Webcast from the Australian Turfgrass Conference: Micah Woods on grass selection in Asia

The Australian Golf Course Superintendents' Association provide a great service by making so many of the presentations from their annual conference available for online viewing

At the 27th Australian Turfgrass Conference in Adelaide, I gave presentations about turfgrass nutrient requirements, about grass selection, and about managing turf in microclimates.

In this presentation about grass selection, I spoke primarily about manilagrass (Zoysia matrella), bermudagrass or green couch (Cynodon), and seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum). You'll see in this video representative photos of the different grasses and will learn how manilagrass persists and provides a fine turf even with minimal maintenance. In Southeast Asia, seashore paspalum tends to be overtaken by bermudagrass, you will see, and bermudagrass tends to be overtaken by manilagrass. This short video makes a case for using more manilagrass and less bermudagrass and seashore paspalum.

A Plot of Cities Where Warm-season Grasses Grow, and more

cities plotted by sunshine, temperature, and rainfall

I made the bubble plot above to see how the differences in temperature and sunlight and rainfall between cities would appear if plotted this way. The data are from climatological normals provided by national meteorological services and the World Meteorological Organization, collected in some cases from the climate section of a city's page on Wikipedia.

I made this plot for a few reasons. I saw a job posting for a superintendent position in Asia saying that experience working in a Florida-type climate would be desired, and I wanted to plot a few cities this way to see how cities in Asia compared with Florida. Someone also asked me if I thought it was more difficult to manage warm-season grasses in Singapore or in Florida, and I thought that a plot such as this might make my answer more clear. And I also notice as I travel that a grass that grows so well in Honolulu, for example, may not grow well at all in Bangkok. There are clear differences in suitability of grasses for different growing environments. And as I work with some new software, I saw a tutorial to make this type of bubble plot on the FlowingData website and I wanted to try it for myself.

City_by_sun_edit-1 When plotted this way with mean annual temperature on one axis and hours of sunshine on another axis (the area of the circle for each city is proportional to annual rainfall), one can see that the cities in Asia tend to have a higher annual temperature, have less annual sunshine than the cities plotted from the USA, and have substantially more precipitation. A quick look at the bubble plot shows that Singapore, for example, has about 60% the sunshine of Miami while receiving almost twice the rainfall. 

This doesn't tell the whole story about which grasses perform best in a certain area. We can also consider the winter temperatures, the summer temperatures, the timing of rainfall and dry seasons, etc., but simply plotting by temperature and sunshine tells us a lot. 

Turfgrass managers in Southeast Asia know that zoysiagrass (Zoysia matrella) and broadleaf carpetgrass (Axonopus compressus) thrive in this climate while bermudagrass maintained as a turfgrass struggles. This type of plot helps us to understand why. At the Marukatayawan Palace in Thailand, we see that zoysia grows in the sun and broadleaf carpetgrass covers the shaded areas under the trees.


These native grasses thrive when maintained as turfgrass in this region, while grasses such as bermudagrass which have a higher light requirement cannot compete with zoysia even in full sun. Why is that? Because even in full sun, there is still relatively little sunshine in Southeast Asia compared with Florida.

A Report from Indonesia: Turf Seminar XI

Aspgi_agif_field_seminar I have just been at Java for the Turf Seminar XI of the Asosiasi Superintendent Padang Golf Indonesia (ASPGI). This seminar was supported by the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) and featured classroom and practical field seminars by industry experts. Emeralda Golf Club was the venue for Turf Seminar XI and there were nearly 100 golf course superintendents in attendance at this educational program.

I spoke about managing the rootzone to optimize playing conditions; that presentation includes a lot of discussion about pore space, soil organic matter and its management, and how to optimize root development. That seminar was complemented by an aerification demonstration conducted by Steve Wilson of Bernhard & Co. in which he demonstrated venting tines and hollow tines and discussed with the seminar delegates the effective use of aerification equipment.

Matee Suntisawasdi from Pro-Crop T&O in Thailand gave presentations about optimizing weed control on golf courses at Indonesia, how to manage diseases on golf course turf, and how to optimize insect control. Brad Burgess from Sports Turf Solutions spoke about the necessary steps for sprayer calibration and then demonstrated the calibration process and its importance during a field seminar. Other presenters at this two day seminar included Peter Morison from Jacobsen with a discussion of maintenance equipment, Bob Moore from JMP Golf Design Group who spoke about golf course renovation, and Dr. Iswandi Anas from IPB who talked about soil analysis.


A few people told me they were surprised at the extensive questions that were asked as we went through the scheduled seminars and the formal discussion sessions. I wasn't surprised though, because we always get some great discussions and information sharing when we are able to bring together golf course superintendents and expert speakers for an educational program. Have a look at the slideshow below to see more photos from Turf Seminar XI at Indonesia.