The Unstoppable Poa annua
For good or bad, Poa annua (or annual bluegrass) has been part of the golf industry for more than 100 years. During this time, a few golf course superintendents have successfully managed to propagate unique, perennial strains of Poa annua that possess unbelievably high turf quality. In fact, most U.S. Open tournaments played in the past 50 years have been on greens that are predominately Poa annua rather than creeping bentgrass, which is the industry’s preference for putting surfaces in the north.
This preference for creeping bent- grass has led most superintendents to focus their efforts, over the past century, on eliminating Poa annua from their putting surfaces. In the 1960s, they used heavy metal arsenate herbicides. In the 1970s, Endothal was hailed as the cure-all for eliminating the highly invasive Poa. Over the past 20 years, a combination of plant growth regulators and newer herbicides employing some novel chemistry has been the go- to solution. Last year, FMC Professional Solutions held a “Toughest Weed” competition at the Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas. The hands-down winner, from 328 voting superintendents from over 40 states was, you guessed it, Poa annua.