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Answer for 5/24/09: Wilted turf in a sand-based system.


Click here to see the original posting (5/24/09).

In the case of the photos posted in the quiz, this was a case of several factors that resulted in the perfect storm. This research putting green has two different soil mixes. The healthy turf on the left was predominantly a native soil, while the discolored turf on the right had been excavated about 4 to 5 inches deep and filled in with sand several years ago. The end result was a fast wilting of the turf during a high and dry period. In this case, the turf starting to head south in a matter of a few hours. Exacerbating the problem and likely putting it over the edge was an excessive thatch layer and moderately aggressive vertical mowing. Some things that I found interesting and helped in the diagnosis were:

1. Notice the wilted turf surrounding the vertical mowing. The only area damaged, however, is the area where sand is the primary growing medium. Turf growing in the native soil (left) appears healthy. (The area on the far right was growing in sand, but not vertically mown)
IMG_1033

2. Turf around the irrigation head was likely under less drought stress and therefore did not wilt.
irrigationhead

3. Wicking. Bentgrass growing in the sand, but within about 3 inches of the native soil putting green was healthy. This was the result of the water "wicking" into the drier sand mix and therefore providing enough moisture to keep the turf from wilting.
soil

The photos can be deceiving and most probably thought that this problem was caused by a misapplication of some herbicide or fungicide. The bottom line is that turf diseases "generally" don't appear in straight lines! This is a good example of how turfgrass managers must investigate well beyond the visual symptoms. I just can't wait for the TV show next season..."Turfgrass CSI".

3 Responses to “Answer for 5/24/09: Wilted turf in a sand-based system.”

Anonymous said...

How long did it take for the damaged turf to come back? How did you go about recoup period?

John Kaminski said...

It was only a few weeks until the area started to turn around and much of this was due to diligent watering of the compromised root system and the addition of wetting agents to aid in the uniformity of soil moisture. Having said that, this area is still not that great today and would not be considered acceptable on a golf course course putting green.

John

Anonymous said...

What were the nutrients used before and after the damage?

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