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Already thinking about re-seeding? Choose the right cultivars!

(by Ward Upham and Jared Hoyle, KSU Research and Extension)

Though several cool-season grasses are grown in Kansas, tall fescue is considered the best adapted and is recommended for home lawns. The cultivar K-31 is the old standby and has been used for years. However, there is a myriad of newer cultivars that have improved color, density and a finer leaf texture. Most of these newer varieties are very close to one another in quality.  Each year the National Turfgrass Evaluation Trial rates tall fescue varieties for color, greenup, quality and texture. Quality ratings are taken once a month from March through October. K-31 consistently rates at the bottom. The recommended cultivars were 3rd Millennium, Braveheart, Bullseye, Catalyst, Cochise, Corona, Escalade, Faith, Falcon V, Firecracker, Firenza, Jamboree, LS 1200, Monet, Mustang, Raptor II, Rhambler SRP, RK5, Shenandoah III, Shenandoah Elite, Sidewinder, Spyder LS, Talladega, Turbo and Wolfpack II. There are a number of other cultivars that did not make this list but should do well in Kansas. Go to http://ntep.org/data/tf06/tf06_12-10f/tf0612ft04.txt . Any variety with a mean rating of 6.0 or above should be fine. K-31 has a rating of 4.1. Keep in mind that mixes of several varieties may allow you to take advantage of differing strengths. It is not necessary for mixes to contain only the varieties mentioned above.  Though K-31 may still be a good choice for large, open areas, the new cultivars will give better performance for those who desire a high-quality turf.

Though Kentucky bluegrass is not as heat and drought tolerant as tall fescue and the warm-season grasses, it is commonly used in northeastern Kansas, where there is sufficient annual rainfall. It is also grown under irrigation in northwestern Kansas where the higher elevation allows for cooler summer night temperatures. The following cultivars have performed well compared to other bluegrasses in this region. Use this list as a guide. Omission does not necessarily mean that a cultivar will not perform well. Recommended cultivars for high-quality lawns, where visual appearance is the prime concern, include Alexa II, Aura, Award, Bewitched, Barrister, Belissimo, Beyond, Diva, Everest, Everglade, Excursion, Ginney II, Granite, Impact, Midnight, NuChicago, NuGlade, NuDestiny, Rhapsody, Rhythm, Rugby, Skye, Solar Eclipse, STR 2485, Sudden Impact, Washington and Zifandel. Such lawns should receive 4 to 5 pounds nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year and would typically be irrigated during dry periods to prevent drought stress.  Cultivars that do relatively well under a low-maintenance program with limited watering often differ from those that do well under higher inputs. Good choices for low maintenance include Baron, Baronie, Caliber, Canterbury, Dragon, Eagleton, Envicta, Kenblue, North Star, and South Dakota. Instead of the 4 to 5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year, low-maintenance program would include 1 to 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year. Obviously, a low-input lawn will not be as attractive as a higher-input lawn, but you can expect the cultivars listed above to look fairly good in the spring and fall, while going dormant in the summer.

The 2014 KSU Turfgrass Field Day In Review

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

What a beautiful day we had this year for the 2014 KSU Turfgrass Field Day.  Thank you to all the attendees, vendors, sponsors, faculty, staff, students and anyone else that was out at the field day!

If you weren’t able to make it, I decided to post some pictures and  links to research reports so you can get more information about each stop that we had this year.

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Also, I will include the QR codes.  These codes can be scanned by your phone and will take you directly to the information!  Check it out!

This year my stop at field day was “Kansas Turfgrass Weed Control Update”.  Here is discussed one of the most problematic weeds in cool-season turfgrass, bermudagrass.  I talked about both selective and non-selective methods.  For more information about bermudagrass removal check it out here. http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/non-selective-bermudagrass-removal/

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

KSU Turfgrass Research Technician and Graduate Student, Jake Reeves, presented information on the best management practices for buffalograss establishment.  Jake has been conducting some great research that will really help us out when we want to convert cool-season turfgrass to buffalograss.  For more information check out his latest blog post. http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/establishing-buffalograss-in-golf-course-roughs/

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Zane Raudenbush, KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, and Dr. Keeley has been conducting research on the cultural management of moss infestations on bentgrass putting greens.  Zane got to display some great looking research on one of the putting greens out at the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research center looking at cultural practices in conjunction with chemical applications of carfentrazone.  For more information check out his latest research report. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/SRP1107D-MOSS-FERTILITY.pdf

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Ever wondered what was the best preforming kentucky bluegrass cultivar?  Well, Evan Alderman, KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, discussed the best preforming Kentucky bluegrass cultivars in Manhattan, KS.  This study is part of the Nation Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP).  Check out the NTEP website for the most current bluegrass cultivar information. http://www.ntep.org/data/kb11/kb11_14-2/kb11_14-2.pdf And some more information on prolonged drought and recovery characteristics of Kentucky bluegrass cultivars http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=17861

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Although this summer has seen to be pretty mild when it comes to diseases in turfgrass, Dr. Kennelly discussed both turf and landscape disease updates.  Don’t forget to periodically check the blog as Dr. Kennelly updates the blog with what is going on with diseases in Kansas. Here is some more information on all sorts of turf disease publications. http://www.plantpath.ksu.edu/p.aspx?tabid=551

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Is the grass really greener on the other side?  Ross Braun, KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, presented on using paints and pigments for coloring turfgrass.  Ross has conducted many trials looking at painting zoysiagrass and buffalograss.  He has evaluated different paints and pigments as well as rates and spray volumes.  Check out his latest research update on paints and pigments. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=17867

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

As it is hard to grow cool-season turf in Kansas it is also tough to grow warm-season turf.  Dr. Fry presented about the best zoysiagrass and bermudagrass cultivars for Kansas.  He discussed everything from color to pest tolerance.  This included information about how the cultivars held up to last winter.  For more information about the zoysiagrass and bermudagrass cultivars here is a great research report about winter survival on the 2013 NTEP zoysiagrass and bermudagrass in Kansas. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/SRP1107G-NTEP-ZOYSIA-AND-BERMUDA.pdf

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Weeds, diseases, and INSECTS!  We can’t leave the insects out of field day.  This year Dr. Cloyd also gave a turf and ornamental insect control update.  For more information about insect control in the lawn and landscape, check out Dr. Cloyd’s list of publications. http://entomology.k-state.edu/extension/insect-information/lawn-garden-pests/lawn-pests.html

Copyright 2014, Kansas State University

Find all the KSU Turfgrass Research Reports online at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Category.aspx?id=528&catId=545.

Thanks again to everyone that came out to this years KSU Turfgrass Field Day.  It was a great success and hope to see you next year in Olathe.  Also, don’t forget this December is the Kansas Turfgrass Conference in Topeka.  It’s going to be great as well.  Keep and eye out for more information on registration.