Kansas State University


K-State Turf and Landscape Blog

Month: January 2016

“Documenting trends in water use and conservation practices on U.S. golf courses”

In December, a new research study came out describing a project that put some numbers on water use by golf courses across the U.S. It’s a fascinating read.

The study was published in the academic journal Crop, Forage, & Turfgrass Management. A modified version of the article was also published in the trade magazine Golf Course Management as a two-part series. The authors are Wendy Gelernter and Larry Stowell from PACE Turf, Mark Johnson from GCSAA, and Clark Brown and Joseph Beditz from the National Golf Foundation.

So – what did they find?

First, backing up, there was a prior survey conducted about ten years ago and published in 2009, which included some of the same authors. The new survey asked similar questions so the authors could compare changes over time.

Below are just a few of the many things that I found interesting. The full article can be accessed  by clicking here (you can also find a link to the pdf version at the site below): https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/cftm/articles/1/1/cftm2015.0149

  • Since 2006, US golf courses have reduced their water use by 21.8%. Factors include:
    • reductions in numbers of irrigated acres,
    • reductions in # of golf courses
    • water conservation practices.
  • Recycled water use has increased from 14.7% to about 25%
  • 29% of respondents are using handheld soil moisture sensors, and of those, 89% say that they help save water and improve turf quality
  • In 2005, 62% of respondents reported keeping turf drier in the past to improve water conservation. In the recent study, that had climbed to 74%
  • In 2005, 20% reported reducing irrigated acres of turf to improve water conservation. In the recent study, that had climbed to 35%
  • Golfer education is key so that golfers understand changes at the course. 72% of respondents said that golfers were moderately receptive to very receptive of changes.
  • There is a lot of variation among regions of the US (as you might guess)

The article is full of interesting findings, so I encourage you to check it out, and at least skim through some of the tables and read their conclusions/recommendations at the end.


How to help 911 help you

As part of our winter series on business topics, I decided to share this article called “Working with EMS Professionals” from the Tree Care Industry magazine.

The article reminds readers of some very basic points, but they are things that people might forget about in the heat of an emergency. Here are two tips, and the article provides more.

  • Does everyone on the crew know the address of where they are? Those cell phone locations services don’t always work, and sometimes they are WAY off. Make sure everyone (or at least more than ONE person – that might be the person who is unconscious!) knows where you are.
  • Be prepared to clearly and concisely describe the nature of the emergency, such as how many patients there are (if there are two patients, they might need two ambulances).

For the full article, go to the following link. It’s just a couple of pages long. Click through the e-pages to the page labeled 42.


On campus a few years ago I came across a bike accident scene, and two people had dialed 911 right as I was walking up. They were clearly panicked, had no idea of how to describe where they were on campus, and time was being wasted. So, I asked for the phone and I was able to talk to the dispatcher and move things along.¬† (A whole other topic is to make sure your workers have some basic first aid skills too. In this case I was able to do a few basic things until the EMTs arrived. Those two other people were pretty clueless…).

Reducing the heartburn of firing someone

Have you ever had to fire someone? If you are in a position of management, you probably have. If you haven’t yet, most likely you will in the future.

I have, and it caused both heartache and heartburn. Luckily I had a great person in human resources to help me through the process.

The following article (from a greenhouse trade magazine, GrowerTalks) provides a concise list of tips to help you through this process:

“The fine art of firing”


A big congratulations to Dave Fearis for GCSAA award

Congratulations to Dave Fearis on being named one of the recipients of the Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Here is a link to some detailed information about the award, and some photos of Dave.


Dave was the superintendent of Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City for many years. He has been a leader in the profession, serving locally, regionally, and nationally. Dave has been active in the Heart of America Golf Course Superintendents’ Association and First Tee of Kansas City. At the national level, he served as GCSAA President and he also worked several years as the Director of Membership, where he emphasized professional development for both superintendents and assistant superintendents.

Congratulations Dave!

Western Nursery and Landscape Association Conference – Jan 20-22, Kansas City

The Western Nursery and Landscape Association annual conference will be Jan 20-22 at Crown Center Exhibit Hall in Kansas City.

Here is a link to WNLA: http://www.wnla.org/wnla

And here is a direct link to the program: http://www.wnla.org/files/2016%20Western%20Schedule%20122115.pdf

As you will see in the program, some KSU faculty will be featured speakers. Cheryl Boyer is presenting on social media, Chad Miller is talking about bulbs, and Jason Griffin is discussing the national elm trial.

Kansas Shade Tree Conference – Jan 13-15 in Topeka


The Kansas Arborists Association is holding its annual Shade Tree Conference next week. I can’t find the schedule online, but here is a link where you can view a scanned pdf of the program.

Click here: 2016 KAA STC

Topics include tree biomechanics, oak diseases, climate change and trees, tree risk assessment, ornamental tree evaluation, nursery stock, and the effects of insecticides on pollinators, and more! KSU faculty Cathie Lavis and Raymond Cloyd are some of the featured speakers.