Monday, February 25, 2008

Superintendent Speak Part I

Topdressing. Pythium blight. Creeping Bentgrass. Cultivar. Poa Annua. If you listen to Golf Course Superintendents awhile, you will hear these and many other similar terms. To the layperson, they may seem rather foreign. An understanding of some of the more frequently used golf course management terms may help you understand the complexities of managing a golf course. The turfgrass science terms included here concern the quality of the playing surface. Here are a few of the most common - with translations. This wil be the first of four parts and a quiz will follow at the end.

Acid soil
A soil having an acid reaction of pH below the neutral point, which is pH 7.0; a soil having an excess of hydrogen ions. Turfgrasses generally prefer slightly acid soils, in the pH range of 6.0 to 6.5.
The process of coring to allow more air into the soil and to relieve compaction; used synonymously with aerification.
A growth of minute single-celled plants containing chlorophyll that develops on thin or bare areas in hot humid weather when soils are saturated with moisture.
Alkaline soil
A soil having a basic reaction or a pH above the neutral point, which is pH 7.0; a soil having a predominance of hydroxyl (OH) ions, usually found in areas with relatively low rainfall.
Annual grasses
Grasses that normally complete their life cycles in one year.
The fairway area close to and in front of the putting green, adjoining the putting green collar. This area is normally mowed at fairway height but sometimes is mowed slightly closer.
A large, widely distributed group of typically one-celled microorganisms, chiefly parasitic or saprophytic. Some bacteria are disease producing; many are active in processes such as the conversion of dead organic matter into soluble food for plants and the fixing of atmospheric nitrogen.
Ball mark
A depression and/or a tear in the putting green surface made by the impact of a golf ball.
Bench setting
See cutting height.
Bentgrasses, generally speaking, are tolerant of cold weather, extremely fine-bladed and very popular among golfers, especially for greens. Bentgrasses are even in demand in the South, but it is difficult and costly to maintain them in warm climates.
A term applied to plants that normally complete their life cycles in two years.
Biological control
Control of turfgrass pests by the use of living organisms.
A combination of two or more varieties of the same grass species.
A general term used to describe symptoms of plant disease that may include sudden wilting or death of leaves, flowers, stems or entire plants. The most common blight of golf course turfs is Pythium.
Any of the dicotyledonous plants that grow in a turfgrass stand (e.g., dandelion, plantain, clover, chickweed, knotweed, etc.)
The practice of lifting excessive leaf and stem growth off grasses before mowing. Usually accomplished with brushes affixed to mowers ahead of the cutting reel.

To determine or mark the graduation of, or to determine and control the amount of material delivered by a sprayer or spreader on a given area or in a given time.
As commonly used, the condition in plants relating to the loss or lack of green color. May be caused by disease activity, albinism or nutritional deficiency.
An area of turf adjoining the putting green that is mowed at a height intermediate between the fairway and the green.
The reduction in the number and size of airspaces caused by compression. It is most often the result of traffic. Compaction prevents adequate water and air penetration, and reduces turfgrass root growth.
Complete fertilizer
A fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Contour mowing
To shape the border between the fairway and rough to add interest, direction or strategy to the golf hole.
Cool-season grasses
Among the best known are colonial bentgrass, creeping bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue and tall fescue. They grow best between 55 F and 85 F.
The removal of a core from a turfgrass area with a soil probe or hollow metal tines, usually to provide aeration.
A term used to distinguish cultivated varieties of plants from the naturally occurring varieties. Example: Penncross creeping bentgrass.
A mechanical procedure such as spiking, grooving or core removal on established turf without destroying its sod characteristics.
cutting height
The distance above the soil line that grasses are clipped.
bench setting - the height at which the bedknife is set above a firm, level surface. This is generally the accepted measure for determining cutting height.
effective cutting height - the actual height at which grasses are cut. It varies from bench setting, depending on the degree of thatch and flotation of the cutting unit.
Damping off
A disease of seeds or young seedlings caused by fungi, usually occurring under wet conditions.
Drying up. A type of winter injury that exposed turf areas suffer when subject to high winds and inadequate moisture or snow cover.
The procedure of removing an excessive thatch accumulation either mechanically, by practices such as vertical mowing, or biologically, such as by topdressing with soil.
A disturbance in normal functioning and growth, usually caused by pathogenic fungi, bacteria or viruses.
In a resting, or nonvegetative, state.
The rapid removal of water by surface contouring (swales or ditches) or the installation of subsurface tile.
The wearing away of the land by running water, wind or other geological agents.
The combination of soil evaporation and transpiration from a plant; total water loss from plant and soil.
The slope or incline of a bunker constructed in the direction of the putting green, intended to create an added obstacle for a player to negotiate.
No precise definition exists in the Rules of Golf for "fairway." It is deemed to be an area between the tee and putting green included in the term "through the green." In terms of maintenance, fairways are those areas of the course that are mowed at heights between 0.25 and 0.75 inches, depending on grass species and the cultural intensity desired. Fairways normally are about 50 yards wide but vary from about 33 yards to more than 60 yards, depending on the caliber of the golf course involved and limitations imposed by architecture or terrain.
The application of fertilizer through an irrigation system.
A nutrient applied to plants to assist growth.
Foliar fertilizers
Soluble plant nutrients applied to the leaf and capable of being absorbed through leaves.
Foot printing

Discolored areas of dead leaf tissue left after live, frosted turfgrass leaves are walked on.
Easily crumbled in the fingers. Most often used when describing soils.
A liquid or solid substance that forms vapors that destroy pathogens, insects, etc. Fumigants are usually used in soils or closed structures.
A chemical that kills or inhibits fungi.
A low form of plant life that, lacking chlorophyll and being incapable of manufacturing its own food, lives off dead or living plant and animal matter.