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KGSCA Legacy Scholarship

The KGCSA Legacy Scholarship offers educational aid to the children and grandchildren of KGCSA members.  A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded. Applications are due August 27, 2019.

1. One or more of the applicant’s parents or grandparents must have been a KGCSA member for five or more consecutive years and must be a currently active.

2. The student must be enrolled full-time at an accredited institution of higher learning, or in the case of high school seniors, must be accepted at such an institution for the next academic year. Graduating high school seniors must attach a letter of acceptance to their application.

3. Past winners are ineligible to apply the following year. They may reapply after a one-year hiatus.

Criteria for Selection
1. Applicants will be evaluated based on academic achievement, extracurricular and community involvement, leadership and outside employment.

2. The student must submit an original essay of up to 500 words.

You can download the application at  www.kgcsa.org

HAGCSA Turfgrass Student Scholarships


The Heart of America GCSA Scholarship Program offers educational aid to deserving students in the turfgrass program at an accredited college or university in Kansas or Missouri.

A total up to $5,000 is allocated each year to deserving students. Applicants will compete based on their overall qualifications determined by the Scholarship and Research Committee.

2019 academic term

(Must carry a 2.75GPA or higher for consideration.)

Scholarship Application – 2019

October 31, 2019

Submit to:

Heart of America GCSA

Scholarship & Research Committee

638 W. 39th Street, Kansas City, MO 64111


Kim Weitzel; kweitzel@westerneda.com


New Turfgrass Research Reports

Research Reports

Southern Blight

By: Judy O’Mara

A little unusual… this past week a fungal disease called southern blight took out a landscape planting of Lamium or dead nettle in south central Kansas. In my years at K-State, I’ve seen southern blight occur on hosta plantings a few times and  have also picked it up on Echinacea, Hibiscus, Liatris, Pasque Flower, Penstemon, Rudbeckia, Solidago, as well as, tomato. Southern blight (Sclerotium rolfsii; Athelia rolfsii) is a serious disease, particularly in the south (hence the name). It has a history of being damaging to over 500 plant species including field crops, vegetables, flowers, weeds, and even some woody landscape plants.

Plants infected by the southern blight fungus may wilt quickly and collapse, or they may turn yellow and slowly decline. There are frequently dark stem lesions at the base of the plant, a crown rot and/or a root rot. The most distinctive symptoms of southern blight are the presence of sclerotia and a white matt of fungal mycelium. Sclerotia are small seed-shaped fungal structures that allow the disease to survive in plant debris and soil for several years. They range in color from light tan to reddish-brown becoming somewhat inconspicuous as they age. A fan of white mycelium may grow along the basal stem lesion or in the soil.

While southern blight is a serious disease, it is not that common in Kansas. When it does occur here, it tends to show up during July and August under hot, wet conditions. The limiting factor for Kansas may be that when we have high temps, it also tends to be dry. Southern blight outbreaks in Kansas have been observed in irrigated landscapes (ie hot + wet). Crowded plantings can create a humid environment that can favor the disease.

Once southern blight shows up in the landscape, it can be a challenge to manage. Infected plants (plus the root ball) should be dug up, bagged and sent to the landfill. Do not compost plants from infested locations, as this can spread the disease across the planting area when the compost material is re-incorporated into the landscape. Rotate out of the infested area for 3-4 years, but make sure to control weeds because they can also serve as a host for the disease.

The bulk of the sclerotia will survive in the upper soil, so deep plowing or inverting the soil can help to reduce the amount of disease in the infested area. Another strategy for reducing southern blight severity, is to employ solarization of the target area. This can be done by covering the area with clear plastic for 4-6 weeks. It will be important to clean and disinfect tools, gloves and shoes after working in areas with southern blight. This will help to limit movement of the disease into new areas of the garden or landscape.

An article in the University of Illinois Home Yard and Garden Pest Newsletter indicated that they are also seeing southern blight activity this summer, particularly on Hosta. Another name for the disease is Hosta Petiole Blight. The article has some great photos of the disease on Hosta, which can be seen at http://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php?id=1087.

Powdery Mildew on Ornamentals

By: Judy O’Mara

Powdery mildew is a common disease on many ornamentals. It is easy to identify because it produces a whitish-gray mold on the surface of the leaf. This fungal disease is favored by high humidity and crowded plantings (i.e. poor air flow). Powdery mildew doesn’t kill the plant but susceptible hosts that have a chronic problem with it can be weakened.  The best management strategy is through the use of resistant varieties.

The Home, Yard & Garden newsletter from the University of Illinois has a nice article on powdery mildew this week: http://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php?id=1092

***Picture provided through University of Illinois Home, Yard, & Garden newsletter.

Roses in the Garden: Rosette Virus, Mosaic Virus, and Recommendations

Rose Rosette Virus…What does it look like?

By: Judy O’Mara

We’ve had several reports of rose rosette virus in the K-State Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab this spring. It is not hard to identify based on symptoms. Basically, the growth on the plant becomes increasingly deformed. It starts with an individual rose cane that either elongates, or gets bunchy with lots of shoots (witches broom). The foliage can be reddish-purple or green and strappy (see below). Very characteristic for rose rosette virus is the production of excessive thorns along the canes of the deformed shoots. Symptoms on the plant get worse over a few weeks. In an odd way, it can sometimes look like a bridal bouquet.

Left unchecked rose rosette virus will kill the infected plant and continue to spread to nearby roses via its insect vector (Phyllocoptes fructiphilus), an eriophyid mite. This tiny mite is not visible to the eye, resides in new growth and crevices, and is spread by the wind.

Pruning out deformed portions of the plant is not an effective control strategy as the disease can overwinter in the roots. Upon seeing symptoms, infected plants should be dug up (including the root ball) bagged, and removed from the site.

For more information on this disease see the K-State fact sheet on rose rosette virus.

Rose Mosaic Virus…How do you spot it?

By: Chandler Day

Have you seen yellow oak leaf or netted patterns on your rose bush leaves? If so, you most likely have a disease called Rose Mosaic Virus. This rose disease is relatively common in Kansas landscapes and symptoms can vary from wavy yellow lines or ring spots to mottled oak leaf and mosaic patterns. Rose Mosaic Virus spreads through vegetative propagation and does NOT move around via insects or mites. Another rose disease, rose rosette virus, will kill the infected rose plants, while rose mosaic virus disease will not. Plants infected with rose mosaic virus will produce symptoms on the rose plant every year for the remainder of its life.

The best ways to prevent viral diseases on your rose bushes are to start by buying non-symptomatic plants that have leafed out, or certified disease-free roses. Symptomatic plants in the landscape should be dug up (with the root ball), bagged and discarded.

Photos by Megan Kennelly/KSU

Rose Garden Observations and Recommendations (Coming Soon)

By: Brooke Garcia

Following an extremely wet spring, I’ve noticed several roses to be impacted by Black Leaf Spot. With continuous rainfall and high humidity, this fungal disease thrives. As this fungal disease develops, you can begin to notice black spots on the leaves. The leaves often times will turn yellow, eventually dropping from the plant. An easy way to spot this on plants (despite seeing the dark black spots and yellowing leaves) is to look at the bottom of the plant. The bottom portion of the rose shrub will most likely look bare, without leaves.

Despite having all of our recent rains, I’ve noticed some roses appear to be performing well given the circumstances. My recommendations are purely coming from an observational standpoint. On the other hand, many of these roses in particular were surrounded by other rose plantings that were impacted by both Black Leaf Spot and Rose Rosette Virus.

Here are the following rose recommendations:

  • ‘Honey Perfume’
  • ‘Princess Charlene De Monaco’ Hybrid Tea Rose
  • ‘Coral Drift’
  • ‘Lemon Drift’
  • ‘Top Gun’



Extreme Heat Precautions and Safety Tips

By: Michael Bear

Heat is one the leading causes of weather-related deaths and injuries in the United States. Excessive heat causes hundreds of deaths every year. Heat can affect people in a variety of settings and while dangerous heat is associated with the summer season, it can occur in the spring and fall as well.

The risk

When exposed to high temperatures your body sweats, which evaporates to cool your body. Hot and humid weather challenges your body’s ability to cool itself because your body sweats a great deal to try to maintain your body temperature. Over time this increased sweating leads to dehydration and your body temperature becomes elevated. Increased levels of humidity make this worse as the high water content of the air hampers the evaporation of sweat on your skin. This can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Those most at risk for heat illness include infants, children, the elderly, overweight people and those who are ill or have certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a mild form of heat illness that may develop after days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate fluid intake. If not treated, heat exhaustion may become heat stroke. A person suffering from heat exhaustion may have cool moist skin. Their pulse rate will be fast and weak and their breathing will be fast and shallow. Additional warning signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

Heat exhaustion first aid

  • Drink cool beverages without alcohol or caffeine.
  • Move to an air-conditioned environment.
  • Take a cool shower, bath or apply cold compresses.
  • Rest

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious of heat-related illnesses. It occurs when the body is unable to cool itself because the ability to sweat fails. A victim’s body temperature will rapidly rise within a few minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent injury if it is not treated quickly. Warning signs of heat stroke vary but can include:

  • An extremely high body temperature — above 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Red, hot and dry skin without sweating.
  • Rapid, strong pulse.
  • Throbbing headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Confusion.
  • Unconsciousness

Heat stroke first aid

  • Call 911 immediately. Untreated heat stroke may result in death or disability.
  • Move the victim to a shady and/or air-conditioned area.
  • Cool the victim rapidly using whatever means available such as a cool shower or bath, garden hose, or sponging with cool water.


Like many hazards, there are steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of heat illnesses:

  • Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Limit strenuous outdoor activities.
  • Wear light colored, light weight clothing.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Take breaks in the shade as often as possible.
  • If working in the heat, increase workloads gradually. Allow new employees and workers who have been off for more than a week more frequent breaks.
  • Change your schedule so outdoor work is performed early or very late in the day.
  • NEVER leave kids or pets in vehicles.
  • Check on the elderly, sick and those without air conditioning.
  • Be aware of the symptoms of heat illness and take action if you see someone at risk.


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


More information about zoysiagrass is available at


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

A Day for Daylilies

Dividing Daylilies

By: Brooke Garcia

My backyard is currently a construction zone, and I have spent the last month dividing iris and daylily plants in efforts to save them from being ran over by the Bobcat (and no I’m not talking about the animal). With our future garage being built, we have had to move hundreds of iris and daylily plants into a new garden bed. Being a horticulturist by trade, I couldn’t see these plants go to waste.

I know it isn’t the ideal time to be moving these plants around, as several of them have recently bloomed. Generally, I’d suggest to wait to divide these plants until they have completed their bloom cycle (late summer/early fall). You can also divide them in the early spring prior to blooming, but this could impact their blooms later in the season. The steps to this process are relatively simple, but you should expect your hands to get a little dirty. It can also be a little time-consuming.

Step 1: Dig up a clump of daylilies with a shovel or hand trowel. I have found the process moves more quickly when you grab a shovel and do larger sections. In our case, we had hundreds to move…. so the bigger the clumps, the better!


Step 2: Trim the daylily leaves and flowers to a height of 8-12 inches. Pictured above on the right, you will notice the final clump cut back to approximately 12 inches.

Step 3: Separate the clump of daylilies into smaller clumps. My preference is to keep the clumps in groups of 2-3 plantings to keep the transplant looking full. Looking at the pictures below, the bottom left shows a single plant divided from the clump of daylilies. Pictured on the bottom right, I kept two plants clumped together for one single planting.


Step 4: Loosen the soil away from the roots of the recently divided plants. Next, trim the roots of your plants to stimulate new root growth. Only trim a small amount of the roots, as this will be enough to stimulate new healthy growth. (See pictures below)

Step 5: You’re ready to plant your newly divided daylilies! Be sure that you choose a sunny location in your garden with well-drained soil. Generally, I dig a hole 2-3x the size of the root ball of my plant. Once you place your newly divided plant into its newly dug home, add additional compost or garden soil into the hole. Gently pack the soil around the new planting. Be mindful to keep the crown of the plant above the soil line.

Step 6: Don’t forget to water your freshly divided daylily plants. If you plan to transplant more, space the plantings 12-18 inches apart to give them room to grow. Daylilies can begin to get crowded after 4-5 years.

Daylily Leaf Streak

By: Judy O’Mara

Daylilies are a great fit for Kansas. There are many varieties that grow well here. I particularly like browsing the photo gallery at the Flint Hills Daylily Society chapter (https://www.flinthillsdaylily.org/gallery) for my favorite ones. They are mostly problem free but I did recently see some daylily streak (Aureobasidium microstictum) on a recent walk. It isn’t that common in Kansas, but wet conditions this spring likely the triggered the disease.

Daylily leaf streak starts as long yellow streaks that turn a reddish brown. Heavily infected leaves scorch back and die early.

The disease is favored by moderate temperatures and wet conditions. Daylily streak can spread by splashing water droplets. Although you can’t manage the rain, you can time irrigation so that your plants are watered in the morning. This allows leaves to dry out quickly and reduce conditions that favor disease development. A mature daylily planting can be crowded leading to poor air circulation and prolonged periods of leaf wetness. Good plant spacing will improve air flow and help to dry out plants quickly. The disease can also be moved on tools, so avoid working around wet plants

Inspect plants when purchasing them and always start with healthy, disease-free plants (ie no spots on the leaves). If just one plant in the landscape is showing symptoms, you might be able to stay ahead of the disease by picking off and dispose infected leaves. Daylily leaf streak will overwinter in the leaf litter, so cleaning up the flower bed will help to reduce the amount of disease that is carried over to the next growing season. If daylily leaf streak shows up annually, it might be worth isolating the problem daylily from the rest of the planting.

The best strategy for managing day lily leaf streak…is through the use of resistant cultivars. Disease susceptibility varies and lists of resistant varieties are not easily available. A few varieties reported by Clemson University are: Betty Bennet, Edna Spalding, Ella Pettigrew, Globe Trotter, Nancy Hicks, Pink Superior, Ron Rousseau, Sudie, Tropical Tones, Upper Room, and Winsome Lady. (https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/daylily-diseases-insect-pests/)