Thatch Control by Burning
Fill Aerification Holes With Sand

Zoysia Greens & Fairy Rings


Last week I visited the Sritrang Golf Course in southern Thailand's Trang province. This is a low maintenance golf course on an army base, using native grasses, including a native Zoysia matrella on the putting greens.The green fee is quite affordable, from 300 to 500 baht for visitors, depending on the day of the week. That is about US$15 for an 18 hole round on a rugged course with boldly-contoured greens; a caddy will be about US$7.

I like zoysiagrasses in Southeast Asia because they tend to perform the best with the fewest inputs. Zoysia grows better year round, is healthy in both the dry seasons and in the rainy seasons, and the zoysia tends to choke out some of the weeds that invade other grasses. Zoysia is relatively immune from diseases, and it basically just grows. If I were spending my own money to build and grass a golf course in Southeast Asia, I would in almost all cases choose a type of zoysia.
The only disease I saw on the zoysia at Sritrang was fairy ring. This is a fungus that grows in the soil and creates hydrophobic conditions in the soil. You can see the dry spots in the turf near my feet in the photo at right, and you can see the mushroom growing in the turf. These are typical symptoms of the fairy ring fungus. The best control of fairy ring is accomplished by reducing the hydrophobicity, so the use of wetting agents to reduce dry spots combined with spiking or coring the greens to improve water infiltration can help. Applying some fast-release nitrogen from a source such as ammonium sulfate [21-0-0] at a rate of 1 g N m-2 can help to mask the symptoms of the fairy ring. And fungicides with the active ingredients azoxystrobin, flutolanil, triadimefon, polyoxin-D, or pyraclostrobin can control the basidiomycete fungi that cause the fairy ring symptoms.

But overall, zoysia is relatively foolproof in the climate of Southeast Asia, unlike seashore paspalum which is quite suceptible to diseases and dry spots and even death in extreme cases, or bermudagrass which struggles in the low light conditions of the rainy season and is prone to invasion by weeds. Zoysia is a grass you can plant to have a sustainable (low inputs, low cost, good quality) golf course in southern Thailand, and it should be used at more golf facilities throughout the region.


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