Thursday, March 7, 2013

Annual Bluegrass Control in Bermuda

Annual Bluegrass, or Poa, is considered one of the most invasive weeds golf course superintendents must deal with each year.  It can prove to be extremely difficult to remove from any turf species.  This plant seeds profusely and it can seemingly breakthrough even the best defenses.  Over the past six years, we've taken a very aggressive stance with our Poa control in all maintained Bermuda.  Each winter, all  Bermuda is treated with pre-emergent, and post-emergent herbicides to eradicate this weed.  Even with accurate application methods and perfect timing, we could only achieve 85-90% success, requiring some further applications to completely remove the weed.
In the fall of 2010, we tried a new pre-emergent product called Specticle.  We've been using this new product each spring since then with fantastic results.  This new chemistry has the ability to not only control a wide range of weeds before emergence, but can control juvenile Poa plants that have emerged just before the product is applied.  The ability of this product to control Poa after emergence allows the agronomy staff to move on the next task, instead of having to spray the area again with different products.
The picture to the right shows an effected Annual Bluegrass plant that emerged before the Specticle application.  It took a few weeks for the symptoms to appear, but this plant has been killed.  The effectiveness of this new chemistry has allowed the agronomy staff to keep the tees, fairways, and rough weed free.  This has improved the overall health of the Bermuda by reducing competition of the weeds for sunlight, water, and nutrients.  If we get some quality rainfall this spring, we expect to have fantastic playing conditions.

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