Research Shows Turf Screen Helps Reduce Summer Stress and Water Use
Posted on June 16, 2014
Meanwhile, the pièce de résistance in this annual bout with summer stress may be Turf Screen, an invention of former Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club superintendent Scott May, a veteran of his own climatic battles in suburban Philadelphia. Taking the concept of sunscreen for humans to the world of turfgrass management, May experimented with a suspension concentrate comprised of sunscreen ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. And voilà! “The biggest game-changer,” says Weitz, “is Turf Screen, one of the most important tools I use.” “Turf Screen is a staple with our program,” says Latshaw, who experimented with it for four years and reported astonishing results. “I’ve seen a significant reduction in canopy temperature — on average six to eight degrees,” says Harrison. When temperatures were topping 100 degrees, Weitz started experimenting with Turf Screen two and a half weeks before a Web.com tournament at Victoria National. “You could draw a line between where the application was laid and where it wasn’t,” he said. “We pulled the trigger then and sprayed wall-to-wall because the bentgrass was stressing out.” Harrison, who applies Turf Screen every two weeks starting in April, says it helps turfgrass density — “with almost a fertilizer response but not with the growth” — and reduces the need for water. “Because of Turf Screen, we’re not wilting as quickly,” he says.
Latshaw harkens back to 2012. “It was really dry,” he says. “On one fairway we could see where we stopped applying Turf Screen. Outside that area, it was wilting like there was no tomorrow. Inside it, there was no wilt at all.” So today, from May to October, Muirfeld Village crews spray a foliar application every week on greens, two weeks on fairways, and two to three weeks along with fertilizer and fungicide on bunker faces.