The summer of 2016 has been challenging for turf managers in our region. A common question that my colleagues ask me is, “What happened to my turf?” The answer is complex. The weather this growing season has been brutal. The most challenging has been the summer; we have seen everything: drought, heat stress, disease, and insect damage.

The avenue to answering the “what happened to my turf” question is through diagnosing the problem. However, there is one important thing to remember about diagnosing a problem. Diagnosing is always possible, but the timing of that diagnosis is critical. When you notice a problem in your turf, it is important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. Sometimes, we receive the call too late. When the turf is completely brown and there is very little living grass in the area, it is sometimes impossible to diagnose positively. If you need help with a diagnosis, call your representative as soon as you see an issue developing.

2016 has been a year we, as turf managers, need to note for the record books. For the properties that may have shown some issues, make note of those issues so you can take a proactive approach for next season. If you had a crabgrass brake, though, consider doing a split pre-emergent application next season. Check applications for proper coverage and timing if you had an insect breakthrough. If you had a fungus problem, you may want to consider adding a fungicide preventative program in the future.

One thing to remember, Mother Nature is totally unpredictable. We can put the best plan together, but sometimes we may have to adjust our plan.