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K-State Turf and Landscape Blog

Category: Educational resources

New Podcast by Kansas Forest Service

By Brooke Garcia

Tim McDonnell, Community Forestry Coordinator for Kansas Forest Service, and Gary Farris, Arborist for the City of Wichita, recently recorded a podcast that highlights the importance of community forests. They discuss how Kansas also faces challenges in regards to protecting urban forests.

Listen to the podcast here: https://kansasforestservice.libsyn.com/more-than-beautification

Upcoming #KStateGardenHour Topics – REGISTER NOW!!!

By Brooke M. Garcia

The K-State Garden Hour is a successful online webinar series, hosted by K-State Research and Extension. Each week, the series is hosted on Wednesdays from 12:00 – 1:00 P.M. CST. This virtual series will provide information on a variety of horticultural topics, as well as highlight educational topics related to plant selection, entomology, plant pathology and integrated pest management.

Here are the upcoming topics for the month of July:

To learn more about any of the topics featured, visit the K-State Garden Hour webpage: K-State Garden Hour Webinar Series

Each webinar in the series has a separate registration page. You will need to click on each webinar that you would like to attend. Please preregister for each session online. 

You can also find, promote and share each webinar on Facebook, via the Facebook Events

If you have any questions, please email our team at ksuemg@k-state.edu.

NEW ONLINE GARDEN SERIES: K-State Garden Hour

By Brooke M. Garcia

Join K-State Research and Extension for a new gardening series called “K-State Garden Hour.” This free weekly series will be every Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. via Zoom. This virtual series will provide information on a variety of horticultural topics, as well as highlight educational topics related to plant selection, entomology, plant pathology, and integrated pest management.

Whether you’re new to gardening or have some experience, you’re sure to learn something new. Discussions will be led by K-State Extension Professionals throughout the state of Kansas. This event is limited to 500 participants. Sessions will be recorded and posted here after each event: https://hnr.k-state.edu/extension/info-center/k-state-garden-hour-webinar-series/k_state_garden_hour.html

Here are the featured topics for the next few weeks:

Wednesday, May 20th: Native Plants in the Landscape – Pam Paulsen, Reno County Horticulture Extension Agent

  • Native plants can be a great addition to your landscape. They are well adapted to local growing conditions and serve as important food sources for beneficial insects, birds and other wildlife. Pam will cover a number of native plant species and how they can be used in your landscape.

Wednesday, May 27th: Taking Care of Tomatoes – Tom Buller, Douglas County Horticulture Extension Agent and Judy O’Mara, K-State Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab

  • Many maintenance techniques can improve your tomato plant health, while also increasing plant yield. Tom will cover tasks including training, irrigating, pruning and insect management and Judy will discuss tomato diseases that occur in Kansas and how to manage them.

Wednesday, June 3rd: Making and Supporting Pollinators In The Garden – Jason Graves, Central Kansas District Horticulture Extension Agent

  • Making and supporting pollinators should not be optional since they are essential to maintaining the vast number of ecosystem services we all rely on every single day. Jason will explore who our pollinators are, understanding pollinator needs and what we can do to make and support pollinators in our own yards.

Each webinar in the series has a separate registration page. You will need to click on each webinar that you would like to attend. Please pre-register for each session herehttps://hnr.k-state.edu/extension/info-center/k-state-garden-hour-webinar-series/k_state_garden_hour.html

You can also find, promote, and share each webinar on Facebook using our hashtag #KStateGardenHour and via our Facebook Events: https://www.facebook.com/pg/kstate.hnr/events/?ref=page_internal

Student Spotlight: Dani McFadden

By Brooke Garcia

Meet Dani McFadden! 

Dani McFadden is currently enrolled at Kansas State University pursuing her M.S. in Turfgrass Science, with an emphasis in Weed Science. She anticipates graduating in May 2021.

McFadden also holds an undergraduate degree from K-State in Horticulture, with a focus in Golf Course and Sports Turf Management.

When outside of class, McFadden loves walking around golf courses, sports fields, and home lawns to apply what she is learning in school. She enjoys being able to identify weeds and common diseases, as well as applying her knowledge of herbicides and fungicides.

McFadden’s favorite hobbies include playing golf with friends, fishing, and attending sporting events. More specifically, she likes attending sporting events that are played on natural grass.

Research Focus: Testing Labeled Restrictions on Seeding Timings after Herbicide Application

Here is what McFadden has to say about her research…

“Many people want to know when they can seed their lawn after herbicide application. Most labels restrict seeding until 2-4 weeks after application. My research includes seeding a stand 0, 3, 7, and 14 days after herbicide application along with the effects of different irrigation amounts on seedling germination. I am also doing research on tall fescue conversion to buffalograss after glyphosate applications.”

What’s next for Dani McFadden?

McFadden will always love mowing greens in the early morning while watching the sunrise. This is something she hopes everyone will have the chance to do. Looking ahead, she hopes to start a career with a chemical company as a territory manager. Through networking, she can continue to connect with great superintendents and turf managers in this industry. The “people in this industry is what makes being a turfgrass student so great,” says McFadden. 

National Pesticide Safety Education Month

By: Frannie Miller

Did you know there are about 1 million certified pesticide applicators in the United States? There is somewhere between 11,000 to 15,000 pesticide products registered for use in each state. Common consumer products that contain pesticides include flea collars, weed and feed, and roach baits. Pesticides play an important role in improving the quality of food and feed yields. They also protect the public health, controlling pests in our homes, turf, forests, waterways, and right-of-way.

February is National Pesticide Safety Education Month, which is important in raising awareness and support for land-grant Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEP). Pesticide Safety Educations Programs like the one at Kansas State University deliver pesticide applicator trainings on safe use of pesticides in various settings, as well as deal with state-specific needs and laws.

Have you ever wondered how safe you are when using pesticides? You can take a self-assessment of personal pesticide safety practices to evaluate where you could do better:

Self-Assessment of Personal Pesticide Safety Practices

Cooler weather brings the return of the Mesonet Freeze Monitor

(Chip Redmond, Mary Knapp and Dan Regier; Weather Data Library/Mesonet)

Cold weather is making its appearance with frost advisories issued this last weekend and freeze warnings this week. The average freeze date in northwest Kansas is as early as the last week in September. However, southeast Kansas does not usually see freezing temperatures until the end of October. Average dates for the first occurrence of 24-degree F temperatures are even later.

For more information check out the KSU Agronomy eUpdate.

https://webapp.agron.ksu.edu/agr_social/m_eu_article.throck?article_id=2358

Fall Fertilization and Turf Tips

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Dr. Bill Kreuser, Assistant Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist, at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln posted some great information on fall turfgrass fertility and some other fall turfgrass tips.

Dr. Kreuser quoted, “Fall is arguably the most import season for turfgrass managers. While we’re busy preparing for a new growing season in spring and trying to survive stressful conditions in the summer, fall is the time to recover from summer, renovate, and prepare for winter. It’s a season of seeding, cultivation, weed control, and fertilization. While fall is still widely considered the most important time to fertilize turfgrass, the fertilization recommendations have evolved over the past decade.”

I couldn’t agree with him more.  There has been lots of recommendations evolve over the years and just because “this” is way it has always been done doesn’t mean it is right.  See what Dr. Kreuser has to say and check out the links below.

 

  1. Rethinking Fall Fertilization
  2. Mid-Fall Turf Tips 

 

Recent Release: Free Soil Moisture Mapping Protocol

Dr. Chase Straw, Turfgrass Scientist at the University of Minnesota, informed us of the recent release of a free soil moisture mapping protocol that can be utilized by golf course superintendents to assist them with fairway irrigation decisions. The protocol explains how to collect GPS soil moisture data with a commercially available device (FieldScout TDR 350), which are then used to generate fairway soil moisture maps with free software. The maps could be used as a tool to program an irrigation system to irrigate based on the soil moisture variability across a golf course, among possibly many other things.

More information about the protocol, in addition to details regarding how the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association of America chapter is utilizing it as a service to their members, can be read from a recent blog post on the UMN turfgrass website.

The protocol can be downloaded here.

The protocol requires a $0 licensing agreement. FREE!!! Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Chase Straw (cstraw@umn.edu) and his team at the University of Minnesota.

 

Fall Soil Testing

By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension

Fall is an important time for cool season turfgrass species because air and soil temperatures are optimal for carbohydrate accumulation and root growth. However, adequate plant nutrition is essential for these processes to operate at maximum efficiency. The importance of using soil test reports to guide fertilization programs cannot be emphasized enough.  The Kansas State Soil Testing Lab (https://www.agronomy.k-state.edu/services/soiltesting/) provides a variety of high quality testing services for turfgrass managers. Testing for pH, phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A good sampling method is necessary to ensure the soil test results are accurately representing the sampled area. To sample, use a soil probe an extract a 4” to 6” core. The leaf and thatch material should be discarded from the core (see picture). Eight to ten individual cores should be extracted and combined into a single sample for testing. Results are typically sent back within a week of the lab receiving the sample.  Fertilizer recommendations will also be provided by a county agent or K-State horticulturalist.

Of all the possible nutrients, potassium is of particular interest as temperatures continue to decline, because it helps the plant acclimate to cold temperatures. Some soils, especially golf greens, throughout Kansas are low in potassium, leaving turfgrass more susceptible to winter injury. Deficiencies can be addressed by applying K containing fertilizers, such as, potassium chloride (KCl), potassium sulfate (K2SO4), and potassium nitrate (KNO3). Remember, soil tests are a relatively inexpensive tool, but provide a wealth of knowledge.

For more information pertaining to soil testing check out the article below by Dorivar Ruiz Diaz, Nutrient Management Specialist.

Fall Soil Testing: Sample Collection and Submission to the K-State Soil Testing Lab

By: Dorivar Ruiz Diaz

Soil testing provides producers and homeowners important information concerning the fertility status of the soil. This information can help produce better crops and reduce costs by guiding management decisions like the type and amount of fertilizers to apply. If you plan to do your own soil sampling and use the K-State Soil Testing Laboratory, the following outline provides specific information on methods for collecting soil samples and mailing instructions.

  • To take a sample, you will need a probe, auger or spade, and a clean pail. (If you’re also having the soil analyzed for zinc, be sure to use a plastic container to avoid contamination from galvanized buckets or material made of rubber.) You will also need soil sample containers and a soil information sheet from your local Extension office or fertilizer dealer. You can also order soil sample bags online from K-State Research and Extension by clicking here.

  • Draw a map of the sample area on the information sheet and divide your fields into uniform areas. Each area should have the same soil texture, color, slope, and fertilization and cropping history.
  • From each area, take a sample of 20-30 cores or slices for best results. At the very minimum, 12-15 cores should be taken per sample. Mix the cores thoroughly in a clean container and fill your soil sample container. For available nitrogen, chloride, or sulfur tests, a subsoil sample to 24 inches is necessary.
  • Avoid sampling in old fencerows, dead furrows, low spots, feeding areas, or other areas that might give unusual results. If information is desired on these unusual areas, obtain a separate sample from the area.
  • Be sure to label the soil container clearly and record the numbers on the soil container and the information sheet.
  • Air-dry the samples as soon as possible for the available nitrogen test. (Air drying before shipment is recommended, but not essential, for all other tests.) Do not use heat for drying.
  • Fill out the information sheet obtained from your Extension office, or download a sheet.
  • Take the samples to your local Research and Extension office for shipping. Samples may also be sent directly to the lab by placing them in a shipping container. Information sheets should be included with the package. Shipping labels can be printed from the Soil Testing Lab website listed below. Mail the package to:

Soil Testing Laboratory
2308 Throckmorton PSC
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506-5503

A listing of the types of soil analysis offered, and the costs is available on the Soil Testing Lab web site, http://www.agronomy.k-state.edu/services/soiltesting . You can also contact the lab by email at soiltesting@ksu.edu and by phone at 785-532-7897.

For more information on the proper procedures for the Soil Testing Laboratory, see K-State publication MF-734 at: https://www.bookstore.ksre.k-state.edu/pubs/MF734.pdf. Detailed information on soil sample collection can be found in the accompanying article “The challenge of collecting a representative soil sample” in this eUpdate issue.

Dorivar Ruiz Diaz, Nutrient Management Specialist
ruizdiaz@ksu.edu