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Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Warm-Season Grass

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Last week I got a lot of good feed back on the Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Cool-Season Grasses so I decided that it would be good to go ahead and get the warm-season lawn calendar out there for everyone that is manageing zoysiagrass, bermudagrass or buffalograss.

The following is a lawn calendar for zoysiagrass and bermudagrass. Buffalograss, also a warm-season grass, but we will cover that separate because the management of buffalograss is a little different then zoysiagrass and bermudagrass.

Zoysiagrass and Bermduagrass Lawn Calendar

March
Spot treat broadleaf weeds if necessary. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees F or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.

April
Apply crabgrass preventer between April 1 and April 15, or apply preventer when the eastern redbud is in full bloom. This year we are getting a little warmer sooner but remember this cold snap that we just had would have killed any crabgrass if it had germinated. If using a product with prodiamine (Barricade), apply two weeks earlier. Crabgrass preventers must be watered in before they will start to work.

May – August 15
Fertilize with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per application. Follow the recommendations on the bag. More applications will give a deeper green color, but will increase mowing and may lead to thatch buildup with zoysiagrass. Bermudagrass can also have problems with thatch buildup but thatch is less likely with Bermuda than zoysia. Bermudagrass – Use two to four applications. Zoysiagrass – Use one to two applications. Too much nitrogen leads to thatch buildup.

One Application: Apply in June.
Two Applications: Apply May and July.
Three Applications: Apply May, June, and early August.
Four Applications: Apply May, June, July, and early August.

Remember to look and see if you are using a quick release nitrogen source or a slow release nitrogen source.  If you use a quick release source then it is immediately available but only lasts a couple weeks.  Thats why you would have to make a couple of applications like it is listed above.  If you are going to use a slow release source it will tell you on the bag how long the product will last.  Therefore, you might not have to make as many applications.

So generally you want to use a total of 2 to 4lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for bermudagrass and 1 to 2 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for zoysiagrass.

June
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. June is a good time to core aerate a warm-season lawn. Core aeration will help alleviate compaction, increase the rate of water infiltration, improve soil air exchange and help control thatch.


Late-July through August
If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer. If Imidacloprid has been applied, this should not be necessary. Grub killers must be watered in immediately.

Late October
Spray for broadleaf weeds if they are a problem. 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.

 

Buffalograss Lawn Calendar

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.

It is as simple as that!  Enjoy!

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

Time to Think About Managing Your Warm-season Home Lawn

Time to Fertilize Warm-Season Grasses    

    June is the time to fertilize warm-season lawn grasses such as bermudagrass, buffalograss, and zoysiagrass. These species all thrive in warmer summer weather, so this is the time they respond best to fertilization. The most important nutrient is nitrogen (N), and these three species need it in varying amounts.

buffalograss fairway

    Bermudagrass requires the most nitrogen.  High-quality bermuda stands need about 4 lbs. nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. during the season (low maintenance areas can get by on 2 lbs.). Apply this as four separate applications, about 4 weeks apart, of 1 lb. N per 1,000 sq. ft. starting in early May. It is already too late for the May application, but the June application is just around the corner. The nitrogen can come from either a quick- or slow-release source. So any lawn fertilizer will work.  Plan the last application for no later than August 15. This helps ensure the bermudagrass is not overstimulated, making it susceptible to winter-kill.

    Zoysiagrass grows more slowly than bermudagrass and is prone to develop thatch.   Consequently, it does not need as much nitrogen. In fact, too much is worse than too little. One and one-half to 2 pounds N per 1,000 sq. ft. during the season is sufficient. Split the total in two and apply once in early June and again around mid-July. Slow-release nitrogen is preferable but quick-release is acceptable.  Slow-release nitrogen is sometimes listed as “slowly available” or “water insoluble.”

IMG_0670

    Buffalograss requires the least nitrogen of all lawn species commonly grown in Kansas. It will survive and persist with no supplemental nitrogen, but giving it 1 lb. N per 1,000 sq. ft. will improve color and density. This application should be made in early June. For a little darker color, fertilize it as described for zoysiagrass in the previous paragraph, but do not apply more than a total of 2 lb. N per 1,000 sq. ft. in one season. Buffalograss tends to get weedy when given too much nitrogen. As with zoysia, slow-release nitrogen is preferable, but fast-release is also OK. As for all turfgrasses, phosphorus and potassium are best applied according to soil test results because many soils already have adequate amounts of these nutrients for turfgrass growth. If you need to apply phosphorus or potassium, it is best to core aerate beforehand to ensure the nutrients reach the roots. 

Thatch Control in Warm-Season Lawns      

    Thatch control for cool-season lawn grasses such as bluegrass and tall fescue is usually done in the fall but now is the time we should perform this operation for warm-season turfgrasses such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass. Because these operations thin the lawn, they should be performed when the lawn is in the best position to recover.  For warm-season grasses that time is June through July. Buffalograss, our other common warm-season grass, normally does not need to be dethatched.

IMG_0024

    When thatch is less than one-half inch thick, there is little cause for concern; on the contrary, it may provide some protection to the crown (growing point) of the turfgrass. However, when thatch exceeds one-half inch in thickness, the lawn may start to deteriorate. Thatch is best kept in check by power-raking and/or core-aerating. If thatch is more than 3/4 inch thick, the lawn should be power-raked. Set the blades just deep enough to pull out the thatch. The lawn can be severely damaged by power-raking too deeply. In some cases, it may be easier to use a sod cutter to remove the existing sod and start over with seed, sprigs or plugs.  If thatch is between one-half and a 3/4- inch, thick, core-aeration is a better choice.

IMG_1534

    The soil-moisture level is important to do a good job of core-aerating. It should be neither too wet nor too dry, and the soil should crumble fairly easily when worked between your fingers. Go over the lawn enough times so that the aeration holes are about 2 inches apart. Excessive thatch accumulation can be prevented by not overfertilizing with nitrogen. Frequent, light watering also encourages thatch. Water only when needed, and attempt to wet the entire root zone of the turf with each irrigation.

    Finally, where thatch is excessive, control should be viewed as a long-term, integrated process (i.e., to include proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing) rather than a one-shot cure. One power-raking or core-aeration will seldom solve the problem.

Spring dead spot in bermudagrass

(Megan Kennelly)

(Photos courtesy Jacob Weber, KSU Extension)

SDS jake weber 3 SDS jake weber 2

Spring dead spot is a severe root disease of bermudagrass. We see symptoms in the spring, as the turf is greening up. Affected areas remain brown, and the turf collapses leaving a sunken area that is prone to weed invasion. It can take a big chunk of the summer for recovery.

In the past, fungicide treatments in Kansas have had inconsistent results. Applications in September have sometimes had good results, but sometimes they have not worked at all.

There is some info about fungicide sprays for spring dead spot HERE (check page 20). Also, Dr. Lee Miller next door in Missouri reports that he has recently seen good results from Velista applied twice (mid September + mid October). Click HERE for Dr. Miller’s comments, paying particular attention to the fact that this usage involves a Section 2(ee) recommendation, not the main label.

Chilling causes stylish zebra striped bermudagrass, and Megan’s retire-early money-making fashion scheme

Who is this fashionable guy?  We’ll get to that in a sec…

 

 

 

Thanks to Holly Dickman, Ellis County Horticulture Agent, for sending in the lawn photos.  Holly came across some bermudagrass with these very funky stripes. What causes this? This is caused by frost damage. Why the squiggles? I can’t find it now, but several years ago I stumbled across an article by some physicists where they modeled heat fluxes/temperature and came up with a model to describe how and why this happens. It was full of big scary equations I did not understand.  Will there be lasting damage? No – this is a temporary condition, and the lawn will even out and go uniformly dormant as cool fall temperatures become more consistent.

Then, I had a thought – why not capitalize on this funky pattern? I have seen very interested plaids, stripes, etc., when it comes to golf attire. So I quickly came up with my prototype above. I’m off to the patent office – I’m sure I’ll be raking in the big-time money pretty soon 🙂

 

 

The 2014 KSU Turfgrass Field Day In Review

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

What a beautiful day we had this year for the 2014 KSU Turfgrass Field Day.  Thank you to all the attendees, vendors, sponsors, faculty, staff, students and anyone else that was out at the field day!

If you weren’t able to make it, I decided to post some pictures and  links to research reports so you can get more information about each stop that we had this year.

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Also, I will include the QR codes.  These codes can be scanned by your phone and will take you directly to the information!  Check it out!

This year my stop at field day was “Kansas Turfgrass Weed Control Update”.  Here is discussed one of the most problematic weeds in cool-season turfgrass, bermudagrass.  I talked about both selective and non-selective methods.  For more information about bermudagrass removal check it out here. http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/non-selective-bermudagrass-removal/

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

KSU Turfgrass Research Technician and Graduate Student, Jake Reeves, presented information on the best management practices for buffalograss establishment.  Jake has been conducting some great research that will really help us out when we want to convert cool-season turfgrass to buffalograss.  For more information check out his latest blog post. http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/establishing-buffalograss-in-golf-course-roughs/

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Zane Raudenbush, KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, and Dr. Keeley has been conducting research on the cultural management of moss infestations on bentgrass putting greens.  Zane got to display some great looking research on one of the putting greens out at the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research center looking at cultural practices in conjunction with chemical applications of carfentrazone.  For more information check out his latest research report. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/SRP1107D-MOSS-FERTILITY.pdf

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Ever wondered what was the best preforming kentucky bluegrass cultivar?  Well, Evan Alderman, KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, discussed the best preforming Kentucky bluegrass cultivars in Manhattan, KS.  This study is part of the Nation Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP).  Check out the NTEP website for the most current bluegrass cultivar information. http://www.ntep.org/data/kb11/kb11_14-2/kb11_14-2.pdf And some more information on prolonged drought and recovery characteristics of Kentucky bluegrass cultivars http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=17861

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Although this summer has seen to be pretty mild when it comes to diseases in turfgrass, Dr. Kennelly discussed both turf and landscape disease updates.  Don’t forget to periodically check the blog as Dr. Kennelly updates the blog with what is going on with diseases in Kansas. Here is some more information on all sorts of turf disease publications. http://www.plantpath.ksu.edu/p.aspx?tabid=551

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Is the grass really greener on the other side?  Ross Braun, KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, presented on using paints and pigments for coloring turfgrass.  Ross has conducted many trials looking at painting zoysiagrass and buffalograss.  He has evaluated different paints and pigments as well as rates and spray volumes.  Check out his latest research update on paints and pigments. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=17867

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

As it is hard to grow cool-season turf in Kansas it is also tough to grow warm-season turf.  Dr. Fry presented about the best zoysiagrass and bermudagrass cultivars for Kansas.  He discussed everything from color to pest tolerance.  This included information about how the cultivars held up to last winter.  For more information about the zoysiagrass and bermudagrass cultivars here is a great research report about winter survival on the 2013 NTEP zoysiagrass and bermudagrass in Kansas. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/SRP1107G-NTEP-ZOYSIA-AND-BERMUDA.pdf

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Weeds, diseases, and INSECTS!  We can’t leave the insects out of field day.  This year Dr. Cloyd also gave a turf and ornamental insect control update.  For more information about insect control in the lawn and landscape, check out Dr. Cloyd’s list of publications. http://entomology.k-state.edu/extension/insect-information/lawn-garden-pests/lawn-pests.html

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Find all the KSU Turfgrass Research Reports online at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Category.aspx?id=528&catId=545.

Thanks again to everyone that came out to this years KSU Turfgrass Field Day.  It was a great success and hope to see you next year in Olathe.  Also, don’t forget this December is the Kansas Turfgrass Conference in Topeka.  It’s going to be great as well.  Keep and eye out for more information on registration.

 

Non-Selective Bermudagrass Removal

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

For the short time I have been in the turfgrass business, I always get asked the question, “How do I kill bermudagrass?”  And before I can give the recommendation of multiple applications of glyphosate (≥ 3 lbs ae/gal) at 3 qts/A over the growing season (May, July, and September) and waiting three to four weeks for regrowth before making the follow up application, I get the response “That doesn’t work.”

To help out you can add 24 fl oz of fluazifop (Fusilade II) to the tank and it will help with bermudagrass control over the glyphosate application alone.  Remember that fluazifop has some soil residual so it can stay in the soil for some time.  So, wait 30 days before reseeding if you apply it to bare soil or 14 days if you apply it to turf. But I would still get  the response “That doesn’t work.”

Well, I got to talking with a couple of turfgrass managers about this application process and started to ask the question, “What if we are wanting to renovate during the Spring?”

Research in the past has resulted in better control with perennial broadleaf weeds, like dandelions, in the Fall compared to Spring applications. So after a little brainstorming we decided to apply this concept to controlling bermudagrass before dormancy.  This way the bermudagrass would have the dormant look throughout the winter but would be ready for renovation in the Spring.

Research Trial Location Stagg Hill (October 3, 2013)

Research was conducted at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center and Stagg Hill Golf Course in Manhattan, KS to determine bermudagrass control with glyphosate, mesotrione, and fluazifop applications prior to dormancy.  Applications were made on October 3, 2013.  Treatments consisted of a non-treated control, glyphosate (6 pt/A), mesotrione (8 oz/A), fluazifop (24 fl oz/A), glyphosate (6 pt/A)+ mesotrione (8 oz/A), glyphosate (6 pt/A) + fluazifop (24 fl oz/A), mesotrione (8 oz/A)  + fluazifop (24 fl oz/A), and glyphosate (6 pt/A)+ mesotrione (8 oz/A) + fluazifop (24 fl oz/A).  All treatment included at 0.25% V/V non-ionic surfactant (NIS).  All treatments were 100% brown (dormant) bermudagrass by October 31, 2013.

Rocky Ford Trial Location (October 17, 2013)

What we found initially is that there were drastic differences between these two locations.  Bermduagrass control at the Stagg Hill location out performed the Rocky Ford location.  We believe this was due to the differences in bermudagrass cultivars.  The Rocky Ford Location was ‘Midlawn’ bermudagrass and the Stagg Hill location is a common bermudagrass.

Rocky Ford Trial Location (May 14, 2014)

At Rocky Ford the untreated control reached 100% bermudagrass cover on June 12, 2014.  At that time treatments that included glyphosate resulted in <18% bermudagrass green cover.  On June 13, 2014 the untreated control at Stagg Hill was 100% green bermudagrass cover.  All other treatments that included glyphosate resulted in <9% green bermudagrass cover.

What is really surprising is the rating that was conducted just a couple of days ago. At Rocky Ford all bermudagrass treatments recovered to at least 90% green bermudagrass cover by July 14, 2014.  But the Stagg Hill location is still showing significantly more control.  Glyphosate, glyphosate + fulazifop, glyphosate + mesotrione, and glyphosate + mesotrione + fluazifop resulted in only 27%, 26%, 17%, and 23% green bermudagrass cover, respectively.

Rocky Ford Location (June 3, 2014)

These results suggest that a single application of glyphosate in the Fall prior to bermudagrass dormancy can aid in non-selective bermuagrass removal.  We are going to repeat these trials again this year along with trying some Spring applications in combination to see if we can increase bermudagrass control.

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 http://www.facebook.com/KSUTurf