PoaCure

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Greenbrier Membership,

Many of you have spoken with me on the golf course and asked if we were going to continue to use PoaCure after resounding success on the half of each green we sprayed on 14, 15 & 16. I have also had conversations with several of you about how much better the pure bentgrass surface putts on that side of each of those greens. After those trials have had a year and a half to display what is possible it would seem the answer to using PoaCure on the rest of our greens would be simple. Unfortunately, it is a little more complicated than that.

We ran fall experiments on greens with low Poa annua percentages with great success. The caveat with PoaCure for us is we can’t interseed bentgrass three months before or three months after application. Fall applications in October on all the greens would mean we couldn’t reseed until late Spring when soil temperatures are high enough for seed germination. Seeding greens in late April or early May would give the young bentgrass plants a low percentage of survival through the heat of the summer in Lexington. For us to have any shot at keeping the bentgrass alive, it would require constant light watering, extra fungicide applications and very low mowing frequency as well as a higher height of cut and limited rolling providing a much slower putting surface. Even with these precautionary measures a high percentage of bentgrass would not survive the summer.

The optimal time for us to convert greens to 100% bentgrass with PoaCure would be in the summer and fall. It would take an aggressive Poacure program and would require the following steps:

  • Three applications of PoaCure - two weeks apart beginning 1 stof May and ending in early June.
  • Aggressive fertility through the summer to “push” any bentgrass that is already established and frequent, light topdressing (which we already do) to keep greens rolling as consistent as possible.
  • Post Labor Day interseeding with a new variety of creeping bentgrass (Triple Seven), which is the same surface as our new chipping green.
  • Sodding any damaged collars and approaches with a new 100% bentgrass sod (the same thing we used on the collars and approaches on 14, 15 & 16).
  • A heavy fall fertility program to grow in all the new bentgrass.
  • Skipping Fall aerification on greens.
  • Walk mowing all new bentgrass the remainder of the mowing season.

With this conversion plan we would see complete death of all Poa annua plant species in June, July and August and patchy greens until early Fall when we are able to interseed bentgrass outside of our 3-month window. The process would be somewhat ugly however the end goal would be a much-improved putting surface for years to come. It is our belief that the ends would definitely justify the means in so many different aspects including but not limited to:

  • More consistent ball roll
  • Consistently fast and firm putting surfaces
  • More consistent putting speeds year round
  • Easier to maintain 100% bentgrass putting greens for your enjoyment due to:
    • Lower water requirement
    • Fewer fungicides
    • More heat and cold tolerant

In order for us to gauge if the process is worth the effort, expense and inconvenience, we are starting an experimental program on the entirety of 14, 15 and 16 greens this summer. We already have half of those surfaces that are mostly bentgrass we can use for pin positions and this will give us an idea of what a true conversion will look like, as well if it’s something we can handle for one future summer season for a better end product. You should expect those three greens to have patchy bentgrass all summer, however this is the best way for us to determine if a PoaCure conversion is right for Greenbrier. 

We believe this is the best way to improve putting surfaces throughout the golf course.  This trial, if successful would convert putting surfaces to bentgrass WITHOUT the need for expensive regrassing and most importantly lengthy golf closures of a full season or more.  The only way to find out with certainty is the trial we have just started this month.  Beginning later this month, you will see a large sign explaining the process, so that you can better understand and explain the process with fellow members and guests.

As additional information, I have also included a link from the University of Tennessee regarding warm season turfgrasses in the Transition Zone this season, it is a great read for anyone concerned about the slow green-up our Zoysiagrass fairways.

2023 Golf Course Spring Green Up

As always please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns about this process and thanks for your continued support of our Turfgrass Management Staff. 

Sincerely,

Johnathan Doyle, GCSAA

Golf Course Superintendent

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