August 15, 2010

University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service

Turfgrass Science Program ( – Turf Tips

The following is a summary of the 2010 University of Arkansas Turfgrass Field Day.  A more complete article, with pictures, is available at:

By Fred Miller, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
479-575-5647 /

Visitors see latest turfgrass research during field day

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — With the temperature climbing toward the 100-degree mark, the last thing on the mind of field day visitors might have been protecting their golf course grass from winter cold. Even so, winterkill was one of the topics covered during the annual University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Turfgrass Field Day Aug. 4.

Some 200 turf professionals attended the field day held at the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville. Tours covered research topics important to the golf, sports and landscape turf industries.

"Predicting winterkill is a difficult task because turf can suffer low temperature injury in a variety of ways," said Mike Richardson, professor of horticulture.

Richardson said grass may be injured by sustained low temperatures or by unseasonably warm temperatures that interrupt winter dormancy followed by freezing temperatures. Low temperature spikes of only one or two nights may injure some grasses.

Areas particularly susceptible to winterkill are north-facing slopes, heavily shaded areas, poorly drained areas, surfaces that experience heavy traffic during the winter and areas like greens and collars that are mowed very short.

"The best defense against winter injury is planting adapted varieties," Richardson said.
As spring approaches, Richardson said, golf course managers can estimate how much winter injury is present by using a cup cutter to collect samples from suspect areas. "Bring those samples inside to a warm, well lit room and water when necessary," he said. "If the grass is alive, it should begin to green up within 7 to 10 days."

If the samples do not recover, Richardson said, a plan should be in place to recover the damaged areas.

Besides planting adapted grasses, some other things managers can do to help avoid winter injury include irrigating dry areas and adjusting mowing of greens and collars so that the grass is a little longer.

The field day included a tour of University of Arkansas athletic fields, vendor exhibits, equipment demonstrations and a longest putt contest. It also included sessions for pesticide recertification.

turf field day032.jpg (color, 300 DPI):
Associate professor Doug Karcher discusses organic matter management on putting greens.

turf field day051.jpg (color, 300 DPI):
Kyle Rick of the Chenal Country Club tries putting on test plots that have been mowed, rolled or both. Ph.D. student Dan Strunk watches as he discusses the practice and economics of rolling greens in combination with mowing.

turf field day143.jpg (color, 300 DPI):
Extension horticulture specialist Jim Robbins discusses fertilizer basics for golf courses.

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Mike Richardson, Professor of Horticulture
479-575-2860, mricha@uarkedu
Doug Karcher, Associate Professor of Horticulture

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