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  • Terravita Agronomy

More transition facts!

It's no secret that we subject our bermudagrass to a tremendous amount of trauma by overseeding it with rye grass each year. We live in a transition zone, meaning our warm season goes dormant in the winter, but our cool season grass is unlikly to survive through the summer. So how do you balance, good rye grass AND good bermudagrass conditions year over year?

Several things impact the ability to transition from rye grass to bermudagrass. The areas that don't trasition well are lumped into what we call "winterkill". Winterkill is a broad term describing the loss of bermudagrass caused by direct low temperature kill, desiccation, disease, traffic, irrigation inconsistencies, and/ or competition with cool season grasses.

While all of these impact the success of the bermudagrass transition, competition with cool season grass is the most impactful aspect of bermudagrass transition. Below you will see some photos that provide a clear picture of how ryegrass competition effects bermudagrass density come transition. Again, other factors have also impacted these areas, but it's clear that competition is the leading factor. The photos below show areas of "short cut" right next to areas of rough. There is clearly much more bermudagrass in the short cut areas than in the rough cut areas. This is due to competition. Lower heights of cut mean more sunlight reaching the bermudagrass plant, and when more sunlight reaches the bermudagrass, the bermudagrass plant will out compete the ryegrass. This will jump start the green up process earlier in the spring. This is why, generally speaking, desert golf courses have lower heights of cut in the rough than single grass stand courses do in other parts of the world.

Our transition in the rough this year has still been very successful and this can be attributed to getting heights of cut in the roughs lowered in the early spring to allow the bermudagrass a fighting chance!

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