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K-State Turfgrass

Author: kennelly

“K-State to close horticultural research center near Wichita”

We learned this news last week about the J.C. Pair Center, where we conduct multiple research trials and hold extension field days:

“MANHATTAN, Kan. — Reductions in base support from the state and recent enrollment declines have led to the decision to close Kansas State University’s 120-acre John C. Pair Horticultural Center in Haysville.”

Research farm opened in 1970, focusing on woody ornamentals, turfgrass

Here is the link to the full press release:

http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/stories/2018/06/pair-center-closure.html

Listed on the right-hand side of that page is the contact information to share comments or raise questions:

Ernie Minton
785 532-6148
eminton@ksu.edu

 

 

 

Why is it August in June? 16 options for reducing stress in putting greens

 

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

The average daily high for June 15 in Manhattan is 86.1, and the average nightly low is 63. We have been well above those averages. Ugh! June is supposed to be our time of “things are still okay out there… July and August are around the corner, but for now we are fine.” However, this year, August is here now! Along with the heat, it is very dry out there, as shown on the most recent US Drought Monitor map:

What can you do to reduce summer stress in putting greens?

The Chemical Control of Turfgrass Diseases publication (free online!) includes an excellent list of 16 practices that can reduce summertime stress. Are you doing some of those practices already? Yes, you probably are. Are there some you are not trying? Maybe – you might test some out, or talk to your peers about what they are doing. Are some just not feasible for your site? Probably – and that’s okay. Check out the whole menu of 16 options and see if it generates any new ideas. You can find the whole list starting on page 6 of Chemical Control of Turfgrass Diseases which, in short, includes information about mowing height, watering, fertility, foot traffic, dew, phytoxicity warnings, and more.

 

With that in mind, here are some pictures to illustrate the importance of roots during stressful summer conditions:

 

KSU Turf Field Day – August 2!

(Jared Hoyle, KSU Horticulture & Natural Resources)

The Kansas Turfgrass Field Day will be held Thursday, August 2 at the Rocky Ford Turf Research Center in Manhattan.

The field day program is designed for all segments of the turf industry – lawn care, athletic fields, golf courses, and grounds maintenance. Included on the program are research presentations, problem diagnosis, commercial exhibitors, and equipment displays. There will be time to see current research, talk to the experts and get answers to your questions.

Pesticide recertification credits in 3A and 3B are available, as well as GCSAA education points.

You can register online at https://2018turfday.eventbrite.com

Are you smarter than a slime mold?

 

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

Look what showed up in my mulch yesterday morning?

 

Hey, what’s that stuff? Slime molds! They can look pretty alarming, and they can pop up seemingly overnight. They are pretty harmless, and you can read more HERE and if you would like a fascinating glimpse into how these organisms work there is a short video clip HERE called “Are you smarter than a slime mold?”

Here is another version of slime mold – these photos were submitted to me this morning over email. Look closely and you’ll see little gray blobs up on stalks:

And, to round things out, here are a few from last year:

 

(Courtesy Ron Reese)

Courtesy Jacob Weber:

 

Courtesy Ron Reese:

Got turf problems? Look underground, part 2

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

“What disease is this?” Brown patch, Pythium, Leaf spot?

Answer – none of the above!

 

A couple weeks ago I posted about thatch and organic matter:

Declining turf? Look below the surface

Last week I received another set of samples where turf was in decline, a disease was suspected, but the underlying issue was thatch or organic matter buildup.

Layering in the putting green:

 

Very thick thatch in the fairway:

Don’t forget to check underground.

Hot and sticky summer weather = brown patch and Pythium

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

 

Is this brown patch in a tall fescue home lawn? Look for lesions to be sure! See below!

It’s that time of year when you go outside in the morning and immediately start to sweat. Ugh.

High humidity means that the temperatures stays high even overnight. Sticky, humid nights = conditions ripe for brown patch and foliar Pythium.

Brown patch is common in tall fescue lawns, perennial ryegrass athletic fields and fairways, and bentgrass putting greens. I’ve been hearing reports of brown patch popping up in the past few days.

Foliar Pythium is common in bentgrass and rye fairways, and we occasionally see it in lawns that are very lush and wet. Foliar Pythium is very rare on greens. I haven’t seen any yet, but with humidity and nighttime lows in the 70s it’s a possibility.

Fungicides and cultural practices for both diseases are spelled out in detail in the publication Chemical Control of Turfgrass Diseases.

 

In tall fescue, brown patch symptoms can resemble drought or other injury. If in doubt, check around for the characteristic lesions:

Both diseases can produce mycelium in the turf during wet, humid, dewy mornings. With Pythium, usually the turf looks matted down and greasy.

Brown patch:

Pythium – grass is matted down and greasy/mushy:

Not sure? You can always send a sample to the KSU Plant Diagnostic Lab.

Declining turf? Look below the surface

Each year we get samples into the lab where there is turf decline and people think there is a disease problem, but the culprit is thatch. The photo above is from a sample that came in this week.

Any time you have a turf problem, take a soil probe, pocket knife, or trowel, and take a look underground. I’m saying 100% of the time. Not 90%. E-V-E-R-Y time. You never know what you might find down there.

We see a lot of decline from thatch-related desiccation in the heat of summer, but we also see it in spring after thatchy turf gets the moisture sucked out of it by dry winter winds.

Here are a few others from prior years:

 

 

In this one, the turf had thick thatch and got very desiccated over winter and was not able to green up in spring:

 

At this site, they also had grub problems. They had applied an insecticide, but as you probably know, pesticides can get pretty tied up in thatch which makes it hard for them to do their jobs.

For more details:

https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=714

 

 

Nozzles! More interesting and important than you think

We are getting into summer crazy-time, and during crazy-time it’s easy to forget about things like calibrating and replacing worn nozzles.

Here are a couple of reminders about nozzles, re-posting a short note from last year:

 

nozzle1

Spray nozzles might seem like a boring topic, but as stated in an article by Shepard, Agnew, Fidanza, Kaminski, and Dant in 2006 in Golf Course Management, nozzles are “The last piece of equipment through which sprays pass before contact with the turf.”

Think about the cost of all that stuff going through the sprayer, the time of the person applying those materials, and the fuel to power that sprayer Nozzles are small, and they don’t cost much, but they can really contribute to the success of an application and help maximize the bang for your buck on all those OTHER costs.

Anyway – as noted in the article cited above, nozzles determine the amount of chemical applied, the uniformity of the application, the coverage, and they can influence the risk of drift. Make sure you calibrate your equipment, replace worn nozzles, and follow all label instructions about application equipment for the materials you are spraying. A worn-out nozzle could easily be allowing 10% or more excess material to be applied, which = 10% more money. Equipment that is not calibrated right might be applying LESS than you need to get adequate control.

Weather – you can’t control it, but you can maximize your knowledge of it

We’ve had a taste of every season here in Kansas these past few weeks.

With that, here’s a reminder on an excellent source for weather details – the KSU Mesonet.

If you have ever been to Rocky Ford, you have seen our weather station:

This station is linked up to Mesonet: http://mesonet.k-state.edu/

You might have your own on-site weather station. At minimum, you might have a soil temperature probe.

To supplement those, you can visit the Mesonet website and check for a station near you. Just click on a site, and some info will pop up.

For historical weather, click on the menu on the upper left, then go to WEATHER and then HISTORICAL WEATHER and you can select the days you want to consider. There are various options for soil temperatures and many other features. Soil temperatures can be important indicators for different management practices. Again, I highly encourage you to measure your own conditions on site, since there are lots of different microclimates in the world of turf and landscape. But it does not hurt to compare to a nearby weather station.

If you have never used Mesonet, check it out!