Annual meadow grass: a real nuisance on golf courses

It is almost impossible to prevent annual meadow grass on the golf course. The illusion that a golf course can remain free of annual meadow grass can therefore be dismissed. However, attempts can still be made to reduce it as much as possible. Annual meadow grass can have negative consequences for the golf course, such as bare spots and diseases in the grass. Therefore, the motto is: prevention is better than a cure.

Dehydration

One way to get rid of annual meadow grass on golf courses is to dry it out. Without water, the undesirable plants will be eliminated and this certainly applies to annual meadow grass. However, this method requires rapid dehydration; because when it is done slowly the plant will find itself in a stress situation and, as we mentioned before, will react by multiplying itself.

 

Dehydration is therefore a method to maintain the best grass plants. When the undesirable plants have disappeared, it is advised to use a quality overseeding mixture that ensures fast germination and growth. When other grasses germinate fast, it will be harder for annual meadow grass to establish itself. Normally, annual meadow grass needs very regular irrigation. And because annual meadow grass can only absorb water from the top layer, it will soon die.

 

During hot summers it is then necessary to supply extra water. That, of course, also means extra work, which can be prevented by using the correct grass mixtures. And again, additional watering cannot exactly be considered sustainable. All this can cause annual meadow grass to be a real nuisance for the greenkeeper.

 

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Reducing playing damage

Whether on the fairway or the tee, playing damage on a golf course cannot be prevented. When annual meadow grass grows in these areas, divots will soon be sliced out of the soil because of its shallow roots. Unsightly bare patches are the result; the last thing you want on a golf course. Again, a grass seed mixture is needed that ensures fast establishment and has the capacity to recover from damage, without requiring much extra maintenance. RPR is a powerful product that has the ability to compete with annual meadow grass.

 

 

Fertilisation

The optimal pH value of annual meadow grass lies between 5.5 and 7. That is a little higher than the ideal pH value of colonial bentgrass. The annual nitrogen supply lies between 23 to 30 grams per m². Annual meadow grass appears as soon as early winter. The first nitrogen supply should therefore take place as early as March. In spring and autumn, annual meadow grass needs more phosphate than, for example, colonial bentgrass. Therefore, in order to control annual meadow grass, a decision could be made not to fertilise with phosphate.

 

Diseases

Diseases that often occur on golf courses with annual meadow grass are Anthracnose, Fusarium, Snow Mould, Dollar Spot, Typhula and Brown Patch. There are many products available for battling these diseases. Sustainability is increasingly important in our society, and frequent use of herbicides goes against this. ‘Prevention is better than a cure’ is what certainly applies here, too. Control annual meadow grass with a quality grass mixture, and the risk of diseases will be considerably reduced.

 

RPR

Most grass mixtures lose the battle against annual meadow grass. This is due to the very fast germination of annual meadow grass. It germinates and establishes itself faster than most grass mixtures. However, at Barenbrug we have mixtures that are even faster. 

Fast establishing

Annual meadow grass is known for its desire to establish itself everywhere. Bare areas are therefore a target for this aggressive grass. A beautiful tee of fairway, one that is almost impossible to damage, can be created with Bar Intensive RPR or Bar Extreme RPR. Whereas annual meadow grass is very susceptible to diseases, Bar Intensive RPR is not. One of its characteristics is that it forms a very dense turf which is self-regenerating in the case of damage.

 

Bar Extreme RPR is mainly used as an overseeding mixture, as it establishes extremely fast. This means that it is capable of competing with annual meadow grass, and it wins the battle, too. A golf course is usually exposed to intensive wear. A great swing can slice a divot of annual meadow grass directly out of the soil. The RPR stolons connect to each other and hold on to the soil.

 

Smooth stalked meadow grass is slower to establish. When it is sown, chances are high that annual meadow grass will appear first. Perennial ryegrass, on the other hand, establishes fast and it will compete. Annual meadow grass is a menace on the golf course, but the problem is just as significant for sports fields.

 

For more information about solutions and possibilities regarding annual meadow grass on sports fields, click here.

Annual meadow grass is a menace

As explained above annual meadow grass can be controlled, however, it needs a high level of attention. In order to control it effectively and maintain a beautiful golf course, the greenkeeper needs to devise an extensive control program. A simpler solution would be to use suitable grass mixtures that can compete with annual meadow grass. Playing golf on a course with annual meadow grass can lead to many bare patches and diseases. If annual meadow grass is left to grow, it will dominate the entire course in no time.

Annual meadow grass
Poa annua is an annual, sometimes biennial and occasionally perennial meadow grass (Poa) with shallow roots. If no action is taken, it will spread everywhere. This may lead to many bare patches and various diseases.
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