Kansas State University


K-State Turf and Landscape Blog

Month: April 2016

New Turfgrass Selfie Series on YouTube – Knotweed Control

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

selfieWe have just started something new on Youtube and it is call the Turfgrass Selfie Series.  We will be uploading short informational and educational videos about turfgrass management to our new Youtube page.  These videos are not professional done as we are turfgrass researchers and not very good videographers. (I fell like I did pretty good making this video with my iPhone. Hopefully we will get better at making videos in the future!)

The first video in the series is on Knotweed control. Check it out!

Powdery Mildew on Lawns

(Ward Upham and Jared Hoyle; KSU Research and Extension)

We have had a number of instances of powdery mildew on lawns in eastern and southern Kansas.  Though the disease looks serious, it rarely causes lasting damage to the turf. Individual blades look like they have been dusted with flour. Closer inspection reveals a
white, powdery growth primarily on the upper surface of the leaves. As the disease progresses, turfgrass blades wither and die. Kentucky bluegrass grown in the shade is the most likely to be affected though other species can be susceptible.

High relative humidity, poor air movement, and air temperatures around 65°F favor disease development. Try to improve light and air penetration. The development of mildew often indicates areas of the lawn that are unsuitable for turfgrass. Consider other types of ground covers for these areas.

Several fungicides, including triadimefon (Bayleton), propiconazole (Banner MAXX, Fertilome Liquid Systemic Fungicide), and myclobutanil (Eagle, Immunox) are effective in reducing the incidence of powdery mildew.

For more information on powdery mildew click the link below.


***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Bees and Pesticides: An Overview

Dr. Raymond Cloyd has written an overview about bees and pesticides for the trade magazine Greenhouse Product News. (The information is broad and is not specific to greenhouses.) The article discusses the following topics:

  • Bee behavior
  • Pesticide explosure and Bee toxicity
  • Laboratory vs Field Conditions
  • Systemic Insecticides
  • Neonicotinoid Systemic Insecticides
  • Synergism
  • Metabolites

You can access the full article by clicking HERE or you can cut and paste the following link into your browser: http://www.gpnmag.com/article/bees-and-pesticides-an-overview/

“It’s not how fast you mow, It’s how well you mow fast!”

(by Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

The new John Deere lawn mower commercial cracks me up.  I feel like that has been the story of my life. The tag line in the commercial is, “It’s now how fast you mow, It’s how well you mow fast!” Take a look!

This gave me in inspiration to write a little article on mowing.  First of all, a couple fun facts.  Did you know that mowing your grass can be relaxing.  Researchers actually found out that the smell of fresh cut grass actually makes people happier.  Also, if you really like the smell of cut grass you can have it all the time; candles, air freshers, etc.


Ok now actually to some information about mowing.  Mowing is one of the most important cultural practices we do.  If we don’t do anything else to our lawns we are at least going to mow. So below are some mowing tips

  • Actually, “It’s now how fast you mow, It’s how well you mow fast!” is not really true…. Operate your mower at a safe operating speed.  Usually 3 to 5 MPH. This will cut the grass cleanly and thoroughly.
  • Mowing height – When you mow turfgrass too short you can get weeds, diseases, and a thin canopy.  The same goes it you mow it too tall.  So staying in that optimal range is very important.  Listed below are the optimal mowing heights for each species and usage.

mowing heights

  • Mow according to the 1/3 rule.  Remove only 1/3 of the leaf blade at a time.  That means the shorter you mow your turf the more often you will have to mow it.  According to this rule, for example, if you want to keep your lawn at 2″ then you would mow when it gets to 3″.  If you wanted to keep your lawn at 4″ then you could wait till it got to 6″ before you mowed it.  But no matter what height you keep your lawn at it still grows the same speed, therefore the shorter you want to keep your lawn the more often you will have to mow it.
  • Clippings – Try and keep your clippings on your lawn.  It is free fertilizer!  Sometimes you may have to bag the clippings because too much grass was cut and you don’t want it to shad out the other grass.


  • Always keep a sharp blade.  A sharp blade makes your mower more efficient and is better for the turfgrass.  A rotary mower actually doesn’t cut the grass, it actually chops the grass off therefore making sure you have sharp blade is very important.  A dull blade and rip and tear the grass apart making it look brown unhealthy not to mention it will take a lot of the plant’s energy to repair it.
  • Establish a mowing pattern. Blades tend to lean the grass in the direction of the mowing. So switch up the pattern at each mowing.  This will also help with soil compaction and turf wear.
  • Lastly, maintain your mower.  Proper maintenance is a must.  It will keep the turfgrass healthy and you safe.

For more information check out the latest Agriculture Today Radio Program about mowing and a publication at the KSRE bookstore on mowing!



***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

When to apply spring preemergence and nitrogen to sports fields

(by Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

This is an article a friend of mine at UNL wrote a little bit ago but contains some really great information for you Sports Turfgrass Managers.  Sorry for the delay in getting it out but I think it contains some good information for Kansas on planning your preemergence and nitrogen applications to sports fiends in this crazy spring we have been having.  Enjoy!

When to apply spring PREs and nitrogen

I had to throw this picture of Kauffman Stadium from the 2016 Sports Turf Managers Field Day!
I had to throw this picture of Kauffman Stadium from the 2016 Sports Turf Managers Field Day! Looks Great!

Buffalograss Divot Recovery as Affected by Nitrogen Source and Rate

(by Evan Alderman and Jared A. Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

With increasing drought conditions and decreasing water supplies, drought tolerant turfgrass species are being explored for use on golf courses. With over 1.2 million acres of irrigated turfgrass in the United States, water conservation has become an issue throughout the turfgrass industry (Throssell et al., 2009). In recent years, the conversion from cool- to warm-season turfgrass species has become more acceptable in the transition zone. Golf courses in the Kansas City area converting tees and fairways from creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera L.] to zoysiagrass [Zoysia japonica Steud.] could reduce irrigation annually by 5,767,570 gal while reducing irrigation costs by up to $28,403 (Fry et al., 2008). In Kansas, the Ogallala aquifer provides up to 80% of the water used, although years of pumping has led to a steady decline in water levels (Buchanan et al., 2001). The use of drought tolerant turfgrass species would help conserve water supplies.

Buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm] is a native, drought tolerant, warm-season turfgrass species used for lawns, parks, athletic fields, roadsides, and golf courses in the Great Plains (Wenger, 1943; Beard, 1973; Fry, 1995; McCarty, 1995; Fry and Huang, 2004). Utilization of buffalograss on golf courses could lead to reduced water consumption while maintaining a reasonably dense playing surface.


Previous research has demonstrated that buffalograss can be maintained as an acceptable fairway turf with proper management practices. Buffalograss responds to nitrogen (N) fertility, and studies in Nebraska and Colorado have shown increased buffalograss quality, color, and growth with increasing N (Falkenberg 1982; Frank et al., 2004).



Golf course turf is frequently damaged by divots produced by players’ clubs when striking the ball. Although acceptable fairway buffalograss quality and playability can be achieved through proper fertility, divot recovery is of concern due to slow growth characteristics and minimal fertility requirements. Research is needed to evaluate buffalograss fertility management to maximize divot recovery. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of N source and rate on ‘Cody’ buffalograss fairway divot recovery.

Field studies were initiated in August of 2014 at the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center (RF) in Manhattan, KS and July 2014 at Council Grove Country Club (CG) in Council Grove, Kansas. Mowing was conducted twice weekly at 0.625 in and 1.00 inch at RF and CG, respectively. After study initiation, irrigation was only applied to prevent drought stress and water in fertilizer treatments. To prevent drought stress, approximately 1.5 inch of supplemental irrigation was applied at each site over the experimental periods.

IMG_1955 IMG_1957

Treatments consisted of two N sources and four rates. Nitrogen sources were a quick release urea fertilizer (46-0-0) and a 120-day controlled release polymer-coated urea (PCU) (43-0-0). Nitrogen rates were 0, 1, 2, and 3 lb N/1,000 ft2. Nitrogen from urea was applied in two equal applications; one at study initiation and the other four weeks after initiation (WAI). All N from PCU was applied at trial initiation. Prior to treatment application, divots were created using a custom built edger.


Buffalograss’ low water requirements and its ability to be maintained at fairway mowing heights make it very valuable in low input turfgrass management systems. From the data collected in this study, applying a quick release N fertilizer at 1 to 3 lb N/1,000 ft2 will result in a shorter duration to reach 50% divot recovery compared to buffalograss receiving no N. Applying 1lb N/1,000 ft2 of a quick release product was determined to be the optimal fertilization rate to reach 50% divot recovery (2.5 weeks). This study has shown that under limited irrigation situations and with minimal fertilization, buffalograss exhibits improved divot recovery and, thus, playability in low input turfgrass management systems.

Literature Cited

Beard, J.B. 1973. Turfgrass: science and culture. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Falkenberg, D.F. 1982. Buffalograss, blue grama, and fairway wheatgrass for dryland turf. M.S.Thesis. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, Colorado.

Frank, K.W., R.E. Gaussoin, T.P. Riordan, R.C. Shearman, J.D. Fry, E.D. Miltner, and P.G. Johnson. 2004. Nitrogen rate and mowing height effects on turf-type buffalograss. Crop Sci.44:1615-1621.

Fry, J.D. 1995. Establishing buffalograss. Golf Course Management. 63(4): 58-62.

Fry, J.D. and B. Huang. 2004. Applied turfgrass science and physiology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.

Fry, J.D., M. Kennelly, and R. St. John. 2008. Zoysiagrass: economic and environmental sense in the transition zone. GCM May 2008, 127 – 132.

McCarty, L.B. 1995. Buffalograss, description and use. University of Florida CooperativeExtension Service. p. 1-4.

Throssell, C.S., G.T. Lyman, M.E. Johnson, and G.A. Stacey. 2009. Golf course environmental profile measures water use, source, cost, quality, and management and conservation strategies. Online. Applied Turfgrass Science doi:10.1094/ATS-2009-0129-01-RS.

Wenger, L.E. 1943. Buffalo grass. Agricultural Experiment Station. Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. Manhattan, KS. Bulletin 321.

Update on KSU Turfgrass Program and Facilities in Manhattan and Olathe

(by Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

As you turfgrass managers know it has not been a slow winter.  It was hot, it was cold, it snowed, it was warm again, winter was late and it looks like spring has come a little early.  With winters like that it keeps turfgrass managers busy.

This winter the KSU Turfgrass Team has also been busy.  New river pumps were installed at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Facility, new research plots are being installed, plans for new irrigation are in the works in Manhattan and Olathe, and believe it or not we finally have concrete in the turfgrass shop floor in Olathe.  Moving’ on up!

On behalf of the turfgrass team, we would like to thank the Heart of America and Kansas Golf Course Superintendents Associations for the donation of the concrete floor in Olathe, Martin Lane from Midwest Laser Leveling for donating time and equipment to prepare new research plots at Rocky Ford, Kevin Marks from SiteOne Landscape Supply for the new research plot irrigation design, and everyone involved in the new river pump installation at Rocky Ford.  Below are a list of pictures from all these events.






KSU Rocky Ford Turf Farm-IRR 1 REV 3-10-16

If you want to get a first hand look don’t forget to come out to Field Day on August 4th in Manhattan, KS!