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Poa Putting Green Constructed at UConn 

John Kaminski, Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Science
University of Connecticut

In an ongoing effort to conduct field research on the management and control of anthracnose basal rot, researchers at the University of Connecticut have completed the establishment of an approximately 15,000 sq ft annual bluegrass putting green. In 2005, plugs were harvested from several golf courses and used to establish the initial 5000 sq ft. Additional plugs were collected in the spring of 2006 and thanks to the donation of approximately 6000 sq ft of annual bluegrass sod from a Connecticut golf course, the project was completed this week.



In addition to research on Anthracnose, long-term research projects on the putting green will include:

1. Increasing creeping bentgrass populations through the use of plant growth regulators.
2. Determining the most efficacious method for interseeding bentgrass into existing stands of turf.
3. Determining the influence of various nitrogen sources on annual bluegrass diseases.

To support these projects or for more information, please contact please contact John Kaminski.

The Turfgrass Pathology Team at UConn would like to thank Jason St. Louis (Willimantic Country Club), Anthony Grosso (Pautipaug Country Club), and William Gaydosh (Round Hill Club) for providing materials and labor to complete this project.
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UConn Turf Club Highlights History of Turf Management at Hort Show 

The University of Connecticut's Turf Club highlighted the history of turf equipment at the 2006 Hort Show, an annual event run by student clubs in the College of Agriculture. The theme of this year's Hort Show "125th Anniversary: It All Started Here" was designed to showcase the College of Agriculture as the start of UConn in 1881.



The Turf Club's design for the event showcased the advancement of the reel mower. In addition to the series of mowers, students constructed two miniature golf holes from bentgrass. Both holes were designed around a central water feature and included typical hazards that you would find on a real golf course. Students also constructed a miniature baseball diamond to represent the diversity in the career interests of the students.

Every October, students from the various clubs within the College of Agriculture design exhibits representing their interests. The Hort Show is held in the Ratcliffe Hicks arena located on the Storrs Campus. This years event helped to raise several hundred dollars for each club that will be used by students for various field trips and activities.
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Another Difficult Summer For Growing Grass 

John Kaminski, Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Pathology
University of Connecticut

In 2005, the life of a New England golf course superintendent was difficult. Much of the difficulties were contributed to the cool wet spring that was immediately followed by temperatures routinely reaching 90F. These conditions favored poor spring root growth that left turf stands with little chance of surviving the record breaking summer heat. Although temperatures were more favorable for turfgrass growth in 2006, growing grass proved to be just as difficult on many golf courses throughout the region. Based on samples sent to UConn and visits to various golf courses throughout New England, it was apparent that a combination of factors contributed to this years declining turf.

Unlike last year in which turf simply could not stand up to the heat, 2006 was a year in which turfgrass pathogens were more prevalent. Beginning as early as March, anthracnose basal rot was identified on several golf courses, and controlling the pathogen this early in the year proved difficult. Despite the occasional outbreak of Microdochium patch, April and May was relatively mild period for disease activity. As temperatures began to warm in mid-May, however, several outbreaks of a new species of Rhizoctonia appeared simultaneously throughout states in New England, the Mid-West and along the West Coast. Although symptoms of this unusual disease mimicked cool-temperature brown patch (aka, Yellow Patch), disease activity occurred at warmer temperatures and generally was limited to annual bluegrass. Other diseases that made an impressive appearance in 2006 included bacterial wilt, brown patch, dollar spot, fairy ring, Pythium blight and root dysfunction, red thread, and summer patch.


Lack of internal drainage and high levels of organic matter often spell trouble for golf course putting greens for a variety of reasons.

If dealing with a cornucopia of diseases wasn’t enough, many golf courses were dealing with the same abiotic and cultural problems from the previous year. As many of you now know, 2005 was a litmus test that exposed areas in need of various cultural improvements. In particular, the lack of internal drainage on native soil putting greens and/or the build up of organic matter has emerged as one of the biggest factors in declining turf. In the past two years, a common denominator of poor greens has been compacted native soil underlying an inch or two of sand topdressing. In addition, many of these putting greens supported an equal thickness of thatch or mat. Without the internal drainage to move the water through the profile, water bridged at the soil-sand interface, resulting in poor root growth, conditions favorable for pathogen development, and plants vulnerable to excessive heat. In many cases, this intermediate phase of a sand topdressing program is a difficult one to get past and the true benefits of topdressing native soil greens often are not realized until a sand cap of several inches is built up.

We all know that the demands to maintain tournament conditions during the heat of the season or for an extended period of time are unrealistic. Even preparation for a U.S. Open begins years in advance and the course maintained to peak over a 4-day period. It is important to recognize what your course can and cannot handle throughout the season. During the summer months, take steps to determine the underlying cause of weak turf and take the necessary steps to correct the problem once conditions become favorable for turfgrass growth. Remember, the time to fix your golf swing is on the practice range and not in the middle of a round.
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Karl Guillard Wins Faculty Excellence Award in Undergraduate Teaching 

Basic to the greatness of the university is the quality of its faculty. The purpose of this award is to provide an incentive to encourage excellence in classroom teaching and thus to assist the University in its continuing efforts to attain the highest academic recognition.
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SEND YOUR SAMPLES to Support Dollar Spot Research 

Funded by the New England Regional Turfgrass Foundation, Syngenta Crop Protection and the United States Golf Association, researchers at the University of Connecticut are investigating various aspects of managing dollar spot. Research will focus on improving fungicide efficacy through the proper selection of nozzle-types (See June 2006 GCM article) as well as through unconventional application timings.

In addition to developing improved management strategies, researchers will seek to determine the importance and scope of pathogen resistance to fungicides commonly used to control dollar spot. To participate in this component of the project, please send dollar spot samples from fairways and/or greens to the University of Connecticut (dollar spot samples submitted during the study will not be charged a diagnostic fee).

UCONN Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center
c/o John Kaminski
University of Connecticut
1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4067
Storrs, CT 06269

For more information on this research project or disease diagnostic services at UConn, please contact John Kaminski.
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