Introduction

"Plan your work; work your plan."
-- (Napoleon Hill)”

From labor, to production, to inputs, this age-old saying encompasses the intrinsic values of management philosophy. Turf management encompasses a number of different challenges that must be overcome in order to create top playing and putting conditions for golfers.

These challenges can be anticipated and managed more effectively by implementing a long-term annual agronomic program that mitigates stresses and promotes plant health throughout the year.

Basic considerations for an annual agronomic programing are the following:

  • Water/Irrigation
  • Soil Health
  • Granular Fertilization
  • Foliar Fertilization
  • Pest Protection
    • Nematode
    • Disease
    • Insect

At the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center we designed the following study to compare an annual agronomic program encompassing all facets of turf management listed above vs. an industry standard.

 Materials and Methods

  • Trial initiated 9/5/16
  • 2 Treatments
    • Harrell's Balanced Approach Annual Program: Soil, fertility and preventative fungicide program
    • Industry Standard: Standard fertility program with reactive fungicide program.
  • 4 reps
  • Plot size 2m x 4m
  • Tifeagle ultradwarf mature green
  • Mowing height at initiation .150”
    • 12/30/16: height of cut reduced to .140”
    • 1/16/17: height of cut reduced to .130”
    • 2/6/17: height of cut reduced to .120”

Results

Picture of Plots at beginning
of the study on 10/14/16
Picture of Plots on 2/1/17 after
5 months of applications




  • Turf quality results were significantly different 12/23/16, 1/6/17, 1/13/17, 1/20/17, 1/25/17, 2/2/17, and 2/9/17. 2/16/17
  • Note Rapid recovery from reduction in mowing height on 12/30. This reinforces the value of utilizing properly balanced inputs and the turf’s ability to rebound from abiotic stresses.
  • NDVI ratings were significantly different on 12/30/16, 1/13/17, 1/19/17, 1/26/17, 2/2/17, 2/9/17, and 2/16, 17

 

  • Total root surface area was significantly different on 2/2/17, 5 months after trial initiation. The balanced approach program represented a 14% more total root surface area than the industry standard.

Conclusions

  • In this trial, annual program planning, consistent applications and considerations for soil health, fertilization, and pest prevention provided greater and more consistent quality than the industry standard.
  • Agronomic annual planning can provide greater results and be more economical than inconsistent applications that provide potential for plant stress and disease.

So what is your plan? "The lack of a plan is a plan itself," as Winston Churchill once said, along with "He who fails to plan is planning to fail."

Come see our research and annual agronomic program planning recommendations at the 29th Annual South Florida Turfgrass Field Day, at the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (3205 College Ave. Davie, FL 33314) on Thursday March 23rd, 2017.