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.
We humans are enjoying the cool weather, and our cool-season grasses are too. However we are coming up on the time when our warm-season grasses start to shut down, and the season when the large patch pathogen likes to infect our zoysia. Sometimes we see symptoms in fall if conditions are very cool and wet. I have not seen any around here yet, but in Missouri some is firing. Our main time of seeing the symptoms is spring.
In Kansas, applications in September have been quite effective in reducing symptoms through most or all of the following spring. With this early cool weather, leaning towards earlier rather than later in the month may be wise. Next door in Missouri they’ve seen good results with EARLY spring applications as well – read about it HERE in Dr. Miller’s excellent post about application timing. In Kansas, when we’ve tried mid/late spring applications when symptoms are already pretty apparent, they don’t work well, if at all. For details on the newest products you can check the large patch section here (click to page 18)
Influence of Tall Fescue Baseball Infield Mowing Height on Ground Ball Speed
( By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension and Gage Knudson, KSU Turfgrass Undergraduate Research Assistant)
Summary. Athletic field conditions have shown to influence playability. Results of ball-roll speed studies can be used to predict success of infield hits. Field trials were conducted at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center to determine the influence of tall fescue baseball infield mowing height on ground ball speed and batter on-base success. Mowing heights of 2.5, 5, and 7.6 cm resulted in 1.77, 2.08 and 1.88 s ground ball times, respectively.
Rationale. Tall fescue [Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.)] is a drought tolerant turfgrass species commonly used as a baseball infield playing surface. Cultural management practice studies on athletic surfaces have shown direct influences on playability. Minimal information exists on the influence of infield mowing height and ball-roll speed. Results of ball-roll speed studies can be used to predict success of infield hits.
Objectives. Determine the influence of tall fescue baseball infield mowing height on ground ball speed and batter on-base success.
Study Description. Research trials were initiated on November 21, 2016 at the Rocky Ford Research Center (RF) in Manhattan, KS to determine the influence of tall fescue baseball infield mowing height on ground ball speed and batter on-base success. Research trials were conducted on 30.5 m long simulated tall fescue infield. Two experimental runs were conducted on three different infield mowing height treatments; 2.5, 5, and 7.6 cm. Six individual replications of a simulated ground ball were applied to each infield condition and experimental run. Ground balls were applied with a pitching machine set to 112.6 kph. Simulated ground balls were timed in seconds (s) from simulated pitched ball and bat contact (insertion into machine) to baseball fielder location (30.5 m distance). Successful infield hits were calculated using constant athletic ability data and infield ball-roll data. Data was subjected to ANOVA in SAS and means were separated according to Fisher’s protected LSD at 0.05 significance level.
Results. Mowing heights of 2.5, 5, and 7.6 cm resulted in 1.77, 2.08 and 1.88 s ground ball times, respectively (Figure 1). Utilizing ground ball speed results, researchers were able to predict that a simulated batter, if a ground ball was hit to the shortstop position (30.5 m distance), would result in an unsuccessful at bat if a tall fescue infield was mown at 2.5 cm and successful if mown at 5 and 7.6 cm, utilizing consistent player athletic ability data (Figure 1 and Table 1).
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.
Thank you to everyone who participated in or sponsored the KGCSA Scholarship & Research Golf Tournament! The event was Monday at Colbert Hills. Thank you to Matt Gourlay and his team for hosting – we know it is a lot of work!
Thanks to everyone who played on a team, donated funds or auction items, sponsored a hole, or bid on an auction item. The KSU Turf Team appreciates your efforts. Thank you to Christy Dipman for organizing the event. Thanks to L.C. Lacy for serving as our auctioneer – that was amazing!
Do you have a plan in place in case of a pesticide spill? You don’t want to be inventing your plan on the fly, in the moment.
Here at KSU in our research labs we go through “spill drills” each year to make sure we are ready, just in case. It’s not our favorite thing to do, but it means everyone knows what to do, just like a fire drill.
Here are some tips on pesticide spill procedures from U of Kentucky:
The Kansas Forest Service is sponsoring a workshop about EAB on June 7, 12:30-4:30 in Troy (Doniphan County). Topics include identification and biology, EAB quarantine rules, tree injection information, and more. Certified pesticide applicator and arborist credits are available.