Southwest Courses Should Plan Now For Plant Transition Into Fall And Winter
Posted in General by Curtis Williams
By DALE MILLER, AmeriTurf Agronomist
Summer is coming to an end and preparation for the winter is upon us.
There are courses in the Southwest that overseed and those that do not overseed.
With this in mind, a few key discussions are important that deal with the base grass going into fall/winter, through the winter and in transition back in the spring. There is also the discussion of the overseed and its establishment, maintenance and transition out.
The focus on the base Bermuda at this point is to build carbohydrates without creating any excess growth. Remember that Bermuda stores carbohydrates in Rhizomes and Stolons, not roots. Root mass is important for water and nutrient uptake, maximum efficiency but not for over wintering and recovery in the spring.
Any excess growth in the leaf will be at the expense of carbohydrate storage. Avoid Nitrogen inputs that create any form of excess growth. Use growth regulators and manage growth as much as possible at this point. Even raise height of cut to where no impact to stolons occurs.
The reason scalping is higher in the late summer is due to the plant becoming as storage machine as opposed to a growth machine. Stems and stolons do not cut as well as leaf. If you continue to scalp the grass, your height is too low and you are impacting storage of carbohydrate.
Carbohydrate management will require a small adjustment to Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Micro Nutrient levels with little Nitrogen required.
Pay very close attention to the build-up and increase in size of Stolons and Rhizomes – they do not lie about how your program is working. They should be fattening are generally light colored and when bent, there should be a noticeable pop and clear fluid coming from them. Stolons will be near the surface with Rhizomes in the upper two inches of soil. Wash them lightly and take a look regularly.
Remember, small, consistent and available inputs will be far more beneficial than lump, uncontrolled release, low efficiency inputs. There are a few good granular options out there but they are few and far between. If granular inputs are chosen, consider Protene high P, K inputs as the best option in the business. These, teamed up with optimal spray inputs, will give the best chance of success.
For overseed establishment and maintenance, the focus is on P, K, Magnesium and Micro Nutrients. Make sure that salts are managed by flushing and ensuring proper Calcium inputs during germination and establishment.
At overseeding a good properly complexed/chelated high P/K input is the best option. Nitrogen is not a huge issue initially in germination/establishment. AmeriTurf has a strong assortment of both spray on and granular starter options available from the best manufacturers in the business.
Once germination is complete and initial establishment is in place, switching to a product containing a bit more N with emphasis still on P/K/Micros is critical, again ensuring that salt management is still in place as newly germinated plants and establishing plants will not deal with excess salt levels.
As the plant goes into a maintenance mode, nutrient inputs can be metered out a bit more with emphasis on color and adequate growth.
Small N inputs with high inputs of Micronutrients and Magnesium with moderate K will be highly beneficial.
For germination consider use of: Component S, Rx P/Rx K, Protene 15-22-10, Pennamin High K, Nutrol
For salt management consider: MultiPath, NutriPath, Penecal, SaltEx, ExAlt
For establishment consider: EPIC, Ruckus/FWN, Rx FW/FWN, Protene 15-22-10/20-0-6, Pennamin Driver, Prudent 44
During the fall and winter months, staying on Protene 0-0-7 will provide Calcium, Potassium and Micro Nutrients in a carbon based product that will continue to release optimally over the winter months. Turf Gyp+ can be applied where necessary to supply Calcium and Sulfate S in a very soluble, high efficiency product.
Talk to your AmeriTurf representative about a program designed for your specific conditions. We’re here to help you succeed!