4/4/2020 - Golf Course Maintenance Update
With all the Covid 19 concerns it is easy to forget that regular maintenance practices must continue to keep our courses in good shape. One of those practices is addressing the spring invasion of Black Turfgrass Ataenius. BTAs as we refer to them are small beetles that make their presence every spring. When they arrive they will lay their eggs in the soil. Each beetle will lay several eggs that eventually hatch around the middle of May. The date of laying eggs and hatching can vary slightly from year to year. Once they hatch the larvae which are called grubs will feed on grass roots. This is not usually a problem in tees, roughs, and fairways but it can become a serious issue on the greens. The greens are mowed at a much lower height of cut than the tees, roughs, and fairways. This makes them more susceptible to insect damage.
BTA damage varies from year to year and region to region. Some parts of the country have a much worse problem with BTAs than we do here. However this year could be an exception. With close to 5 inches of rain since November most golf course superintendents I have spoken to are expecting a surge in the insect population in Az. this year. With that been said we have taken the necessary steps here at WBVGC to prevent serious grub damage by applying a systemic insecticide to the greens at both golf courses. What does a systemic insecticide do? It is absorbed by the plant without harming it. It then renders the plants parts, roots, stems, and leaves poisonous to the insects. In other words it makes the plant toxic to the invaders. The affects of a systemic insecticide will last for several weeks. We usually do an application in April and again in June. This assures a smooth summer without grub damage.
I hope this information was educational and helpful. I hope everyone stays safe and enjoys the beautiful weather.
David Escobedo GCS