March 5, 2021 0 Comments

Salicylic Acid – Turfgrass Health Activator and Disease Management

Salicylic acid is a phytohormone and a key component of a plant’s development, growth, photosynthesis, transpiration, and is a part of the natural signaling system as an integral layer in the plant’s pathogen defense mechanism, or Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR).


In lay terms, it has been discovered that plants’ internal pathways that are vital to healing and plants natural health defense system includes a vital molecule called salicylic acid, or SA. SA is a key component of the plant’s natural healing process and defense mechanism, or SAR (Systemic Acquired Resistance). To put it in simple terms: it helps defend against what could make a plant sick or stressed and helps the healing processes if an infection occurs. SA contributes to the fight of abiotic stresses like heat, cold, wind, drought, and salinity imbalances as well as foreign pathogens.

Plants can recognize pathogens and react in a manner like our immune system, releasing stored SA to the infected cells along with the adjacent cells. Plants exchange gasses (photosynthesis) through pores in the plants leaves and stems. The surrounding guard cells regulate the opening and closing, along with the size of these pores. SA will instigate and assist in the rapid closing of these pores when pathogens are recognized.


Turfgrass possesses neither the ability to recognize potential invading pathogens nor store excess SA therefore leaving it susceptible diseases due to the lack of a built-up immunity. In fact, in turfgrass, it is produced after the plant is infected to battle the disease. The artificial application of SA will assist in the instigation of SAR providing the necessary components to both suppress as well as help fight diseases more efficiently.


Stress from high traffic and low mowing heights on sand-based turfgrass will require certain nutrient supplements to strengthen the leaf tissue. SA applications on Sports turf may provide similar benefits as applying seaweed extracts to increase balance the antioxidant system of the grass. The combination of the two can greatly improve the soil nutrients while increase plant’s tolerances to internal and external stresses and promote post-infection healing.


A fungicide program is standard practice in the health and maintenance of greens. However, adding an SAR booster like a product that contains salicylic acid can significantly improve the health of your green by strengthening its pathogen defenses. The results of numerous tests also concurred that the application including SA will help in the heat stress management of Kentucky Bluegrass, Fine and Tall Fescue.


While golf course turfgrass health is one of the most significant costs involved in course management, building the immune system of your turfgrass can be a cost-efficient way of dealing with the inevitable pathogens and heat stresses – build stronger, healthier shoots and leaves that can fend off potential disease and withstand the summer heatwave, also potentially shortening the disease cycle if they do become infected.


Be certain to check the suggested SA ratio as applications differ based on the type of grass, your climate, and the products you choose as a part of your turfgrass health management program.

March 3, 2021 0 Comments

The New England Crab Grass Battle

The New England Crab Grass Battle

If you spend time on and take pride in your thick green lawn, or if you are tired of looking out over a thin, unhealthy lawn, you will agree that crab grass is a nuisance. It is aggressive and will spread rapidly if left untreated. So, what is the best course of action to make certain your lawn comes in as crab-grass free as possible this year and beyond?

First, you should understand a little about crab grass. A single crab grass plant can product up to about 150,000 seeds, therefore, they spread extremely fast. You have two opportunities to address the problem; before these seeds germinate in the Spring, and, if they do, before the plant goes to seed in the Fall. Crab grass can tolerate long periods of high heat and dry conditions, ironically when your lawn is at its weakest and in the areas adjacent to your hardscapes (driveways, walkways, stoned areas, etc.) that require special attention as they tend to emit heat and create conditions that are more favorable for crab grass growth.

Pre-emergent herbicides

Like most lawn issues, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Let us start by attacking the seeds before they germinate in the Spring.
Know your lawn. A thick, healthy sod with some shade and a few patches of crabgrass will require a much less aggressive treatment than a thin lawn that receives a heavy dose of sun throughout the day.
A thin lawn is a prime candidate for a pre-emergent treatment. Usually, a single treatment in March or early April will stop the germination of the crab grass seeds. Learning the line between a heavy treatment and too much is important to understand as well. You do not want to suppress the healthy grass seeds from their Fall germination process. The right balance will allow a lawn that needs more attention to still benefit from a good aeration and Spring seeding.

Post emergent herbicides.

If you have hot spots or are working with a thinner, less healthy law that receives uninhibited sunlight and the problem has been persistent for more than a couple of seasons, a one-step program most likely will not fix your lawn’s woes. The crab grass that does sprout will require attention as well, especially near your hardscapes and other hot spots. It is important to address these areas in July and August, You want to spray before these areas of crab grass go to seed for the Fall, with a post emergent spray.

The healthier your lawn, the less work it will require. A thick, healthy lawn can naturally make the conditions unfavorable and suppress the growth of new weeds. Specifically, during the Spring and in the early summer months, while the crab grass seeds are starting to germinate, keeping your lawn slightly longer will create stress by reducing the amount of light these weeds receive. Irrigation or healthy watering habits will keep your lawn stronger and reducing the impact of these weeds during the dry soil season. Make certain you are giving special attention to your lawn areas adjacent to your hardscapes.

*This article was written under the “Ask Tuckahoe Turf” which provides helpful suggestions or tips for the homeowner or residential lawn. If you feel your lawn is beyond repair or if you would like a beautiful, thick, and healthy lawn this season, contact Tuckahoe Turf right away! 800-556-6985 Tuckahoe Turf Farms has been growing turf for the professional for over 40 years!

February 18, 2021 0 Comments

Will the Mild Fall and Accumulating Snow Cause Snow Mold This Spring?

Ask Tuckahoe Turf

Will the Mild Fall and Accumulating Snow Cause Snow Mold This Spring?

As we are all aware, we have had frequent and a heavy snowfall this winter. We also had a mild late fall that ran right into our first snowstorm of the season. This combination could be a recipe for snow mold this Spring.
The amount of snow does not generally have a negative impact on our lawns. In fact, a frozen ground and the snow works as an insulating blanket that protects the below-ground living turf grass cells. However, if the ground has not completely frozen when the first snow falls, the moisture in the ground is trapped by the blanket of snow keeping the ground moist and humid. Continued snow covering works as an insulator to keep the unfrozen ground conditions consistent throughout the winter and protects it from the freezing cold air. This allows the formation and thriving of fungal diseases known as snow mold.
There are two types of snow mold: Gray Snow Mold and Pink Mold. They will present in patches of apparent dead grass ranging diameter from a couple of inches to a couple of feet.
Gray snow mold has a straw or gray color. It is far less threatening to your lawn than Pink snow mold as it only kills the blades, not the roots. Gray mold generally survives until temperatures are consistently above about 45 degrees. Then the mold dies off and new grass shoots will generally start to grow again.
Pink snow mold appears red, brown, copper or pink among the dead grass. Pink snow mold can cause severe damage to your grass’ roots, killing your turf and typically survives until temperatures raise consistently above 60 degrees.

Treatment

To start, you must remember that snow mold is a fungus and requires moisture to survive. The first step in treatment is to simply give the area a good dethatching with a rake to remove all the dead grass and any leaves that may remain from the previous fall (thatch and leaves trap moisture in the ground helping the fungus to thrive). This will allow sunlight and wind access to the affected area so it may properly dry and giving the living grass the room it needs to grow.
Mow the affected and surrounding areas shorter than usual to aid in the drying process, and shortening the lifespan of the mold, keeping the grass very short until you see growth. Make sure you rake the area thoroughly after each mow to keep the affected area as clean as possible allowing it too efficiently dry.
If your lawn has the Pink snow mold, the mold is significant or your turf just is not returning, you will most likely need to reseed (or even overseed in the late Spring). If snow mold has been a recurring issue to this point, you may want to consider Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue as they seem to be the most resistant to the fungi. Remember not to fertilize or mow the areas you have seeded until the new grass is growing strong.

Prevention

There are several things you can do to prevent the breeding of snow mold.

  • Removal of loose grass. This includes gathering of clippings, especially late in the summer and into the fall. Dethatching as needed will allow your lawn to grow stronger in the summer months and allow the ground to dry faster before the first snowfall.
  • Keep the grass short and do not overwater in the Fall. Continue to mow your lawn, shorter than usual, if the grass continues to grow, until becoming dormant for the winter. Mold is more likely to form under longer, matted grass.
  • Remove leaves before the first snow. It is extremely important to remove as many of the leaves from the turf as possible. Leaves are a fantastic moisture barrier for your lawn and one of the best ingredients for mold growth.
  • Fertilize at the right time. Fertilizing your lawn too close to the first snow will promote the late growth of your green grass when it should be dormant in preparation for the winter. Try to apply your last lawn fertilization at least six weeks prior to the first expected snowfall.
  • Apply a fungicide if the problem is recurring. Although this is not recommended for home lawns, if you get mold rings every Spring, you may need to apply a fungicide late in the Fall to stunt the growth of the mold. In these extreme cases, a professional fungicide application is recommended.
  • Spread your snow. When shoveling walkways and driveways, try not to make piles too large on your lawn. When there are snow accumulations later in the winter that led right into warmer early Spring weather, the snowbanks from plows, driveway and walkway shoveling take longer to melt. The longer these areas are covered, the more chance there is of developing mold. As the snow is melting, it is a good idea to help break down these remaining piles and spread them out to promote quicker melting.