Kansas State University


K-State Turfgrass

Tag: research

# KSUTURF Teaching, Research and Extension at its BEST!

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

We have a lot going on out at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center in Manhattan, KS.  One project is about 3 acres of new research plots with irrigation.  With the support and donations from CiteOne, Hunter, MidWest Laser Leveling, Ewing, Netfim and others (I apologize if I have left anyone out, it has been a long week) we will have new areas for future research, teaching and extension programs.  From the entire Horticulture and Natural Resources department we thank you for making this project possible!

One of the best parts of this project is being able to incorporate the Horticulture Irrigation Class.  They have been hard at work with the installation of the research plots.  From laying out the plots to digging trenches they get hands on experience with irrigation installation.

This is a great project because it is not only research plots but it is a teaching and learning experience for undergraduate students.

Enjoy the pictures and as you can see we had some issues with mother nature!  There will be more to come but just wanted to let everyone know how the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources is combining the three missions of a land-grant university of Teaching, Research and Extension for Kansas.

img_1298 img_1302img_1301 img_1303 img_1309 img_1310 img_1318 img_1362 img_1345 img_1348

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.


The 2016 Turfgrass Research Reports Now Online!

(By Jared Hoyle: KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Every year we create new turfgrass research reports.  This year we have lots of new information from the release of a new zoysiagrass to unmanned aircraft systems for drought monitoring.

photo contest

Listed below is a list of topics and links to the 2016 reports.  Enjoy!

  1.  Release of KSUZ 0802 Zoysiagrass
    J. Fry and Ambika Chandra
  2. Nitrous Oxide Emissions and Carbon Sequestration in Turfgrass: Effects of Irrigation and Nitrogen Fertilization (Year 1)
    R. Braun, D. Bremer, and J. Fry
  3. Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Detect Turfgrass Drought
    D. Bremer and Deon van der Merwe
  4. 2013 National Turfgrass Evaluation Program Bermudagrass Test: 2015 Data
    L. Parsons, J. Griffin, and J. Hoyle
  5. 2012 National Turfgrass Evaluation Program Tall Fescue Test: 2015 Data
    L. Parsons, M. Kennelly, J. Griffin, and J. Hoyle
  6. Influence of Glyphosate Timings on Conversion of Golf Course Rough from Tall Fescue to ‘Sharps Improved II’ Buffalograss
    J. Reeves, J. Hoyle, D. Bremer, and S. Keeley
  7. Late Pre-Emergent Control of Annual Bluegrass with Flazasulfuron & Indaziflam
    J. Reeves and J. Hoyle
  8. Evaluating the Effects of Simulated Golf Cart Traffic on Dormant Buffalograss and Turfgrass Colorants
    E. Alderman, J. Hoyle, J. Fry, and S. Keeley
  9. Preventative Control of Brown Patch with Select Fungicides
    E. Alderman, J. Reeves, and J. Hoyle
  10. Development of Cold Hardy, Large Patch Resistant Zoysiagrass Cultivars for the Transition Zone
    Mingying Xiang, J. Fry, and M. Kennelly
  11. Evaluating Zoysiagrass-Tall Fescue Mixtures in Kansas
    Mingying Xiang, J. Fry, and M. Kennelly

Scholarship and Research Tournament – Thank You!

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

I’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Kansas Golf Course Superintendents Association Scholarship and Research Tournament.

The event was held on June 14 at Firekeeper Golf Course. Thanks to Superintendent Rob Christie, Assistant Superintendent Dan Rhule, and the crew for all their hard work getting the site ready. Thanks to Randy Towner, the General Manager and Golf Pro. Thanks to everyone else on staff for making us feel welcome.

In addition, thank you so much for the event sponsors. Here is a list from the KGCSA website showing all the sponsors for the day:


Finally, thanks to everyone who came and participated. The funds are used to support KSU scholarships and research. The KSU Turf Team really appreciates your support!

Here are some more pictures from Christy Dipman:

Host Rob Christie:


Mark Willmore and Cliff Dipman. Cliff runs the operations at Rocky Ford and Mark takes care of our turf research area at the Olathe research and extension center.


A fun day was had by all!







Raise the roof! Rocky Ford rainout shelter is ready for 2016 research

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)


The turf team took advantage of a calm morning to raise the plastic on our stationary rain-out shelter at Rocky Ford. It takes a lot of bodies to hoist the plastic across the structure. We all got our workout for the day. Ross Braun, PhD student,will be investigating the physiology and performance of Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, buffalograss, and zoysiagrass under drought stress and different management scenarios (mowing height and traffic). IMG_2442 IMG_2440 IMG_2441


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.

Spring fertilizer won’t make large patch worse

Can I fertilize my zoysiagrass now? I’m seeing large patch.



Large patch is caused by Rhizoctonia solani AG 2-2LP. Brown patch of cool season turf is caused by closely related strains of R. solani. We know that fertilizer during brown patch season will enhance disease.

So – does spring fertilization increase the severity of large patch?

KSU collaborated with Dr. Lee Miller at University of Missouri to answer this exact question. The paper was just published in Crop, Forage, & Turfgrass Management and the abstract appears HERE. One of the authors, Ross Braun, worked on this project as part of his M.S. project.

At both sites, we applied fertilizer (calcium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, or urea) when the 5-day 2-inch soil temperatures reached 60 or 70ᵒF in spring or fell to 70ᵒF in fall. On those dates, the turf received 0.75 lb N/1,000 sq feet. Those treatments also received some summer nitrogen, too, with 0.25 lb N/1,000 in each of June, July, and August. So, all treatments received a total of 1.5 pounds N/1,000 sq feet/year. These early spring, late spring, and fall treatments were compared to summer-only controls which also received a total of 1.5 lb N/1,000 sq ft applied as 0.5 pounds in each of June, July, and August. We measured percent green cover using digital image analysis. Both studies were done in the cultivar ‘Meyer’ at fairway height.

Image of plot, and digital image with green pixels captured:

example example-reverse

The grand summary is that the spring fertilizer applications at either 60 or 70ᵒF did not lead to higher large patch severity compared to the standard summer-only treatment. This builds on and confirms prior KSU work by PhD student Ken Obasa  (click HERE for the abstract of the publication) where we also found that spring applications did not enhance disease, though in that study we did not use defined soil temperature thresholds. In that study we found that spring and fall fertility sometimes had greater green color than summer fertility treatments.

Right now in Manhattan, our 2-inch average soil temps are in the low to mid-60’s, so we are in the range where those spring fertilizer applications were shown to be “safe.” We did not look at fertility at temperatures lower than that. So, you should be in the clear, and a little N may boost green color and help you grow out of the disease symtoms.

What about nitrogen source? On some of the rating dates at both sites, disease severity was higher in plots treated with ammonium sulfate compared to other sources. The effect was not huge, but was significant, so you might want to shy away from ammonium sulfate if you have some large patch at your site.

Dr. Miller’s program is following up with even more studies to hone in on large patch and cultural practices, so we will stay tuned to see how those turn out.

Kansas State Student Chapter GCSAA Yard Cleanup Drive

We are writing this letter to inform everyone that the Kansas State Student Chapter Golf Course Superintendents of America Association is offering yard cleanup to anyone interested. We will be offering winter cleanup and hauling away any debris you would like us too. We are doing this as a fundraiser to help us get to San Diego in February to attend the national Golf Course Industry show. Going to this trade show is more than just seeing all of the new things coming out in the industry, it is a great way to network for potential internships and employment after graduation. We will also be competing with schools from across the country at the Collegiate Turf bowl, which is hosted by John Deere every year. Our goals are to represent Kansas State University in the best manner possible and any help we can get is appreciated. We will be asking for donations for this cause, the recommended donation is $50. We are also offering yard painting for the winter if you would like to keep that lush green color, the recommended donation for that is also $50. The donations can be written in a check to the Kansas State Student Chapter GCSAA, or cash is always accepted. We will provide you with a receipt for the transaction. If you are interested in having your yard cleaned by us you can contact us by phone: (620) 224-6109 or email: nlstark@ksu.edu. If you have any questions feel free to contact us as well.

Thank you,

The Kansas State Student Chapter GCSAA

KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, Ross Braun, Receives Awards

Ross Braun, Ph.D. student in Turfgrass Science has been selected as a recipient of the 2015 Chris Stiegler Turfgrass Science Student Travel Award.  His application was one of the top 6 out mainly highly qualified applicants. The award check for $1,000 will be presented to him during the Division C-5 Turfgrass Science Business Meeting, which is on Wednesday, November 18, 10:00 am in Room 101DE in the Minneapolis Convention Center.

picture for Stiegler award post

Ross Braun, Ph.D. student in Turfgrass Science won second place among 190 entries in the Agronomy, Crop, Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting Photo Contest. His photo, along with 11 others, will be part of the photo contest display at the November 15-18 Annual Meeting (https://www.acsmeetings.org/) near Society Center in the Exhibit Hall in Minneapolis, MN. The winners and honorable mentions will be part of a looping PowerPoint during Exhibit Hall hours. It will also be on the three Societies’ web sites at the end of this year.

photo contest

New Fine-Textured, Cold-Hardy Zoysiagrass on the Horizon

‘Meyer’ zoysiagrass was released in 1952, and is still widely used in the transition zone due, in large part, to its excellent cold hardiness. However, as good as Meyer is, it has limitations, including a medium coarse leaf texture and inferior density compared to Zoysia matrella-type cultivars. In 2004, researchers at K-State and Texas A&M AgriLife Research-Dallas began working together to develop dense, fine-textured zoysiagrasses that are as cold hardy as Meyer. Eleven years later, the first zoysiagrass from this effort, KSUZ 0802 (a formal name is forthcoming), has been approved for release by K-State, and is expected to be approved for release by Texas A&M this autumn.

KSUZ 0802 is a fine-textured, cold-tolerant zoysiagrass hybrid co-developed by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Dallas, TX and the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station, Manhattan, KS. KSUZ 0802 is a F1 interspecific hybrid developed in 2001 from a cross between Z. matrella (L). Merr. cv. ‘Cavalier’ and an ecotype of Z. japonica Steud. named ‘Anderson 1’, a derivative of ‘Chinese Common’ which was collected from rough areas at Alvamar Golf Course in Lawrence, KS. Cavalier is a high quality Z. matrella cultivar, but lacks the hardiness to be used in the upper transition zone. By crossing it with Chinese Common, which is cold hardy, we have created a cultivar that has Z. matrella-like quality, but with good cold hardiness. KSUZ 0802 must be propagated vegetatively.

fig1 zoysia

Initially, over 800 individual, genetically different hybrids were developed at Texas A&M AgriLife Research – Dallas in 2001. Grasses were planted in Manhattan, KS in 2004 and evaluated for quality and winter survival between 2004 and 2006. KSUZ 0802 was one of 31 hybrids selected for further evaluation at Manhattan in 2007 and 2008 under golf course conditions. These 31 were later narrowed to 7 hybrids, including KSUZ 0802, which were evaluated at nine locations in the transition zone under typical lawn or golf course fairway management conditions from 2009 to 2012. These locations were Wichita and Manhattan, KS; Columbia, MO; Fletcher and Jackson Springs, NC; Stillwater, OK; Knoxville, TN; Virginia Beach, and Blacksburg, VA; and Dallas, TX.

KSUZ 0802 has repeatedly demonstrated cold hardiness equivalent to Meyer in replicated field plot research (Fig. 1). Following a severe winter in 2013 in Manhattan, KS, KSUZ 0802 and Meyer had >99% survival; conversely, ‘Empire’ (Z. japonica) had 78% survival, ‘Zeon’ (Z. matrella) had 72% survival, and a large number of experimental Z. matrella selections had <50% survival (Thompson et al. 2013). Freezing tolerance studies conducted under controlled conditions at K-State showed that KSUZ 0802 had an LT50 (lethal temperature that kills 50% of the tillers) that was statistically similar to Meyer in two consecutive winters (Okeyo et al., 2011). Observed LT50 ranged from – 8.4 to – 10.3º C (17 to 14 º F) for KSUZ 0802 and from – 10.7 to – 12.0º C (13 to 10 º F) for Meyer. Based upon the results from research, KSUZ 0802 can be used as far north as zone 6a on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map (http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/).


In general, KSUZ 0802 has a finer leaf texture and better density relative to Meyer, which results in better overall turf quality (Fig. 2 and 3). Average turf quality of KSUZ 0802 (average rating of 6.1 on a 1 to 9 scale) was higher than Meyer (average rating of 5.5) maintained at lawn height in Wichita, Kansas; Jackson Springs, NC; Stillwater, OK; Dallas, TX; and Blacksburg, VA. At fairway height, quality of KSUZ 0802 (average of 6.9) was superior to Meyer (average of 5.6) at the two locations it was evaluated – Manhattan, KS and Stillwater, OK.

fig 3

To summarize aforementioned results, and other research that has been with KSUZ 0802, its freezing tolerance, spring green-up and fall color retention are equivalent to Meyer, but it has a finer leaf texture than Meyer. KSUZ 0802 is also superior to Meyer for turfgrass quality and resistance to bluegrass billbug (Sphenophorus parvulus) damage. KSUZ 0802 is well suited for use on golf course fairways and tees, home lawns, and other recreational areas in the transition zone. It is currently under evaluation by sod growers in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Indiana and North Carolina. If you have questions about KSUZ 0802, or interest in producing it, contact either Jack Fry (jfry@ksu.edu) or Ambika Chandra (a-chandra@tamu.edu).


Funding tosupport the development of KSUZ 0802 came from a number of sources, including the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the Kansas Turfgrass Foundation, the Heart of America Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Kansas Golf Course Superintendents Association, and the Kansas Golf Association. also acknowledge others who contributed to this research: Genovesi, Meghyn Meeks, and Milt Engelke, Texas A&M AgriLife Research; Qi Zhang,Okeyo, Jason Griffin, and Linda Parsons,-State; Justin Moss, Oklahoma State Univ.; Erik Ervin, Virginia Tech; Xi Xiong, Univ. of Missouri; Susana Milla-Lewis, North Carolina State Univ.; andBrosnan, Univ. of Tennessee. you!

(Jack Fry and Ambika Chandra)