Q: What can I do in the spring to get rid of clumps of Poa annua in my bermudagrass, especially on fairways and in the rough?
A: The clumpy growth habit of Poa annua is very prominent in the spring, especially on bermudagrass fairways and rough. Not only do the clumps look bad, they negatively affect playability. The challenge is how to control the clumps of Poa without harming the bermudagrass that is coming out of dormancy.
Here are four strategies to deal with clumpy Poa in the spring:
- Lower the cutting height and mow more frequently. This will improve playability and will help to stimulate bermudagrass growth for a more even playing surface.
- Slightly reduce irrigation to stress the Poa annua. Stretching irrigation applications will help to stress the clumps of Poa annua. Keep in mind that shutting off the water completely is not a good strategy because bermudagrass coming out of dormancy needs adequate soil moisture for healthy growth.
- Apply selective herbicides. There are several herbicides that kill Poa annua without harming bermudagrass. The most popular for use in the spring are the sulfonylurea herbicides Revolver® (foramsulfuron), Monument® (trifloxysulfuron), and Katana® (flazasulfuron). These herbicides can be moved with irrigation runoff or foot traffic when the turf is wet, so it’s important to be careful with applications near desirable cool season grasses. Always read and follow the product label with any herbicide application.
- Plan to make preemergence herbicide applications in the fall. Consider making a map of current infestation and plan to apply a preemergence herbicide in the fall to prevent Poa annua growth the following winter and spring.
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