Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Holy poa batman

The annual bluegrass turf plant is really showing off this year. Our fairways are white with flowers! Annual bluegrass, also known as poa, is considered a weed in many turfs (subject for another day). The white cast that you see if from the floret of the plant, which eventually becomes seed. I have never witnessed such a seed head explosion here at briar. Why? Hard to tell. The reason poa is so good at what it does, is because it is a prolific seed producer. Instead of wasting energy on roots, shoots, and leaves like a good turf plant, poa chooses another strategy. The alternative strategy of poa, produce a bizillion seeds, croak in the heat, your next of kin takes your place.
It's a great strategy, very successful, and it works. Problem is for those who manage it.
Keeping poa from croaking is the difficulty of fine turf managers. Poa, when compared to bentgrass, needs more water, fertilizer, is more susceptible to traffic and water submersion damage, less tolerant of heat and disease pressure, and I'm sure I missed another that makes this plant less than stellar.
The photo below shows a ball on a isolated patch of bentgrass. This photo demonstrates exactly how much poa has invaded the shady seventh fairway.
Modern breeding efforts have provided turf managers with better bentgrass varieties for a multitude of climates. In addition, manufacturers have improved herbicides that are poa selective. These efforts have given a edge to bentgrass, slowing the invasion of poa into playing surfaces.
Into the batcart,

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