Saturday, 5 November 2011

Another Look at the Stunted Sod Farm Turf

The turf in the foreground is Poa annua grown from hollow tine aeration cores from our putting greens.
So earlier this year I made a post regarding an observation I made on our sod farm.  I noticed that the newly planted turf was growing at a much slower rate than the surrounding turf.  The grass was planted using cores from the hollow tine aeration of our putting greens.

The predominate species of grass on our putting greens is Poa annua.  Poa annua is a species of turf that is very adaptable.  It is capable of withstanding heights of cut as low or lower than 2mm!  Some scientists have also observed that at low heights of cut the turf actually doesn't even grow upwards!  It had been cut so low for so long that it had adapted to not growing!  Poa annua has the ability to adapt to almost any environment.  This is one reason why it is such a widespread turf species found on every continent other than the Antarctic.

The above picture was taken during May which is the time of year that we see a major seed head flush from the Poa annua.  The funny thing here was that the newly planted turf didn't produce any seed head!  At first I was completely stumped as to why this Poa annua wasn't bursting into a field of white but I finally clued in just now (I'm a little slow).

Mega seed head action !! It doesn't get much worse than this!!
The reason I think that it didn't produce any seed head this past season was that there was no stress from being cut.  The turf had already adapted to slow growth and frequent cutting so not being cut was like a day at the spa.  No stress = no need to reproduce.  Now I shouldn't say there was no seed head.  There was a little as can be seen in the picture but those who have managed Poa know that this is practically nothing.

So what this absolutely proves to me is that if I can reduce the stress that the plant is experiencing they I should also reduce the seed head in May.  Best case scenario I have no seed head on my greens next year or the year after that.  This makes a ton of sense but is easier said than done.  I have been doing a heap of research into fertility and disease prevention for Poa annua in an effort to maximize the health of my greens next season.

I have heard some say that as greenkeepers we can't forget why we are growing this turf in the first place.  "It is for the game of golf," they say.  "Turf health is secondary to playability!"  All I have to say to these people is the reason I am so concerned with the health of my turf is so that I can provide the best possible playing conditions period!

I cannot wait for next year!!!

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