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Playing quality, growth rate, thatch accumulation and tolerance to moss and annual bluegrass invasion as influenced by irrigation strategies on red fescue putting greens

Chen, Y., Pettersen, T., Kvalbein, A., Aamlid, T. S.
Journal of agronomy and crop science 2018 v.204 no.2 pp. 185-195
Agrostis, Festuca rubra subsp. rubra, Poa annua, deficit irrigation, field capacity, golf courses, green leafy vegetables, irrigation management, lawns and turf, mosses and liverworts, organic matter, thatch, water use efficiency, water utilization, Norway
Conversion from annual bluegrass or bentgrasses to red fescue could be an efficient way to minimise water use on golf greens. Our objective was to investigate the influences of four irrigation strategies on red fescue water use efficiency, turf quality, growth rate and resistance to annual bluegrass and moss invasion. The trial was carried out from August 2013 to August 2015 on a green established according to USGA recommendations under a rainout shelter at Landvik, Norway (58 °N). On average for 2 years, irrigation to field capacity once per week (FC 1) and deficit irrigation to 60% of FC three times per week (DEF 3) reduced the water consumption by 49% and 72% relative to irrigation to FC three times per week (FC 3). Both DEF 3 and FC 1 retained acceptable turf quality and reduced annual bluegrass in the second year by about one‐third. Better control of annual bluegrass was obtained with deficit irrigation to 60% of FC once per week (DEF 1), but this treatment did not produce acceptable turf quality. Compared with FC 3, DEF 3, FC 1 and DEF 1 gave harder surfaces and reduced the moss invasion in the second year by 66%, 90% and 93%, respectively. Irrigation effects on root development and thatch organic matter after 2 years were not significant, although the thatch layer depth was 3–4 mm greater in FC 1 than in the other treatments. In conclusion, DEF 3 and FC 1 are both effective irrigation strategies for managing red fescue greens with less water use.