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K-State Turf and Landscape Blog

Turfgrass Field Day Video Series

By Manoj Chhetri
Turfgrass Field Day would have been on August 6 had we been able to have an in-person event this summer – this is a first!  For that reason, we’re offering a few short video summaries of research projects being done by K-State faculty and researchers.  Videos don’t exceed 5 minutes – the second video in the series is below, and you’ll see more in the coming weeks.
Irrigation Strategies to Save Water on ‘Innovation’ Zoysiagrass
Manoj Chhetri
For more details on this research, click on the link that follows to see the article in the 2020 K-State Turfgrass Research Report:


Turfgrass Field Day Video Series

By Dr. Jack Dry

Turfgrass Field Day would have been on August 6 had we been able to have an in-person event this summer – this is a first!  For that reason, we’re offering a few short video summaries of research projects being done by K-State faculty and researchers.  Videos don’t exceed 5 minutes – the first is below, and you’ll see more in the coming weeks.
Zoysiagrass NTEP Study at the Olathe Horticulture Center
Dr. Jack Fry
Here are some related summaries of progress on zoysiagrass research from the 2020 Turfgrass Research Report:




Recommended Tall Fescue Cultivars

By Brooke Garcia

Tall Fescue is typically the go-to Turfgrass in Kansas. The Horticulture e-Newsletter highlights different cultivars grown in Kansas, and links to a 2012–2017 Summary Report for a National Turfgrass Evaluation Program. Here is the link to the K-State Horticulture Newsletter: https://www.ksuhortnewsletter.org

Today would have been the 2020 Turfgrass Field Day!!!

By Brooke Garcia

Did you know that today would have been the K-State Turfgrass Field Day? We wish we could be together at Rocky Ford in Manhattan — presenting research, providing problem diagnosis, networking with our commercial exhibitors, and gazing at the amazing equipment displays!

We do plan to post written and video research updates throughout the remainder of the year on the Turf and Landscape Blog, accessible through our website: https://www.k-state.edu/turf/

Be sure to tune in over the next couple of weeks. We will be highlighting research and providing some awesome visuals of Rocky Ford Research Station in honor of the 2020 Turfgrass Field Day.

Thanks for your continued support! We can’t wait to connect again in-person one day. May the grass be greener on the other side.

Dr. Keeley to Serve as Permanent Department Head of HNR

We had to share this exciting news that our very own Turfgrass research and teacher professor has been named the head of the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources. 

Here is the most recent press release that was released on August 6, 2020.

Keeley tabbed to lead horticulture and natural resources at K-State 

Longtime professor has experience in teaching, research and extension 

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Steve Keeley, who is beginning his 25th year in teaching, research and extension at Kansas State University, has been named the head of the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources.

Keeley was the department’s interim leader since October, 2018. Ernie Minton, dean of the College of Agriculture, recently announced that Keeley will now move into the position permanently.

“As a longtime member of the K-State faculty, Steve is well-positioned to lead the department in adapting to emerging challenges brought on by the pandemic, while recognizing the opportunities for building on the department’s areas of strength,” Minton said. “Steve’s calm demeanor, coupled with the esteem in which he is held by his colleagues, will serve the department very well.”

Keeley will lead a department that includes programs in horticulture, park management and conservation, and wildlife and outdoor enterprise management. He said he is especially excited about working with “wonderful faculty who are nationally and internationally known for their outstanding teaching, research and extension accomplishments.”

The department’s undergraduate programs each rate in the top five nationally and K-State graduates are in high demand, he said, “not only in Kansas, but across the nation.”

“The research our faculty and graduate students are doing is so diverse and impactful; it’s exciting and really keeps me on my toes,” Keeley said. “We are also known for our innovative extension programs that serve the needs of Kansans and beyond the state.”

For most of his career, Keeley has held an 80% teaching and 20% research appointment in the department. His research interests include low-input turfgrass management and weed control, and he has published more than 175 articles, reports and abstracts on his research – including 34 refereed journal articles.

He has served as a senior editor for the professional journal, Crop, Forage and Turfgrass Management, and is on the editorial board of the NACTA Journal, published by the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture. Keeley is also a teaching fellow for NACTA.

In 2014, he received the prestigious Crop Science Society Teaching Award, just the second turfgrass scientist ever to receive that honor. During his K-State career, he has helped to acquire more than $1.1 million in grant funding for research.

His teaching duties include introductory horticulture, horticultural pest management, turfgrass management and turfgrass pest management. He also advises undergraduates in K-State’s golf course and sports turf management program.

Keeley earned undergraduate and doctoral degrees from Colorado State University, and a master’s degree from Michigan State University.

“I am honored and humbled to be entrusted to lead the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources at K-State,” Keeley said. “The people in this department are second to none, and I am excited to work together with them to continue making the department elite nationally.”

Learn more about the department online at https://hnr.k-state.edu.

Story by: 

Pat Melgares P: 785-532-1160 E: melgares@ksu.edu

Mimosa Webworm Article on Entomology Blog

By Brooke Garcia

Have you been out in the landscape lately and noticed a webbing on mimosa and honeylocust trees? Mimosa Webworm has been very prevalent on both of these trees in Kansas. Their webbing protects them from enemies and the potential of being sprayed by an insecticide. To learn more about the Mimosa Webworm, as well as understanding how to manage this landscape pest, visit the Entomology Blog: https://blogs.k-state.edu/kansasbugs/2020/07/31/mimosa-webworm-3/

Root decline, Pythium root rot, and anthracnose in recent samples

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

Here is a sample that came into the lab recently:

You can see turf decline, and if you look closely you can see some dark green algae in the brown area. Algae often indicates poor drainage. This site is in a low area with poor airflow. The site has a lot of underlying stress.

Here is a view of the washed-off roots sitting on the dissecting microscope. They should be a creamy white but instead they are more of a brown color. They were mushy in texture as well.


Finally below is a closer view in the compound microscope. You can see how the roots are dark. Healthy roots are much more clear/transparent. These are also lacking fine root hairs, and the outer tissues have sloughed off.

These symptoms occur frequently in sites with poor drainage. The roots sit wet, and oxygen flow is disrupted. The wet soil holds heat overnight as well.

The environmental stress alone can cause major root decline and turf damage.

In addition, these conditions can trigger Pythium root rot. (This particular sample did have some Pythium as well, I just had a hard time getting a clear photo). And, these stress conditions can also lead to crown anthracnose. I’ve seen a couple of samples with that disease lately as well. Anthracnose is more likely to chow down on turf that is already stressed.

Here is a link to a publication I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog:


There are excellent sections on individual diseases, but there is also a detailed section about summer stress on page 6. Many of the stress-reducing practices listed there will also reduce susceptibility to diseases.

That publication does not discuss Pythium root rot (PRR). (It does discuss Pythium root dysfunction (PRD) which is related but different.) Here is a great resources on PRR:


Each year, we say, “I hope this August isn’t a bad one”. This coming week there will be some lower highs (low to mid 80’s) and “lower lows” (mid-60’s overnight, and even some upper 50’s! Woohoo!). Cool temps will be a blessing. However, continued rain may exacerbate drainage problems.

Managing the diseases is important, but it’s critical to address the physiological/environmental stresses as well or the turf can still suffer major decline this time of year.



Localized dry spot in sand-based putting greens

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

When hot dry winds meet hydrophobic (water-repellent) soil we can get “localized dry spot” in turf. The damage can develop quickly.

Water should wick in quickly. However, when the soil is hydrophobic the droplets sit there on the surface, and they don’t soak in:

The soil becomes hydrophobic due to a build-up of water-repellent waxy substances around the soil particles.

Here are some examples of what it can look like. It often takes odd shapes with unusual wispy/hazy edges:

Below are a couple of photos from a recent sample to the KSU diagnostic lab. You can see hydrophobic area a couple of inches down in the profile. You can also see the damaged turf in the background. The submitter said it was quite patchy around the green. It’s important to check your moisture levels regularly. When you do, check it in multiple places. You can even go high-tech with a moisture meter. For more information you can check this article from a few years back, Water Management on Greens With Soil Moisture Sensors.


Thatchy soils are one predisposing condition, and you can see the thatchy layers from this particular site here (though this particular plug was NOT hydrophobic):

Thatch management and wetting agents can help prevent and alleviate localized dry spot. There is some USGA info about localized dry spot here:



New Podcast by Kansas Forest Service

By Brooke Garcia

Tim McDonnell, Community Forestry Coordinator for Kansas Forest Service, and Gary Farris, Arborist for the City of Wichita, recently recorded a podcast that highlights the importance of community forests. They discuss how Kansas also faces challenges in regards to protecting urban forests.

Listen to the podcast here: https://kansasforestservice.libsyn.com/more-than-beautification