Optimal maintenance for hardening and early spring growth of golf green turfgrass


The aim of this study was to identify management strategies which could increase winter stress tolerance, i.e. decrease winter damage and promote early green-up in spring, of the common Scandinavian golf green turfgrasses creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonoifera), a mix of chewings fescue (Festuca rubra ssp. commutata) and slender creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra ssp. litoralis), and annual meadowgrass(Poa annua). This involved manipulating nitrogen, fungicide and a spring protective cover on a golf course in the Malaren region of Sweden. The fructan concentration in plant tissue was used as an indicator of winter stress tolerance and biomass in grass clippings in early spring as an indicator of early green-up.

The experiment was run for three years (autumn 2006-summer 2009). Four different fertilisation treatments were tested: traditional fertilisation (TR), traditional fertilisation with late N application, demand-driven fertilisation (DD) and demand-driven fertilisation with late N application. In addition, treatments with and without fungicide application and with and without spring cover were tested. Observations of winter damage was performed every spring. Biomass and N concentration in grass clippings and fructan content and N concentration in plug samples were measured.

The tissue N concentration was an important regulating factor for biomass production and fructan content, with high N concentrations giving higher biomass production and lower fructan concentrations, and vice versa. A late N application generally resulted in higher tissue N concentrations and higher biomass production in April than no late N application.

The winter temperatures were very mild during the experiment and subsequently winter damage was minimal. Although there were differences in fructan content between the TR and DD treatments, this did not reflect any significant differences in winter damage. The fungicide treatment decreased winter damage by 6-8% for creeping bentgrass and 30-35% for annual meadowgrass. There was also a tendency for late N application to have a repressive effect on winter damage. The use of a spring cover had very limited effects on any of the grasses.

Karin Blombäck (from 2011)

Department of Soil and Environment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Category: Overwintering
Status: Finished
Project period: 1 January 2005 – December 2012

Fundings (kSEK)















3 800

Other sources






1 500







5 300