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Conifer Trees for Kansas – new resource hot off the press!

Are you interested in planting conifers, but you are not sure what to choose? The new Conifer Trees for Kansas publication provides details.

You can download a copy for free. There are color photos on nearly every page. The publication describes landscape evergreens suitable for specific regions in Kansas. Includes botanical and common names, photos, growth rates and dimensions, significant pests, with comments from the authors based on personal observations.

 

 

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

Remembering our pine diseases

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

Everything is late-late-late this year, but soon our pine shoots (candles) will be expanding. Pine tip blight is most likely to infect newly-emerging shoots. Dothistroma comes a little later and infects needles. With pine wilt, what we see now is pines that were infected last year and are dead by now. (We need to get those chopped down and chipped/burned ASAP).

Here’s the link to some pine tip blight info  in last year’s summary

Here’s the link for Dothistroma needle blight .

And, of course, don’t forget about PINE WILT. Get those pine wilt trees cut down by May 1 at the latest.

For a summary of all the major pine diseases in one convenient spot, you can download our publication Pine Disease in Kansas.

 

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

Cut down and destroy dead pines to help prevent spread of pine wilt

Now you see it:

call-hall-2012-10-09_17-20-05_109

Now you don’t:

Call-Hall-now-gone-2012-10-25_17-20-32_596

This tree had pine wilt disease, and it was cut down and chipped or burned to reduce the risk of spread to other trees.

Pines have several disease and insect problems. One of them is pine wilt disease. It kills the entire tree quickly.

Pine wilt is caused by the pinewood nematode, a microscopic worm. The nematode is spread by the pine sawyer beetle. The nematode feeds and multiplies in the tree’s resin canals, causing wilting and death in several weeks to several months. The nematode and beetles spend the winter in the infected tree. In spring, the beetles emerge starting around May 1, carrying nematodes to new trees and continuing the cycle of infection.

The disease is common in the eastern half of the state and has gradually spread west. There have been pockets of infection in the western part of the state, but we’d like to keep it out. Also, sanitation efforts will help reduce spread even in the east where the disease is common. Here is a map of pine wilt from our Kansas Department of Agriculture colleagues based on recent survey data:

 

 In Kansas, new pine wilt infections are most visible from August to December. Trees wilt and die in a short period of time, from several weeks to a few months. In the first stages, the needles turn grey or green, then yellow and brown. The discoloration sometimes occurs branch by branch, sometimes all at once. With pine wilt, eventually the whole tree dies, within a few months. The brown needles stay on the tree for up to a year after the tree has died. Another key symptom is reduced resin. On a healthy tree, sticky resin bleeds from the site of a wound. In contrast, if a tree has pine wilt the resin is often reduced or absent, and branches become dry or brittle.

There is a website with color photos and descriptions at the following link:

http://muextension.missouri.edu/explorepdf/miscpubs/mx0858.pdf

There are images to compare and contrast pine wilt with other pine diseases here:

http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/l722.pdf

With the other diseases (tip blight, needle blight) only parts of the tree turn brown. With pine wilt, the whole tree is brown and dead.

If you aren’t sure if your tree has pine wilt or something else, contact your local K-State Research and Extension Office or the K-State Diagnostic Lab (clinic@ksu.edu).

If a tree has pine wilt,  the tree should be cut down by  April 1  to make sure there is time to destroy the wood by May 1, when the beetles start to some out. Cut the tree to the ground—don’t leave a stump. Chip or burn the wood immediately to destroy the beetles and nematodes. Don’t keep pine wood around for firewood.

Volunteers Needed for Irrigation Installation at Rocky Ford Turf Research Center

K-State’s turfgrass research group is starting a high profile project in cooperation with the USGA and the Toro Co, and we need your help!

The goal of the project is to improve the use of soil moisture sensors to control irrigation while minimizing water applications and maintaining good quality turf.  This will require 3 years of intensive study of the science of using these sensors.

However, before we can do that, we need to install an in-ground irrigation system.  That is where we need your help!  We are organizing work days at the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24.  All the irrigation supplies are in-hand and we are working on getting a trencher.  Bayer has indicated they will sponsor lunch on Friday and we are working on getting sponsors for lunch on Saturday.

This irrigation system will be used for years to come, well beyond the 3-year study, and all turfgrass managers will benefit from the research.  Therefore, we would be most grateful for any time you could contribute, whether it is for 1 or both days.

Please email Christy Dipman at cdipman@ksu.edu to let her know what day(s) you will be available to assist with the installation.

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.