Friday, February 24, 2012

More Orange Dots

If you are observant, you may notice dozens of small orange dots on the fairway of hole 10. The University of Florida has selected Copperleaf to help conduct testing on products that control Nematodes. After sampling other area club's, Copperleaf's counts of these microscopic worms that live in the soil, were the highest, and so will provide the most accurate data for their trial.

If you look closely on hole 10 fairway, you will see the orange paint highlighting the different test plots. The soil sample locations were filled with white sand.

Nematodes are not visible to the naked eye, however can cause injury and death to susceptible hosts, such as Bermuda grass. The grass becomes weak, thin and drought stressed as the roots are reduced to less than an inch in depth. Unfortunately, the one product that successfully controlled this nuisance pest was removed from sale in Florida over a year ago. There are now many companies promoting the latest and greatest products to control the insect and it is difficult, as an end user, to determine which product is the most effective.

The dark green strips of turf were treated one week prior with Nemacur. The results were so drastic that a second application was made to blend the weakened turf into the rest of the fairway. This picture was taken during the summer of 2011.

Using a grant from Bayer Crop Science, Dr. Billy Crow is testing the effectiveness of one of their products, Nortica, that was released last year. The research data will be shared nationally for all Superintendent's to review once the study is complete.

Unfortunately, Copperleaf is impacted with nematodes throughout the course and it takes additional maintenance practices to prevent damage such as additional watering, the use of moisture retention products and additional fertilizer. Nematode damage becomes most prevalent beginning in March when dry winds, warm temperatures, low rain and compaction from the golfing season begin to take their toll on the turf grass.

The true benefit of conducting such a study at Copperleaf is that we will directly benefit from the data gathered to determine if this new product will improve turf quality under our conditions. We can then determine if applying this new product is worth the investment. I look forward to sharing the results with you as they become available.

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