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Weed Control in Golf Course Native Areas

Many golf courses are converting rough areas from highly managed turfgrass to low-maintenance native and naturalized grass species. This can reduce costs and labor, but best management practices are necessary to control weeds and maintain the aesthetic that golfers expect.

The Benefits of Low-Maintenance Areas

  • Less mowing means lower fuel and labor costs
  • Can reduce the amount of irrigation
  • Reduces the amount of required fertilizer inputs
  • Reduces the overall amount of pesticide inputs

Native and Naturalized Plants

Superintendents from the transition zone northward typically choose tall and fine fescues for low‑maintenance areas, while native warm-season grasses are utilized in the south. There is a difference in native and naturalized plants:

  • Native Plants

    Naturally occur in the region or area in which they originally evolved. Buffalograss is the only turfgrass truly native to North America.

  • Naturalized Plants

    Non-native plants that are introduced to an area and do not need human intervention to reproduce and maintain themselves over time. Most turfgrasses are naturalized plants.

Best Management Practices for Weed Control

Because 100% weed control in low-maintenance areas isn’t realistic, superintendents usually choose one of two methods of managing them:

  • Let nature take its course – Take no action except occasional mowing
  • Control only certain weeds – Take mechanical or chemical steps to control the most invasive weeds

Mechanical Weed Control

  • Mowing native areas one to three times in the spring and/or fall is usually enough for weed control
  • Hand digging, cutting, string trimming if few weed populations are low enough

Chemical Weed Control Methods

  • Use a non-selective herbicide to eliminate weeds before planting native/naturalized grasses to the area
  • Remember that products that control non-desirable broadleaf weeds in the native grass area will also control or injure desirable broadleaf plants

Proven Solutions from PBI-Gordon Turf

2, 32

1Residual sedge control
2Tall fescue only
3After May
4Do not exceed two overall broadcast applications of 2,4-D.

To view / download a PDF of this information, click here.

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