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Category: Turfgrass News

Hoyle to join Corteva on March 30, 2020

After a productive seven years that provided a foundational learning experience not only for my personal growth but also professional growth, I will be joining Corteva Agriscience on March 30, 2020, as a Turf and Ornamental Territory Manager serving Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri and most importantly continuing to serve the great state of Kansas. This decision was not taken lightly given the high quality and professional expectations of the faculty, staff, and students at Kansas State University and additionally the continued commitment to the advancement of the turf industry by the incredibly talented and supportive professionals in Kansas. The current and future professional opportunities at Corteva are ones that my young growing family could not decline. Along with the professional factors, this opportunity provides my wife, daughter and me the ability to continue to grow in Manhattan with the increased flexibility as to where we live in the future. Interim Department Head, Dr. Steve Keeley, is currently working with upper administration in addition to the KSU Turf Team to ensure that the responsibilities associated with my position as Associate Professor as well as my responsibilities as the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center Director be delegated to the appropriate party and peoples. I cannot reiterate enough how appreciative I am to everything Kansas State University has provided me through the years. From tenure and promotion to Associate Professor to an open and welcoming environment to improve my leadership skills and finally but most importantly by providing a “second family” as I began my career and family thousands of miles away from my immediate family. I believe that specific openness and welcoming support of the turf industry in Kansas and surrounding states will help continue the success of the Kansas State University’s turf program. Thank you for the last seven years! I will always be grateful for the memories made at Kansas State University.

-Jared Hoyle, Associate Professor, jahoyle@ksu.edu

Great Article on Atrazine and Simazine!

By: Brooke Garcia

NC State recently wrote up an article called, Are Changes Coming for Atrazine and Simazine?” 

Both Atrazine and Simazine were reviewed in 2013, and there are proposed changes for using each of these. To learn more, visit the article.

Full Reports for each pesticide can be found in the following links:

Student Spotlight: Dani McFadden

By Brooke Garcia

Meet Dani McFadden! 

Dani McFadden is currently enrolled at Kansas State University pursuing her M.S. in Turfgrass Science, with an emphasis in Weed Science. She anticipates graduating in May 2021.

McFadden also holds an undergraduate degree from K-State in Horticulture, with a focus in Golf Course and Sports Turf Management.

When outside of class, McFadden loves walking around golf courses, sports fields, and home lawns to apply what she is learning in school. She enjoys being able to identify weeds and common diseases, as well as applying her knowledge of herbicides and fungicides.

McFadden’s favorite hobbies include playing golf with friends, fishing, and attending sporting events. More specifically, she likes attending sporting events that are played on natural grass.

Research Focus: Testing Labeled Restrictions on Seeding Timings after Herbicide Application

Here is what McFadden has to say about her research…

“Many people want to know when they can seed their lawn after herbicide application. Most labels restrict seeding until 2-4 weeks after application. My research includes seeding a stand 0, 3, 7, and 14 days after herbicide application along with the effects of different irrigation amounts on seedling germination. I am also doing research on tall fescue conversion to buffalograss after glyphosate applications.”

What’s next for Dani McFadden?

McFadden will always love mowing greens in the early morning while watching the sunrise. This is something she hopes everyone will have the chance to do. Looking ahead, she hopes to start a career with a chemical company as a territory manager. Through networking, she can continue to connect with great superintendents and turf managers in this industry. The “people in this industry is what makes being a turfgrass student so great,” says McFadden. 

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

 

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.

 

New Turfgrass Research Reports

Research Reports

K-State turfgrass specialist urges mid-summer checkup on lawns

Many Kansas landscapes include warm-season grasses, which require a little care in order to stay healthy during the hot summer months.

Hoyle says warm-season grasses may need fertilizer to remain healthy

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State University Associate Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist, Dr. Jared Hoyle says homeowners ought to be thinking about a mid-summer checkup on their lawns, which likely includes applying fertilizer and weed killer.

Many Kansas summer landscapes include warm-season grasses, namely bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and buffalograss. Each of those requires a little care in order to stay healthy through the hot weeks ahead.

“Those three grasses are not all created equal and some grow faster than others, which means we need to feed them a little bit different,” said Hoyle, an associate professor in the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources.

For bermudagrass and zoysiagrass, Hoyle suggests applying a total of 1-3 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet during a typical growing season, which is the beginning of May through the middle of August.

“You can split that up into multiple applications of a quick release fertilizer, or you could do fewer applications of a slower release,” he said. “But the main goal is 1-3 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet regardless of what number or percentage product you’re using.”

Buffalograss does not require as much nitrogen. Studies at Kansas State University indicate that “about 1 pound of nitrogen per year for 1000 square feet is good,” according to Hoyle.

“It’s hard to split up a pound over multiple applications, so that’s one where you might want to look at a slow release to put that pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet throughout the year,” he said. “You can do that right now and that will get you through the rest of the year with a slow release fertilizer.”

In addition to fertilizing warm-season grasses, Hoyle said homeowners should be looking at ways to control thatch and weeds in the lawn.

“We really like to preach that if you are going to do something with the lawn — whether it is fertilizing or watering — do it when it’s actively growing,” Hoyle said. “Right now, with warm-season grasses, if you have a thatch problem, you can tear that area up (with a verti-cutter or slicer), fertilize the lawn, and it will grow right back in. If you try to do that during the fall or spring months, there will be periods of time when the lawn isn’t growing, or delayed growth, and it could lead to more problems.”

Among weeds, crabgrass and yellow nutsedge are two of the most troublesome this time of year.

““I’m seeing a lot of crabgrass and yellow nutsedge and I blame it on the weather,” Hoyle said. “Yellow nutsedge loves flooded, compacted soils and because of periodic flooding around the state, I have seen a lot of areas that typically never have yellow nutsedge. It’s a weed to keep an eye out with the weather conditions as they have been.”

To control yellow nutsedge, look for products with the active ingredients halosulfuron or sulfrentrazone, he said.

Crabgrass that has already emerged can be treated with products that include the active ingredient quinclorac.

Hoyle noted that homeowners should be patient when applying herbicides to yellow nutsedge and crabgrass; it might take more than one application to control those weeds.

K-State’s Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources publishes a weekly horticulture newsletter with updated information on lawn care and other turfgrass issues. Residents may also contact their local extension agent.

Rethinking Zoysiagrass for Home Lawns

Kansas State University teamed with Texas A&M to develop a new cultivar of zoysiagrass called Innovation, that’s suitable for lawns and golf courses. Pictured is Ted Wilbur (left), owner of Sod Shop in Wichita, Kansas and Jack Fry, horticulture professor at Kansas State University. Wilbur was the first to grow Innovation commercially in Kansas.

K-State, Texas A&M develop new cold-hardy variety for home landscapes and golf courses

OLATHE, Kan. – Who doesn’t love the look and feel of a soft, green carpet of grass underfoot? Even better if it’s resistant to pests and requires less fertilizer than other grasses. A Kansas State University professor believes that zoysiagrass can fit the bill for home landscapes – even in Kansas and surrounding states.

Zoysiagrass is well known as a warm-season grass commonly grown across southern tier states for its dense, weed-resistant and slow-growing nature (think less mowing), plus it requires about half the water needed for cool-season grasses typically grown in the nation’s midsection.

Those who choose to grow zoysia should be aware, however, that as a warm-season grass, it goes dormant and turns brown in mid-October and may not green up again until late April.

“The determining factor for whether any warm-season grass that can be used here is winter survival,” said Kansas State University horticulture professor Jack Fry.

Kansas and other states across the middle of the country are in what’s called a transition zone, where both warm- and cool-season grasses can grow but weather extremes can prove challenging and sometimes injure or kill the grass. In order to improve on a longtime favorite zoysia called Meyer, Fry and his K-State colleagues teamed with Texas A&M Agrilife researchers to develop a new zoysia cultivar.

Their aim was to develop a cultivar that is as cold-tolerant as Meyer for areas in the transition zone, but also to offer improved characteristics, such as finer leaf blades and even better density which blocks out weeds.

The K-State team worked with Ambika Chandra, associate professor at Texas A&M, to develop a new hybrid that was ultimately named Innovation. The new hybrid can withstand the cold that can sometimes blanket the central U.S. as well as Meyer does, but also exhibits better quality, meaning it has a darker green color, finer leaf blades, better density and good uniformity.

Zoysiagrass is already widely used on golf course tees and fairways in Kansas and across the transition zone, but less so on home lawns, Fry said. When drought water restrictions come about, however, it’s a good choice for home lawns.

Zoysia, and especially newer cultivars like Innovation, also require less fertilizer or pest treatments to stay healthy than typical cool-season grasses such as tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass.

To develop the new cultivar, the researchers used traditional plant breeding, crossing cold-hardy types with other southern-adapted types that offered high density and finer-textured leaf blades.

That density results in almost no herbicides being needed during the growing season, Fry said.

To get from initial crosses – about 1,500 in all – to the final product took about 13 years, Fry said. Along the way from those initial crosses, 35 looked promising, so were planted in 5-foot by 5-foot plots in Kansas and Texas and evaluated by the researchers, who then narrowed the list to seven.

Those top seven hybrids were tested at additional sites across the transition zone in Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The result is Innovation, which was released for commercial growth and sales in 2015. It is currently available via licensed distributors through a company called Sod Solutions, which has sub-licensed production to 15 sod producers in eight states.

What’s next? A new phase of the K-State-Texas A&M research is under way which aims to identify grasses that have superior resistance to a disease called Large Patch, and there may even be types that are promising for use on golf greens, too, Fry said.

Post featured by: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/stories/2019/05/zoysia-for-home-lawns.html

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More information about zoysiagrass is available at

https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/mf683.pdf

or in a Clemson University fact sheet, https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/zoysiagrass/

Spring Zoysia News

By: Dr. Jack Fry

Meyer Winter Injury

Significant winter injury has occurred on Meyer zoysia throughout the Kansas City area on golf courses – some have suffered more than others. The injury is most pronounced in the following areas:

  • Turf exposed to tree shade (even moderate levels from trees casting shadows from the rough)
  • High traffic areas
  • Areas that don’t drain well

We often try to compare differences among courses and determine why one course had better winter zoysia survival than other.  Ultimately, it seems that cultural practices have less of an impact on the freezing injury observed than the environment in which the zoysia is growing.   The above stresses can be matched directly with plant metabolism:

1) Shade – more light allows higher levels of photosynthesis and carbohydrate production, which is critical to winter survival;

2) Traffic – less compaction allows more oxygen in the soil and more root respiration and growth – high traffic reduces soil oxygen;

3) Drainage – areas that collect water also have lower soil oxygen levels and poor root growth.  In addition, plants growing in saturated areas are subject to crown hydration freezing injury – crowns fully hydrated don’t tolerate low temperatures well. Methods for correcting the above are straight forward, but implementing the changes can be difficult – politically and financially:  removing or thinning trees, redirecting traffic, correcting drainage issues.  If nothing else, the zoysia injury is indicating to turf managers where the problem areas are on the golf course.

 

Pictured above: Zoysia grown in high traffic areas in more prone to winter injury, such as this area surrounding a putting green where golfers enter and exit.

 

Innovation Zoysia is on the Market

Innovation zoysia, the new cultivar developed cooperatively by K-State and Texas A&M is on the market. Ted Wilbur, owner of Sod Shop in Wichita, recently cut and sold the first Innovation sod in the U.S..  He currently has about 25 acres in production – some is available now, some will be available later this summer.

Compared to Meyer zoysia, Innovation has:

  • Darker green color
  • Higher density
  • Finer texture
  • Fewer and smaller seedheads
  • Better billbug resistance
  • Freezing tolerance that is equivalent

Find more about Innovation here: https://sodsolutions.com/industry/innovation-zoysia/

Interested in ‘Innovation’?  Reach out to Sod Shop in Wichita: (316) 838-5888

 

Pictured above on left: Ted Wilbur (left) and Travis Achilles (right) with Sod Shops in Wichita, KS have cooperated with K-State in the production of  ‘Innovation’ zoysiagrass. Pictured above on right: The first ‘Innovation’ sod was cut and delivered to Hesston, KS for use at a local water park.

Kansas Turfgrass and Ornamentals Field Day

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

The Kansas Turf & Ornamentals Field Day program is designed for all segments of the turf and ornamental industry — lawn care, athletic fields, golf courses, landscape, and grounds maintenance. Included on the program are research presentations, problem diagnosis, commercial exhibits, and equipment displays. There will be time to see current research, talk to the experts, and get answers to your questions. This year it will be a the K-State Research and Extension Center in Olathe on August 1, 2019.

For more information check out the Kansas Turfgrass Foundation Website – http://www.kansasturfgrassfoundation.com

Register online –https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kansas-turf-ornamentals-field-day-tickets-56438349623

We hope to see you on Thursday, August 1!

Want to be an Exhibitor? Register here – http://www.kansasturfgrassfoundation.com/uploads/8/9/7/3/8973595/exhibitreservationform2019.pdf