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K-State Turfgrass

Category: Cultural Practices

Stinkgrass

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Many people like the smell of freshly cut grass but there is a weed out there that is common in many lawns in KS called stinkgrass and it stinks.  It stinks cause it is a weed and it also literally stinks.

Stinkgrass sometimes referred to as stinking lovegrass or candy grass is a summer annual grassy weed that was introduced from Europe. This weed is most noticeable when the grayish-green triangular shaped panicle type seedhead is present. The seedhead closely resembles that of the bluegrass family and may cause confusion in identification. Individual spikelets, however, possess a grayish-silver, sometimes purple color and at times may appear waxy.

The leaves are smooth, glossy below and rough on top typically ranging from ¼ to ½ inch wide. The stem of the plant is jointed with slightly swollen nodes, occasionally with a 45 degree bend near the stem base.To vegetatively identify stinkgrass, look at the ligule, the sheath and back of the leaf blade where it attaches to the collar. The ligule is a short fringe of hairs, with several long hairs at the outer edge.

Another distinctive characteristic of stinkgrass is that it produces a bitter pungent odor, most noticeable when the tissue is crushed or mowed, hence the name stinkgrass. It is said to be poisonous to livestock, particularly horses, but most animals avoid grazing it because of the odor. Stinkgrass normally spreads by seed dispersal which emerges in late spring a few weeks after crabgrass or at a similar time to goosegrass. Maximum germination occurs when soil temperatures remain above 65°F for several weeks. Mature this plant will grow from 1 to 2 feet tall and it can temporarily survive mowing heights typical for home-lawns.

Occurrence

In general, stinkgrass is not a persistent problem in lawns but commonly occurs in newly established or poorly maintained lawns and low maintenance areas like roadsides that were once cultivated as agricultural land. It can also be a problem in newly planted sod fields. It has a shallow fibrous root system and is normally not a problem in properly maintained turf the second year after planting.

Non-Chemical Control

Stinkgrass can be very easily removed by hand. In newly established lawns, however, practices to promote maximum density of the desirable turf species like adequate fertility, proper mowing and irrigation will eventually crowd out this weed. Stinkgrass will die after the first killing autumn frost allowing a vigorous desirable turf species to fill the voids.

Chemical Control

No specific pre-emergence herbicides are labeled for turf use, though most common pre-emergent herbicides suitable for crabgrass and goosegrass should also be effective on stinkgrass without injury to the desired turf species. The only compounds labeled for post-emergent control are glufosinate (Finale) or glyphosate (Round-up). Both of these herbicides are non-selective herbicides which kill all green plants and should not be applied to desirable turfgrasses. Once the stinkgrass has been controlled, however, these areas can then be reseeded or sodded.

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

Roundup for Lawns – UPDATE – K-State Radio Network

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

This past weekend I was at a lawn and garden store and saw the Roundup for Lawns display.  Customers were walking by and picking up a bottle.  Some would get Roundup MAXX, Roundup for Lawns and some bought just straight Roundup. I thought to myself, “I hope they know the different between those products.”

Here is some information on the products and a link to Agriculture Today, daily radio program, with Eric Atkinson and Dr. Jared Hoyle.  He explains the difference between the products and even what the bottles look like and why it is important to make sure you pick up the correct product.

Article – http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/every-homeowner-needs-to-know-the-difference-between-roundup-roundup-for-lawns/

Radio Program – https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/radio-network/agtoday-mp3/042017-hoyle.mp3 

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

To bag… or not to bag? Whether ’tis nobler to recycle clippings.

(By Jared Hoyle, Turfgrass Research and Extension)


A week or two ago I posted on mowing and introduced two new publications for homeowners and professionals about correct mowing practices.  Well since we are all out mowing I tend to get the question about bagging lawn clippings.  Do I bag clippings?  Doses it cause thatch? Can I use it as mulch in my garden? Etc…

Well I just updated the Recycling Grass Clipping Extension Publication at the KSRE Bookstore.

http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=701

Check it out for more information and to answer the question….

To bag… or not to bag? Whether ’tis nobler to recycle clippings.

***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

Turfgrass Care for Homeowners (K-State Radio Network) – April Broadcast

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

About a week ago I was invited back again to speak with Eric Atkinson, host of Agriculture Today a daily program distributed to radio stations throughout the state. It features K-State agricultural specialists and other experts examining agricultural issues facing Kansas and the nation.

This week we covered the following;

  • fertilization of cool-season lawns
  • fertilization of warm-season lawns
  • weed control
  • preemergent herbicide control
  • spring mowing heights

Check out the radio program below!

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

It’s not how fast you mow, It’s how well you mow fast – PART 2

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Last year in April I posted about the John Deere “Its not how fast you mow, It’s how well you mow fast” and talked about how we mow our lawn.  Well it is that time of year again.

 

Click the link below for more information on how fast you should actually mow, mowing height, mowing frequency, clippings, mowing pattern and more.

http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/its-not-how-fast-you-mow-its-how-well-you-mow-fast/ 

But this year we are introducing updated KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension publications about mowing.  These two updated publications are for homeowners and professional turf managers.  Enjoy!

Homeowners Publication – http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=615

Professional Series – http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=712

 

2017 Chemical Control for Turfgrass Diseases

(by Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)
Dr. Kennelly posted a couple days ago about large patch and some other diseases that we have or will be seeing soon.  Well to stay ahead of the game the University of Kentucky and Rutgers University have updated the Chemical Weed Control for Turfgrass Diseases Publication.  This is a great resource.  I would recommend printing it off and keeping it around. Click the link below for your free copy.

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/PPA/PPA1/PPA1.pdf 

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

Turfgrass management by the numbers!

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

One of the most common question I am asked is…

“What do you think about this product?  Would you apply it?”

Well sometimes I have had experience with that product and sometimes I have not.  If not I go look for the research and look at the numbers and then respond to the question with the best information that I have. It is then up to the superintendent to apply that product or not.

You can look at the numbers as well.  You can run your own test trials and see the results with your own eyes.  In the article below titled “I used product X and my greens have never looked so good!” hits on some great points.

  • If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
  • Ask for data to backup claims of that product.
  • Make test plots at your location. (If you have a check remember if you don’t do anything at all to that area it will not look as good as the surrounding turf.  You have to keep everything the same except what you are testing.)
  • Record numbers!
  • Did a product actually work or was it just a better year for growing turfgrass.  (Well in KS it is never easy growing turfgrass.)

Click here for the entire article – https://dcsturf.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/i-used-product-x-and-my-greens-have-never-looked-so-good/ 

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

Spring cool-season turfgrass seedings – Why they fail

(By Jared Hoyle and Ward Upham, KSU Research and Extension)

When we talk about cool-season turfgrass seeding timing I always think the fall.  Well all around town I keep seeing more and more people seeding their lawn this spring.  I don’t want to say you are wasting your time because there are a couple reasons that you might need or have to seed in the spring but most success is achieved if seeding cool-season turfgrass in the fall.

There are several reasons Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue lawns are better seeded in the fall than in the spring.

These include:

  • Some of the most serious lawn weeds such as crabgrass and foxtail emerge in the spring. Since they are warm-season weeds, they will compete and often crowd out young, tender cool-season grasses during the heat of summer.
  • The most stressful time of year for cool-season grasses is summer, not winter. Poorly established lawns may die out during the summer due to heat and drought stress.
  • A lawn often gets more use during the summer, leading to increased compaction and traffic stress. Young plants have a hard time surviving the high traffic during the summer.
Weed competition when establishing cool-season from seed in the spring.

If an area needs to be established in the spring, sodding is much more likely to be successful than seeding. Sodding provides stronger, more mature plants that are better able to withstand stress and prevent weed invasion.

Wild garlic control in turfgrass

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Did you know there are benefits to eating garlic?  It is highly nutritious but has very few low calories, it can help combat sickness, it can reduce blood pressure, and more.

Around Manhattan I have been seeing a lot of wild garlic in lawns.  Now don’t go out and eat that wild garlic. We are now talking about the turfgrass weed wild garlic and not the garlic you consume.

Wild garlic is more obvious in the winter and early spring because this weed will grow above the turfgrass canopy and is easily noticed.  Wild garlic is a perennial bulb that has a grass like appliance.  It emerges in late winter and early spring.  The leaves are straight and smooth.  The way to tell the difference between wild garlic wild onion is by tearing the stem to see if it is hollow or solid.  It if is hollow then it is wild garlic.  If it is a solid stem then it could be wild onion.

This weed tolerate a wide range of soil conditions but I have noticed it more in low maintenance areas.

Photo credit – Auburn University Turfgrass – http://cses.auburn.edu/turfgrass-management/weed-identification/wild-garlic/

Control of wild garlic in cool-season turfgrass is more difficult then in warm-season turfgrasses.  For fair control use 2,4-D or one of the many combinations of 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba.  This products have shown to have limited control.  The ester formulations of 2,4-D are more effective than amine formulations.  Applications in the late fall and early spring when there is adequate foliage is best.  To increase uptake, mowing before application may help.

In warm-season turfgrass metsulfuron or metsulfuron + sulfentrazone and sulfosulfuron provide very effective control.  Applying these products in late March (Right now!) on a warm day above 50 deg F (Right now!) when there is good soil moisture (Right now!) will increase efficacy.

If you got wild garlic, right now is the time to go out and get it.  Not to mention if you have any other broadleaf weeds you will get some control of those as well!

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

Keep it mowed and let mother nature take control

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

One of the most common weed control recommendations for winter annual weeds is “keep it mowed and let them die because of the warmer weather”.  Well right now it is March 30th and it is prime winter annual weed growing weather.  Yeah, it might warm up in the next week but what if this is what we recommended in February when we have a week of 75 deg F weather.  We would have been waiting about 2 months before mother nature would have taken care of that weed problem.  So here is some information about winter annual weeds and control.

The plant with the little tube shaped purple flowers that have been showing up turfgrass is called henbit. If you are not sure this is what you have, check the stems. If they are square rather than round, you have henbit. Square stems are an indication that it is in the mint family.  Henbit is a winter annual broadleaf with kidney shaped leaves, opposite arranged, with rounded teeth on the leaf margin.  The upper leave surround the stem.  It really likes disturbed, moist areas in turf and landscape beds.  Don’t get it mixed up with purple dead nettle or ground ivy, they are similar looking weeds. Most broadleaf weed herbicides are effective.

A plant that also is low growing but has round stems and tiny white flowers is chickweed. Chickweed is also a winter annual and starts to grow in the fall. They spend the winter as small plants and so most people do not pay much attention to them until they start to flower in the spring.

Remember, these are winter annuals that will die as soon as the weather turns hot. You can keep the turf mowed and you can let nature take its course. As you can see this year it got warm, then cold, then snowed, then warm again, dry and now 50’s – low 60’s and raining.  So waiting may not be an option for golf courses, parks, sports complexes, and lawns. We may need a jump start to get rid of those weeds.

Ok so here is a scenario.  We wait and let the warm weather kill off the winter annual weeds.  Now there is a void in the turf. What happens in voids in our turf as it warms up?  Crabgrass starts to germinate.  Hope you got your preemerge herbicide out for crabgrass!

Fall is obviously the best time to kill broadleaf weeds but these weeds will germinate throughout the Fall to Spring.  The majority germination in October but they will continue to germinate through the spring especially when we have those warm fall and winter days.  So a Fall application in November may not get complete control because more will germinate after that application.  Thats why a Spring application may be needed as well to clean up these weeds along with some dandelions that may have also survived.  Most broadleaf weed herbicides are effective especially ones that are three-four way mix.  FYI, at this time the weeds are more mature and harder to control.

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