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Take Advantage of Breaks in Summer Heat for Putting Green Management

By Jack Fry

Looks like we’ve got a short-term period of cooler temperatures over the next several days.  Midsummer heat relief is good for us, and it’s also a great time to do some of the cultural practices we often avoid during midsummer heat.

Creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass don’t like the heat, and really don’t appreciate it when we implement certain cultural practices during hot weather.  On greens that have shallow roots and experience indirect heat stress, any kind of stress brought about with cultural practices can sometimes be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back.”  Consider implementing some of the following during short stretches of cool weather:

1) Solid tine aerification.  Opening up the surface of the green can help get oxygen to roots and prevent a “sealing off” of the surface that can arise when organic matter accumulates.

2) Verticutting.  Using vertical knives to cut leaves and stolons is certainly a stress to the plant, and now is a good time to do it if your greens are grainy (a la Johnny Miller!), or are accumulating more organic matter at the surface than desired.

3) Sand topdressing.  Topdressing during midsummer can be stressful to the plant especially if it the sand is dragged into the surface.

4) Product applications.  Some products can potentially cause more injury to creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass when applied during hot weather, including liquid fertilizers, plant growth regulators, wetting agents, and even some fungicides.   Labels on some products specify temperatures in which they should be applied.  Use the break in the temperatures to apply products that may be needed.

5) Mowing and rolling.  If you haven’t done it yet, raise the mowing height if you can, and roll a few days each week instead of mowing.  Having more leaf area is always a good thing for the plant.

Summer tree reminders – watering, scorch, and leaf loss

Looking for some tips on watering trees? You can learn some suggestions here:

http://kansashealthyyards.org/component/allvideoshare/video/water-wise-way-to-irrigate-trees?Itemid=101

And, what’s the deal with trees losing leaves in summer? You can read about how and why trees shed leaves in summer in this article (just scroll past the tomato article to find it). Here is the link:

http://hnr.k-state.edu/extension/info-center/newsletters/2017/June20_2017_25.pdf

Scholarship and Research Tournament – Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who participated in or sponsored the KGCSA Scholarship & Research Golf Tournament! The event was Monday at Colbert Hills. Thank you to Matt Gourlay and his team for hosting – we know it is a lot of work!

The full list of sponsors can be found on the Kansas Golf Course Superintendents Association page. If you are not a KGCSA member you can explore the webpage and learn more about the organization, and perhaps you will decide to become a member, too.

Thank you so much!

Thanks to everyone who played on a team, donated funds or auction items, sponsored a hole, or bid on an auction item. The KSU Turf Team appreciates your efforts. Thank you to Christy Dipman for organizing the event. Thanks to L.C. Lacy for serving as our auctioneer – that was amazing!

 

Help us help you – Submitting a sample to the KSU Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab

You think you have a plant problem, and you want some help. So, now what? You’ve heard of the diagnostic lab, but you aren’t sure what to do.

Here are some tips on submitting a turf sample

Here are some tips on submitting a tree/shrub sample

Two nice-sized turf plugs, at the transition of healthy and damaged? YES! That is great:

Tiny branch, smaller than my pinky? NOT! This is not ideal:

So, check out those links above for the guidelines on what to send.

If you have more questions feel free to email me at kennelly@ksu.edu

“Soil Evolution Par for the Golf Course”

Soil water management is a big topic on this blog. Are you curious about some of the science behind it?

How does water infiltration rate change as putting greens age? Big hint – it sure does not get BETTER over time.

This topic was featured in the recent edition of the news magazine of the CSA News (from the American Society of Agronomy/Crop Science Society of America/Soil Science Society of America). Here is the link to the article.

The article also talks about a weird iron layer that can build up over time.

Here is a key figure from the article, sourced from the USGA. Read the whole article to get the story. As you can see, older greens = slower infiltration:

Beware localized dry spot in putting greens – exacerbated by hot, dry winds

Summer is really here now, with fireflies, trips to the swimming pool, and … hot south winds to suck the moisture out of the ground. In sand-based putting greens, localized dry spot can pop up FAST, causing major damage in a short period of time.

Here is what localized dry spot can look like:

Keep an eye on your soil profile so you can stop this damage before it starts. When you get damage to the extent shown in those two photos above it is a long road to recovery.

To check for localized dry spot, pull up some cores and use the “droplet test” by putting drops of water on the plug. If the drops just sit there, not wicking in, you have a problem. The soil is water-repellent.

Sometimes there is a defined hydrophobic layer with normal soil above and/or below, so check at different depths, all the way down the rootzone:

You might also notice water beading up on the surface and not wicking in.

You don’t want this to sneak up on you. Keep an eye on your soil profile, especially locations with a history of problems. Aerification and use of wetting agents can help get moisture where it needs to go.

This example below shows how a slight change in the rootzone can cause problems. The round spots are all locations where the soil was altered for research, with little mini-plots inside tubes sunk into the ground. These spots are prone to LDS. We all know that putting greens are pretty sensitive, so be careful if you are changing up your sand topdressing or other soil-related factors.

Wet and humid = slime mold weather

Hey, what’s that stuff? Slime molds! They can look pretty alarming, and they can pop up seemingly overnight. They are pretty harmless, and you can read more HERE and if you would like a fascinating glimpse into how these organisms work there is a short video clip HERE called “Are you smarter than a slime mold?”

 

Some other shapes and colors of slime mold:

 

Emerald ash borer confirmed in Shawnee County (Topeka)

The Kansas Department of Agriculture, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has confirmed the presence of emerald ash borer (EAB) in Shawnee County, Kansas.

Read on for more details:

http://agriculture.ks.gov/AllNewsItems/2017/06/09/emerald-ash-borer-confirmed-in-shawnee-county

 

(Photo credit:

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Brown Patch Resources

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Tall fescue [Festuca arundinacea Schreb.] is one of the most predominantly used cool-season turfgrass species in the transition zone. Its deep root system and coarse textured leafs lend to its ability to withstand drought, heat, and wear stress. Although it is well adapted to survive the summer months in Kansas, it can be susceptible to injury from disease. Brown patch [Rhizoctonia solani] is a disease that can damage leaf tissue, shoots, and the crown of tall fescue during the summer months. This disease is most prevalent during periods of high humidity, high temperature (above 80°F), and high nitrogen levels. During the mornings mycelia can be seen forming a “smoke ring” around the affected area. Applications of preventative fungicides have proven to be a successful management strategy in reducing the occurrence of brown patch incidences in tall fescue stands.

Here are some resources from the past about brown patch!

Last year Dr. Fry was seeing brown patch in May.  With moisture and warm nights brown patch can start to develop.  http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/im-not-ready-to-be-thinking-about-brown-patch-jack/

There are many products out there for brown patch control in turfgrass.  Which one is right for you.  Here is a quick update on research that was conducted at Olathe on some brown patch products. http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/best-way-to-get-your-turf-noticed-brown-patch/ 

Do you know what brown patch looks like?  Do you know how to tell the difference between turfgrass stress and the disease.  Dr. Kennelly can show you the difference. http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/is-this-brown-patch/

K-State Publications

Commercial Management of Brown Patch – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/EP146.pdf

Homeowner Management of Brown Patch – http://www.plantpath.k-state.edu/extension/documents/turf/Brown%20patch%20%20homeowners%202016.pdf