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Category: Cultural Practices

Take Advantage of Breaks in Summer Heat for Putting Green Management

By Jack Fry

Looks like we’ve got a short-term period of cooler temperatures over the next several days.  Midsummer heat relief is good for us, and it’s also a great time to do some of the cultural practices we often avoid during midsummer heat.

Creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass don’t like the heat, and really don’t appreciate it when we implement certain cultural practices during hot weather.  On greens that have shallow roots and experience indirect heat stress, any kind of stress brought about with cultural practices can sometimes be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back.”  Consider implementing some of the following during short stretches of cool weather:

1) Solid tine aerification.  Opening up the surface of the green can help get oxygen to roots and prevent a “sealing off” of the surface that can arise when organic matter accumulates.

2) Verticutting.  Using vertical knives to cut leaves and stolons is certainly a stress to the plant, and now is a good time to do it if your greens are grainy (a la Johnny Miller!), or are accumulating more organic matter at the surface than desired.

3) Sand topdressing.  Topdressing during midsummer can be stressful to the plant especially if it the sand is dragged into the surface.

4) Product applications.  Some products can potentially cause more injury to creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass when applied during hot weather, including liquid fertilizers, plant growth regulators, wetting agents, and even some fungicides.   Labels on some products specify temperatures in which they should be applied.  Use the break in the temperatures to apply products that may be needed.

5) Mowing and rolling.  If you haven’t done it yet, raise the mowing height if you can, and roll a few days each week instead of mowing.  Having more leaf area is always a good thing for the plant.

Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar Reminders!

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Earlier this year I wrote two blog posts that listed out both a cool- and warm-season lawn calendar for homeowners.  If you are anything like me then I have already forgot what I was suppose to do so sometimes it is good to have a reminder.

Cool-season Lawn Calendar Reminder 

June through Mid-July
Apply second round of crabgrass preventer by June 15 – unless you have used Dimension (dithiopyr) or Barricade (prodiamine) for the April application. These two products normally provide season-long control with a single application. Remember to water it in. If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing imidacloprid during the first half of July. This works to prevent grub damage. It must be watered in before it becomes active.

Warm-season Lawn Calendar Reminder

May – August 15
Fertilize with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per application. Follow the recommendations on the bag. More applications will give a deeper green color, but will increase mowing and may lead to thatch buildup with zoysiagrass. Bermudagrass can also have problems with thatch buildup but thatch is less likely with Bermuda than zoysia. Bermudagrass – Use two to four applications. Zoysiagrass – Use one to two applications. Too much nitrogen leads to thatch buildup.

One Application: Apply in June.
Two Applications: Apply May and July.
Three Applications: Apply May, June, and early August.
Four Applications: Apply May, June, July, and early August.

Remember to look and see if you are using a quick release nitrogen source or a slow release nitrogen source.  If you use a quick release source then it is immediately available but only lasts a couple weeks.  Thats why you would have to make a couple of applications like it is listed above.  If you are going to use a slow release source it will tell you on the bag how long the product will last.  Therefore, you might not have to make as many applications.

So generally you want to use a total of 2 to 4lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for bermudagrass and 1 to 2 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for zoysiagrass.

Buffalograss – Fertilize with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet during June. More applications will give a deeper green color. If it is felt that a second application is needed, apply in July. Do not exceed more than 2 lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per YEAR for a home lawn.

June
If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing imidacloprid by mid July. Imidacloprid can be applied as early as mid May if there are problems with billbugs or May beetle grubs. These products kill the grubs before they cause damage. They are effective and safe but must be watered in before they become active.

June is also a good time to core aerate a warm-season lawn. Core aeration will help alleviate compaction, increase the rate of water infiltration, improve soil air exchange and help control thatch.

For the full Do-It-yourself Lawn Calendars click the links below

Warm-Season – http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/homeowner-do-it-yourself-lawn-calendar-for-warm-season-grass/ 

Cool-Season – http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/homeowner-do-it-yourself-lawn-calendar-for-cool-season-grasses/

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

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.