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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

Low Water Use Turfgrass Event – Hays, KS

Tuesday evening, Sept. 20 is set for the annual Horticulture Night at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center in Hays. This year the emphasis is on low water use turfgrass demonstration plots, tomato and pepper varietal trials, and the Prairie Star flower performance trials.  The event is scheduled later in the summer this year than usual so attendees can better view the results of the complete season.

Dr. Jared Hoyle will be there to answer any turfgrass questions you might have!

http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/news-stories/2016-news-releases/august/horticulturenight-hays.html

 

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Converting Tall Fescue to Buffalograss – VIDEO

(By Jake Reeves and Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Are you thinking about converting your tall fescue lawn into buffalograss?  If you are, new research is currently being conducted at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center in Manhattan, KS to pin down the best herbicide application timing to reduce the amount of time that you don’t have turf in your lawn.

Check out the video here of KSU Turfgrass Research Technician, Jake Reeves, discuss this research and how it will impact turfgrass areas across Kansas.

KSU & KDOT Collaborate on Roadside Research Project

Kansas State University, Assistant Professor Jared Hoyle, PhD, along with researchers Jacob Reeves and Evan Alderman, are studying turfgrass on a plot of land on  U.S. 283 near WaKeeney. The two-year-study is testing the right blend of turfgrass that will do well on Kansas roadsides. Please watch the video and let Hoyle explain what they are doing on the side of the road, and how it will be beneficial to all roadsides in Kansas.

http://kansastransportation.blogspot.com/2016/06/growing-turf-grass.html

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.”

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

Buffalograss Divot Recovery as Affected by Nitrogen Source and Rate

(by Evan Alderman and Jared A. Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

With increasing drought conditions and decreasing water supplies, drought tolerant turfgrass species are being explored for use on golf courses. With over 1.2 million acres of irrigated turfgrass in the United States, water conservation has become an issue throughout the turfgrass industry (Throssell et al., 2009). In recent years, the conversion from cool- to warm-season turfgrass species has become more acceptable in the transition zone. Golf courses in the Kansas City area converting tees and fairways from creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera L.] to zoysiagrass [Zoysia japonica Steud.] could reduce irrigation annually by 5,767,570 gal while reducing irrigation costs by up to $28,403 (Fry et al., 2008). In Kansas, the Ogallala aquifer provides up to 80% of the water used, although years of pumping has led to a steady decline in water levels (Buchanan et al., 2001). The use of drought tolerant turfgrass species would help conserve water supplies.

Buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm] is a native, drought tolerant, warm-season turfgrass species used for lawns, parks, athletic fields, roadsides, and golf courses in the Great Plains (Wenger, 1943; Beard, 1973; Fry, 1995; McCarty, 1995; Fry and Huang, 2004). Utilization of buffalograss on golf courses could lead to reduced water consumption while maintaining a reasonably dense playing surface.

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Previous research has demonstrated that buffalograss can be maintained as an acceptable fairway turf with proper management practices. Buffalograss responds to nitrogen (N) fertility, and studies in Nebraska and Colorado have shown increased buffalograss quality, color, and growth with increasing N (Falkenberg 1982; Frank et al., 2004).

 

 

Golf course turf is frequently damaged by divots produced by players’ clubs when striking the ball. Although acceptable fairway buffalograss quality and playability can be achieved through proper fertility, divot recovery is of concern due to slow growth characteristics and minimal fertility requirements. Research is needed to evaluate buffalograss fertility management to maximize divot recovery. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of N source and rate on ‘Cody’ buffalograss fairway divot recovery.

Field studies were initiated in August of 2014 at the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center (RF) in Manhattan, KS and July 2014 at Council Grove Country Club (CG) in Council Grove, Kansas. Mowing was conducted twice weekly at 0.625 in and 1.00 inch at RF and CG, respectively. After study initiation, irrigation was only applied to prevent drought stress and water in fertilizer treatments. To prevent drought stress, approximately 1.5 inch of supplemental irrigation was applied at each site over the experimental periods.

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Treatments consisted of two N sources and four rates. Nitrogen sources were a quick release urea fertilizer (46-0-0) and a 120-day controlled release polymer-coated urea (PCU) (43-0-0). Nitrogen rates were 0, 1, 2, and 3 lb N/1,000 ft2. Nitrogen from urea was applied in two equal applications; one at study initiation and the other four weeks after initiation (WAI). All N from PCU was applied at trial initiation. Prior to treatment application, divots were created using a custom built edger.

 

Buffalograss’ low water requirements and its ability to be maintained at fairway mowing heights make it very valuable in low input turfgrass management systems. From the data collected in this study, applying a quick release N fertilizer at 1 to 3 lb N/1,000 ft2 will result in a shorter duration to reach 50% divot recovery compared to buffalograss receiving no N. Applying 1lb N/1,000 ft2 of a quick release product was determined to be the optimal fertilization rate to reach 50% divot recovery (2.5 weeks). This study has shown that under limited irrigation situations and with minimal fertilization, buffalograss exhibits improved divot recovery and, thus, playability in low input turfgrass management systems.

Literature Cited

Beard, J.B. 1973. Turfgrass: science and culture. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Falkenberg, D.F. 1982. Buffalograss, blue grama, and fairway wheatgrass for dryland turf. M.S.Thesis. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, Colorado.

Frank, K.W., R.E. Gaussoin, T.P. Riordan, R.C. Shearman, J.D. Fry, E.D. Miltner, and P.G. Johnson. 2004. Nitrogen rate and mowing height effects on turf-type buffalograss. Crop Sci.44:1615-1621.

Fry, J.D. 1995. Establishing buffalograss. Golf Course Management. 63(4): 58-62.

Fry, J.D. and B. Huang. 2004. Applied turfgrass science and physiology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.

Fry, J.D., M. Kennelly, and R. St. John. 2008. Zoysiagrass: economic and environmental sense in the transition zone. GCM May 2008, 127 – 132.

McCarty, L.B. 1995. Buffalograss, description and use. University of Florida CooperativeExtension Service. p. 1-4.

Throssell, C.S., G.T. Lyman, M.E. Johnson, and G.A. Stacey. 2009. Golf course environmental profile measures water use, source, cost, quality, and management and conservation strategies. Online. Applied Turfgrass Science doi:10.1094/ATS-2009-0129-01-RS.

Wenger, L.E. 1943. Buffalo grass. Agricultural Experiment Station. Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. Manhattan, KS. Bulletin 321.

Whats new at #ksuturf farms in Manhattan and Olathe?

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

This summer has been a crazy one.  We have been getting ready for field day in Olathe on August 6th (Hope to see everyone out there! – Register here – http://www.eventbrite.com/e/kansas-turf-ornamentals-field-day-tickets-16109376579) but there are a lot of new projects that graduate students, faculty and staff are up to.  Here is just a list of what is going on and we will be talking more about it at field day and at Annual Turfgrass Conference in December!

We have a new GPS navigated robot mower being tested out at Rocky Ford in Manhattan.

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Pre- and Post-emergent herbicide trials at Olathe and and Manhattan. (Photo form Olathe).

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Influence of tall fescue mowing height on crabgrass populations demonstration at Olathe.

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I have been traveling everywhere. (Had to throw that in there)

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New zoysaigrass variety trials at Rocky Ford in Manhattan.

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Ross Braun (KSU Turfgrass PhD Graduate Student) has been evaluating multiple turfgrass species, mowing height and traffic in drought conditions.

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Evan Alderman (KSU Turfgrass MS Graduate Student) installed a new fairway (5/8″) of ‘Cody’ buffalograss at Rocky Ford.

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There is a new ornamental herbicide testing facility installed at the forest research center in Manhattan to evaluate potential turfgrass herbicides to ornamental plants.

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The use of adjuvants with Pylex  and triclopyr combination demonstration trial at Olathe. Brown patch control research trial was installed at Olathe this summer. New granular products for broadleaf weed control (Olathe – Photos not shown).

Dr. Bremer and Ross Braun (KSU Turfgrass PhD Graduate Student) has been studying greenhouse gas emissions under drought conditions at Rocky Ford.

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More traveling…

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Lastly, I would like to congratulate Dr. Zane Raudembush for completing his PhD this past spring.  Good luck in all your do Zane.

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This is not all of what have been going on but just wanted to share some of the pictures of some of the new things that are going on here in the KSU Turfgrass Program.

Don’t forget to come out to field day August 6th and see some of the research that we have been conducting.  Thanks and have a great rest of the week!

Jared

 

Winter Golf Cart Traffic and Turfgrass Paints

(by Evan Alderman and Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

IMG_2679As some of you may know there is currently a lot of research right now at Kansas State University focusing on the use of buffalograss, and how it can be better utilized to lower water usage. We are looking at many different aspects of buffalograss in homelawns, golf courses, roadsides, parks, athletic fields and more. But one question that repeateadly comes across KSU Turfgrass Extension desk is how does buffalograss hold up against golf cart traffic on a golf course.   Research is currently being conducted to see how buffalograss handles simulated golf cart traffic during the summer months, but how does it handle golf cart traffic in the winter? And how can we conserve water going into the winter months?

One way is turfgrass colorants! There is a lot of research conducted on the dormant application of turfgrass colorants instead of overseeding the dormant warm-season turf. But how do these colorants stand the time when subjected to normal golf cart traffic?

The objectives of this research were to;

  1. Investigate the longevity of turf colorants when subjected to simulated golf cart traffic
  2. Explore the effects of turf colorants on buffalograss at fairway height
  3. Evaluate the effects of simulated golf cart traffic on dormant buffalograss.

As summer is approaching and a blistery winter has passed us, the first year of this research has come to an end.

Three turfgrass colorants (Endurant, Endurant Premium, and Green Lawnger) and a overseeded treatment (Perennial Ryegrass @ 10lb./1000ft2) were investigated over a period of 24 weeks beginning in late October of 2014. The colorants were applied at 43 gal/ Acre at a 1:6 dilution (colorant to water). Traffic was applied weekly at 0, 2, 4, or 8 passes with a golf cart traffic simulator. Traffic was not applied if day temperatures did not reach 40°F or the turfgrass plots were covered with snow.

wintertrafficThe data in Table 1 represents evaluations for percent green cover. As the weeks progressed percent green color decreased for all treatments presented. At 12 weeks after treatment it should be noted that with 0 and 2 passes of traffic weekly, Endurant Premium had more green cover than the overseeded treatment at those traffic levels.

Turfgrass colorants could be a viable option to help with water conservation efforts. Turfgrass colorants performed best when traffic was not applied. If traffic is applied to an area with turfgrass colorants, repeat applications of the colorant may be needed.

IMG_2686At 24 weeks after treatment it can be seen that all treatments are starting to green up after the long winter, with treatments receiving no traffic having the highest percent green cover.

To all the golf course superintendents that allow traffic on your buffalograss in the winter, be aware that in the spring you are going to have to increase your management practice to get that buffalograss to recover before the summer. The buffalograss eventually will recover but…why do you want to start from behind in the spring?

***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

Evan Alderman Explains What His Research Is All About! (Video)

(By Jared Hoyle and Evan Alderman, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Back in October I wrote a blog post about some of the research that KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, Evan Alderman, was conducting this past winter on dormant buffalograss.

http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/dormant-buffalograss-research-update/

Now it is getting warmer and we are awaiting to see the effect of winter golf cart traffic on a buffalograss fairway and turfgrass colorant longevity.  Evan recorded a short video of what he did this winter.  As soon as we get some results we will be able to share with you what golf cart traffic is doing to your buffalograss fairways in the winter time.  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

New KSU Research and Extension Buffalograss Lawns Publication – Online!

(by Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

We have been working hard reformatting the Turfgrass Extension Publications and have started updating with new content.  The first one off the press is about Buffalograss.

Check it out online!

http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=1447