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Category: Environment

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.

“Soil Evolution Par for the Golf Course”

Soil water management is a big topic on this blog. Are you curious about some of the science behind it?

How does water infiltration rate change as putting greens age? Big hint – it sure does not get BETTER over time.

This topic was featured in the recent edition of the news magazine of the CSA News (from the American Society of Agronomy/Crop Science Society of America/Soil Science Society of America). Here is the link to the article.

The article also talks about a weird iron layer that can build up over time.

Here is a key figure from the article, sourced from the USGA. Read the whole article to get the story. As you can see, older greens = slower infiltration:

Beware localized dry spot in putting greens – exacerbated by hot, dry winds

Summer is really here now, with fireflies, trips to the swimming pool, and … hot south winds to suck the moisture out of the ground. In sand-based putting greens, localized dry spot can pop up FAST, causing major damage in a short period of time.

Here is what localized dry spot can look like:

Keep an eye on your soil profile so you can stop this damage before it starts. When you get damage to the extent shown in those two photos above it is a long road to recovery.

To check for localized dry spot, pull up some cores and use the “droplet test” by putting drops of water on the plug. If the drops just sit there, not wicking in, you have a problem. The soil is water-repellent.

Sometimes there is a defined hydrophobic layer with normal soil above and/or below, so check at different depths, all the way down the rootzone:

You might also notice water beading up on the surface and not wicking in.

You don’t want this to sneak up on you. Keep an eye on your soil profile, especially locations with a history of problems. Aerification and use of wetting agents can help get moisture where it needs to go.

This example below shows how a slight change in the rootzone can cause problems. The round spots are all locations where the soil was altered for research, with little mini-plots inside tubes sunk into the ground. These spots are prone to LDS. We all know that putting greens are pretty sensitive, so be careful if you are changing up your sand topdressing or other soil-related factors.

A queasy feeling leading into summer – turfgrass root health

Got layers of organic matter in your putting greens? That stuff holds water, which holds heat, and serves as a “risk factor” for root health.

It’s another week with rain in the forecast in many parts of Kansas. We’ve talked about this before on the blog many times – root health is key to getting through our tough summer months.

Do you have drainage problems? Do you have a buildup of organic matter? How do your roots look now? Sites with “pre-existing conditions” are the first ones to crash when the weather gets nasty.

 

Moisture management can be tricky, but there are tips and tools to help you. Here are links to two articles from last year:

By Jack Fry: – general tips for water management:

https://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/good-water-management-will-help-get-greens-through-midsummer-stress/

By Dale Bremer – using moisture sensors:

https://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/water-management-on-greens-with-soil-moisture-sensors/

Reducing summer stress on putting greens:

I’ve mentioned this fungicide guide (below) many times over the years. One of my favorite parts is the section starting on page 6 about reducing summer stress. Quick, off the top of your head, how many practices can YOU think of to reduce summer stress? The guide lists SIXTEEN steps to consider. Maybe you can’t do them all, but I bet you can try at least one new thing you have not tried before.

Here is the link (scroll to p. 6 for the summer stress)
http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/ppa/ppa1/ppa1.pdf

Pythium root rot:

My excellent colleague at U of Missouri, Dr. Lee Miller, has recently posted some very helpful info about Pythium root rot. You can find those articles here:

http://turfpath.missouri.edu/reports/2017/update05_26_17.cfm

http://turfpath.missouri.edu/reports/2017/update05_11_17.cfm