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March 2010

If I Were a Superintendent . . .

I would give this topdressing technique a try. Todd Pippin has written an article for the Green Section Record describing his five-day program of adjusting mowing heights and other tricks that can be used to allow topdressing sand to work its way into the canopy without excessive mower pickup.


The necessity of regular sand topdressing to dilute organic matter on golf course putting greens is unquestioned. The problem faced by those managing the turf, however, is that with low cutting heights on greens, the sand that is applied as topdressing sometimes gets picked up by the mowers on days succeeding the topdressing event.

Pippin's program (you really should study the article with full details) involves a grooming and mowing at 10 to 15% below the starting mowing height on the day of topdressing (for example, mow at 2.8 mm when normal height is 3.2 mm. The topdressing is followed by a heavy irrigation. On the day after topdressing, the mowers are set at a height 10 to 15% above the starting mowing height (for example, mow at 3.7 mm instead of the normal height of 3.2 mm). On days three, four, and five, the mowing height is gradually lowered. Pippin reports that this program allows topdressing sand to be applied with minimal disturbance to ball roll speed and almost no pick up of sand by the mowers. 

If I were a superintendent I would give this program a try. Sand topdressing is essential in maintaining adequate aeration porosity in the soil. If you have a chance, give this program a try and see how it works at your course.

Sustainable Turfgrass Seminar File Downloads

All the presentation slides and handouts from the Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2010 seminars, held 8 to 10 March at Thailand, are now available for download from the Downloads page. Whether you were able to attend and want to review the materials, or weren't able to make it this year and would like to see what was presented, the files are available for download at your convenience. There is some great material, with research results from grass evaluations, hints on how to improve playing conditions, practical ideas on improving your course maintenance operations, and detailed information on insect control, among other interesting items. The handouts come to over 100 pages of material in total, and there are just over 500 slides available for download. Plenty of self-study material available for your reference library!

Nozzle Selection for Spraying Pesticides and Fertilizer

Sprayer-nozzleOne of the topics I will discuss at next week's Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2010 seminar is nozzle selection, spray droplet size, and water volume. Depending on the product (fertilizer? herbicide? fungicide?) being applied, its mode of action, and the reason for the application, one can choose the nozzle type that will produce the most effective spray pattern on the turf.

The Turf Diseases blog has some good posts on this topic, including photos that show the drastic differences in spray patterns between different nozzles and tips on improving disease control by proper nozzle selection.

Don't Neglect Your Nozzles by Dr. John Kaminski

Mazel Tov! It's Nozzle Talk! by Dr. Megan Kennelly

Should I Water That In? by Dr. Lane Tredway

I also recommend reviewing the guide to nozzle selection that Tee-Jet publishes, available for download here.