Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Growth Regulators

Growth regulators are frequently applied to NSCC's turf throughout the growing season. As their name implies, these compounds are designed to slow the growth rate of the turf. In addition to reducing inputs such as labor and fuel, which are required in mowing, growth regulators also are a major component in our overall turf management program. On putting greens, growth regulators help to keep the grass "under control" providing for smoother ball roll and consistent green speeds. On fairways and tees, growth regulators promote the lateral growth of turf which promotes quicker recovery from damage such as divots. One of the most important assets growth regulators afford golf course managers is their ability to reduce the amount of seedheads which grasses, especially annual bluegrass (Poa annua), produce in the spring. Not only are the white seedheads unsightly, they also provide a very bumpy and inconsistent putting surface. By applying two different growth regulators at the same time, a synergistic affect is realized which can successfully suppress seedhead development. The lack of seedhead development promotes a true putting surface, as well as a healthy turf plant. Seedhead production requires a tremendous amount of energy by the turf plant which is already susceptible to many biotic and abiotic stresses. By suppressing seedhead development, we can lessen the workload of the plant. This energy savings translates into a healthier plant. The timing of this application is critical. We base our application timing on a computer generated model from Michigan State University together with our own site specific knowledge. Our first growth regulator application was made on Monday. We will follow with another application in three weeks to supplement the initial application.

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