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Category: Environment

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:

 

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.

A Homeowner Step-By-Step Buffalograss Lawn Guide

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Buffalograss Lawn Calendar

For more information check out the Buffalograss Lawns Publication at the KSRE Bookstore – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=1447

Buffalograss has become more popular in recent years due to its reputation as a low-maintenance grass. Buffalograss does require less water and fertilizer than our other turfgrasses but often has problems competing with weeds in eastern Kansas. Remember, buffalograss is a low-maintenance lawn and not a “No”-maintenance lawn.

Buffalograss is an open growing grass that will not shade the soil as well as most of our other turfgrasses. Weeds are often the result. A regular mowing schedule can reduce broadleaf weed problems as most broadleaves cannot survive consistent mowing. Those that do either have a rosette growing pattern (dandelions, shepherds purse) or are “creepers” (henbit, chickweed, spurge). Annual grasses such as crabgrass or foxtail can also be a problem. A good weed preventer (prodiamine, pendimethalin or dithiopyr) may be needed prevent problems.

March

Spot treat broadleaf weeds if necessary. The most important treatment for broadleaf weeds should be in late October to early November well after the buffalograss is dormant. Treatments are much more effective then than in the spring as the weeds are smaller and the weeds are sending energy, as well as the herbicide, to the roots. Treatments in March are to take care of any “escapes” missed in the fall spraying. Spray early enough in March that the buffalograss is still dormant. Look at the base of the plants to make sure there is no green. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees F or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.  Use a combination product such as Trimec, Weed-B-Gon or Weed-Out. Weed Free Zone is also good and will give quicker results under cool conditions.

April

Apply crabgrass preventer between April 1 and April 15, or apply preventer when the eastern redbud is in full bloom. If using a product with prodiamine (Barricade), apply two weeks earlier.  Crabgrass preventers must be watered in before they will work. Avoid using broadleaf herbicides as the buffalograss is greening up as injury can result. The buffalograss will not be killed but growth will slow making the buffalograss less competitive with weeds.

June

Fertilize with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet during June. More applications will give a deeper green color, but can encourage weeds. If it is felt that a second application is needed, apply in July.

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. Again, I would only treat if grubs have been a problem in the past. Note that the whole area may not need to be treated. The beetles that lay the eggs for the grubs are attracted to lights and moist soil and those areas are most likely to be infested.

Late-July through August

If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer. If imidacloprid has been applied or if grubs have not been a problem in the past, this should not be necessary. Grub killers must be watered in immediately.

Late October to Early November

Spray for broadleaf weeds if they are a problem. Look carefully as our winter annuals such as chickweed and henbit are small and easily overlooked. Use a product that contains 2,4-D as it increases effectiveness on dandelions. Treat on a day that is at least 50 degrees F. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours reduces effectiveness. Use the rates listed on the label for all products mentioned.

For more information check out the Buffalograss Lawns Publication at the KSRE Bookstore – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=1447

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

K-State Radio Network “Plantorama” – Early Cool-Season Lawn Care

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

With spring officially here, homeowners should start paying attention to the condition of their cool-season lawns…especially in view of the dry conditions that persist in this region. Early-season watering of fescue and other cool-season turfgrass is especially important this year, according to K-State turfgrass horticulturist Jared Hoyle. He talks about proper watering and fertility management this week.

Click the link below for K-State Research and Extension Agriculture Today Radio Program “Plantorama” hosted by Eric Atkinson.

Check out the KSRE bookstore more more information on all things turf! – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Category.aspx?id=528&catId=545

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

A Homeowner Step-By-Step Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn Guide

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Cool-Season Grasses

The following suggestions are for cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue. Zoysiagrass, bermudagrass, and buffalograss are warm-season grasses and require a different maintenance regime.

March
Spot treat broadleaf weeds if necessary. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.

DSCN0010April
Apply crabgrass preventer (Or maybe even a little bit sooner this year) when redbud trees are in full bloom, usually in April. The preventer needs to be watered in before it will start to work. One-quarter inch of water will be enough to water in any of the products mentioned in this calendar.  Remember that a good, thick lawn is the best weed prevention and may be all that is needed.

May
Fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer if you water your lawn or if you receive enough rainfall that your turf normally doesn’t go drought-dormant during the summer. If there are broadleaf weeds, spot treat with a spray or use a fertilizer that includes a weed killer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness of the weed killer, but the fertilizer needs to be watered in. If you are using a product that has both fertilizer and weed killer, wait 24 hours after application before watering in.

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.

IMG_0563Late-July through August
If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer that contains Dylox. Imidacloprid is effective against young grubs and may not be effective on late instar grubs. The grub killer containing Dylox must be watered in within 24 hours or effectiveness drops.

September
Fertilize around Labor Day. This is the most important fertilization of the year. Water in the fertilizer.

November
Fertilize. This fertilizer is taken up by the roots but is not used until the following spring. Water in fertilizer. Spray for broadleaf weeds even if they are small. Broadleaf weeds are much easier to control in the fall than in the spring. Spray on a day that is at least 50 degrees. Rain or irrigate within 24 hours reduces effectiveness. Use label rates for all products!

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

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

Fall aerification to reduce problems in 2018

Got thatch?

If you are not sure what the thatch situation is on a site you manage, go take a look. Take a trowel, pocket knife, or soil probe, and poke around. If it’s starting to build up in your cool-season turf, take action now. You don’t want a thatch problem to bite you in summer 2018.

Here are some tips in this Fact Sheet about Thatch

Similarly – does your putting green soil look like a layer cake?

As we’ve said before here, a suboptimal rootzone is a pre-existing condition in putting greens.

Take advantage of this great fall weather to do all you can to promote healthy roots in 2018.

Time to fertilize cool-season turfgrass

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

September is almost here and that means it is prime time for to fertilize your tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawns. If you could only fertilize your cool-season grasses once per year, this would be the best time to do it.

These grasses are entering their fall growth cycle as days shorten and temperatures moderate (especially at night). Cool-season grasses naturally thicken up in the fall by tillering (forming new shoots at the base of existing plants) and, for bluegrass, spreading by underground stems called rhizomes. Consequently, September is the most important time to fertilize these grasses.

Apply 1 to 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The settings recommended on lawn fertilizer bags usually result in about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. We recommend a quick-release source of nitrogen at this time. Most fertilizers sold in garden centers and department stores contain either quick-release nitrogen or a mixture of quick- and slow-release. (We will talk about slow release in a later article.)

The second most important fertilization of cool-season grasses also occurs during the fall. A November fertilizer application will help the grass green up earlier next spring and provide the nutrients needed until summer. It also should be quick-release applied at the rate of 1-pound actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

So total you only want to use up to 3 lbs of actually nitrogen per 1,000 square feet over September, October and November.

Here are some different ways you can apply the quick release nitrogen source;

Method 1 (Totaling 3 lbs of actually nitrogen per 1,000 square feet)

  • September – 1 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet
  • October – 1 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet
  • November – 1 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet

Method 2 (Totaling 3 lbs of actually nitrogen per 1,000 square feet)

  • September – 1.5 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet
  • November – 1.5 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet

Method 3 (Totaling 2 lbs of actually nitrogen per 1,000 square feet)

  • September – 1 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet
  • November – 1 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet

Click here for the Kansas Lawn Fertilizing Guide – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=10639

Always make sure your pride your fertilizer evenly!!!!  You don’t want this to happen.

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

K-State Radio Network – Overseeding Cool-Season Lawns

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

For this week’s horticulture segment, K-State turfgrass specialist Jared Hoyle talks about taking the preliminary steps now for overseeding a cool-season lawn this fall.

Click the link below for K-State Research and Extension Agriculture Today Radio Program hosted by Eric Atkinson.

Human health – not just plant health! Stay hydrated out there and avoid heat stress.

On this blog we are usually talking about plant health, but here’s a quick switch to human health. We want all of our Kansas green industry folks to stay healthy and safe in the summer heat.

You already know this, but sometimes it is worth reminding ourselves that heat stress and dehydration can be very serious. A friend-of-a-friend of mine got very dehydrated once on a camping adventure, and she was very sick for several days (dizzy, vomiting).

This link has some common-sense tips:

http://online.ksre.ksu.edu/tuesday/announcement.php?id=35357

Take extra care of new crew members who are not used to the heat. For one thing, those folks are less used to it. Second, a new crew member may feel the need to just buck up and take it and be afraid to speak up that they need some shade or a water break. So keep an eye on everyone, but especially those that may be more vulnerable.

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.