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K-State Turf and Landscape Blog

Tag: buffalograss

Whats new at #ksuturf farms in Manhattan and Olathe?

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

This summer has been a crazy one.  We have been getting ready for field day in Olathe on August 6th (Hope to see everyone out there! – Register here – http://www.eventbrite.com/e/kansas-turf-ornamentals-field-day-tickets-16109376579) but there are a lot of new projects that graduate students, faculty and staff are up to.  Here is just a list of what is going on and we will be talking more about it at field day and at Annual Turfgrass Conference in December!

We have a new GPS navigated robot mower being tested out at Rocky Ford in Manhattan.


Pre- and Post-emergent herbicide trials at Olathe and and Manhattan. (Photo form Olathe).


Influence of tall fescue mowing height on crabgrass populations demonstration at Olathe.


I have been traveling everywhere. (Had to throw that in there)


New zoysaigrass variety trials at Rocky Ford in Manhattan.


Ross Braun (KSU Turfgrass PhD Graduate Student) has been evaluating multiple turfgrass species, mowing height and traffic in drought conditions.


Evan Alderman (KSU Turfgrass MS Graduate Student) installed a new fairway (5/8″) of ‘Cody’ buffalograss at Rocky Ford.


There is a new ornamental herbicide testing facility installed at the forest research center in Manhattan to evaluate potential turfgrass herbicides to ornamental plants.


The use of adjuvants with Pylex  and triclopyr combination demonstration trial at Olathe. Brown patch control research trial was installed at Olathe this summer. New granular products for broadleaf weed control (Olathe – Photos not shown).

Dr. Bremer and Ross Braun (KSU Turfgrass PhD Graduate Student) has been studying greenhouse gas emissions under drought conditions at Rocky Ford.


More traveling…


Lastly, I would like to congratulate Dr. Zane Raudembush for completing his PhD this past spring.  Good luck in all your do Zane.


This is not all of what have been going on but just wanted to share some of the pictures of some of the new things that are going on here in the KSU Turfgrass Program.

Don’t forget to come out to field day August 6th and see some of the research that we have been conducting.  Thanks and have a great rest of the week!



Winter Golf Cart Traffic and Turfgrass Paints

(by Evan Alderman and Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

IMG_2679As some of you may know there is currently a lot of research right now at Kansas State University focusing on the use of buffalograss, and how it can be better utilized to lower water usage. We are looking at many different aspects of buffalograss in homelawns, golf courses, roadsides, parks, athletic fields and more. But one question that repeateadly comes across KSU Turfgrass Extension desk is how does buffalograss hold up against golf cart traffic on a golf course.   Research is currently being conducted to see how buffalograss handles simulated golf cart traffic during the summer months, but how does it handle golf cart traffic in the winter? And how can we conserve water going into the winter months?

One way is turfgrass colorants! There is a lot of research conducted on the dormant application of turfgrass colorants instead of overseeding the dormant warm-season turf. But how do these colorants stand the time when subjected to normal golf cart traffic?

The objectives of this research were to;

  1. Investigate the longevity of turf colorants when subjected to simulated golf cart traffic
  2. Explore the effects of turf colorants on buffalograss at fairway height
  3. Evaluate the effects of simulated golf cart traffic on dormant buffalograss.

As summer is approaching and a blistery winter has passed us, the first year of this research has come to an end.

Three turfgrass colorants (Endurant, Endurant Premium, and Green Lawnger) and a overseeded treatment (Perennial Ryegrass @ 10lb./1000ft2) were investigated over a period of 24 weeks beginning in late October of 2014. The colorants were applied at 43 gal/ Acre at a 1:6 dilution (colorant to water). Traffic was applied weekly at 0, 2, 4, or 8 passes with a golf cart traffic simulator. Traffic was not applied if day temperatures did not reach 40°F or the turfgrass plots were covered with snow.

wintertrafficThe data in Table 1 represents evaluations for percent green cover. As the weeks progressed percent green color decreased for all treatments presented. At 12 weeks after treatment it should be noted that with 0 and 2 passes of traffic weekly, Endurant Premium had more green cover than the overseeded treatment at those traffic levels.

Turfgrass colorants could be a viable option to help with water conservation efforts. Turfgrass colorants performed best when traffic was not applied. If traffic is applied to an area with turfgrass colorants, repeat applications of the colorant may be needed.

IMG_2686At 24 weeks after treatment it can be seen that all treatments are starting to green up after the long winter, with treatments receiving no traffic having the highest percent green cover.

To all the golf course superintendents that allow traffic on your buffalograss in the winter, be aware that in the spring you are going to have to increase your management practice to get that buffalograss to recover before the summer. The buffalograss eventually will recover but…why do you want to start from behind in the spring?

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

Evan Alderman Explains What His Research Is All About! (Video)

(By Jared Hoyle and Evan Alderman, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Back in October I wrote a blog post about some of the research that KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, Evan Alderman, was conducting this past winter on dormant buffalograss.


Now it is getting warmer and we are awaiting to see the effect of winter golf cart traffic on a buffalograss fairway and turfgrass colorant longevity.  Evan recorded a short video of what he did this winter.  As soon as we get some results we will be able to share with you what golf cart traffic is doing to your buffalograss fairways in the winter time.  Enjoy!

Always remember to READ THE LABEL for the correct rate, turfgrass tolerance, and specific instructions before application!!!

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

New KSU Research and Extension Buffalograss Lawns Publication – Online!

(by Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

We have been working hard reformatting the Turfgrass Extension Publications and have started updating with new content.  The first one off the press is about Buffalograss.

Check it out online!


Dormant Buffalograss Research Update

(By Jared Hoyle and Evan Alderman, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

As I was driving down the road the other day (as I do all the time) I was thinking (that can be trouble), “How can we conserve water in our managed turfgrass systems?”  What is going to happen if regulations are passed and they cut water off for turfgrass applications?  But, in all honestly it is not “if the water gets cut off” it is “when is the water getting cut off”?

This is one of the many reasons we have been researching the use of buffalograss.  Buffalograss is a low (NOT NO) input turfgrass, including water.  There is a lot that is unknown about buffalograss and how it can be used. Not to mention many new cultivars of buffalgorass are being developed for darker green color and longer color retention but much of the past research has been conducted on older cultivars.  Also, many of the recommendations for buffalograss management were all based on the older cultivars of buffalograss.

Some might think the research season for buffalograss is winding down but it is not.  There is still plenty of research to be done and many questions to be answered. This fall, KSU Turfgrass Graduate Student, Evan Alderman, is going to conduct research on dormant buffalograss. Objectives of his research are to investigate the longevity of turf colorants when subjected to simulated golf cart traffic, explore the effects of turf colorants on buffalograss at fairway height, and to evaluate the effects of simulated golf cart traffic on dormant buffalograss.

Ryegrass overseeding in buffalograss fairway prior to trial initiation

Treatments will involve three different turf colorants, as well as a more traditional Perennial Ryegrass overseeded treatment. Turf colorants will be applied when there is approximately 15-20% canopy color left in the buffalograss. Treatments will be replicated four times and will be subjected to simulated golf cart traffic. Traffic treatments will be applied once a week with plots receiving 0, 2, 4, or 8 passes per week. The study will run throughout the late fall, winter, and spring months.

We should get some interesting results.  Ultimately, we hope to find out if we are able to maintain an aesthetically pleasing healthy turfgrass all while maintaining a quality-playing surface for golfers.

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

#KSUTurf Graduate Student Spotlight – Evan Alderman

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

This Turfgrass Student Spotlight is focused on Evan Alderman.  Evan is a Master’s student here at KSU and has been here since this past May.  Evan has hit the ground running.  He graduated from Iowa State Univeristy with a B.S. in Turfgrass Science in May, packed his bags, moved to Manhattan and started his graduated degree in just a week or two.  In the short amount of time he has been here, he has initiated three divot recovery trials, one traffic tolerance trial, one weed control trial and has helped out the other turfgrass research, teaching and extension faculty, staff and students on many projects.

Evan with other KSU Turf Graduate Students (Jake, Ross and Zane) at 2014 KSU Turf Field Day

One of Kansas State Univeristy’s five Grand Challenges facing Kansas is water.  To work towards this grand challenge Evan is researching the use of a drought tolerant turfgrass species in golf courses, buffalograss.  More specifically he is evaluating the use of fertilizers on buffalograss to withstand golf cart traffic and divot recovery.  For more information about Evan’s project check out his latest blog post.  https://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/influence-of-nitrogen-rate-and-source-on-buffalograss-divot-recovery/  

So if you see Evan around, tell him he is doing a great job and we are glad he is here helping KSU tackle one of the grand challenges.

Fun Fact Friday about Turfgrass

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

The other day, Gus van der Hoeven stopped by my office and dropped off a book simply titled “Turfgrass Science”.  It was Gus’s book from college.  I opened it up and came across the lecture schedule for Agronomy 408, Turf Ecology, in 1973.  As I looked through the lab and lecture series I initially noticed that not much has changed from 1973 to 2014 when it comes to the basics of turfgrass management.  But then I dug a little further and found a lot of interesting facts about turfgrass.  So today I just wanted to share a couple of them from Gus’s Turfgrass Science Textbook from 1969.

Did you know there are biblical references to grass?  In the first chapter of Genesis (1:11-12), reveals the benevolent nature of creation: “And God said, let the earth bring forth grass,…And the earth brought forth grass,…”

Golf is one of the oldest sports played on turfgrass.  Originated in Holland’s Kolf and spread to England and Scotland and then into the United States about 75 years ago (Now we probably have to add 45 years to that because this book was copyright in 1969).  This was way before there was mowers to keep the grass cut short.  So what did they use?  Sheep.  To mow the golf course they used a combination of close cropping and “treading”.  As the putting green developed there were times where the game had to stop until the “impediments” were brushed away.

This fact is one of my favorites.  As early as 1200 A.D. the inhabitants of the Midwest, used sod strips to build their houses.  The sod that was used was from the plains and was composed of buffalo-grammagrass.  We know that the sod was used but we still do not know how the sod was cut and lifted.  The walls of the house were blocks of sod with the joins overlapping.  The roof was “shingled” with strips of sod.  This most certainly was buffalograss.  These houses were called “soddies” and were cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  One problem, unfortunately, heavy rains saturated the sod, which then continued to drip inside the house for a couple days even after the rain had subsided.

Something to think about “If we can build a house out of buffalograss, we should be able to maintain it on our lawns…”

The first turf research, appears to have been conducted in the Olcott turf garden in Connecticut in 1885, and continued until the death of J.B. Olcott in 1910.  The next step in turfgrass research occurred in 1890 at the Rhode Island Agriculture Experiment Station.  The first mention of turf in the Agriculture Appropriations Act of the Federal Government was in 1901.  Seventeen thousand dollars were provided to research …turfing lawns and pleasure grounds… and other areas for ranges, pastures, and erosion control.

In Kansas, turfgrass research was initiated in the late 1920’s by J. Zahnley and L. Quinlan at Kansas State University.  And lastly, the very first turfgrass conference in Kansas was held in 1950.

Many things have changed when it comes to turfgrass but many things are also the same.  Keep with the basics (maybe my next blog post).

Hope you enjoyed the Fun Fact Friday about Turfgrass.  Until next time hope everyone enjoys their weekend!

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. https://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. https://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.


Influence of Nitrogen Rate and Source on Buffalograss Divot Recovery

(By Evan Alderman and Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Buffalograss Fairway

In recent years, water conservation has been a growing trend in the golf course industry.With the spotlight on the golf course industry to become more conscious of the environment, one of the classic prairie grasses may be able to help low-budget golf course operations save water and money. buffalograss, Buchloe dactyloides, is known for being drought tolerant, which is why it fits into the discussion as a viable option for water conservation. Additionally, buffalograss is also known for its disease resistance, as well as its slow growing characteristics.

Buffalograss is very versatile and can be utilized on the golf course in native areas, roughs, and fairways. Many courses in Kansas are currently using this species in one of these three ways, however limited research exists to explore buffalograss management.

In order to explore buffalograss in further detail, we decided to look at how fertility influences recovery from divot injury. Furthermore, we looked at the influence of quick and slow release nitrogen fertilizers and their rate on the divot recovery.

Currently, we have three different divot studies in progress; two at the Rocky Ford

Divot making tool

Turfgrass Research Station in Manhattan, KS, and one at the Council Grove Country Club, in Council Grove, KS. Divots were made using a modified edger with 13 circular blades. This device was able to produce a divot similar to a real divot one would find on the course.

Field Trial at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center; Manhattan, KS

Each study consists of eight treatments arranged in a two by four factorial. Factors included nitrogen rate and nitrogen source.  Nitrogen rates were 0, 1, 2, and 3 lbs N /1000ft2. Nitrogen sources were Urea and Polymer Coated Urea (Table 1).

Table.1  Influence of Nitrogen Rates and Sources on Buffalograss Divot Recovery Study Treatment List.

Treatment Source Rate
1 Urea* 0 lbs N/1000ft2
2 Urea 1 lbs N/1000ft2
3 Urea 2 lbs N/1000ft2
4 Urea 3 lbs N/1000ft2
5 Polymer Coated Urea*** 0 lbs N/1000ft2
6 Polymer Coated Urea 1 lbs N/1000ft2
7 Polymer Coated Urea 2 lbs N/1000ft2
8 Polymer Coated Urea 3 lbs N/1000ft2

*The quick release fertilizer that was used was a 46-0-0 Urea, and to achieve the 1lbs, 2lbs, 3lbs two half-rate applications were made, one on the initiation date, and the second four weeks after initiation.

**The slow release fertilizer used was a 120 day controlled release polymer coated Urea, with an analysis of 43-0-0. Just one application of the slow release was made.

Divot filled with pink sand to easier analyze divert recovery with digital image analysis.

Pictures of each divot are analyzed with digital image analysis software to measure how quickly the divot recovers. Other data taken include visual color, quality, and percent recovery.

Since the initiation of the study, we were able to see a definite flush of green from the application of the quick release fertilizer at all rates. In terms of quality, the plots that received 2lbs and 3lbs resulted in the highest quality.  Plots receiving 1lbs of N/1000ft2 also resulted in acceptable turfgrass color and quality although lower than the 2lbs and 3lbs N/1000ft2 treatments.  As far as the nitrogen rates influencing divot recovery, we hope to find at which nitrogen application rate and source will result in the quickest buffalograss divot recovery.


Establishing buffalograss in golf course roughs

(By Jake Reeves and Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Water restrictions and increased interest in sustainability are driving many golf course superintendents to consider new ways to save.  Ironically, one of the best new fits for saving in Kansas is one of the oldest ways around: buffalograss.  Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) is actually the only widely used turfgrass native to North America. Many of the recent cultivars (Sharp’s Improved II, Bowie) grow denser and greener than their predecessors while not sacrificing their drought/cold tolerance, disease resistance, and other great characteristics. Traffic intolerance is one of the largest concerns for many superintendents, but a little traffic management can go a long way especially if coupled with cart paths. While not a perfect fit for every situation, buffalograss requires very little water, less mowing, and minimal nitrogen input to achieve an acceptable stand.

It is these characteristics that have many courses considering replacing their tall fescue roughs with buffalograss.  Once established, the courses could divert the money and time previously spent on their roughs to tees, fairways, and greens, ultimately rewarding a well-played round.

The end product is exciting for many superintendents, as their water bills would shrink. However, going through long periods of closing the course for renovations isn’t appealing to already cash-strapped courses.  Minimizing downtime and maximizing germination success with buffalograss seeding is a must if a course wanted to reduce the financial impact of the process.

We wanted to look at the most effective form of renovation from tall fescue roughs to buffalograss roughs without tilling the soil. This was to allow play to continue as long as possible on the course and keeping the renovation process very feasible for most courses.  Examining 3 different mowing heights and 4 different cultivation practices, our results will provide the most time and cost effective method for end users.

We are comparing a zero cultivation practice, aerification(2x), verticutting(2x), and slit seeding(2x @ 2lbs/M each pass)  against the 3 mowing heights (2.5”, 1.75”, 1.25”).  All cultivation practices except for slit-seeding were broadcast with Sharp’s Improved II buffalograss seed at 4 lbs/1000 ft2.  Traditionally, it is recommended that buffalograss seed be soaked for 3 days, changing the water every day, to encourage a quick germination upon seeding.  However, we did not soak the seed, believing the process not to be practical if a course was truly reseeding all of their rough.

Our results to date have shown that slit-seeding was the most successful method by far with aerification, verticutting, and zero cultivation decreasing in effectiveness in that order.  Slit-seeding mowed at 1.25” and 1.75” reached 100% cover 6 weeks after seeding (WAS) with minimal weed encroachment.  Ultimately, mowing height has had no effect except for a very slight lag in plots mowed at 2.5” compared to the two lowers heights. We hope to continue looking at fescue removal and buffalograss seeding in order to shorten the green cover loss experienced in the renovation process.