Kansas State University


K-State Turf and Landscape Blog

Month: November 2016

Why YOU should come to the Kansas Turfgrass Conference!

Are you still deciding whether to attend the Kansas Turf Conference next week?

Here are just a few of the many reasons why that answer should be YES!

* Looking for some networking opportunities? Over 400 of your peers in the turf, landscape, and ornamentals industry have already signed up. The trade show floor will be a great place to exchange ideas, see old friends, and meet some new ones. In last year’s conference evaluation, 96% of survey respondents said, “The conference gave me opportunities to network with others in the industry.”

* In last year’s evaluation, 96% of survey respondents said, “The conference was worth my time and effort.” We think this year’s conference will be too!

* In last year’s evaluation, 92% of survey respondents said,”The conference increased my understanding of integrated pest management.” This year includes  many different sessions about insects, diseases, and weeds, with lots of opportunities to earn pesticide credit including a hands-on disease id booth in the trade show.

* In last year’s evaluation, 91% of survey respondents said, “The conference increased my understanding of people-related skills.”  The 2016 conference will feature hot new topics about how to be a better competitor, cultivating professionalism, and more business topics.

Not convinced yet?  Check out the full program here:


You can register online here:


Congrats to PhD student Ross Braun for national awards

Here at K-State we love working with all our students. It is particularly gratifying and exciting when they are recognized for their achievements beyond the university.

PhD student Ross Braun recently earned not just one, but two awards at the national conference of the Crop Science Society of America C5 (turfgrass) division.

He earned first prize in one of the oral presentation categories and third prize in a poster category. Way to go Ross!


Goldilocks and the three trees. (Site conditions that are “just right.”)

When it comes to trees:

Trees need water. Not too much, not too little, but just right.

Trees need appropriate temperature. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

Trees need to prune. Not too much, not too little, but just right.

If you are looking for some cozy winter reading, you can check out our publication about Tree and Shrub Problems in Kansas.

In addition, I just came across a great publication from University of Kentucky that discusses tree and shrub decline. The information is similar to parts of the Tree and Shrub Problems in Kansas book, but sometimes it is helpful to read information from a new source since everyone presents information in a slightly different way. The reference is Stress and Decline in Woody Plants.

Happy reading!



Knotweed control, to be or knot to be

Knot-knot, who’s there?



Here are some tips about knotweed from Ward Upham, in the KSU Horticulture News.


Knotweed thrives in compacted soils, so a thorough aeration is the first step in control. This weed will not compete in a healthy lawn. Chemically, there are two options. Knotweed is an annual that germinates in late February or early March, so a preemergence herbicide can be used in the late fall (about now). Pendimethalin (Scotts Halts), Surflan (Weed Impede), Barricade, Dimension and XL are labeled for knotweed. (Note: Pendimethalin, Barricade and Dimension can be used on all Kansas turfgrasses, while Surflan and XL can only be used on tall fescue and warm-season grasses such as buffalograss, zoysiagrass and bermuda).
The other option is to use a combination postemergence product such as Trimec, Weed-Out, Weed-B-Gon or Weed Free Zone after the knotweed has germinated in the spring but is still young.
If spring seeding of the lawn is planned, your options are more limited. Buctril can be used on commercial sites and has a very short residual. It must be used on very young knotweed to get control. Trimec and others require a month before overseeding to thicken up your lawn. Obviously, don’t use a preemergence herbicide if you are trying to get new seed established. For homeowners seeding in the spring, tilling will control knotweed adequately without using a herbicide. If seeding without tilling (e.g., overseeding using a slicer-seeder), then use a combination product such as one mentioned above just after the knotweed comes up in the spring, and be sure to wait at least a month before seeding.

Fall care of peonies

I love peonies! I’m lucky to have a neighbor down the street with an amazing display every spring.

Peonies do need some attention, though, including cutting them back. One reason to cut them back is to remove leaves infected with “peony measles.” By removing infecting the leaves from the site you can disrupt the life cycle. The fungus survives year-to-year in infected leaves, so removing them reduces infection risk next year.


(Photo by Ward Upham)


Here are some tips from Ward Upham from the Kansas Horticulture News:


Cut peony foliage back to the ground if this hasn’t been done already. Compost or discard foliage. Fertilize peonies twice a year — in the spring shortly before new growth appears and then again in the fall after the plants have been cut back. A total of 1.5 to 2 ounces (3 to 4 tablespoons) of a 1-1-1 fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 per plant per application should be used. This amounts to 3 to 4 ounces of fertilizer per year. If a soil test reveals adequate levels of phosphorus and potassium, use a lawn fertilizer such as a 29-5-4, 27-3-3 or something similar, but cut the rate to 1/3 of the above rate. In other words apply ½ to 3/4 ounce (1 to 1.5 tablespoons) per plant. The lawn fertilizer should not be a “weed and feed.”
Never apply fertilizer directly on the center of the peony as the buds (eyes) may be damaged. Rather, place the fertilizer in a band from 8 to 18 inches from the center of the plant.  Water the fertilizer in so the plant can take it up.
Winter protection of herbaceous peonies is only necessary the first winter after planting to prevent alternate freezing and thawing from lifting plants out of the soil. A couple of inches of mulch should be sufficient. Any organic material that does not mat down will work and should be applied after the ground freezes. Avoid using leaves that will mat together. Remove the covering before growth begins in the spring.
The less common tree peonies have woody stems like deciduous shrubs and should not be cut back to the ground or pruned in the fall. Collect the shed leaves and place in the compost pile this fall. Though tree peonies are hardy to Zone 4, they do benefit from a light mulching over winter. Also, it is recommended that tree peonies be fertilized during November to get the plants off to a good start next spring. It is best to take a soil test to see what nutrients are needed. If the soil needs phosphorus and potassium, use a complete fertilizer (such as 10-10-10, 9-9-6, etc.) at the rate of 2.5 pounds per 100 square feet. This would equal 1 rounded teaspoon per square foot.
If phosphorus and potassium are not needed, blood meal makes an excellent fertilizer. Apply at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet or 1 teaspoon per square foot. Turf fertilizers such as a 27-3-3 or 30-3-3 also can be used but at the rate of to 1 pound per 100 square feet or 1 teaspoon per 2 square feet.


Large patch goes trick or treating

Your zoysiagrass fairways and tees might have tried to dress up like a jack-o-lantern, turning itself orange for Halloween. The moderately cool, moist, foggy conditions are perfect for large patch development. We are seeing it in our inoculated plots at Rocky Ford but in lots of other places too. Normally zoysia is shutting down right now. Normally, one application in the fall usually does a great job. You can view a short podcast on large patch fungicide research at KSU. But when the disease is active into November? I’m not sure.

I’ve never seen zoysia this green in November. What a weird fall. Lots of strange things happening in plants. At home we are still harvesting peppers and tomatoes after dinner while comfortably wearing short sleeves, shorts, and sandals.

Anyway – what are you seeing out there? Did you treat in mid-September? If so, is it holding? If not, did you go back in? Let us know what is and isn’t working for you.

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Dollar spot keepin’ on keepin’ on

Dollar spot loves, dew, fog, and temperature 65-85 degrees and we have had those conditions lately.

As you think about your fungicide program, don’t forget about rotating among different mode-of-action groups. The Chemical Control of Turfgrass Diseases publication from Kentucky does a great job outlining those principles. Don’t forget to look at the active ingredient names and FRAC codes along with the trade name. You might think you are rotating, but you are not. You can read the general info on that page, and/or scroll to the info specific for dollar spot a few pages in.


The Kentucky publication highlights some points about fungicide resistance. In a recent survey of isolates collected in Kansas, nearly all were fully resistant to thiophanate-methyl. That is, the fungus blew through it like it was not even there.

Rust activity in turfgrass

Over the past 1-2 weeks we’ve been seeing a lot of rust in lawn height turf. At Rocky Ford we are finding it in mainly perennial ryegrass but in little pockets in some newly-established zoysiagrass too.

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The rust spores need wet leaf surfaces to infect, and we have definitely had some moist, dewy days and even some very foggy mornings. Though the fungus itself spreads best during wet weather, plants that have been stressed by drought are more susceptible. Nutrient-deficient turf is also more susceptible.

We have some information about rust in our publication Rust Diseases in Turfgrass (pdf).