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Mow-mulching fall leaves

The leaves are starting to fall. What to do with all that biomass? Don’t send it to the trash pile!

Many municipalities have local composting options. Another option is using a mower to mulch those leaves back down into the turf. Commercial landscape companies – as you work with homeowners for fall lawn/leaf services have you talked to your clients about these options?

For more information:

https://www.johnson.k-state.edu/lawn-garden/agent-articles/lawns/mulch-mowing-fall-leaves.html

Here is a video:

http://kansashealthyyards.org/index.php?option=com_allvideoshare&view=video&slg=tired-of-raking-try-mowing&Itemid=345

 

Pruning Trees and Shrubs in the Fall

(Ward Upham, KSU Horticulture & Natural Resources. Original source: http://www.ksuhortnewsletter.org/)

 

Pruning in August can stimulate new growth that is less hardy during the winter.  But what about pruning at this time of year?

Woody plants move sugars and other materials from the leaves to storage places in the woody portions of the plant just prior to leaf fall and we would like to maximize those stored energy reserves.  Even pruning later in the fall can cause a problem by reducing the cold hardiness of woody plants.  Dr. Rich Marini at Penn State Extension has written , “Based on everything that has been published we can conclude that woody plants do not attain maximum cold hardiness when they are pruned in the fall. Trees are affected more by heavy pruning than light pruning.”  However, this does not mean that woody plants pruned in the fall will necessarily suffer winter damage.  In most cases, I think you can get away with the old adage of “prune whenever your pruners are sharp.”  However, damage can occur if we have a sharp drop in temperature before plants are completely hardened off.  Also, marginally hardy plants are more susceptible to winter damage, especially if pruned in the fall.  Though light pruning and removal of dead wood are fine this time of year, you may want to delay severe pruning until spring.

Consider pruning to be “light” if 10% of less of the plant is removed. Dead wood does not count in this calculation.  Keep in mind that even light pruning of spring-blooming shrubs such as lilac and forsythia will reduce flowers for next year. We normally recommend that spring-bloomers be pruned after flowering.

Shrubs differ in how severely they can be cutback. Junipers do not break bud from within the plant and therefore should be trimmed lightly if you wish to keep the full shape. Overgrown junipers should be removed. On the other hand, there are certain shrubs that can be pruned back severely during the spring. Rejuvenation is the most severe type of pruning and may be used on multi-stem shrubs that have become too large with too many old branches to justify saving the younger canes. All stems are cut back to 3- to 5-inch stubs. This works well for spirea, forsythia, pyracantha, ninebark, Russian almond, sweet mock orange, shrub roses, and flowering quince. Just remember that spring is the correct time to do this, not now.

(Ward Upham)

Cool fall weather = large patch season

Here in Kansas we see our most severe large patch symptoms in spring, but we can see it in fall, especially if conditions are cool and wet. Here, also, we’ve had pretty good success at suppressing spring symptoms with applications the prior fall.

We at KSU and others have been busy trying to tackle this disease in recent years, especially with the increasing interest in zoysia. For a review of research across the transition zone you can check out this article in Golfdom:

Don’t get overmatched: Dispatch that large patch

 

What do you do well that nobody else does?

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

At the Kansas Turf Conference on December 4, 5 & 6, 2018 in Topeka we will have a new booth in the exhibit area for YOU to show off your best innovations!

Do you have a piece of equipment that you hacked together on your own? Something that saves you headaches? Are you willing to share your idea? If so – send me a quick photo and description. I’ll display it at the booth, with credit to you.

How about a method? Do you have a special knack for motivating your crew or co-workers? Write that down, and we can share it.

What about an innovative way to reach out to customers?

If you have a special tip or trick you are willing to share, send it my way. You can email me at kennelly@ksu.edu

At the booth we’ll have people vote on their favorite innovation, with a special prize for the winner!

Fungi thriving in wet conditions

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

Fungi love wet, humid conditions. Parts of Kansas have received a lot of moisture lately.

Here are a few recent examples:

Brown patch mycelium on a morning with fog and dew. If you look closely you’ll see the lesions, too.

 

 

Here is some foliar Pythium mycelium from another wet site:

You can see the white mycelial threads if you look closely. Also notice how the turf is so matted down and soggy/greasy in appearance.

At this location they had just sprayed tebuconazole, so how did the Pythium keep on rolling? Well, as you might remember, Pythium is not a true fungus, and some fungicides just do not work on it. Fungicides in the tebuconazole family (the DMI fungicides, FRAC code 3) have no effect on Pythium – you might as well be spraying water. For a list of products that DO have efficacy on Pythium foliar blight you can check this reference (p. 23) http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/ppa/ppa1/ppa1.pdf

Cultural practices are outlined HERE.

Conditions for both Pythium and brown patch “should” be ending soon, and cool fall weather alone acts as a natural fungicide to slow those 2 diseases down just as our cool-season grasses find themselves in optimal conditions to grow. Recovery and seeding season is right around the corner.

And, finally, after 4 inches of rains there were mushrooms everywhere:

Some mushrooms are associated with fairy rings, and there is some information about that HERE.

How do mushrooms pop up overnight? They are actually kind of pre-made, hanging out in the soil in a small egg-like structure. When moisture comes they can expand quickly, like one of those sponge-animals that expands when you put it in a bucket. There are lots of time-lapse videos out there that show mushroom growth – here is one example:

It’s kind of cool but creepy at the same time.

KGCSA Legacy Scholarship – due August 27

The KGCSA Legacy Scholarship offers educational aid to the children and grandchildren of KGCSA members.  A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded. Applications are due August 27, 2018.

Eligibility
1. One or more of the applicant’s parents or grandparents must have been a KGCSA member for five or more consecutive years and must be a currently active.

2. The student must be enrolled full-time at an accredited institution of higher learning, or in the case of high school seniors, must be accepted at such an institution for the next academic year. Graduating high school seniors must attach a letter of acceptance to their application.

3. Past winners are ineligible to apply the following year. They may reapply after a one-year hiatus.

Criteria for Selection
1. Applicants will be evaluated based on academic achievement, extracurricular and community involvement, leadership and outside employment.

2. The student must submit an original essay of up to 500 words.

You can download the application at www.kgcsa.org

Pollinator conservation workshops: Chanute July 31; Lawrence August 1

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

More and more golf courses and other landscape sites are getting involved with pollinator conservation.

Are you curious to learn more?

There are some workshops coming up on July 31 in Chanute and August 1 in Lawrence, presented by The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Rush County Conservation District.

Here is the flier for more information – click this link to make the pdf file pop up:

Pollinator Course 2018-17gt333

“K-State to close horticultural research center near Wichita”

We learned this news last week about the J.C. Pair Center, where we conduct multiple research trials and hold extension field days:

“MANHATTAN, Kan. — Reductions in base support from the state and recent enrollment declines have led to the decision to close Kansas State University’s 120-acre John C. Pair Horticultural Center in Haysville.”

Research farm opened in 1970, focusing on woody ornamentals, turfgrass

Here is the link to the full press release:

http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/stories/2018/06/pair-center-closure.html

Listed on the right-hand side of that page is the contact information to share comments or raise questions:

Ernie Minton
785 532-6148
eminton@ksu.edu