Spring Turf Nutrition and Pest Management
Spring warmth may be coming a bit earlier than normal for 2020. As we get into the start of the growing season for those in the transition zone and northern climates, here are a few things to keep in mind, including some strategies that may help you dial in a successful start to the 2020 campaign.
Before we get into agronomics, let’s first address the COVID-19 situation. Safety and state/federal rules will govern procedure in the near term. It’s likely that while golfers will be restricted from convening in groups or even playing golf, maintenance operations will continue – but keep good common sense in mind and focus on crew safety. Skipping important steps now may result in turf loss that could cost the golf operation more money in the long term.
Key Agronomic ConsiderationsResidual nitrogen (N). Carefully consider the amount of residual nitrogen in soils this spring. Delay any moderate (0.25-0.50 lbs./M) to large (>0.75 lbs./M) soluble N applications until you accurately gauge turf color and shoot growth as soils warm above 50oF.
Spoon feed nutrients, including N, to best manage shoot growth while improving turfgrass color, vigor and maintaining playability. This is especially important for phosphorus (P) early in the season to promote a strong transition from dormancy to metabolism, encourage recovery from winter damage or promote establishment – particularly when soil temperatures are cold and/or dry. Choose highly efficient nutrient delivery like BRANDT’s Manni-Plex technology or GRIGG Proven Foliar formulations like these.
The winter of 2019/2020 was rather mild for many parts of the upper tier – particularly the northeast. For those managing cool season turf, and specifically annual bluegrass (Poa annua), recall that anthracnose (Colletotrichum cereale) can successfully overwinter and infect turfgrass in the early part of spring. Pay close attention to other key diseases this spring including dollar spot (Clarireedia jacksonii), microdochium patch (Microdochium nivale), yellow patch (Rhizoctonia cerealis) and brown ring patch (Waitea circinata).
As part of an integrated approach to disease management, it’s important to begin applying trusted phosphite fertilizers. The BRANDT T&O product portfolio offers many options, including GRIGG P-K Plus, which contains soluble phosphate – in addition to phosphite – making it fundamentally different from other phosphite fertilizers available to the market today. Find some of BRANDT’s research on anthracnose and microdochium patch management strategies here.