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K-State Turfgrass

Author: Brooke Stiffler

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.

Fall Fertilization and Turf Tips

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Dr. Bill Kreuser, Assistant Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist, at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln posted some great information on fall turfgrass fertility and some other fall turfgrass tips.

Dr. Kreuser quoted, “Fall is arguably the most import season for turfgrass managers. While we’re busy preparing for a new growing season in spring and trying to survive stressful conditions in the summer, fall is the time to recover from summer, renovate, and prepare for winter. It’s a season of seeding, cultivation, weed control, and fertilization. While fall is still widely considered the most important time to fertilize turfgrass, the fertilization recommendations have evolved over the past decade.”

I couldn’t agree with him more.  There has been lots of recommendations evolve over the years and just because “this” is way it has always been done doesn’t mean it is right.  See what Dr. Kreuser has to say and check out the links below.

 

  1. Rethinking Fall Fertilization
  2. Mid-Fall Turf Tips 

 

Recent Release: Free Soil Moisture Mapping Protocol

Dr. Chase Straw, Turfgrass Scientist at the University of Minnesota, informed us of the recent release of a free soil moisture mapping protocol that can be utilized by golf course superintendents to assist them with fairway irrigation decisions. The protocol explains how to collect GPS soil moisture data with a commercially available device (FieldScout TDR 350), which are then used to generate fairway soil moisture maps with free software. The maps could be used as a tool to program an irrigation system to irrigate based on the soil moisture variability across a golf course, among possibly many other things.

More information about the protocol, in addition to details regarding how the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association of America chapter is utilizing it as a service to their members, can be read from a recent blog post on the UMN turfgrass website.

The protocol can be downloaded here.

The protocol requires a $0 licensing agreement. FREE!!! Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Chase Straw (cstraw@umn.edu) and his team at the University of Minnesota.

 

The (ob)noxious weed: Field Bindweed

By: Brooke Garcia

Perhaps you don’t recognize the name, but you may recognize the white flowers of this perennial weed called Field Bindweed. If you can’t recall the flower, you have probably still had an interaction with this weed in your garden or landscape. Don’t be fooled by the flower, as this is an (ob)noxious weed in the field and landscape.

Better Kansas Blog features a post that highlights this weed, as well as valuable links to additional information. For more information, click here.

Here is the link from Extension Agronomy: Fall Control of Bindweed

Here is a link from KSRE Johnson Country: Bindweed: a noxious weed

***Photo provided by Better Kansas Blog.