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Development of Velvet Bentgrass Sod as an Environmentally Compatible Turfgrass less Reliant on Fertilizers and Pesticides 2006

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Project Leaders: F. Rossi, Cornell University

Cooperators: G. DeBuck, DeBuck's Sod Farms of NY,

Abstract: Turfgrass disease management is a significant problem and rated the greatest challenge facing the turf industry based on the 2003 NY State Turfgrass Industry Survey. If sod farmers were able to produce a crop that required less pesticides to maintain they would be able to increase their marketing programs and overall pesticide use could decline. This project was designed to investigate the production and management of two velvet bentgrass varieties for potential as a sod and develop a management practices for golf course superintendent’s who desire to grow velvet sod. Establishment studies indicated that lower seed rates were slower to reach adequate density (>85%) than normal or above normal seed rates. The 2006 growing season was among the wettest on record and many disease problems plagued the stand. The variety SR 7200 was less susceptible to diseases such as dollar spot and taker all patch than Vesper velvet bentgrass. Management factors such as low pH (5.3 or less), nitrogen fertility less than 2.0 lbs of nitrogen per 1000 ft2, and frequent grooming and topdressing provided the most desirable stand. Velvet bentgrass can be successfully established at normal seed rates and managed with less inputs than traditional golf turfgrasses.