Kansas State University


K-State Turf and Landscape Blog

Month: August 2014

#KSUTurf Graduate Student Spotlight – Evan Alderman

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

This Turfgrass Student Spotlight is focused on Evan Alderman.  Evan is a Master’s student here at KSU and has been here since this past May.  Evan has hit the ground running.  He graduated from Iowa State Univeristy with a B.S. in Turfgrass Science in May, packed his bags, moved to Manhattan and started his graduated degree in just a week or two.  In the short amount of time he has been here, he has initiated three divot recovery trials, one traffic tolerance trial, one weed control trial and has helped out the other turfgrass research, teaching and extension faculty, staff and students on many projects.

Evan with other KSU Turf Graduate Students (Jake, Ross and Zane) at 2014 KSU Turf Field Day

One of Kansas State Univeristy’s five Grand Challenges facing Kansas is water.  To work towards this grand challenge Evan is researching the use of a drought tolerant turfgrass species in golf courses, buffalograss.  More specifically he is evaluating the use of fertilizers on buffalograss to withstand golf cart traffic and divot recovery.  For more information about Evan’s project check out his latest blog post.  http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/influence-of-nitrogen-rate-and-source-on-buffalograss-divot-recovery/  

So if you see Evan around, tell him he is doing a great job and we are glad he is here helping KSU tackle one of the grand challenges.

Fall Armyworm has been sighted!

(by Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Yesterday I received an email from a friend in Kansas City reporting that there have been multiple sightings of Fall Armyworm in Kansas City; Raytown, MO;  Tulsa, OK; Wichita, KS; and DeSoto, KS.

Fall Armyworms (FAW) are a tropical insect that migrate from the south.  Once they have migrated they can have multiple generations a year.  Here in Kansas we can typically have 2-4 generations but it all depends on when the FAW get here.  Young FAW are 0.5″ to 0.75″ long and the mature FAW can get up to 1.5″ long.  An inverted “Y” on the top of the dark colored head is the best way to identify this pest.

FAW feed on grasses and will eat turfgrass leaf blades down to the crown.  Once they finish that leaf they move on to the next. When there are heavy infestations large areas of green turfgrass will look brown in a matter of 24-hrs or less.  When this occurs it can give a lawn or turfgrass area the appearance that the turfgrass is moving.

So are we all “shaking in our boots” now?  Well don’t worry the FAW seldom kills the grass.  It just kind of scalps it down so a flush new growth will restore the appearance of the turfgrass.  With some water it will speed up the process.

Information in this blog post is from  http://www.hfrr.ksu.edu/doc1628.ashx . Chemical recommendations for FAW control and can also be found at that publication (Shown in pictures below).

So don’t be too worried, but just be aware that they are in the area.

Hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend!

-Jared Hoyle

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf and visit our Facebook page. www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

Some early large patch, and nutsedge too

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

Thanks to Mark Newton at Deer Creek Golf Club in Overland Park for sending in these photos. Mark said it was alright to share where these came from – thanks Mark! We always appreciate reports and photos from the field. If you are okay with us putting your name on there, that’s great, and if you prefer to stay anonymous, that works too.

Anyway, Mark is seeing some early large patch in the zoysiagrass fairways. This past week has been hot, but we’ve had some cool spells that could have given the fungus a kickstart. And, we’ve had some rains, too. Large patch is favored by wet conditions. Symptoms are most common and tend to be most severe in spring, like April through early June. In the fall, we sometimes see symptoms in September, but it can occur earlier or later.

In fungicide trials at KSU we’ve seen good results suppressing symptoms the following spring by applying fungicides once in September. We’ve applied as early as Sept 3 and as late as Sept 30th and gotten good results with all those timings, using DMI’s, QoI’s, and flutolanil. The temperature in the thatch has been 65-70 degrees during those application timings.

Along with the large patch, there is some nutsedge action and a good pic of that is shown below as well.


Fun Fact Friday about Turfgrass

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

The other day, Gus van der Hoeven stopped by my office and dropped off a book simply titled “Turfgrass Science”.  It was Gus’s book from college.  I opened it up and came across the lecture schedule for Agronomy 408, Turf Ecology, in 1973.  As I looked through the lab and lecture series I initially noticed that not much has changed from 1973 to 2014 when it comes to the basics of turfgrass management.  But then I dug a little further and found a lot of interesting facts about turfgrass.  So today I just wanted to share a couple of them from Gus’s Turfgrass Science Textbook from 1969.

Did you know there are biblical references to grass?  In the first chapter of Genesis (1:11-12), reveals the benevolent nature of creation: “And God said, let the earth bring forth grass,…And the earth brought forth grass,…”

Golf is one of the oldest sports played on turfgrass.  Originated in Holland’s Kolf and spread to England and Scotland and then into the United States about 75 years ago (Now we probably have to add 45 years to that because this book was copyright in 1969).  This was way before there was mowers to keep the grass cut short.  So what did they use?  Sheep.  To mow the golf course they used a combination of close cropping and “treading”.  As the putting green developed there were times where the game had to stop until the “impediments” were brushed away.

This fact is one of my favorites.  As early as 1200 A.D. the inhabitants of the Midwest, used sod strips to build their houses.  The sod that was used was from the plains and was composed of buffalo-grammagrass.  We know that the sod was used but we still do not know how the sod was cut and lifted.  The walls of the house were blocks of sod with the joins overlapping.  The roof was “shingled” with strips of sod.  This most certainly was buffalograss.  These houses were called “soddies” and were cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  One problem, unfortunately, heavy rains saturated the sod, which then continued to drip inside the house for a couple days even after the rain had subsided.

Something to think about “If we can build a house out of buffalograss, we should be able to maintain it on our lawns…”

The first turf research, appears to have been conducted in the Olcott turf garden in Connecticut in 1885, and continued until the death of J.B. Olcott in 1910.  The next step in turfgrass research occurred in 1890 at the Rhode Island Agriculture Experiment Station.  The first mention of turf in the Agriculture Appropriations Act of the Federal Government was in 1901.  Seventeen thousand dollars were provided to research …turfing lawns and pleasure grounds… and other areas for ranges, pastures, and erosion control.

In Kansas, turfgrass research was initiated in the late 1920’s by J. Zahnley and L. Quinlan at Kansas State University.  And lastly, the very first turfgrass conference in Kansas was held in 1950.

Many things have changed when it comes to turfgrass but many things are also the same.  Keep with the basics (maybe my next blog post).

Hope you enjoyed the Fun Fact Friday about Turfgrass.  Until next time hope everyone enjoys their weekend!

Don’t let your turf get puft up

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)



“Stay-Puft” marshmallows might be tasty, but  puffy, thatchy turf can lead to desiccation, scalping and other problems. Each year in the diagnostic lab I receive samples where thatch-related problems were mistaken for disease.

Fall aerification season is just around the corner for cool-season grasses, and thatch management should be on the agenda. Make sure you have a plan to deal with any problem spots. Also, don’t forget about the link between agronomic practices and thatch. For example, excess irrigation and fertilizer can exacerbate the buildup of thatch.


Need some info on thatch and related topics? Check out these links:

Fairways:   http://www.usga.org/news/2012/October/Thatch-Control-Key-To-Firm-Fairways/




Finally – hey, who is this Stay-Puft?

If you need an idea for Halloween (or a Halloween 5k race as shown here), just order up a clean tyvek suit, at least 3 sizes too big, add some cheap hand-made accessories, and get Puft!  (But don’t let your turf get Puft).


(Top Stay Puft image from http://www.comicvine.com/stay-puft-marshmallow-man/4005-54956/)

Heavy dollar spot pressure

This week is pretty hot, but overall its been pretty mild this summer. Dollar spot is most active at temps ranging from 59-86 and we’ve had a lot of temps in that range. We’ve also had some dewy mornings. Dollar spot often is at its most active stage here in Kansas during late August into September, with long, cool, dewy nights.  Make sure you stay on your game with your dollar spot management program. There are lots of tips and tricks in the dollar spot section of this guide:


Here are some symptoms out at Rocky Ford:

The heat this week will increase brown patch pressure. I saw some of that today, too, but it was kind of faint and didn’t show up well in the pictures. But, it is definitely there, and lurking…. On the brown patch front, we will probably move permanently out of brown patch weather pretty soon and hopefully won’t have to worry about it any more until 2015.

Already thinking about re-seeding? Choose the right cultivars!

(by Ward Upham and Jared Hoyle, KSU Research and Extension)

Though several cool-season grasses are grown in Kansas, tall fescue is considered the best adapted and is recommended for home lawns. The cultivar K-31 is the old standby and has been used for years. However, there is a myriad of newer cultivars that have improved color, density and a finer leaf texture. Most of these newer varieties are very close to one another in quality.  Each year the National Turfgrass Evaluation Trial rates tall fescue varieties for color, greenup, quality and texture. Quality ratings are taken once a month from March through October. K-31 consistently rates at the bottom. The recommended cultivars were 3rd Millennium, Braveheart, Bullseye, Catalyst, Cochise, Corona, Escalade, Faith, Falcon V, Firecracker, Firenza, Jamboree, LS 1200, Monet, Mustang, Raptor II, Rhambler SRP, RK5, Shenandoah III, Shenandoah Elite, Sidewinder, Spyder LS, Talladega, Turbo and Wolfpack II. There are a number of other cultivars that did not make this list but should do well in Kansas. Go to http://ntep.org/data/tf06/tf06_12-10f/tf0612ft04.txt . Any variety with a mean rating of 6.0 or above should be fine. K-31 has a rating of 4.1. Keep in mind that mixes of several varieties may allow you to take advantage of differing strengths. It is not necessary for mixes to contain only the varieties mentioned above.  Though K-31 may still be a good choice for large, open areas, the new cultivars will give better performance for those who desire a high-quality turf.

Though Kentucky bluegrass is not as heat and drought tolerant as tall fescue and the warm-season grasses, it is commonly used in northeastern Kansas, where there is sufficient annual rainfall. It is also grown under irrigation in northwestern Kansas where the higher elevation allows for cooler summer night temperatures. The following cultivars have performed well compared to other bluegrasses in this region. Use this list as a guide. Omission does not necessarily mean that a cultivar will not perform well. Recommended cultivars for high-quality lawns, where visual appearance is the prime concern, include Alexa II, Aura, Award, Bewitched, Barrister, Belissimo, Beyond, Diva, Everest, Everglade, Excursion, Ginney II, Granite, Impact, Midnight, NuChicago, NuGlade, NuDestiny, Rhapsody, Rhythm, Rugby, Skye, Solar Eclipse, STR 2485, Sudden Impact, Washington and Zifandel. Such lawns should receive 4 to 5 pounds nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year and would typically be irrigated during dry periods to prevent drought stress.  Cultivars that do relatively well under a low-maintenance program with limited watering often differ from those that do well under higher inputs. Good choices for low maintenance include Baron, Baronie, Caliber, Canterbury, Dragon, Eagleton, Envicta, Kenblue, North Star, and South Dakota. Instead of the 4 to 5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year, low-maintenance program would include 1 to 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year. Obviously, a low-input lawn will not be as attractive as a higher-input lawn, but you can expect the cultivars listed above to look fairly good in the spring and fall, while going dormant in the summer.

The 2014 KSU Turfgrass Field Day In Review

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

What a beautiful day we had this year for the 2014 KSU Turfgrass Field Day.  Thank you to all the attendees, vendors, sponsors, faculty, staff, students and anyone else that was out at the field day!

If you weren’t able to make it, I decided to post some pictures and  links to research reports so you can get more information about each stop that we had this year.

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Also, I will include the QR codes.  These codes can be scanned by your phone and will take you directly to the information!  Check it out!

This year my stop at field day was “Kansas Turfgrass Weed Control Update”.  Here is discussed one of the most problematic weeds in cool-season turfgrass, bermudagrass.  I talked about both selective and non-selective methods.  For more information about bermudagrass removal check it out here. http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/non-selective-bermudagrass-removal/

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

KSU Turfgrass Research Technician and Graduate Student, Jake Reeves, presented information on the best management practices for buffalograss establishment.  Jake has been conducting some great research that will really help us out when we want to convert cool-season turfgrass to buffalograss.  For more information check out his latest blog post. http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/establishing-buffalograss-in-golf-course-roughs/

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Zane Raudenbush, KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, and Dr. Keeley has been conducting research on the cultural management of moss infestations on bentgrass putting greens.  Zane got to display some great looking research on one of the putting greens out at the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research center looking at cultural practices in conjunction with chemical applications of carfentrazone.  For more information check out his latest research report. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/SRP1107D-MOSS-FERTILITY.pdf

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Ever wondered what was the best preforming kentucky bluegrass cultivar?  Well, Evan Alderman, KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, discussed the best preforming Kentucky bluegrass cultivars in Manhattan, KS.  This study is part of the Nation Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP).  Check out the NTEP website for the most current bluegrass cultivar information. http://www.ntep.org/data/kb11/kb11_14-2/kb11_14-2.pdf And some more information on prolonged drought and recovery characteristics of Kentucky bluegrass cultivars http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=17861

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Although this summer has seen to be pretty mild when it comes to diseases in turfgrass, Dr. Kennelly discussed both turf and landscape disease updates.  Don’t forget to periodically check the blog as Dr. Kennelly updates the blog with what is going on with diseases in Kansas. Here is some more information on all sorts of turf disease publications. http://www.plantpath.ksu.edu/p.aspx?tabid=551

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Is the grass really greener on the other side?  Ross Braun, KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, presented on using paints and pigments for coloring turfgrass.  Ross has conducted many trials looking at painting zoysiagrass and buffalograss.  He has evaluated different paints and pigments as well as rates and spray volumes.  Check out his latest research update on paints and pigments. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=17867

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

As it is hard to grow cool-season turf in Kansas it is also tough to grow warm-season turf.  Dr. Fry presented about the best zoysiagrass and bermudagrass cultivars for Kansas.  He discussed everything from color to pest tolerance.  This included information about how the cultivars held up to last winter.  For more information about the zoysiagrass and bermudagrass cultivars here is a great research report about winter survival on the 2013 NTEP zoysiagrass and bermudagrass in Kansas. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/SRP1107G-NTEP-ZOYSIA-AND-BERMUDA.pdf

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Weeds, diseases, and INSECTS!  We can’t leave the insects out of field day.  This year Dr. Cloyd also gave a turf and ornamental insect control update.  For more information about insect control in the lawn and landscape, check out Dr. Cloyd’s list of publications. http://entomology.k-state.edu/extension/insect-information/lawn-garden-pests/lawn-pests.html

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Find all the KSU Turfgrass Research Reports online at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Category.aspx?id=528&catId=545.

Thanks again to everyone that came out to this years KSU Turfgrass Field Day.  It was a great success and hope to see you next year in Olathe.  Also, don’t forget this December is the Kansas Turfgrass Conference in Topeka.  It’s going to be great as well.  Keep and eye out for more information on registration.


Influence of Nitrogen Rate and Source on Buffalograss Divot Recovery

(By Evan Alderman and Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Buffalograss Fairway

In recent years, water conservation has been a growing trend in the golf course industry.With the spotlight on the golf course industry to become more conscious of the environment, one of the classic prairie grasses may be able to help low-budget golf course operations save water and money. buffalograss, Buchloe dactyloides, is known for being drought tolerant, which is why it fits into the discussion as a viable option for water conservation. Additionally, buffalograss is also known for its disease resistance, as well as its slow growing characteristics.

Buffalograss is very versatile and can be utilized on the golf course in native areas, roughs, and fairways. Many courses in Kansas are currently using this species in one of these three ways, however limited research exists to explore buffalograss management.

In order to explore buffalograss in further detail, we decided to look at how fertility influences recovery from divot injury. Furthermore, we looked at the influence of quick and slow release nitrogen fertilizers and their rate on the divot recovery.

Currently, we have three different divot studies in progress; two at the Rocky Ford

Divot making tool

Turfgrass Research Station in Manhattan, KS, and one at the Council Grove Country Club, in Council Grove, KS. Divots were made using a modified edger with 13 circular blades. This device was able to produce a divot similar to a real divot one would find on the course.

Field Trial at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center; Manhattan, KS

Each study consists of eight treatments arranged in a two by four factorial. Factors included nitrogen rate and nitrogen source.  Nitrogen rates were 0, 1, 2, and 3 lbs N /1000ft2. Nitrogen sources were Urea and Polymer Coated Urea (Table 1).

Table.1  Influence of Nitrogen Rates and Sources on Buffalograss Divot Recovery Study Treatment List.

Treatment Source Rate
1 Urea* 0 lbs N/1000ft2
2 Urea 1 lbs N/1000ft2
3 Urea 2 lbs N/1000ft2
4 Urea 3 lbs N/1000ft2
5 Polymer Coated Urea*** 0 lbs N/1000ft2
6 Polymer Coated Urea 1 lbs N/1000ft2
7 Polymer Coated Urea 2 lbs N/1000ft2
8 Polymer Coated Urea 3 lbs N/1000ft2

*The quick release fertilizer that was used was a 46-0-0 Urea, and to achieve the 1lbs, 2lbs, 3lbs two half-rate applications were made, one on the initiation date, and the second four weeks after initiation.

**The slow release fertilizer used was a 120 day controlled release polymer coated Urea, with an analysis of 43-0-0. Just one application of the slow release was made.

Divot filled with pink sand to easier analyze divert recovery with digital image analysis.

Pictures of each divot are analyzed with digital image analysis software to measure how quickly the divot recovers. Other data taken include visual color, quality, and percent recovery.

Since the initiation of the study, we were able to see a definite flush of green from the application of the quick release fertilizer at all rates. In terms of quality, the plots that received 2lbs and 3lbs resulted in the highest quality.  Plots receiving 1lbs of N/1000ft2 also resulted in acceptable turfgrass color and quality although lower than the 2lbs and 3lbs N/1000ft2 treatments.  As far as the nitrogen rates influencing divot recovery, we hope to find at which nitrogen application rate and source will result in the quickest buffalograss divot recovery.


It’s here! KSU Turfgrass Field Day – This Thursday August 7th

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

The 2014 KSU Turfgrass Field Day is here!

This year we will have something new for all attendees.  If you have a smart phone, download a QR reader before field day.  We will have QR codes for everyone so you can get more information about the field day stops right at the palm of your hands!

We have a great line-up this year.  Graduate students, faculty, and staff will be presenting about all sorts of topics including weed control options, bermudagrass removal, buffaograss establishment, moss control, Kentucky bluegrass cultivars, disease management, turf colorants, bermudagrass cultivars, zoysiagrass cultivars, and insect control.

Check out the brochure here…


It will be at the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center in Manhattan, KS on August 7, 2014.

You can also earn recertification credit hours for your commercial pesticide applicators license. (3B- 1 hour, 3A- 0.5 hour, and 0.25 GCSAA education credits)

Sign up today online! 


Hope to see you there!