Thursday, July 2, 2015


July 2, 2015
Ryan Adams
ISU Extension Turfgrass Specialist

Nick Christians
Professor in Horticulture
Iowa State University
Turfgrass Research is Highlight of July 23 Field Day near Ames
Homeowners and professionals will find turf tips on sod and pest management
AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State University Horticulture Research Station is host for the annual Iowa Turfgrass Field Day, July 23, 2015, from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. This year’s program includes demonstration projects for those interested in lawn and turfgrass research presented by Iowa State University experts and ISU Extension and Outreach specialists. The annual event offered to golf course maintenance crews, athletic field managers, lawn care companies and homeowners present the opportunity for earning continuing instructional credit for their commercial pesticide applicator license.

“The field day will highlight athletic field and golf course turf, sod production, general lawn care and several other areas of turfgrass management,” said Dan Strey, research associate in horticulture with Iowa State University and turfgrass manager at the Horticulture Research Station north of Ames.

Strey noted, “We’re offering educational sessions for golf course, sports turf and lawn care professionals. Even homeowners and master gardeners can benefit from Iowa State’s lawn care research.” Learning opportunities for homeowners will feature use of Midwest grass species, different mowing heights, weed control, fertilization, thatch and aerification techniques and grass seeding options.

“Kentucky bluegrass is the most common grass species used for Iowa lawns,” according to Ryan Adams, lecturer and Extension turfgrass specialist with Iowa State University. “The best time of the year to sow grass seed is mid-August and September. Iowans have become accustomed to using the same treatments for every lawn even though they may have different grass species and maintenance requirements,” Adams said.

Specific topics for the master gardener and homeowner program include fertilizing with organics, pollinators, ash tree replacements, mowing maintenance, grass alternatives, rain barrel irrigation, pest management and tour of a home demonstration garden.

ISU scientists and Extension specialists from horticulture, agronomy, plant pathology and entomology as well as visiting certified sports field managers will offer expert advice for turf, lawn and landscape professionals. Research information presented will include herbicide and rhizomatous tall fescue studies. There will also be a chance to view a variety of trials on creeping bentgrass, buffalograss, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass.

Presentation topics for turf professionals include, information on the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program and working with administrators, research results on ornamental grasses and rhizomatous tall fescues, treatment options using Group 27 herbicides, T-1 green management, fertilizers, phosphites, Integrated pest management, mitigating localized dry spot and diseases, maximizing granular and foliar applications. There will also be examples of sports field construction, golf course mound building, level lift and irrigation tips and options for ash tree replacements. Field day demonstrations will highlight fraise mowing and painting athletic fields. See the program schedule for sessions and presenters.

Pesticide Applicator Training sessions start at 10 a.m. and include, Drift Reduction/Calibration/Safe Application, Phytotoxicity, Weed Walk and Right-of-Way. Continuing instructional credits are being offered to certified pesticide applicators for recertification of commercial or private licenses in categories 3O (Ornamental Pest), 3T (Turf Pest), 3OT (Ornamental and Turf Pest), 6 (Right-of-Way) and 10 (Research and Demonstration).

Registration Options
Check in opens at 8 a.m. on Thursday, July 23 at the ISU Horticulture Research Station, 55519 170th St. Ames, IA 50010, program sessions begin at 8:45 a.m. and pre-registration is preferred.
·         Homeowners and gardeners registration fee is $30. To pre-register, download, print and complete the registration form, and send with payment to the Iowa Turfgrass Institute office at 515-635-0306 or jeff@iowaturfgrass.org. Registration after July 20 is $40.
·         Turf and lawn care professionals must pre-register using the on-site registration form; cost is $30. If registering for the Pesticide Applicator Training (PAT), cost is $50.
·         Student registration cost is $10; with PAT: $30.

All registration fees include morning refreshments, a catered lunch by Hickory Park and session materials. Credit cards, purchase orders and checks made payable to Iowa Turfgrass Institute are accepted. Questions? Contact the Iowa Turfgrass Institute office at 515-635-0306 or jeff@iowaturfgrass.org.

Iowa State University sponsors the field day in cooperation with Iowa Turfgrass Institute, Iowa Professional Lawn Care Association, Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association and Iowa Sports Turf Managers Association.
Related links:
Related publications:
Click for related Turfgrass publications at the ISU Extension and Outreach online Store.

Photo Caption & Credit:
Grading of the new athletic field at the ISU Horticulture Research Station will be one of the presentations at the upcoming Turfgrass Field Day, July 23.
Find out what grass species to use in Iowa and which are native to North America (Kentucky bluegrass isn’t one them) at the next Turfgrass Field Day, July 23.
Photos by Christopher Gannon, Iowa State University

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Nick Christians
July 1, 2015

Red Thread is a turfgrass disease caused by the fungi (Laetisaria fuciformis).  It occurs on most major turf species, generally on areas that are somewhat deficient in nitrogen (N). 

We are seeing a lot of it this week on both Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass.  It has not shown up on tall fescue as of July 1.  The disease gets its name from “red threads” that appear near the tips of the leaf blades.  These threads are much larger than microscopic hypa(e) and are readily visible with the naked eye. The red threads are known technically as stromata or stroma. The disease may also express itself as a mycelial mass (group of hyphae) that appear as tufts of cottony-like material that appear over the surface over the turf.  The blighted areas are usually a few inches in diameter, about the size of a soft ball.  It can blight an entire turf area under the right conditions.

While we commonly see it on perennial ryegrass in most years, widespread outbreaks on bluegrass, such as we are seeing this year, are unusual.

Fertilizing the area with N can be an effective cultural practice to handle this disease.  There are also several fungicides labeled for it.  The disease usually runs its course on Kentucky bluegrass and the application of fungicides are generally not necessary.

The first picture is from Larry Ginger of American Lawn Care, who reported seeing red thread in early June.

This is a picture from the research station take today (July 1, 2015)

The next two pictures were taken at the research station in past years.