Monitor and manage abiotic factors to reduce turfgrass stress and minimize environmental impact.
Determine action levels for abiotic problems at a particular site.
- Abiotic problems are non-biological (non-living) agents that have the potential to cause turf damage or impart stress.
- The turf manager should have a general knowledge of turf damaging abiotic factors and their management, as well as sound cultural practices.
- Abiotic stresses and associated problems, including improper cultural management techniques, can influence turf function and quality as well as pest activity.
- Action levels should be based on the use of the turf and the desired quality, careful monitoring, and a history of the site.
- Action levels for abiotic problems may be very subjective and vary greatly based on the management program, and the desired level of quality and function for a lawn. For these reasons, no general action level guidelines for management of abiotic problems are presented.
Establish and conduct a scouting program for abiotic factors that damage turf.
- Visually monitor turf areas at each site visit, noting conditions which may lead to turf damage or actual symptoms of abiotic problems.
- Conduct an inclusive, in-depth scouting event annually, during late summer or early fall.
- Regularly monitor weather conditions at a weather station representative of site conditions or through reputable online sources.
- Record observations on a site map or to a list with the location identified.
- Note and record particular hot spots or symptomatic areas that might act as indicator spots in future seasons.
- Since many abiotic problems arise as a result of specific cultural problems, determining and using corrective action may be critical to minimizing future problems.
|PROBLEM||WHAT TO LOOK FOR|
|Winter desiccation||Large areas of straw-colored grass especially where exposed to wind with little snow cover.|
|Spring frost damage||New growth killed back.|
|Water and ice damage||Straw-colored or rotted grass, especially where water collects on frozen soil.|
|Salt damage||Dead or yellowed grass along sidewalks, driveways, or roads where salt has been applied.|
|Compaction||Soil is hard. Turf is thin. Rooting is poor.|
|Acid or alkaline soil||Overall poor growth. Soil test indicates inappropriate pH for grass growth.|
|Nutrient deficiency||Yellowing or other discoloration; generally poor growth.|
|Over-fertilization||Exaggerated turf color, along with rapid growth rate; tissues succulent.|
|Fertilizer misapplication||Browned streaks lined with extra green growth can occur in areas of application overlap. Yellowed, nutrient deficient streaks may occur in missed areas.|
|Wilt, drought or moisture stress||Turf loses its luster, appears slightly off-color and foot printing occurs.|
|Overwatering||Soil is saturated; grass is overly lush and may mat down easily.|
|Poor drainage||Waterlogged soil, puddling.|
|Scalping||Mowing height excessively low, especially on uneven terrain.|
|Dull mower injury||Turf develops grayish or brownish cast, close inspection reveals shredded leaf tips.|
|Shade||Turf is thin; leaves may appear elongated and succulent.|
|Poor air circulation||Increased leaf wetness duration, increased disease incidence.|
|Excess thatch||Spongy turf surface, water infiltration problems, thick layer of matter at soil interface.|
|Excess traffic and wear||Bruising and crushing injury to turf, compacted areas, loss of stand density.|
|Animal urine damage||Spots of browned or yellowed turf, perhaps with extra green growth around them.|
|Foreign chemical (gas, oil, hydraulic fluid) damage||Sudden scorched areas of turf.|
Use cultural practices that help to prevent or mitigate problems caused by abiotic factors.
- Use proper species and cultivar selection, sound fertility, judicious irrigation, proper mowing and cultivation, integrated pest management strategies, and other appropriate cultural practices to avoid or mitigate abiotic problems.
- Take steps to remediate conditions conducive to damage from abiotic factors.
- Refer to other pertinent sections of this document regarding BMPs related to specific cultural practices.