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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

 

 

 

Declining turf? Look below the surface

Each year we get samples into the lab where there is turf decline and people think there is a disease problem, but the culprit is thatch. The photo above is from a sample that came in this week.

Any time you have a turf problem, take a soil probe, pocket knife, or trowel, and take a look underground. I’m saying 100% of the time. Not 90%. E-V-E-R-Y time. You never know what you might find down there.

We see a lot of decline from thatch-related desiccation in the heat of summer, but we also see it in spring after thatchy turf gets the moisture sucked out of it by dry winter winds.

Here are a few others from prior years:

 

 

In this one, the turf had thick thatch and got very desiccated over winter and was not able to green up in spring:

 

At this site, they also had grub problems. They had applied an insecticide, but as you probably know, pesticides can get pretty tied up in thatch which makes it hard for them to do their jobs.

For more details:

https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=714

 

 

Nozzles! More interesting and important than you think

We are getting into summer crazy-time, and during crazy-time it’s easy to forget about things like calibrating and replacing worn nozzles.

Here are a couple of reminders about nozzles, re-posting a short note from last year:

 

nozzle1

Spray nozzles might seem like a boring topic, but as stated in an article by Shepard, Agnew, Fidanza, Kaminski, and Dant in 2006 in Golf Course Management, nozzles are “The last piece of equipment through which sprays pass before contact with the turf.”

Think about the cost of all that stuff going through the sprayer, the time of the person applying those materials, and the fuel to power that sprayer Nozzles are small, and they don’t cost much, but they can really contribute to the success of an application and help maximize the bang for your buck on all those OTHER costs.

Anyway – as noted in the article cited above, nozzles determine the amount of chemical applied, the uniformity of the application, the coverage, and they can influence the risk of drift. Make sure you calibrate your equipment, replace worn nozzles, and follow all label instructions about application equipment for the materials you are spraying. A worn-out nozzle could easily be allowing 10% or more excess material to be applied, which = 10% more money. Equipment that is not calibrated right might be applying LESS than you need to get adequate control.

Weather – you can’t control it, but you can maximize your knowledge of it

We’ve had a taste of every season here in Kansas these past few weeks.

With that, here’s a reminder on an excellent source for weather details – the KSU Mesonet.

If you have ever been to Rocky Ford, you have seen our weather station:

This station is linked up to Mesonet: http://mesonet.k-state.edu/

You might have your own on-site weather station. At minimum, you might have a soil temperature probe.

To supplement those, you can visit the Mesonet website and check for a station near you. Just click on a site, and some info will pop up.

For historical weather, click on the menu on the upper left, then go to WEATHER and then HISTORICAL WEATHER and you can select the days you want to consider. There are various options for soil temperatures and many other features. Soil temperatures can be important indicators for different management practices. Again, I highly encourage you to measure your own conditions on site, since there are lots of different microclimates in the world of turf and landscape. But it does not hurt to compare to a nearby weather station.

If you have never used Mesonet, check it out!

 

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.***

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