The R&A website now has an update about the Asian Turfgrass Center's research plots, the Sustainable Turfgrass Management seminars held this month, and sustainable golf course management in Southeast Asia.
Many new golf courses in Southeast Asia choose seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) for their grass, and some golf courses, when renovating, are changing to seashore paspalum. One of the challenges in managing seashore paspalum turf is the control of weeds. There are not many herbicides that can be used without damaging seashore paspalum. For control of weeds such as goosegrass, there are no herbicides labeled in the USA for use on seashore paspalum. I worked with Dr. James Brosnan on a project to investigate sodium chloride (NaCl, or table salt) applications for control of weeds in seashore paspalum turf. Our article, Efficacy of Sodium Chloride Applications for Control of Goosegrass (Eleusine indica) in Seashore Paspalum Turf, was published in the recent issue of Weed Technology.
Because seashore paspalum has a high salinity tolerance, it may be able to tolerate salt applications that would be toxic to weeds. In our study, we looked at sodium chloride application rates of 49 g m-2, applied every seven days for three consecutive weeks. This rate of sodium chloride application did not damage the seashore paspalum, but it also did not provide effective control of goosegrass; the sodium chloride applications resulted in slightly more than 50% control of the goosegrass eight weeks after treatment. The published study was conducted in Hawaii, and the treatment that provided the best control of goosegrass was MSMA, but the MSMA applications caused phytoxicity on the seashore paspalum.
Another experiment was done to look at control of Paspalum conjugatum (some common names for this plant are sourgrass, carabaograss, or hilograss) in seashore paspalum turf. Our article about this experiment will be published soon in Weed Technology, and we found that there was effective control of the weedy grass with the same application rates of sodium chloride (sequential applications of granular sodium chloride at 49 g m-2).
The Malaysian Golf Association and The R&A presented the Sustainable Turfgrass Management Seminar for Southeast Asia at Kelab Golf Negara Subang yesterday. The program was supported by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Malaysia and the Asian Turfgrass Center. This seminar was excellent; the delegates raised great questions and the discussion period at the end of the seminar was especially interesting, providing us with plenty of things to consider regarding sustainable turfgrass management in Malaysia.
We had a chance to visit Royal Selangor Golf Club on 15 March. What a great view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline from the fairways and greens of the Club!
I enjoyed learning from the other seminar speakers this week. Dr. Soldat and Dr. Kerns provided a wealth of information about soil and irrigation management, disease control, and some very practical advice about how to identify, control, and avoid problems on golf course turf. Steve Isaac from The R&A was his usual witty self. With his experience in golf course management throughout the world, from the most basic course to the highest levels of international championship golf, it is a pleasure to listen to his sage advice and thoughts on the management of golf courses and golf course turf.
The question and answer discussion in the afternoon was tremendous. I had the privilege of speaking at a turfgrass management conference in Malaysia (organized by Saujana) last August, and at that event we also had some great discussions. The seminar delegates at yesterday's event posed some really intriguing questions and we had a fun time responding to the questions and comments.
The seminar was held at Alabang Country Club. With the support of the National Golf Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Turfgrass Association, we had a large turnout of delegates at this seminar. Dr. Soldat's talk about sustainable irrigation management was especially timely; there is new legislation in the Philippines about water use, and to sustain high-quality playing surfaces it will be necessary to use irrigation water efficiently.
Almost 100 people attended the Asian Turfgrass Field Day on 10 March at the Asian Turfgrass Center in Ayuddhaya. Held in conjunction with the Sustainable Turfgrass Management for Southeast Asia seminar, this field day provided a unique opportunity to see the results of work at the Asian Turfgrass Center over the past year.
We talked about disease identification, turfgrass troubleshooting, irrigation and wetting agents, different grass types, turfgrass playability vs. turfgrass color, sodium chloride applications to seashore paspalum as a method of weed control, bunker liners, soil amendments, air and water balance in the soil, and sundry other topics. It was a hot day at the research area. I was impressed with how many people braved the sun and heat to explore the different grass plots at the research area and continued to ask so many questions of myself, Dr. Doug Soldat, Dr. Jim Kerns, and Steve Isaac.
The Sustainable Turfgrass Management seminars this week focused on the prevention of turfgrass diseases by managing the turf to keep it healthy, by choosing the best grasses for your site, and managing the soil organic matter and the soil water content to maximize turfgrass health. The field day discussions and demonstrations allowed us all to learn in a hands-on way about many of the topics discussed during the seminars held at the conference venue in Pattaya. Dr. Soldat showed how different amounts of moisture in the soil can have an affect on turfgrass roots.
I had applied sodium chloride to seashore paspalum and bermudagrass plots just three days before the field day, and we saw complete burn on the bermudagrass, with almost no phytotoxicity on the seashore paspalum. This is a remarkable difference between these two grasses; the seashore paspalum at the research area can tolerate at least 150 grams of sodium chloride per square meter in a single application with no decrease in visual quality, while the bermudagrass turns completely yellow. I was quite intrigued by this result and we are continuing to make some investigations into the use of sodium chloride for weed control in seashore paspalum.
At the research area, we apply irrigation based on estimated evapotranspiration (ET) and try to maintain soil moisture at more than 10% (by volume) and less than 25%. This technique allows us to maintain growing turfgrass that can recover from wear, minimizes our water use, and maximizes air space in the soil so that roots can grow well. I was surprised to see how good these Novotek bermudagrass roots were growing in a soil that had dried to below 10% soil moisture. The surface remained green, the roots were exploring a large volume of soil, and we had a great time at the field day discussing this phenomenon and so many other interesting topics about turfgrass management in Southeast Asia.
We have just concluded a three-day seminar at Pattaya and Ayuddhaya on Sustainable Turfgrass Management for Southeast Asia. This event was organized by the Thailand Golf Course Superintendents Association (Thai GCSA) and ATC on behalf of the Thailand Golf Association, with support from The R&A. More than 100 seminar delegates attended from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, China, Brunei, India, Qatar, Australia, and the United States.
The Thai GCSA (committee members in green shirts) did a tremendous job in the planning and running of these seminars; not only was this a great educational event, but it was a lot of fun for all delegates and seminar speakers as well.
The conference dinner on 9 March was held poolside at the Amari Orchid Hotel in Pattaya. The reception with the sun setting over the Gulf of Thailand provided a great opportunity for us to discuss sustainable turfgrass management and the successful management of golf course turfgrass in Southeast Asia.