The Mid-Atlantic outlook

The Mid-Atlantic outlook

<i>Poa</i> pressure could be worse thanks to a harsh winter.

February 27, 2014

Elliot Dowling is an agronomist for the Mid-Atlantic region of the USGA Green Section. He covers the Poa pressure facing northern courses after this winter.

I think Poa will be our top concern for this time of year for at least the next four weeks. A little clover to an extent, and we can mention crabgrass, but by and large it’s Poa in this region. The guys around here do such a good job getting the pre-emergents down for crabgrass generally. There are breakthroughs, but it’s just not a huge deal for us. Poa will be the big one to watch.

It’s going to be interesting this year because we’ve had such a harsh winter all over the region. We’ve seen record-breaking snowfall, and now, with the pretty spring-like weather we’ve had and then another drop back down, I’m starting to get a lot of phone calls about winter kill. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of Poa problem we have primarily based on how much winter kill there is. I don’t think we’ve had ice accumulation in some parts, but we’re on 45 to 60 days for some guys. The snow could be providing a pretty decent cover, but having said that, the snow could be acting like a green cover and providing enough insulation under there for Poa to grow and germinate.

Initially, the fall applications have shown to be the best at getting results. I’m in agreement that the spring applications just aren’t as effective. But for the others, certainly getting down your appropriately timed Embark or Proxy/Primo, whatever you choose to do, I would recommend doing that any year. It has nothing to do with this particular winter, but it has everything to do with how your greens are going to play through the summer and the health of the grass through the winter. For those using the growing degree days, I think it’s a good tool, but I wouldn’t base my entire app on it. For those with the base 50 model, you started your calculations in February, I believe. With this amount of snow cover, I don’t know what we’re gaining from that. My point to a few of the guys this year is to continue to use the growing degree day model – I think it’s a really good model – but you’ve got to be out there taking a look at it and using the art and science of this job. It’s such a sneaky window. Some guys have it down and know exactly when to do it and know their environmental triggers. But others who go wholly by growing degree days, I’m afraid it’s just a little too vague.