We asked experts from two pesticide manufacturers: 2015 was the hottest year on record, continuing a recent trend of warmer weather. Assuming the warm weather continues, what impact will it have on weed control on sports turf? Could more Northern fields begin to see more Southern weeds?
Vice President of Specialty Business
“According to my dusty college weed control handbook, every weed species has a temperature range that is suitable for survival and growth. So it stands to reason that if the trend of warmer weather continues, then weed patterns will continue to evolve. If that’s the case, then weed control — both cultural and chemical — will also need to change. You can pick a day as far into the future as you want and [turf managers] will be managing some kind of weed infestation. As always, they’ll adapt because of increased knowledge, improved cultural practices and enhanced herbicide technology.”
Green Solutions Team
“Weeds (and other turf pests) naturally evolve to fill open niches and gradually expand from their current distribution over time. This evolutionary process can be sped up with human help by moving soil and plant parts intentionally or unintentionally, such as planting species where they are only marginally adapted or weakening adapted species with extreme management. A warming climate will also help move traditionally Southern problems northward. A good example is goosegrass, which was traditionally a problem in the transition zone and farther South. Now it’s becoming common in the Mid- Atlantic and farther North. Warming temperatures may also affect our ability to apply herbicides, which are usually safer to desired cool-season turf at cooler temperatures.”