Tag Archives: Penn State

PTC Rounds for Research: Donations Needed

Dear Friends,

The PTC and our Rounds for Turfgrass Committee asks for your support in our upcoming auction of golf rounds held on February 8th – 10th at the Golf Expo in Oaks PA. Last year, we raised over $13,500 by auctioning off 4-somes of golf donated by local private and public golf courses. The 2019 Philadelphia Golf Show will be our 3rd consecutive year representing Penn State Turf and fundraising for the Turf Project. We hope that you and your club or golf facility will continue to support our efforts.

2019 PTC Rounds for Turfgrass.

I am writing to ask for your support by not only donating a 4-some of golf at your club, but to also assist in spreading the word of our campaign to other superintendent’s and golf courses in your region. I have chosen to reach out to you because I know you are either a Penn State Alum, PTC supporter and/or an advocate of the turf industry. Please contact or forward my email and attached letter onto as many superintendent’s in your region as possible. Our goal is to raise $15K this year. I know we can do it with your support and just a few calls or emails to a nearby superintendent. Courses who are able to make a 4-some donation can email a certificate in PDF format to my email address. Those courses that have a specific hard copy certificate and wish to mail it, please mail to my club:

Berkshire C.C.
Attention – Andrew Dooley
1637 Bernville Road
Reading PA 19601

Any specific details or restrictions must be listed on the certificate (i.e. can only be redeemed on weekdays after 12pm). If they would be willing to list the going rate for the 4-some that would be best. I will then print the PDF and display them at the Expo. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email at your convenience.

Thank you in advance for your support of PTC and Penn State research!

Regards,
Andrew, PTC Past President

Challenges of Growing Turfgrass in the Summer of 2018

Over the summer, the Philadelphia region had some atypical weather which has caused a more than normal amount of turfgrass death on golf courses. The region had above average rainfall in August and September. During the month of August, the 30-year average for rain is about four inches, but this August it rained 20 inches. This trend continued in September with 10 inches of rain while the historic average is also about four inches. One local superintendent had nine floods onto his course in August and September.

During this period, soils were saturated longer than normal and there were periods of high humidity with nighttime temperatures greater than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. These conditions are a plant pathologist’s dream but a superintendent’s nightmare. Warm weather diseases such as brown patch, dollar spot, Pythium blight and gray leaf spot were more aggressive and persisted longer than normal, which was a main cause of turf death. Even the best fungicide programs could not overcome the combination of abiotic stress (i.e., persistent hot and wet weather, and low light conditions from cloud cover) and high disease pressure.

mowing grass when too wet

These weather conditions also contributed to delays with mowing and other agronomic tasks, and then having to get equipment out before turf areas properly dried-down often resulted in scalping and mechanical turf damage. Because of the prolonged saturated soil conditions, many superintendents said, “…the turf (rootzone) never got a chance to drain.” And using a wetting agent, under these extreme conditions, would not necessarily help, because, as also noted by superintendents, “…where’s the water going to go?” As the late Dr. Burt Musser is credited with saying, the three most important aspects of turf management are “…drainage, drainage, and drainage.”

These conditions persisted until the third week of September. Normally, between mid-August and mid-September, superintendents are busy aerating, topdressing, seeding, and sleeping well at night because night time temperatures drop below 70 and grass thrives. Instead, superintendents were making additional fungicide applications, cleaning up flood damage, fixing bunker washouts, and waiting to mow soggy turf areas. Finally, by the third week of September, some were able to start seeding and sodding damaged areas but were running out of daylight as days are getting shorter and the sun angle is getting lower.

In addition, the higher than normal rainfall and warm conditions resulted in quicker than normal breakdown of pre-emergence herbicides used to prevent crabgrass. Thus, there was plenty of crabgrass breakthrough and, in many areas, goosegrass became a problem. Another weed that thrived this summer was yellow nutsedge. Finding a dry time to apply post-emergence herbicides added to the difficulty in controlling those weeds, and, in most cases, a follow-up application was needed.

This summer was also difficult for superintendents to provide normal green speeds, firmness and trueness. Lift, clean, and place were the norm rather than the exception on fairways. Even courses with the larger or more generous budgets struggled with all of the above.

Fortunately, most golf course superintendents rise to the challenges that Mother Nature brings their way. With some extra seeding and sodding and some warm fall temperatures, there is a good chance the turf should be fully recovered by mid-spring.

Doug Linde, PhD
Professor of Turf Management
Delaware Valley University

Mike Fidanza, PhD
Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences
Penn State University

PAGCS Awards Scholarships in Honor of Shuman, Ley

martinez shumanEach year, the PAGCS awards scholarships to deserving turf students who work for PAGCS members. This year, the PAGCS awarded two scholarships:  one Frank I. Shuman  and one George E. Ley Turf Student Scholarship.

The George E. Ley Turf Student Scholarship was awarded to Brandon McNally, an intern at Bidermann Golf Club working for PAGCS member Jon Urbanski. Brandon is studying turf science management at Purdue and aims to graduate with a B.S. in 2017.

The George E. Ley Turf Student Scholarship gets its roots from George Ley and his generosity and desire to give back to the industry. George, a tireless supporter of the golf turf profession, began hosting golf outings to raise funds for scholarships in the 1990s.

The Frank I. Shuman Scholarship was created by Frank’s son, Frank T., to honor his father. The younger Frank, another quiet and tireless devotee of the golf turf profession and the golf course superintendent, has generously donated to this scholarship fund for a decade. This year’s recipient, Luis Martinez, also works at Bidermann and attends Penn State. He plans to graduate from the Golf Course Turfgrass Management Two-Year Program this coming spring.