Low-input fine fescue species will be able to withstand the pressure from typical turfgrass stresses while producing acceptable turf and excellent playing quality, all with fewer inputs of water, fertilizer, and pesticides. From the 5 primary fine fescue species used as turfgrass—strong creeping red fescue, slender creeping red fescue, hard fescue, sheep fescue, and Chewings fescue—we developed mixtures to evaluate. The mixture study has 3 parts. First, to determine if the plant growth regulator trinexapac-ethyl will improve divot recovery in fine fescue fairways. Second, to determine if fine fescues can survive as fairway turf under acute drought. And third, to determine if fine fescues need fungicides at currently-recommended rates to survive snow mold pressure.
The plots for the PGR component were seeded in June 2012 at the St. Paul TROE Center. Plots for the fungicide component were seeded in August 2012 at Theodore Wirth Golf Course in Minneapolis, Northland Country Club in Duluth, and Cragun’s Legacy Courses in Brainerd. Data will be collected monthly on disease severity and recovery, divot recovery, turfgrass quality, species composition, clipping yield, spring green-up, weed pressure, and turf density. The drought plots will be seeded in 2013 and the entire project will conclude in August 2014.