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Spring cool-season turfgrass seedings – Why they fail

(By Jared Hoyle and Ward Upham, KSU Research and Extension)

When we talk about cool-season turfgrass seeding timing I always think the fall.  Well all around town I keep seeing more and more people seeding their lawn this spring.  I don’t want to say you are wasting your time because there are a couple reasons that you might need or have to seed in the spring but most success is achieved if seeding cool-season turfgrass in the fall.

There are several reasons Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue lawns are better seeded in the fall than in the spring.

These include:

  • Some of the most serious lawn weeds such as crabgrass and foxtail emerge in the spring. Since they are warm-season weeds, they will compete and often crowd out young, tender cool-season grasses during the heat of summer.
  • The most stressful time of year for cool-season grasses is summer, not winter. Poorly established lawns may die out during the summer due to heat and drought stress.
  • A lawn often gets more use during the summer, leading to increased compaction and traffic stress. Young plants have a hard time surviving the high traffic during the summer.
Weed competition when establishing cool-season from seed in the spring.

If an area needs to be established in the spring, sodding is much more likely to be successful than seeding. Sodding provides stronger, more mature plants that are better able to withstand stress and prevent weed invasion.

Turfgrass Care for Homeowners on the K-State Radio Network

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Just recently I was invited to speak with Eric Atkinson, host of Agriculture Today a daily program distributed to radio stations throughout the state. It features K-State agricultural specialists and other experts examining agricultural issues facing Kansas and the nation. I spoke with Eric about some issues that Kansas homeowners might be facing with their lawns and a couple things that homeowners shouldn’t worry about this year.

Click on the link below and hear more about;

  • possible winter injury
  • fertility
  • weed control
  • and more!

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

Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Cool-Season Grasses

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Where did winter go? Or was it even here?  Depending on where you lived in Kansas you could have had a cold winter, warm winter, or a mild winter… But now it is getting warm and quick.  So before we get left behind lets prepare your cool-season turf for the year.

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.

March
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.

DSCN0010April 
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.

May
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.

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

November
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!

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

Don’t get left behind with your fall lawn care!

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

All summer we have been trying to keep our cool-season turfgrass alive.  Now is the time if we had some die because of heat or drought to build a healthy turfgrass for the winter and next years hot summer.  There are many things to talk about so we will list them below.

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First all – FERTILITY.  I talked about this awhile ago in a previous blog post so I will just list that link and you can go back and ready it.

It’s Finally September – That Means Football and Fescue

Next – SEEDING. This is from Ward Upham’s (KSU Research and Extension) last news letter but wanted to make sure it was put in the fall lawn care blog.  He really explains the seeding process and information pertaining to seeding in this article.

“September is the best month to reseed cool-season lawns such as tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. However, you can get by with an early to mid-October planting for tall fescue. October 15 is generally considered the last day for safely planting or overseeding a tall fescue lawn in the fall. If you do attempt a late seeding, take special care not to allow plants to dry out. Anything that slows growth will make it less likely that plants will mature enough to survive the winter.
Seedings done after the cut-off date can be successful, but the success rate goes down the later the planting date. Late plantings that fail are usually not killed by cold temperatures but rather desiccation. The freezing and thawing of soils heave poorly rooted grass plants out of the ground, which then dry and die. Keeping plants watered will help maximize root growth before freezing weather arrives. (Ward Upham)”

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So what I am getting out of Ward’s article is that you are going to have a better success for seeding if you do it now and not wait until later.

There is lots more information in the Tall Fescue publication from the KSRE bookstore.

http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=1460

Also, if you want to know what varieties work well in Kansas.  Check out the Tall Fescue Varieties for Kansas Publication. (New NTEP data has not be used to update the varieties.  – Coming soon!)

http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=19180

This will get everyone started.  There is lots more information out there about cool season turfgrass management at the KSU Turfgrass Website.  Check it out at  http://www.k-state.edu/turf/

 

 

 

 

It’s Finally September – That Means Football and Fescue

(By Ward Upham and Jared Hoyle, KSU Research and Extension)

IMG_0759

September is almost here and that means it is prime time for football and to fertilize your tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawns. If you could only fertilize your cool-season grasses once per year, this would be the best time to do it.

These grasses are entering their fall growth cycle as days shorten and temperatures moderate (especially at night). Cool-season grasses naturally thicken up in the fall by tillering (forming new shoots at the base of existing plants) and, for bluegrass, spreading by underground stems called rhizomes. Consequently, September is the most important time to fertilize these grasses.

Apply 1 to 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The settings recommended on lawn fertilizer bags usually result in about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. We recommend a quick-release source of nitrogen at this time. Most fertilizers sold in garden centers and department stores contain either quick-release nitrogen or a mixture of quick- and slow-release.

The second most important fertilization of cool-season grasses also occurs during the fall. A November fertilizer application will help the grass green up earlier next spring and provide the nutrients needed until summer. It also should be quick-release applied at the rate of 1-pound actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

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Cool-season turfgrass seeding deadline nears

(By Ward Upham and Jared Hoyle, KSU Research and Extension)

September is the best month to reseed cool-season lawns such as tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. However, you can get by with an early to mid-October planting for tall fescue. October 15 is generally considered the last day for safely planting or overseeding a tall fescue lawn in the fall. If you do attempt a late seeding, take special care not to allow plants to dry out.  Anything that slows growth will make it less likely that plants will mature enough to survive the winter.

Seedings done after the cut-off date can be successful, but the success rate goes down the later the planting date. Late plantings that fail are usually not killed by cold temperatures but rather desiccation. The freezing and thawing of soils heave poorly rooted grass plants out of the ground, which then dry and die. Keeping plants watered will help maximize root growth before freezing weather arrives.

Already thinking about re-seeding? Choose the right cultivars!

(by Ward Upham and Jared Hoyle, KSU Research and Extension)

Though several cool-season grasses are grown in Kansas, tall fescue is considered the best adapted and is recommended for home lawns. The cultivar K-31 is the old standby and has been used for years. However, there is a myriad of newer cultivars that have improved color, density and a finer leaf texture. Most of these newer varieties are very close to one another in quality.  Each year the National Turfgrass Evaluation Trial rates tall fescue varieties for color, greenup, quality and texture. Quality ratings are taken once a month from March through October. K-31 consistently rates at the bottom. The recommended cultivars were 3rd Millennium, Braveheart, Bullseye, Catalyst, Cochise, Corona, Escalade, Faith, Falcon V, Firecracker, Firenza, Jamboree, LS 1200, Monet, Mustang, Raptor II, Rhambler SRP, RK5, Shenandoah III, Shenandoah Elite, Sidewinder, Spyder LS, Talladega, Turbo and Wolfpack II. There are a number of other cultivars that did not make this list but should do well in Kansas. Go to http://ntep.org/data/tf06/tf06_12-10f/tf0612ft04.txt . Any variety with a mean rating of 6.0 or above should be fine. K-31 has a rating of 4.1. Keep in mind that mixes of several varieties may allow you to take advantage of differing strengths. It is not necessary for mixes to contain only the varieties mentioned above.  Though K-31 may still be a good choice for large, open areas, the new cultivars will give better performance for those who desire a high-quality turf.

Though Kentucky bluegrass is not as heat and drought tolerant as tall fescue and the warm-season grasses, it is commonly used in northeastern Kansas, where there is sufficient annual rainfall. It is also grown under irrigation in northwestern Kansas where the higher elevation allows for cooler summer night temperatures. The following cultivars have performed well compared to other bluegrasses in this region. Use this list as a guide. Omission does not necessarily mean that a cultivar will not perform well. Recommended cultivars for high-quality lawns, where visual appearance is the prime concern, include Alexa II, Aura, Award, Bewitched, Barrister, Belissimo, Beyond, Diva, Everest, Everglade, Excursion, Ginney II, Granite, Impact, Midnight, NuChicago, NuGlade, NuDestiny, Rhapsody, Rhythm, Rugby, Skye, Solar Eclipse, STR 2485, Sudden Impact, Washington and Zifandel. Such lawns should receive 4 to 5 pounds nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year and would typically be irrigated during dry periods to prevent drought stress.  Cultivars that do relatively well under a low-maintenance program with limited watering often differ from those that do well under higher inputs. Good choices for low maintenance include Baron, Baronie, Caliber, Canterbury, Dragon, Eagleton, Envicta, Kenblue, North Star, and South Dakota. Instead of the 4 to 5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year, low-maintenance program would include 1 to 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year. Obviously, a low-input lawn will not be as attractive as a higher-input lawn, but you can expect the cultivars listed above to look fairly good in the spring and fall, while going dormant in the summer.

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.