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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.

http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/dormant-buffalograss-research-update/

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

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