March 2015

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Field Science 14 SportsTurf | March 2015 The very low mowing height and intense management regimes used on golf courses provide an ecological advantage to Poa annua and it easily outcompetes other preferred grass species. This weed could always be found in sports turf areas, but the less-extreme management conditions that predomi- nated on most sports turf through the 1900's meant that Poa annua was usu- ally not a major problem in athletic fields in most climatic zones. This has changed in the 2000's, and the greater intensity with which modern fields are managed is resulting in Poa annua becoming a common complaint among sports turf managers. Figure 1 is from the Burlington Bees baseball field in Burlington, IA. The Burlington field sits in a low area along the Mississippi River and is surrounded by trees and a fence that results in a microclimate that is very conducive to Poa annua infestation. Add to that the high level of maintenance ini- tiated by Certified Sports Field Manager T.J. Brewer, and Poa has become an increasing problem in recent years. Once it gets a foothold in cool-wet weather, Poa does what it does best in stress periods; it simply dies. Figure 2 is from a sports field at Iowa State University. The clear outline of the Poa annua can be seen as lighter colored patches in the darker colored Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis). So, now that it is here, how do you kill it? Controlling Poa annua in sports turf ■ By Dr. Nick christiaNs M uch of my career has been spent on trying to kill annual bluegrass, better known asPoa annua in golf course turf. While it does occur in other turf areas, such as lawns, it has always been on the golf course where this species has presented the biggest problem. Fig.1. Poa annua is becoming more common in sports fields each year as management levels of these areas intensifies. Courtesy of T.J. Brewer, CSFM, Burlington Bees, Burlington, IA. Fig.2. Poa annua in a sports field at Iowa State University. Courtesy of Tim Van Loo, CSFM, Iowa State.

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