This past week, turf managers from around the northeast attended the 40th New Jersey Green Expo. At events such as this, there are numerous opportunities to gain information from several different sources, including university turfgrass researchers.
One of the most interesting, and potentailly helpful presentations at this year's Expo involved management of the disease Anthracnose. For years Anthracnose has caused turf loss on putting greens, and researchers at Rutgers have spent over a decade looking for the solutions to this problem.
During this time, a set of best management practices have been established for reducing Anthracnose. However some of these recommendations often come at the expense of playability--green speed, in particular. This can leave turf managers feeling caught between two options, neither of which are appealing: Lean, fast greens, which are susceptible to Anthracnose, or slower greens, and unhappy golfers.
Having already told us how best to prevent Anthracnose, it would have been understandable if the team at Rutgers had gone no further in their study of the disease, feeling that their job was done. However, that hasn't been the case.
Realizing that some of the suggested best management practices for reducing Anthracnose may be at loggerheads with golfers' high expectations, the researchers have truly gone the extra mile in their efforts to provide us with practical, real world solutions.
The on-going research has now looked at different agronomic practices, such as topdressing, nitrogen fertility, and mowing height, to see how they all interact, both in terms of disease severity, and ball roll. The presentation given last week did an excellent job of showing the options for preventing Anthracnose while still maintaining acceptable green speed.
It's understandable if this puts many people to sleep. However, for those of us who live and love golf course turf, this is the kind of research that is invaluable in helping us create sound, science-based golf course management programs.