Kansas State University


K-State Turfgrass

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.

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.

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.

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.

Fertilize around Labor Day. This is the most important fertilization of the year. Water in the fertilizer.

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

NEW – Aerating Your Lawn – KSRE Publication

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)














Over that past couple years we have been updating extension publications for both turfgrass professionals and homeowners.  To determine which ones get updated first we look at how many of each are downloaded.  The ones that are downloaded the most and are out of date are first in line.

Well, the next one in line was “Aerating Your Lawn”.  To have a healthy lawn you must have healthy roots and if your soil is compacted it could hurt your root system.  To relieve compaction a homeowner can easily aerify their lawn.  Some benefits of aerification include;

  1. Breaks up or removes thatch.
  2. Improves infiltration of water and nutrients.
  3. Increases oxygen supply to roots.
  4. Promotes carbon dioxide release.
  5. encourages new and deeper root growth.

For more information check out the full publication at the KSRE bookstore!


More than you ever want to know about preemergent herbicides

(by Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Ever year I write a blog, a newsletter article, send out a tweet and post on Facebook about applying preemergent herbicides for summer annual grass control. We are typically most concerned with crabgrass so I went back and searched through the blog posts and articles and believe it or not it is all still relevant information! Not much has changed, so for this article I am going to spotlight information across these articles and compare from when I originally wrote it.

Crabgrass emerging in bare ground earlier than turf




















Up first, Methods of Predicting Crabgrass Emergence! In this article I go over the different methods to predict when crabgrass emerges; calendar date, soil temperatures, forsythia blooms, growing degree days. Like last year we have had a fluctuating Spring. In the article from March 14, 2017 I stated that it was 80 deg F on the 12th and was snowing just a couple days before. Sound familiar? Refresh yourself on the different methods and know its not too late to get preemergence herbicides out.




















Next article is for all you golf course turfgrass managers. Preemergence Weed Control in Bentgrass Putting Greens. This article was also from March 2017 and I went through what preemergent herbicides are available to use on bentgrass putting greens. The list of herbicides was from the Turfgrass Weed Control for Professionals 2017 Manual (https://mdc.itap.purdue.edu/item.asp?Item_Number=TURF-100). Going through the 2018 edition…. Guess what again? Not much has changed for use on putting greens but I would encourage you to check out the manual and read the “Tips for Herbicide Use on Golf Course Putting Greens” section on page 108.


And now one of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This was the lead in for talking about why preemergent herbicides are worth it! This article talks about what weeds preemergent herbicides work on, how they work, and the growth stages of crabgrass. To “round-up” the article I put a list of options out there, the weeds these preemergent herbicides control and some concerns/comments. One thing that I did not list is the combination products. I only listed the single active ingredients.   There are many combination products as well. (Maybe that will be the next blog post – Combination Preemergent Herbicides.)


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.***

Irrigation Installation at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

The KSU Turfgrass Research Group sends a sincere “thank you” to all who helped in any way to install the new irrigation system on March 23-24, whether by providing equipment, labor, or food and refreshments. We were overwhelmed by the support provided by the Kansas turfgrass industry and are extremely grateful.

We look forward to providing updates from future research conducted with the new system that will benefit Kansas turf managers. This new research project is in cooperation with the USGA and the Toro Co. 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.

Also, a big thank you to Nic Youngers, Jasen Sare, Austin Murphy and Shawn Spann for aerifying the research green at Rocky Ford and to WinField for donating the ferti-lizer!

Thanks to our refreshment/lunch sponsors: Bayer Dow Agro Sciences Helena PBI-Gordon Supreme Turf WinField

Also, Thank You to all the volunteers who assisted and donated equipment to make the irrigation install a success!

Al Alspach, Mater Landscape, Inc.

Dale Bremer, KSU

Leon Brown, Schwab-Eaton

Jeff Chaffee, Master Landscape, Inc.

Rob Christie, Firekeeper GC

Cliff Dipman, KSU

Kevin Fateley, Wildcat Creek Fun & Fitness

Seth Gieber, Manhattan CC

Jared Hawkins, Master Landscape

Nate Ratzlaff, Cottonwood Hills GC

Jasen Sare, Stagg Hill GC

Shawn Spann, WinField

Derek Taussig, Taussig Landscape

Charlie Thompson, Willowbrook GC

Mark Willmore, KSU

Mingying Xiang, KSU

Nic Youngers, Rolling Meadows GC

Mu Hong, KSU

Wes Kleffner, Bayer

Frank Kohman, Cool Springs GC

Will Mann, Schwab-Eaton

Matt Miller, Carey Park GC

Nic Mitchell, KSU

Austin Murphy, Indian Hill GC

Shane Myers, Foley Equipment Co.

We still have more to install so if you didn’t get out and was able to help we will have another work day to finish out the entire area!

Thanks again!


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

Now you see it:


Now you don’t:


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:


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


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.

Large patch activity in research plots

Cool, wet weather has triggered large patch activity in golf courses – and in our research plots.

The photos below are from an ongoing research trial. You can read some details about the study in our online research update from spring. PhD student Mingying Xiang is the lead researcher on this study, under the mentorship of Megan Kennelly and Jack Fry.

The photos below show different zoysiagrass breeding lines. For each plot, one side was inoculated in Sept 2016, and the other side is protected with fungicides to allow ongoing rating of quality and agronomic traits in the absence of disease AND to serve as a “healthy check.”

As you glance through the photos, you can clearly see the large patch on the inoculated sides of many of the plots, while the fungicide-treated side is clean. However, you will also see plots where you can’t even tell which side is which. That is, even the inoculated, non-fungicide-treated side is looking clean. We are hoping those  may be resistant lines to examine in further testing. Stay tuned! Turfgrass breeding takes a long time!

The Kansas Turf Conference is coming up!

The annual Kansas Turfgrass Conference is coming up in about 6-7 weeks. If you have not yet checked out the program you can read it here.

As you’ll see, hot topics include weeds, insects, water, light, diseases, business, and more!

We have a great slate of speakers coming from other states as well. Be sure to register, and we’ll see you in Topeka!