USGA ultradwarf Bermudagrass putting green properties as affected by cultural practices
Accumulation of organic matter (OM) at the soil surface (mat OM) and below (soil OM) can negatively affect putting green performance characteristics. The objective of this study was to evaluate cultural practices for control of OM and their effects on performance characteristics of a mature, USGA-specified ultradwarf bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. x C. transvaalensis Burt Davy] green in a subtropical climate. Two ultradwarf cultivars, ‘TifEagle’ and ‘Champion’, were subjected to hollow tine aerification (HTA) 1, 2, or 3 times yr–1, verticutting (VC) 3 times yr–1, solid tine aerification (STA) 5 times yr–1, and no treatment (control) for two consecutive years. Cultivars and treatments were arranged in a split-plot, randomized complete block design. Although mat OM depth was similar among treatments, concentration was reduced after 2 yr by VC, HTA 2 times yr–1, and HTA 3 times yr–1. Solid TA (5 times yr–1) and hollow TA (2 and 3 times yr–1) reduced soil OM concentration compared with the control. Since VC also provided the highest turfgrass quality, firmest surface, least mower scalping, and least localized dry spots (LDS), it proved to be the best cultural practice tested, particularly since HTA 3 times yr–1 increased saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat), which reduced volumetric water content and increased LDS. TifEagle was the better performing cultivar, as it had higher quality and less mower scalping.