Previous month:
December 2009
Next month:
February 2010

January 2010

Turf Seminars at Osaka, Ishikawa, and Tokyo


I was at Japan this month for seminars at Osaka and Ishikawa (for Royal Turf Co.) and at Tokyo (in a seminar organized by Asian Turfgrass Center). At Osaka and Ishikawa, I spoke about successful interseeding of creeping bentgrass. The focus of my seminar was how to modify the growing environment of the turfgrass so that existing grass can grow well, and also how to create the desired growing environment for establishing new seedlings if improved bentgrass varieties such as 007 or Tyee are to be introduced.


At the Royal Turf Co. seminars, Dr. Richard Hurley from Rutgers University and Moriso-san, greenkeeper at Higashi-Hirono Golf Club, also gave presentations about 007 creeping bentgrass and successful management of putting greens at Japan.


Then on 18 January at Tokyo I gave a full-day seminar about Turf Science for the Greenkeeper, starting a series of three seminars on this topic by speaking about plant growth and cell expansion, photosynthesis, water use of turfgrass, and how the scientific principles can be applied by greenkeepers in their work. This seminar (and the upcoming ones on March 15 and April 15) are supported by Syngenta, The Toro Co., and Simplot. Click here for a photo gallery of images from the 18 January seminar.


The Wow Factor, Seashore Paspalum and Dollar Spot

The Wow Factor, Seashore Paspalum and Dollar Spot is now posted on the Turf Diseases Blog and may be of interest to those who manage seashore paspalum in Asia.

disease of seashore paspalum at Thailand

I will be contributing some posts to the Turf Diseases Blog on topics related turfgrass diseases in Asia. For information about all types of turfgrass diseases on warm and cool season grasses, and for advice on the management of these diseases from expert plant pathologists, you will want to read the Turf Diseases Blog this year.

Asian Turfgrass Center 2009 Report

I prepared a short annual report with an overview of the work undertaken by Asian Turfgrass Center in 2009. You may be interested to learn that I wrote 20,504 words for publication in fourteen articles, that ATC websites were visited by people from 88 different countries, or that I spoke at conferences in eight countries. You can read all about those details and more by downloading the Asian Turfgrass Center 2009 Report.


March Turfgrass Seminar Registration Now Open!

Djs-seminar-2009 Registration is now open for the Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2010 conference, being held from 8 to 10 March at Pattaya, Thailand. Click here to go to the registration page, where you can find the registration forms available for download in English or in Thai.

The Thailand GCSA along with the Asian Turfgrass Center are working now to put together the final details of the field seminar, the expert speakers are preparing their materials, and travel plans are being made for many people who will travel from outside Thailand to attend this conference. We hope to see you here in Thailand for a fun and educational event.

And don't forget, for those who want to earn GCSAA continuing education points, the conference has been approved for 1.75 points.


Golf Course Renovation, Grass Selection, & Manilagrass

Wack-wack-axonopus-zoysiaI visited the Philippines a few times last month and was again impressed by how well manilagrass (Zoysia matrella) performs there. The classic East Course at Wack Wack Country Club in Manila is undergoing a restoration project that leaves the manilagrass greens untouched. The grass on these greens is relatively free of disease, has a very low fertilizer requirement, and provides a fast and firm putting surface. By using native grasses on the fairways (primarily Axonopus compressus, known as Carabao grass in the Philippines) and on the greens, Wack Wack CC's East Course provides a classic test of golf and uses grasses that require almost no inputs apart from mowing and irrigation.

Why do I mention these grasses? Because the use of the native grasses is surprisingly uncommon when golf courses are built or renovated in Southeast Asia today. There are some situations where bermudagrass (Cynodon) may be the right choice, and there are occasions when seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) is the right choice, but for many golf projects, using native grasses such as zoysiagrass or carpetgrass would be a better choice. Why?

  • The native grasses require less fertilizer than bermudagrass or seashore paspalum
  • The native grasses are generally more resistant to diseases, insect, and weed invasion than or bermudagrass or seashore paspalum
  • Pesticide use on native grasses is minimal
  • It costs a lot less to maintain native grasses
  • Some of the best courses in Southeast Asia use them! Sentosa GC in Singapore has zoysia fairways and roughs, the aforementioned Wack Wack CC has carpetgrass and the greens are zoysia, Hong Kong Golf Club has carpetgrass and zoysiagrass on most of the property, and the best new course in Asia Pacific for 2009, Banyan Golf Club in Thailand, uses native zoysia for fairways and roughs
  • The course presentation and playability with native grasses is still very good
  • There is a lot more flexibility in the maintenance when native grasses are used


What do I mean by "flexibility in maintenance"? Above we see a native manilagrass (Zoysia matrella) lawn beside swimming pools at the Anvaya Cove development near Subic Bay. At the swimming pool, with virtually no maintenance, zoysia is a foolproof grass. It just grows along, slowly, providing the desired groundcover. Below we see the exact same grass at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial (as an aside, do go there if you are ever at Manila -- the cemetery is a beautiful, quiet, and moving place, with 17,202 graves of military dead of WWII).

The native grasses can be maintained to look green and lush, or dry and close-cropped to the ground, and the native grasses don't die. There is less flexibility with imported bermudagrass or seashore paspalum. Without the optimum amounts of water, fertilizer, and pesticides, the bermudagrass or seashore paspalum cannot provide a good playing surface in Southeast Asia. With native grasses, there is a lot of flexibility in the type of surface that can be created. But don't try to get too flexible with seashore paspalum or bermudagrass, or those grasses will fail.