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K-State Turf and Landscape Blog

Month: May 2019

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Following a Big Storm

Here are a couple of articles that should be helpful if you are
dealing with storm damage after a series of thunderstorms in our area. As we continue to face inclement weather throughout this week, please keep this information in mind. ***Articles have been provided by Warm Upham.

Storm Damage and the Garden

Various parts of the state have had high winds, excessive rainfall and
hail. This column deals with what can be done to help our gardens recover.

Heavy rain: The force of rainfall pounding on the soil can result in a
thick crust that prevents seed emergence and partially blocks oxygen
from reaching roots. A light scraping after the soil surface has dried
is all that is needed to correct these problems. Be careful of deep
tilling as it may damage young, tender roots.

Standing water: Standing water cuts off oxygen to the roots, which can result in plant damage if it doesn’t drain quickly enough. Most plants can withstand 24 hours of standing water without harm. Hot, sunny weather can make a bad situation worse by the water becoming hot enough to “cook” the plants. There isn’t much that can be done about this unless a channel can be cut to allow the water to drain.

Hail damage: Plants should recover quickly as long as the leaves only were damaged by the hail as leaves regenerate quickly. The situation becomes much more serious if the stems and fruit were damaged. The plant can recover from a few bruises but if it looks like the plants were mowed down by a weed whip, replanting is in order.

Leaning plants: Either wind or water can cause plants to lean. They
should start to straighten after a few days. Don’t try to bend them back as they often break easily. (Ward Upham)


Pruning Storm Damaged Trees 

Winter storms may cause serious tree damage. Often you will have to
decide whether a tree can be saved or not. Here is a checklist on care
of a storm-damaged landscape.

1. Be careful: Slippery ice and chainsaws don’t mix. Wait until all ice
has melted before beginning work. Check for downed power lines or
hanging branches. Don’t venture under the tree until it is safe. If
large limbs are hanging precariously, a certified arborist has the
tools, training and knowledge to do the work safely.

2. Cleanup: Remove debris so you don’t trip over it.

3. Decide whether it is feasible to save a tree. If the bark has been
split so the cambium is exposed or the main trunk split, the tree
probably will not survive and should be removed. If there are so many broken limbs that the tree’s form is destroyed, replacement is the best option.

Topping, where all the main branches are cut and there are only stubs left, is not a recommended pruning procedure. Though new branches will normally arise from the stubs, they are not as firmly attached as the original branches and more likely to break in subsequent storms. Also, the tree must use a lot of energy to develop new branches, leaving less to fight off diseases and insect attacks. Often, the topped tree’s life is shortened.

4. Prune broken branches to the next larger branch or to the trunk. If
cutting back to the trunk, do not cut flush with the trunk but rather at the collar area between the branch and the trunk. Cutting flush with the trunk leaves a much larger wound than cutting at the collar and takes longer to heal. Middle-aged or younger vigorous trees can have up to one-third of the crown removed and still make a surprisingly swift comeback.

5. Take large limbs off in stages. If you try to take off a large limb
in one cut, it will often break before the cut is finished and strip
bark from the tree. Instead, first make a cut about 15 inches from the trunk. Start from the bottom and cut one-third of the way up through the limb. Make the second cut from the top down but start 2 inches further away from the trunk than the first. The branch will break away as you make the second cut. The third cut, made at the collar area, removes the stub that is left.

*Note:* Pruning can be dangerous. Consider hiring a trained, certified arborist to do major work. Also, a good arborist knows how to prune trees so that storm breakage is less likely to occur. Preventing damage is better than trying to fix it once it has happened. The Arbor Day Foundation maintains an excellent Web site that contains detailed information. The URL is:
https://www.arborday.org/media/stormrecovery/4_treefirstaid.cfm  (Ward Upham)

Kansas Turfgrass and Ornamentals Field Day

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

The Kansas Turf & Ornamentals Field Day program is designed for all segments of the turf and ornamental industry — lawn care, athletic fields, golf courses, landscape, and grounds maintenance. Included on the program are research presentations, problem diagnosis, commercial exhibits, and equipment displays. There will be time to see current research, talk to the experts, and get answers to your questions. This year it will be a the K-State Research and Extension Center in Olathe on August 1, 2019.

For more information check out the Kansas Turfgrass Foundation Website – http://www.kansasturfgrassfoundation.com

Register online –https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kansas-turf-ornamentals-field-day-tickets-56438349623

We hope to see you on Thursday, August 1!

Want to be an Exhibitor? Register here – http://www.kansasturfgrassfoundation.com/uploads/8/9/7/3/8973595/exhibitreservationform2019.pdf



Find your career in Turfgrass Management

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Do you have friends or family looking for a new career or looking to start their career?  K-State has an opportunity for you!  The Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources can prepare you for a career in Golf and Sports Turf Operations.

Check out our website for more information (https://hnr.k-state.edu/undergraduate/horticulture/specialization-areas/) and schedule a visit to K-State.

Experience the life of a K-State College of Agriculture Student! Shadow one of our Agriculture Ambassadors – go to class, speak to professors, tour campus, and more. Come visit us any weekday classes are in session. https://www.ag.k-state.edu/agexperience/

To really envision the possibilities of a K-State experience, there’s no substitute for seeing the campus in person. There are a variety of ways to tailor your visit to be a perfect fit. https://www.k-state.edu/admissions/visit/

Not many orchardgrass control options in turfgrass










(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Orchardgrass is a cool-season coarse textured, upright, bunch-type perennial grass. This grass is frequently used as a forage grass but may be a contaminant in low quality seed mixtures. The leaves are smooth, wide ¼ to ½ inch and taper to a boat-shaped tip. It is easily identified by its tall membranous ligule. The leaf color is light gray, dull-green and it does not form a dense turf canopy even when well watered and fertilized. It is not compatible with any fine leaf textured turfgrasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass or turf-type tall fescue.

This grass usually invades lawns by planting contaminated seed lots or in newly established lawns that were once pastures. It grows well in full sun or partial shade but will not tolerate heavy traffic or close mowing heights. What makes this grass so objectionable aside from its color is its rapid vertical growth rate which requires more frequent mowing in order to keep a uniform turf surface. Additionally, the leaf tips have a tendency to shred rather than mow cleanly, even with sharp mower blades.

Now controlling orchardgrass is a different story.  Just because we can identify it doesn’t always mean it is easy to control.  Unfortunately, there no selective control options that we can use in cool-season turfgrass systems.  Many different chemistries (mesotrione, chlorosulfuron, metsulfuron, and more) have been tested but didn’t provide satisfactory control.

So with that being said the options out there right now are physical removal, blah… Or non-selective herbicides like glyphosate. Remember that glyphosate will kill everything and not just your orchardgrass.

Always remember to READ THE LABEL for the correct rate, turfgrass tolerance, and specific instructions before application!!!

***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.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

Information in this article was from the 2019 Edition of the Turfgrass Weed control for Professionals and the Lawn Problem Solver Website.

May Weekend Warrior Reminders

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

This time of year we can be caught of guard when it comes to maintaining our lawn.  Today we have some reminders about maintaining cool-season turfgrass for all you weekend warriors out there!

  • Reminder – Avoid frequent watering to reduce weeds germination and disease.
  • May is time for fertilizing cool-season turfgrass that is going to be irrigated. (See information below from Ward Upham.)
  • Mowing Tip – Only remove 1/3 of the leaf blade at a time and make sure you mow your lawn at the recommended mowing height. For more information on mowing your lawn – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF1155.pdf 
  • Mowing Tip #2 – Retuning your clippings to the lawn can return up to 25% of fertilizer nutrients that would be lost if clippings were to be removed. – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF2110.pdf

Fertilize Irrigated Cool-season Lawns in May By Ward Upham

May is an excellent time to fertilize cool-season lawns such as
tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass if they will be irrigated throughout
the summer. Non-irrigated lawns often go through a period of summer
dormancy because of drought and do not need this fertilization.
May is a good time to fertilize because the springtime flush of
growth characteristic of these grasses has tapered off, so the
fertilizer you apply will be less likely to cause excessive shoot growth
than if you fertilized at a full rate in April. Slow-release nitrogen
sources are ideal. These nitrogen sources promote controlled growth,
which is desirable as the stressful summer weather approaches.
Relatively few fertilizers available to the homeowner supply ALL of the
nitrogen in the slowly available form. But one such product that is
widely available is Milorganite. Other such products available in the
retail market include cottonseed meal, alfalfa-based fertilizers, and
any other products derived from plants or animals. (Bloodmeal is an
exception, and contrary to popular belief, the nitrogen it supplies is
quickly available.) These products are all examples of natural organic
fertilizers. They typically contain less than 10 percent nitrogen by
weight, so compared to most synthetic fertilizers, more product must be
applied to get the same amount of nitrogen. Translation: they are more
expensive! Apply enough to give the lawn one pound of nitrogen per 1,000
square feet. For example, if the fertilizer is 6 percent nitrogen by
weight, you will need to apply almost 17 pounds of fertilizer product
per 1,000 square feet. Summer lawn fertilizers that contain at least a
portion of the nitrogen as slow-release are fine to use as well. Be sure
to follow label directions. If cost is prohibitive, you can use the less
expensive quick-release (i.e., soluble) sources, but split the
application into two doses as follows: apply enough to give the lawn 0.5
lb nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in May and again in early June.

***** Reminder –  These are recommendations for cool-season turfgrass species!*****

For more information on tall fescue lawns – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=1460

For more information on Kentucky bluegrass lawns – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=816 

Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Photo taken by Brooke Garcia

This time of year all across Manhattan, KS we are seeing star-of-bethlehem popping up in lawns.  The reports that I get are from older lawns… Might be something I need to look into.  Maybe, this plant escaped from traditional landscape plantings and is now taking over the lawns?

Photo taken by Brooke Garcia

It is a very pretty plant with showy, 6-petaled white flowers that have a distinct green stripe underneath. It is a perennial bulb that sometime appears to look like clumps of grass.  The leaves are linear and smooth, flat in cross-section and have a with midrib.

This plant also likes shady and moist areas of the lawn.  With the recent moisture and more on the way we are not short of moist areas in the lawn around Manhattan right now.

Although it is has very distinctive characteristics it can be confused with other plants that are commonly found in lawns; crowpoison (Nothoscordum bivalve), spring beauty (Claytonia virginica), wild garlic (Allium vineale) and wild onion (Allium canadense).

For chemical control there are couple of options.  Both sulfentrazone and carfentrazone have shown to be very effective.

Always remember to READ THE LABEL for the correct rate, turfgrass tolerance, and specific instructions before application!!!

***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.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf