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May Weekend Warrior Reminders

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

This time of year we can be caught of guard when it comes to maintaining our lawn.  Today we have some reminders about maintaining cool-season turfgrass for all you weekend warriors out there!

  • Reminder – Avoid frequent watering to reduce weeds germination and disease.
  • May is time for fertilizing cool-season turfgrass that is going to be irrigated. (See information below from Ward Upham.)
  • Mowing Tip – Only remove 1/3 of the leaf blade at a time and make sure you mow your lawn at the recommended mowing height. For more information on mowing your lawn – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF1155.pdf 
  • Mowing Tip #2 – Retuning your clippings to the lawn can return up to 25% of fertilizer nutrients that would be lost if clippings were to be removed. – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF2110.pdf

Fertilize Irrigated Cool-season Lawns in May By Ward Upham

May is an excellent time to fertilize cool-season lawns such as
tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass if they will be irrigated throughout
the summer. Non-irrigated lawns often go through a period of summer
dormancy because of drought and do not need this fertilization.
May is a good time to fertilize because the springtime flush of
growth characteristic of these grasses has tapered off, so the
fertilizer you apply will be less likely to cause excessive shoot growth
than if you fertilized at a full rate in April. Slow-release nitrogen
sources are ideal. These nitrogen sources promote controlled growth,
which is desirable as the stressful summer weather approaches.
Relatively few fertilizers available to the homeowner supply ALL of the
nitrogen in the slowly available form. But one such product that is
widely available is Milorganite. Other such products available in the
retail market include cottonseed meal, alfalfa-based fertilizers, and
any other products derived from plants or animals. (Bloodmeal is an
exception, and contrary to popular belief, the nitrogen it supplies is
quickly available.) These products are all examples of natural organic
fertilizers. They typically contain less than 10 percent nitrogen by
weight, so compared to most synthetic fertilizers, more product must be
applied to get the same amount of nitrogen. Translation: they are more
expensive! Apply enough to give the lawn one pound of nitrogen per 1,000
square feet. For example, if the fertilizer is 6 percent nitrogen by
weight, you will need to apply almost 17 pounds of fertilizer product
per 1,000 square feet. Summer lawn fertilizers that contain at least a
portion of the nitrogen as slow-release are fine to use as well. Be sure
to follow label directions. If cost is prohibitive, you can use the less
expensive quick-release (i.e., soluble) sources, but split the
application into two doses as follows: apply enough to give the lawn 0.5
lb nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in May and again in early June.

***** Reminder –  These are recommendations for cool-season turfgrass species!*****

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 

Weekend Warrior Turfgrass Lawn Care

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Finally I think we have turned the corner into Spring.  With that, I see more and more of my neighbors, and myself, working in the yard.  I get excited when the turf starts to turn green.  But before I get too carried away I want to get out on the right foot and planning is everything.  To help help you plan out your lawncare program below are monthly calendars for tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, buffalograss, bermudagrass and zoysiagrass.

Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass Lawns

https://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/a-homeowner-step-by-step-guide-to-bermudagrass-and-zoysiagrass-lawns/

Buffalograss Lawns

https://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/a-homeowner-step-by-step-buffalograss-lawn-guide/

Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass Lawns

https://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/a-homeowner-step-by-step-tall-fescue-and-kentucky-bluegrass-lawn-guide/

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

Brown Patch Resources

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Tall fescue [Festuca arundinacea Schreb.] is one of the most predominantly used cool-season turfgrass species in the transition zone. Its deep root system and coarse textured leafs lend to its ability to withstand drought, heat, and wear stress. Although it is well adapted to survive the summer months in Kansas, it can be susceptible to injury from disease. Brown patch [Rhizoctonia solani] is a disease that can damage leaf tissue, shoots, and the crown of tall fescue during the summer months. This disease is most prevalent during periods of high humidity, high temperature (above 80°F), and high nitrogen levels. During the mornings mycelia can be seen forming a “smoke ring” around the affected area. Applications of preventative fungicides have proven to be a successful management strategy in reducing the occurrence of brown patch incidences in tall fescue stands.

Here are some resources from the past about brown patch!

Last year Dr. Fry was seeing brown patch in May.  With moisture and warm nights brown patch can start to develop.  http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/im-not-ready-to-be-thinking-about-brown-patch-jack/

There are many products out there for brown patch control in turfgrass.  Which one is right for you.  Here is a quick update on research that was conducted at Olathe on some brown patch products. http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/best-way-to-get-your-turf-noticed-brown-patch/ 

Do you know what brown patch looks like?  Do you know how to tell the difference between turfgrass stress and the disease.  Dr. Kennelly can show you the difference. http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/is-this-brown-patch/

K-State Publications

Commercial Management of Brown Patch – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/EP146.pdf

Homeowner Management of Brown Patch – http://www.plantpath.k-state.edu/extension/documents/turf/Brown%20patch%20%20homeowners%202016.pdf

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.

Best way to get your turf noticed? – Brown Patch!

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

Megan posted last week about brown patch already showing up at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center in Manhattan, KS. So I wanted to share a little bit of research we conducted last year in Olathe about brown patch control. This way you know what to have ready to go when you need to make your brown patch application.

Rationale. Tall fescue [Festuca arundinacea Schreb.] is one of the most predominantly used cool-season turfgrass species in the transition zone. Its deep root system and coarse textured leafs lend to its ability to withstand drought, heat, and wear stress. Although it is well adapted to survive the summer months in Kansas, it can be susceptible to injury from disease. Brown patch [Rhizoctonia solani] is a disease that can damage leaf tissue, shoots, and the crown of tall fescue during the summer months. This disease is most prevalent during periods of high humidity, high temperature (above 80°F), and high nitrogen levels. During the mornings mycelia can be seen forming a “smoke ring” around the affected area. Applications of preventative fungicides have proven to be a successful management strategy in reducing the occurrence of brown patch incidences in tall fescue stands. With new fungicide formulations coming out every year, testing is needed to demonstrate the efficacy of these fungicides in reducing potential injury from disease.

Objectives. Evaluate Heritage Action and Velista for preventative control of brown patch in a perennial stand of tall fescue.

Study Description. A field study was initiated 18 June 2015 at the Kansas State University Olathe Horticultural Research Center in Olathe, KS on turf-type tall fescue maintained at 3 inch. Study was conducted as a randomized complete-block design, with three replications. Fungicides applied during this study were Heritage Action (Azoxystobin and Acibenzolar-S-methyl) and Velista (Penthiopyrad). Field study consisted of: an untreated control, Velista applied at 0.3 and 0.5 oz/1,000ft2, and Heritage Action applied at 0.2 oz/1,000ft2. Visual percent brown patch incidence was rated on a 0 to 100% scale every three weeks beginning at trial initiation. Means were separated according to Fisher’s Protected LSD test when P ≤ 0.05.

Table 1. Percent brown patch incidence on tall fescue with the application of preventative fungicides.
% Brown Patch Incidence†
Treatment 0 WAT‡ 3 WAT 6 WAT 9 WAT
Control 0 0 43.3 a§ 13.7
Velista 0.3 oz/1,000ft2 0 0 5.0 b 14.3
Velista 0.5 oz/1,000ft2 0 0 6.7 b 5.3
Heritage Action 0.2 oz/1,000ft2 0 0 0.0 b 0.3
† Percent brown patch incidence was visually rated on a 0-100% scale where 0% = no brown patch observed and 100% = plot completely affected by brown patch.
‡ Indicates weeks after treatment application.
§ Means in a column followed by the same letter are not significantly different according to Fisher’s protected LSD test, (P<0.05).

Results. All applications of the preventative fungicides resulted in minimal observations of brown patch. Six weeks after treatment application (WAT) Velista applied at 0.3 oz/1,000ft2 and 0.5 oz/1,000ft2 and Heritage Action resulted in 5%, 7%, and 0% brown patch incidence, respectively, when compared to an untreated control (43% brown patch incidence)(Table 1). Heritage Action performed best during this study with brown patch only being observed 9 WAT (0.3%). From this research, to decrease the chances of a brown patch incidence, apply a preventative fungicide before conditions are favorable for this disease. Repeat applications may be needed to ensure seasonal coverage.

 

 

brownpatch plots

Figure 1. Digital images of research plots 9 WAT, see Table 1 for the mean percent brown patch cover for each corresponding treatment.