way include everything from heat stress, traffic, budget cuts, water management, disease pressure, mechanical injury or the collective diagnosis of summer turfgrass decline. It can be overwhelming, thus it must be managed so that we are not pushed to our breaking point.
In general terms, the healthier your turf is going into the summer, the better it is likely to perform throughout the summer. An active spring with well-timed aeration, fertilization, weed control and preventive fungicide applications is good insurance toward a successful summer. However, let’s say you just arrived on property in mid-summer and there are no records of anything happening prior to your arrival. Now is the time to rely on the basics of “Summer Turf Survival 101.”
First, gather soil and tissue samples to set a bench mark and guide future decisions. Second, test your irrigation water quality to see if there are issues, followed quickly by an in-house irrigation audit. Start with the pump station or delivery system and confirm every part of the irrigation system and its percentage of function including control systems. If you have not already done so, acquire and calibrate as many moisture meters as you feel you need to establish measured benchmarks on how you will be watering greens and other high-value areas. In the heat, it is important to know the difference between watering and misting especially on bentgrass in South. Watering is key and each property will have a complex set of water factors that must be understood and maximized to handle the survival of turf and other agronomic assets on near 100-degree days. That’s when a well-placed phone call and a lunch with an established superintendent(s) is priceless.
Gather quality information from reliable sources, trust your instincts and training, and persevere. This information will help you sail through the summer like a cool breeze. There are few things as rewarding as seeing the arrival of fall after a well-managed summer golf season. Be safe and help grow the game through the people that you touch each day and may you always get rain when you need it, enough to revive you and the turf without washing out your bunkers.
Anthony Williams, CGCS, is the director of golf course maintenance and landscaping at the Four Seasons Resort Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. He’s a frequent GCI contributor.
The movement of turf pesticides to non-treated areas of a golf course can have potentially disastrous implications for non-targeted turf or ornamentals. Foliar or root injury to turf and other species that are sensitive to certain pesticides could result in plant death on highly desirable turf surfaces, such as putting greens, or damage to ornamentals in highly visible areas on the golf course.
With proper information on short-term weather conditions, knowing what is going on underneath your turf, paying close attention to and following pesticide labels, and proper timing of applications, pesticides will impact only the area that needs treatment and not damage adjacent turf or other plants.
“Application technology in the form of nozzles and GPS sprayers have improved the superintendent’s ability to place pesticide products where they want them,” says Kyle Miller, senior technical specialist for BASF Professional Turf and Ornamentals. He adds pesticide chemistry has improved formulations and lowered application rates to mitigate drift scenarios.
Yet, it still happens, says Cam Copley, golf/national accounts manager for Nufarm Americas. “Despite being very careful, pesticides can move off target through water movement, foot traffic or mechanical traffic,” Copley says. “It is more common than it should be, but the most common cause would be not allowing enough a reentry timeframe into the area.”
Off-target pesticide movement takes many forms depending on how sensitive the off-target species is and what type of rate was applied. Additionally, pesticide symptomology can be highly varied depending on the pesticide’s mode of action, says Dr. Jeff Atkinson, SePro’s portfolio leader, turf and landscape.
“In the case of a herbicide, off-target movement can range from transient phytotoxicity to total plant death,” Atkinson says.
When applied according to label directions, superintendents can limit unintentional or off-target movement of pesticides. However, accidents, unforeseen weather and other events can lead to unintentional effects, says Dr. Zac Reicher, technical specialist for the Bayer Green Solutions Team.
Most unintentional consequences typically occur during mixing or application. And most of these problems can be avoided by taking a little more time in preparation and getting a second set of eyes to check the calculations and products to be mixed, Reicher says. “This is easier said than done with the hectic golf course schedules, but extremely important given the cost of each application as well as the potential costs of a misapplication,” he adds.
Understanding the biological and chemical properties of a pesticide is the compliment to understanding the mode of action of a pesticide, Atkinson says. A pesticide’s ineffectiveness often results from the inability of the pesticide to reach the target, he says. Or in the case of an herbicide, the inability of the herbicide to penetrate the target’s cuticle to reach the active site within the plant.
“Understanding pesticide chemical properties will help an applicator decide if and what type of surfactant would improve efficacy and what other types of products the pesticide can be mixed with,” Atkinson says. “There’s a tremendous amount of information available on pesticide products today. Taking advantage of university extension programs is a great way to access this information. Within the last several years, university turf programs around the country have done a great job of improving the accessibility of information on their respective websites. Often, that’s a great place to start. Manufacturer and distribution technical specialists are also great resources for specific product information.”
Before applying product, superintendents and turf managers must understand pesticide volatility, water solubility, residual and other vital characteristics, Miller says.
“While these might all be desirable attributes in most situations, not being aware of these could result in unintended damage to desirable turf or ornamentals,” he adds. “It’s very important to attend your local university field day and find out for yourself what the experts are saying with regard to efficacy and overall use and performance of products in your geography. In addition, keep in touch with your fellow superintendents to find out what they are saying.”
Weather plays a critical role in pesticide efficacy and avoiding off-target intrusion, Copley says. For example, some products need to stay on the leaf for a certain amount of time, so a rain event will ruin that application. Some chemistries require a temperature range because at low temperatures the plant will not respond to the product, and at high temperatures the product can cause damage. Wind is also very important because windy conditions can result in products moving off the desired site, Copley adds.
Golf courses in regions that manage cool- and warm-season grasses adjacent to each other can be negatively affected by off-target movement of pesticides, says Dr. Travis Gannon, assistant professor pesticide/trace element fate and behavior at North Carolina State University.
“There are bentgrass greens even in places like Florida, so this can be a problem in a number of regions,” Gannon says. “Especially where there is a good deal of slope in the areas around the green complex, off-target pesticide movement can prove problematic.”
Gannon advises superintendents to understand soil moisture content when applying pesticides to prevent sub-surface, off-target flow. Also, they should pay close attention to short-range weather forecasts to avoid treating turf prior to thunderstorms or other large, impactful rain events that will lead to the unwanted movement of pesticides on the course.
In other words, know what will happen above the ground, what is going on below the turf, and then time pesticide applications accordingly, Gannon says.
Low-mowed greens are usually most susceptible to damage, and thus why many pesticides are prohibited from use on greens, Reicher says. “Young turf can be very susceptible to herbicides,” he adds. “Extra care should be taken on courses with warm-season grasses immediately adjacent to cool-season grasses since herbicides used on one can be damaging to the other.”
Annual bluegrass greens may be the most vulnerable to disease damage. This can be exacerbated by poorly drained soils, wet conditions, the growth habit of annual bluegrass and the multitude of diseases that attack an annual bluegrass plant. Annual bluegrass roots will typically grow near the soil surface during periods of summer stress. Because there are diseases that affect the foliage (dollar spot), crown (anthracnose) and roots (summer patch), pesticide applications need to account for what effect weather may have on fungicide efficacy.
“Areas that are heavily sloped are especially vulnerable as pesticide products can be moved off target, especially if the product is highly water soluble,” Miller says. “Thin turf areas are also vulnerable because there is little vegetation for the product to become adsorbed to.”
All grasses/areas are vulnerable if an applicator is careless, Atkinson says. Therefore, it’s better to approach it as everything is equally sensitive to an off-target pesticide application. This approach prevents an applicator from overlooking common application pitfalls that may result in off-target pesticide application, he adds.
Experts at regional universities, sales professionals, company representatives and other superintendents are all vital resources to learn what works best for an agronomic situation. “Also, the superintendent should do their own research about how that class of chemistry works and how the mode of action will respond when they make the application,” Copley says.
John Torsiello is a writer based in Torrington, Conn., and a frequent GCI contributor.