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Category: Turfgrass News

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.

 

New Turfgrass Research Reports

Research Reports

K-State turfgrass specialist urges mid-summer checkup on lawns

Many Kansas landscapes include warm-season grasses, which require a little care in order to stay healthy during the hot summer months.

Hoyle says warm-season grasses may need fertilizer to remain healthy

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State University Associate Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist, Dr. Jared Hoyle says homeowners ought to be thinking about a mid-summer checkup on their lawns, which likely includes applying fertilizer and weed killer.

Many Kansas summer landscapes include warm-season grasses, namely bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and buffalograss. Each of those requires a little care in order to stay healthy through the hot weeks ahead.

“Those three grasses are not all created equal and some grow faster than others, which means we need to feed them a little bit different,” said Hoyle, an associate professor in the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources.

For bermudagrass and zoysiagrass, Hoyle suggests applying a total of 1-3 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet during a typical growing season, which is the beginning of May through the middle of August.

“You can split that up into multiple applications of a quick release fertilizer, or you could do fewer applications of a slower release,” he said. “But the main goal is 1-3 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet regardless of what number or percentage product you’re using.”

Buffalograss does not require as much nitrogen. Studies at Kansas State University indicate that “about 1 pound of nitrogen per year for 1000 square feet is good,” according to Hoyle.

“It’s hard to split up a pound over multiple applications, so that’s one where you might want to look at a slow release to put that pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet throughout the year,” he said. “You can do that right now and that will get you through the rest of the year with a slow release fertilizer.”

In addition to fertilizing warm-season grasses, Hoyle said homeowners should be looking at ways to control thatch and weeds in the lawn.

“We really like to preach that if you are going to do something with the lawn — whether it is fertilizing or watering — do it when it’s actively growing,” Hoyle said. “Right now, with warm-season grasses, if you have a thatch problem, you can tear that area up (with a verti-cutter or slicer), fertilize the lawn, and it will grow right back in. If you try to do that during the fall or spring months, there will be periods of time when the lawn isn’t growing, or delayed growth, and it could lead to more problems.”

Among weeds, crabgrass and yellow nutsedge are two of the most troublesome this time of year.

““I’m seeing a lot of crabgrass and yellow nutsedge and I blame it on the weather,” Hoyle said. “Yellow nutsedge loves flooded, compacted soils and because of periodic flooding around the state, I have seen a lot of areas that typically never have yellow nutsedge. It’s a weed to keep an eye out with the weather conditions as they have been.”

To control yellow nutsedge, look for products with the active ingredients halosulfuron or sulfrentrazone, he said.

Crabgrass that has already emerged can be treated with products that include the active ingredient quinclorac.

Hoyle noted that homeowners should be patient when applying herbicides to yellow nutsedge and crabgrass; it might take more than one application to control those weeds.

K-State’s Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources publishes a weekly horticulture newsletter with updated information on lawn care and other turfgrass issues. Residents may also contact their local extension agent.

Rethinking Zoysiagrass for Home Lawns

Kansas State University teamed with Texas A&M to develop a new cultivar of zoysiagrass called Innovation, that’s suitable for lawns and golf courses. Pictured is Ted Wilbur (left), owner of Sod Shop in Wichita, Kansas and Jack Fry, horticulture professor at Kansas State University. Wilbur was the first to grow Innovation commercially in Kansas.

K-State, Texas A&M develop new cold-hardy variety for home landscapes and golf courses

OLATHE, Kan. – Who doesn’t love the look and feel of a soft, green carpet of grass underfoot? Even better if it’s resistant to pests and requires less fertilizer than other grasses. A Kansas State University professor believes that zoysiagrass can fit the bill for home landscapes – even in Kansas and surrounding states.

Zoysiagrass is well known as a warm-season grass commonly grown across southern tier states for its dense, weed-resistant and slow-growing nature (think less mowing), plus it requires about half the water needed for cool-season grasses typically grown in the nation’s midsection.

Those who choose to grow zoysia should be aware, however, that as a warm-season grass, it goes dormant and turns brown in mid-October and may not green up again until late April.

“The determining factor for whether any warm-season grass that can be used here is winter survival,” said Kansas State University horticulture professor Jack Fry.

Kansas and other states across the middle of the country are in what’s called a transition zone, where both warm- and cool-season grasses can grow but weather extremes can prove challenging and sometimes injure or kill the grass. In order to improve on a longtime favorite zoysia called Meyer, Fry and his K-State colleagues teamed with Texas A&M Agrilife researchers to develop a new zoysia cultivar.

Their aim was to develop a cultivar that is as cold-tolerant as Meyer for areas in the transition zone, but also to offer improved characteristics, such as finer leaf blades and even better density which blocks out weeds.

The K-State team worked with Ambika Chandra, associate professor at Texas A&M, to develop a new hybrid that was ultimately named Innovation. The new hybrid can withstand the cold that can sometimes blanket the central U.S. as well as Meyer does, but also exhibits better quality, meaning it has a darker green color, finer leaf blades, better density and good uniformity.

Zoysiagrass is already widely used on golf course tees and fairways in Kansas and across the transition zone, but less so on home lawns, Fry said. When drought water restrictions come about, however, it’s a good choice for home lawns.

Zoysia, and especially newer cultivars like Innovation, also require less fertilizer or pest treatments to stay healthy than typical cool-season grasses such as tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass.

To develop the new cultivar, the researchers used traditional plant breeding, crossing cold-hardy types with other southern-adapted types that offered high density and finer-textured leaf blades.

That density results in almost no herbicides being needed during the growing season, Fry said.

To get from initial crosses – about 1,500 in all – to the final product took about 13 years, Fry said. Along the way from those initial crosses, 35 looked promising, so were planted in 5-foot by 5-foot plots in Kansas and Texas and evaluated by the researchers, who then narrowed the list to seven.

Those top seven hybrids were tested at additional sites across the transition zone in Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The result is Innovation, which was released for commercial growth and sales in 2015. It is currently available via licensed distributors through a company called Sod Solutions, which has sub-licensed production to 15 sod producers in eight states.

What’s next? A new phase of the K-State-Texas A&M research is under way which aims to identify grasses that have superior resistance to a disease called Large Patch, and there may even be types that are promising for use on golf greens, too, Fry said.

Post featured by: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/stories/2019/05/zoysia-for-home-lawns.html

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More information about zoysiagrass is available at

https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/mf683.pdf

or in a Clemson University fact sheet, https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/zoysiagrass/

Spring Zoysia News

By: Dr. Jack Fry

Meyer Winter Injury

Significant winter injury has occurred on Meyer zoysia throughout the Kansas City area on golf courses – some have suffered more than others. The injury is most pronounced in the following areas:

  • Turf exposed to tree shade (even moderate levels from trees casting shadows from the rough)
  • High traffic areas
  • Areas that don’t drain well

We often try to compare differences among courses and determine why one course had better winter zoysia survival than other.  Ultimately, it seems that cultural practices have less of an impact on the freezing injury observed than the environment in which the zoysia is growing.   The above stresses can be matched directly with plant metabolism:

1) Shade – more light allows higher levels of photosynthesis and carbohydrate production, which is critical to winter survival;

2) Traffic – less compaction allows more oxygen in the soil and more root respiration and growth – high traffic reduces soil oxygen;

3) Drainage – areas that collect water also have lower soil oxygen levels and poor root growth.  In addition, plants growing in saturated areas are subject to crown hydration freezing injury – crowns fully hydrated don’t tolerate low temperatures well. Methods for correcting the above are straight forward, but implementing the changes can be difficult – politically and financially:  removing or thinning trees, redirecting traffic, correcting drainage issues.  If nothing else, the zoysia injury is indicating to turf managers where the problem areas are on the golf course.

 

Pictured above: Zoysia grown in high traffic areas in more prone to winter injury, such as this area surrounding a putting green where golfers enter and exit.

 

Innovation Zoysia is on the Market

Innovation zoysia, the new cultivar developed cooperatively by K-State and Texas A&M is on the market. Ted Wilbur, owner of Sod Shop in Wichita, recently cut and sold the first Innovation sod in the U.S..  He currently has about 25 acres in production – some is available now, some will be available later this summer.

Compared to Meyer zoysia, Innovation has:

  • Darker green color
  • Higher density
  • Finer texture
  • Fewer and smaller seedheads
  • Better billbug resistance
  • Freezing tolerance that is equivalent

Find more about Innovation here: https://sodsolutions.com/industry/innovation-zoysia/

Interested in ‘Innovation’?  Reach out to Sod Shop in Wichita: (316) 838-5888

 

Pictured above on left: Ted Wilbur (left) and Travis Achilles (right) with Sod Shops in Wichita, KS have cooperated with K-State in the production of  ‘Innovation’ zoysiagrass. Pictured above on right: The first ‘Innovation’ sod was cut and delivered to Hesston, KS for use at a local water park.

Kansas Turfgrass and Ornamentals Field Day

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

The Kansas Turf & Ornamentals Field Day program is designed for all segments of the turf and ornamental industry — lawn care, athletic fields, golf courses, landscape, and grounds maintenance. Included on the program are research presentations, problem diagnosis, commercial exhibits, and equipment displays. There will be time to see current research, talk to the experts, and get answers to your questions. This year it will be a the K-State Research and Extension Center in Olathe on August 1, 2019.

For more information check out the Kansas Turfgrass Foundation Website – http://www.kansasturfgrassfoundation.com

Register online –https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kansas-turf-ornamentals-field-day-tickets-56438349623

We hope to see you on Thursday, August 1!

Want to be an Exhibitor? Register here – http://www.kansasturfgrassfoundation.com/uploads/8/9/7/3/8973595/exhibitreservationform2019.pdf

 

 

Find your career in Turfgrass Management

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Do you have friends or family looking for a new career or looking to start their career?  K-State has an opportunity for you!  The Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources can prepare you for a career in Golf and Sports Turf Operations.

Check out our website for more information (https://hnr.k-state.edu/undergraduate/horticulture/specialization-areas/) and schedule a visit to K-State.

Experience the life of a K-State College of Agriculture Student! Shadow one of our Agriculture Ambassadors – go to class, speak to professors, tour campus, and more. Come visit us any weekday classes are in session. https://www.ag.k-state.edu/agexperience/

To really envision the possibilities of a K-State experience, there’s no substitute for seeing the campus in person. There are a variety of ways to tailor your visit to be a perfect fit. https://www.k-state.edu/admissions/visit/

K-State Radio Network “Plantorama” – Home Lawn Winterkill

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

HOME LAWN WINTERKILL– It was a fairly harsh winter in this region.  And that has homeowners wondering if their lawn grasses were adversely affected by the extended cold and wet conditions. K-State turfgrass specialist Jared Hoyle says while the likelihood of outright turfgrass winterkill is relatively low, some limited damage may have occurred.

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

KGCSA Cliff Dipman Internship Award

***Update: The KGCSA voted at their board meeting yesterday to include an internship (either at Rocky Ford or in Olathe) to be included in the Cliff Dipman Internship Award.

KGCSA Cliff Dipman Internship Award

The KGCSA Cliff Dipman Internship Award consists of two $2,000 awards to Kansas State University students working at a golf course whose superintendent is a member of the KGCSA. One will be directed to a student doing an internship at a 9-hole golf course or working at one of the K-State Research Centers (Rocky Ford in Manhattan or in Olathe), and one doing an internship at an 18-hole facility. Applications will be reviewed by the KGCSA Board of Directors. All decisions of the committee will be final. Applicants will be notified of their status by March 30 of the year submitted.

Requirements:
• Must already be enrolled in a 4-year undergraduate turfgrass program at Kansas State University.
• Must intend to complete a 3- or 6-month internship at a golf course in the state of Kansas whose superintendent is a member of the KGCSA, or work at one of the K-State research stations (Manhattan or Olathe).
• One award will be available for a 9-hole intern (or at one of the K-State research stations in Manhattan or Olathe) and one for an 18-hole intern.
• Return completed application to: KGCSA Awards Program, 1712 Claflin, 2021 Throckmorton, Manhattan, KS 66506 or cdipman@ksu.edu by March 15, 2019.
• Applications can be downloaded from the KGCSA website, found here.

About the Namesake:
Cliff Dipman was the Golf Course Superintendent at Manhattan Country Club for 32 years. He has served as a mentor to countless students who have become successful golf course superintendents in Kansas and across the United States. Year after year, Cliff recognized the importance of the internship in complementing academics.

Support the KSU Turfgrass Students and Have Fun!

Come out on September 30th to Colbert Hills Golf Course and play in the Kansas State University Golf Course Superintendent Student Chapter Fundraiser Golf Tournament!

This is a great way to show your support to the future of the turf industry and the students all while having some fun on the golf course.

If you can’t make it show your support by sponsoring a hole.

See information about signing up below!.