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K-State Turfgrass

Author: Brooke Stiffler

Ice, Ice Baby.

By Dr. Jack Fry

Ice can cause many problems for turf, in various forms.

Ice Inside the Plant

Ice routinely forms inside plants when temperatures drop below freezing. Where the ice forms is important – when it’s outside the plant cells, it’s usually not an issue. This is called extracellular freezing.  However, no plant cell will survive when ice forms inside it.

The most important part of the turfgrass plant regarding survival is the crown, or growing point. Again, ice forming outside cells inside the crown is common and usually not harmful. It can become an issue, primarily in warm-season grasses, like bermudagrass, when temperatures are very cold for extended periods of time. This forces water inside cells to exit toward the ice (a matter of physics), and too much water leaving the cells will cause dehydration, which can cause the crown to die.

Freezing injury on bermuda is caused by ice forming outside cells within the crown of the plant that causes dehydration.

Ice formation inside cells of the crown commonly causes the death of grasses in the northern U.S, and it’s called intracellular freezing or crown hydration injury.  Usually, grasses that succumb to this type of injury become well hydrated in early spring, often growing in low areas that don’t drain well. Hydrated crowns that are then subjected to extremely low temperatures often suffer from ice formation inside cells of the crown;  when this occurs, they don’t survive. This is common in the northern U.S. on annual bluegrass on golf greens. It could also occur here, but would be most likely on warm-season grasses lying in low areas.

Ice Covering the Plant

Fortunately, in the central U.S., we don’t deal with extended periods of ice cover on turf. Ice cover can result from sleet, freezing rain, or snow melting and refreezing. Turf managers in the northern U.S. begin to worry about ice cover when it remains in place for about 60 days. That’s usually the limit for annual bluegrass – being under ice cover more than that can cause issues with lack of oxygen and/or accumulation of toxic gases under the ice

Ice on the Leaf Surface – Frost!

In a humid environment, when the leaf surfaces cool to temperatures below freezing, ice will form as frost on the leaves. Leaves of cool-season grasses tolerate frost on leaves just fine. Leaves of warm-season grasses don’t like frost, and we often see them go dormant shortly after the first hard frost in the fall.

Frost on the leaf surface can damage when foot or vehicle traffic causes the crystals to puncture the leaf cells (photo courtesy of Dr. Hoyle).

Frost is primarily a problem for turf managers in spring and fall on cool-season grasses. Foot or vehicle traffic pushes the ice crystals through the leaf surface and punctures cells, causing them to collapse. The result is that there is often brown turf where traffic was present. Honestly, I don’t think we know enough about the physics of ice that comprises frost, and I suspect that frost differs a lot – some ice forming on leaves may be more damaging than other ice.

Following are a few articles related to frost on turf.

For golfers:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/articles/2018/01/5-things-to-know–frost-delays.html

For superintendents managing golf courses:

https://www.golfcourseindustry.com/article/golf-frost-delay

Apparently, in Japan, golfers play year-round regardless of temperature.  Some courses ignore frost to sustain income and have had less damage than expected:

https://www.blog.asianturfgrass.com/2016/12/how-to-lose-120-million-yen-with-frost-delays.html

 

Seeding Tall Fescue in January? Sure!

By Dr. Jack Fry

Identifying seeding windows for cool-season grasses,  like tall fescue, in our region is often difficult because weather is so different year to year.  For example, for autumn seeding, October 15 is often suggested as the deadline for seeding in northeast Kansas.  Seeding after that date doesn’t mean that there won’t be success – some years there may be, others year not.  The concern is that germination and emergence may still occur after mid-October.  However, the seedling that emerges may not mature to a point where it can survive the cold, dry conditions common during Midwest winters.

Following the mid October deadline, the next window for seeding opens around Thanksgiving and continues into March.  We call it “dormant” seeding.  Dormant seeding means that the grasses out in the lawn now are dormant and not growing.  In addition, the seed you scatter in mid-winter will also remain “dormant” until warmer conditions and moisture return in the spring.  Unfortunately, some of us remain dormant until spring as well – outdoor work in midwinter may not sound attractive.  Tall fescue germination is optimized between soil temperatures of 59 and 72 F, so seed applied in winter will remain inactive in the soil until it warms to near 60 F, and it will then begin to germinate.  Other grasses are also candidates for dormant seeding as well, including other species of cool-season grasses, buffalograss, and bermudagrass.

Seed-to-soil contact is critical.  If conditions are dry, vertical mowing or slit seeding may be possible.  In addition, a light topdressing of soil applied over seed can also maximize seed-to-soil contact.  Seeding on frozen soil is also possible, and seed-to-soil contact is improved as the soil thaws and freezes, which creates cracks in the surface in which seed can lie.  Covering or mixing seed with the soil, where it will likely remain for a number of weeks before germination, also prevents it from being a source of food for birds and rodents.

Twenty years ago, Ward Upham, Extension Associate in Horticulture and Natural Resources, did a study to evaluate dormant seeding month effects on tall fescue cover in May.  He seeded plots on the 15th of each month from December through March onto bare soil that had been tilled and raked.  On May 18, plots seeded in February and March each had an average of 80% coverage.  December and January seedings were each at about 60% coverage.  Ward suspected that having seed out in the environmental longer made in subject to erosion and consumption by animals.

Advantages to Dormant Seeding:

  • Sometimes it is drier in mid-winter than early spring, which allows outside work to be done. Seeding in April and May can be difficult months for seeding during frequent rainfall.
  • Spring emergence will occur at the earliest possible date.
  • There may be more time and labor available now that’s not available in the spring.

Disadvantages to Dormant Seeding:

  • Weather doesn’t always cooperate, and midwinter may be too wet to get it done. However, if just small areas are needing seed, that can be done by hand.
  • Stand establishment may not be as successful as seen with autumn seeding, the preferred time. And, just like spring seeding, weed competition will be greater as the stand matures.
  • Preemergence herbicides applied in late fall or in spring may inhibit germination and growth of the seedlings. Preemergence herbicides that can be used in the tall fescue seedbed include siduron (Tupersan) and mesotrione (Tenacity).

Thank you for a wonderful Turfgrass Conference!

By: Brooke Garcia

We would like to THANK YOU for attending the 69th Annual Kansas Turfgrass Conference in Manhattan, KS!

This three day conference was hosted in Manhattan, KS on December 4th, 5th, and 6th. The conference is hosted by the Kansas Turfgrass Foundation, in conjunction with KNLA. This was the first year this conference was located in Manhattan, and we have received a lot of great feedback. Thank you to everyone who shared their input. We appreciate all of our participants who were able to attend, learn, and grow at this conference.

We would like to especially thank our featured speakers. They are pictured above from left to right (From Left: Dr. Josh Friell, Dr. Frank Wong, Dr. Roch Gaussoin, and Dr. Matthew Elmore). In addition to our featured speakers, we had a variety of sessions that were led by university faculty, companies, and leaders in the turf industry. Whether you’re new to the turf industry or a seasoned professional, everyone was provided with an opportunity to learn something new.

In addition, we would like to express our gratitude to all of our vendors who participated in the conference, as well as offered their sponsorship. Thank you for taking your time to network with the many participants who attended the conference.

Thank you for a wonderful way to end the year! Happy Holidays!

Student Spotlight: Nic Mitchell

By Brooke Garcia

Meet Nic Mitchell! 

Mitchell is currently enrolled at Kansas State University pursing his Master’s degree in Horticulture, with an emphasis in Turfgrass Science and Weed Science. His undergraduate degree is from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Turfgrass and Landscape Management.

So we asked him….why Turfgrass? 

Mitchell highlighted his love for turfgrass began around the time when his parents let him mow the lawn. He grew up on a nine-hole golf course in Aurora, Nebraska, and he became interested in the various mowers and different heights of cut.

Mitchell also shared his passion for playing golf. He had the opportunity to work several summers at his hometown golf course, where his interest in turfgrass continued to grow. Throughout his college studies, he eventually changed majors to pursue Turfgrass Management. This opened the doors to a variety of unique learning opportunities, including an internship in Jackson, Wyoming and a marketing internship with WinField United. These experiences helped Mitchell realize that he wanted to work in the turfgrass industry.

Dr. Jared Hoyle presented Mitchell with the opportunity to attend Kansas State University to work towards his M.S. Mitchell says that he has had a wonderful experience, and he is forever grateful for the opportunity to be apart of the K-State family.

Let’t talk research. 

Mitchell’s research is focused around Herbicide Programs for Seasonal Windmillgrass Control. Here is what Mitchell has to say about his research:

Windmillgrass (Chloris verticillata Nutt.) is a problematic perennial grassy weed commonly found in the mid-west. Currently, there are the only two labeled chemical control options in turfgrass. Tenacity (mesotrione) is labeled for two applications for control while Pylex (topramezone) is labeled for a single application for control. We conducted research to determine if a single application of a common selective perennial grass herbicides would completely control windmillgrass, and to their efficacy when applied at spring, summer, and fall application timings. The next research study that we conducted was to explore the addition of triclopyr to mesotrione, topramezone, and fenoxaprop as well as triclopyr alone. Sequential applications of these herbicides and herbicide combinations were also applied. The last research trial we conducted was to determine the effects of windmillgrass response to glyphosate at different rates with fall applications similar to common recommended perennial weed control options.”

What’s next for Nic Mitchell?

Mitchell will be finishing up his M.S. program this December. His thesis presentation is on December 2nd, 2019 at 12:00pm in Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center. Following his thesis, he will be working for Corteva Agriscience as an Associate Territory Manager with their Turf and Ornamental business. Wish him the best of luck on his future endeavors!

See below for more information on his thesis presentation:

It’s beginning to look a lot like…. Christmas!

By Brooke Garcia

In the greenhouses at Kansas State University, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful poinsettias growing. This isn’t the first place I have seen them around town, as garden centers and grocery stores are stocking up as well. However, the poinsettias currently at K-State are truly unique varieties. Who knew there were pink poinsettias? I had no idea!

The 1200 poinsettias featured in the K-State greenhouses are used for both research and teaching purposes. There are 37 students currently enrolled in Dr. Kimberly Williams’ Greenhouse Operations Management course, and they produce these poinsettias to learn more about managing plants in a greenhouse environment. The poinsettias featured below are just a few of my favorites: 

Christmas Traditions                                          Ferrara   

         

Golden Glo                                                    J’Adore Pink

Mars White                                               Premium Marble

Premium Picasso                                     XMas Beauty Marble

Many of these poinsettias will be included in the “Friends of the KSU Gardens Annual Poinsettia Sale” in the KSU Gardens Quinlan Visitor’s Center, located in Manhattan, KS. The dates for the sale are listed below:

  • Nov. 22, 2019: 12:00-5:30pm
  • Dec. 4th, 2019: 3:00-5:30pm
  • Dec. 6th, 2019: 11:30am-2:00pm

The poinsettias are in a 6.5 inch pot for $10.00 each. There will also be 10″ Centerpieces sold for $15.00. Cash or check only; no credit cards.

For more information about poinsettias, be sure to check out the two new articles on the Horticulture e-Newsletter blog. Link to the individual articles below:

Upcoming Commercial Pesticide Applicator Training

By Brooke Garcia & Frannie Miller

Upcoming Commercial Pesticide Applicator Training

Date: November 12-14, 2019 in Salina, KS – Webster Conference Center

Website: https://conferences.k-state.edu/commercialpesticide/

Objective: The objective of this training program is for the Kansas State University Cooperative Education Service to provide a broad, practical training program and to help Kansas commercial pesticide applicators meet the requirements for renewal certification.

ALL commercial certified pesticide applicators are required to accumulate credit hours if re-certifying through training.

In Kansas, there are two ways to receive training for renewal certification: 1) study a manual and pass an examination and 2) attend training courses approved by the Kansas Secretary of Agriculture for required re-certification credit hour (CEU) accumulation. All applicators must now accumulate the necessary credit hours required for the appropriate category/subcategory in which they are certified. If you have not accumulated the required number of credit hours (1 core hour and either 3, 5 or 7 pest management hours) and paid the certification fee ($50 per category certified in) to the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) by the expiration of your current certification, you must re-exam to obtain certification.

Questions?
If you have questions regarding the renewal requirements, please call the Kansas Department of Agriculture at 785-564-6688. To view your current certification credits, go to: https://www.kellysolutions.com/ks/applicators.
If you have questions concerning this training program or if you are interested in the additional training programs that the K-State Research and Extension Program has to offer, please call Frannie Miller at (620) 241-1523.

Large Patch Evaluation Study Update

By: Manoj Chhetri

With temperatures cooling down and days being shorter, we are already starting to see warm-season grasses, including zoysiagrass, going to sleep. At the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center, located in Manhattan, KS, we have shut down the irrigation in warm-season plots.

Our zoysiagrass in the large-patch tolerant breeding plot is not cooperating with us as much as we wanted. We inoculated the field in mid-September with fresh Rhizoctonia pathogen and kept the field pretty wet to encourage fungi to flourish. However, to our dismay, we did not see much of the disease activity, except in a few poor drainage spots. With disease research, it is the type of research where we want disease pathogens to have no mercy on us. We are impatiently waiting for spring, which in fact is a more favorable time of the year for large patch activity.

We are hopeful that we have at least one or two new zoysiagrass progeny that possess greater large patch tolerance. Again, it is hard to make comparison and evaluate when we don’t have disease pressure. So far, we have narrowed down to 10 best progeny out of 60. On the positive note, we have seen more disease pressure on our non-selected progeny than in our top-ten selected progeny. This tells us that we did a good job on choosing those ten-best progeny.

This project is aiming to develop a large patch tolerant zoysiagrass that can significantly reduce cost on fungicides and protect the environment. It is a collaborative project between Texas A & M and K-State University.

Pictured Above: Zoysiagrass progeny evaluated in large patch disease environment.

Pictured Above: One of the zoysiagrass progeny showing large patch in one inoculated half (right side) and fungicide treated cleaner side on other half (left side).

Preparing for the Cold Season Ahead

By: Brooke Garcia

It seems as through Kansas only knows how to jump, skip, or hop into a new season. We had a small taste of Fall weather, and it is now feeling a lot more like winter. The landscape has most likely dramatically changed in the last few weeks. If you overseeded your lawn, you’re hopefully enjoying the green color of the freshly germinated seed. Several garden weeds are dying back. Mums are flowering and showing off their color. Maples, as well as other fall foliage, are showing off their beautiful fall color as well. Visit the Horticulture e-Newsletter for more information on some of the reasons these trees have color.

While some of our favorite landscape items are full of life and color, there are a handful of plants in the landscape that have entered dormancy or have died back. Not only have they lost their leaves or blooms, they may be ready for cutbacks. If you had annuals planted in the landscape, they may have recently died back from the recent freezing temperatures we experienced throughout Kansas. They will need to be removed from the landscape. Fall is an important time to perform a garden clean-up. For more specific information on perennial cutbacks, visit the Horticulture e-Newsletter for their recent post.

Want to know what to do with all of those leaves? Here is a previous blog post about Mow-mulching fall leaves.

It is also not too late to plant Spring-Flowering Bulbs. As long as the soil
temperatures >40 degrees Fahrenheit, the spring bulbs should continue to develop. For more information, read the article “There is Still Time to Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs” on the Horticulture e-Newsletter blog.

After you’ve completed cutbacks and bulb planting, mulching is an important task to be completed in the Fall. Not only does it “freshen” up landscape beds, it helps to retain soil moisture and protect the roots of plantings for the winter months ahead.

In addition to all of these Fall tasks, it is also important to consider general clean-up tasks that include:

  • Power-washing exterior of buildings and/or structures, as well as driveways or sidewalks
  • Container/planter re-fresh: Remove dead plantings from containers or planters. Empty used soil out of containers and store containers in a warmer/dry place. This can reduce cracking and general wear/tear.
  • Remove dead weeds from landscape
  • Remove fallen leaves/debris within landscape, and add to compost bin
  • Unscrew hose, and place hose-bib covers over hose bibs in preparation for freezing temperatures
  • Cover or store exterior furniture. Store cushions, umbrellas, etc.

This may seem like a lot of fall tasks to consider, but they are all important tasks to keep your landscape(s) looking beautiful during the fall and winter seasons. Hopefully this helps you develop your Fall clean-up program or builds onto an existing clean-up program for your landscape and garden.

Don’t forget to follow our Turfgrass Facebook Page for blog updates and other timely information.

Upcoming Forestry Training Events

By: Brooke Garcia

Are you interested in learning more about tree issues that a number of Kansas communities face? The Kansas Forest Service is hosting a number of upcoming all-day training’s across the state of Kansas in October and November.

Here are the upcoming dates, along with their locations:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 29 – Dodge City
  • Tuesday, Nov. 5 – Emporia
  • Tuesday, Nov. 5 – Hays
  • Thursday, Nov. 7 – Marysville
  • Thursday, Nov. 14 – Olathe
  • Tuesday, Nov. 19 – Park City
  • Thursday, Nov. 21 – Parsons Arboretum

For more information, please visit the announcement: Statewide Community Forestry Trainings

GCSAA Student Chapter Fundraiser Golf Tournament – October 20th

 

UPCOMING EVENT! The Kansas State University GCSAA Student Chapter is hosting a Fundraiser Golf Tournament at Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan, KS. The event is scheduled for October 20th, 2019 at 9:00am. This will be a 4-man scramble.

Cost: $200.00 ($50/player) per team OR $300 per team with a hole sponsorship.

Registration begins at 8:00am on the day of the event. There will be a 50/50 raffle at registration, along with mulligans and hole games.

Please access the registration form below for more information:

KSU GCSAA Golf Tournament ColbertHills 2019

Registration may be turned in via E-Mail to Jason Dutton (jasond4@ksu.edu). Should you have any questions, call/text/email Jason Duttton (719) 343-5188.