Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Nick Christians
Oct. 30, 2012

Here are a couple of pictures from Larry Ginger of “American Lawn Care” in Des Moines.  It is of grub damage in Urbandale, Ia from October 24, 2012.  I believe that this is a Masked Chafer grub.

While grub damage is not unusual in Urbandale, the timing is somewhat unusual.  I would expect to see first damage in August and I would expect the damage to be over by early October.  At that time, the grubs generally burrow down about 6 inches in the soil to overwinter.

This is unusually late to see active grubs, but there have been a lot of unusual things this year.  I have had a couple of other calls on late grub activity.  If anyone else is seeing it even later, send me some pictures and some information on it siting so that we can keep a record of it on the blog for next year.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Nick Christians
October 26, 2012

The advanced turf course, Hort 451 will be offered on line in the spring of 2013.  This is the first time that this course has been offered for off campus students.  It is available for undergraduate or minor graduate credit.  This is a two credit course, with two hours of lecture per week.

For a brief video on its content, go to:


For more information on the Distance Education program at Iowa State and for instructions for registration, go to:


Hort. 351, the basic turf course, will also be available on line this spring.  This is a 3 credit course with 3 hours of lecture per week.

The cost for off campus students for either course, including those out of state or in other countries,  is:

Undergraduate credit - $277/credit
Graduate credit - $431/credit
Delivery fee - $162

If you have any questions, contact me:

Nick Christians, Ph.D.
University Professor
Iowa State University
Department of Horticulture
133 Horticulture Bldg.
Ames, IA 50011

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Nick Christains
October 25, 2012

The American Society of Agronomy meetings were in Cincinnati this week and Zach Simons, one of our graduate students, set up a tour of the Paul Brown Stadium and practice facility with some of the other turf people from Tennessee and Georgia.  Darian Daly, the head sports turf manager gave us the tour.    It is a very impressive site.  The main field in the stadium  is artificial turf with rubber infill.  The practice fields were bermudagrass that had been overseeded recently with perennial ryegrass.  Thanks to Darian for a great tour.  Hopefully we can get an ISU intern there at some time in the future.

Darian Daly is on the right with the black jacket and cap.  Zach Simons is in the green shirt.

This is the practice fields next to the stadium.  The bermuda is still not completely dormant and the overseeded ryegrass is just beginning to emerge.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Nick Christians
October 15, 2012

Here is a mystery problem from two of our sports turf students, Joel Rieker and Kevin Hansen.  It is from a new Kentucky bluegrass grow-in on one of the new sand-based sports fields on campus.  It is showing up as patches from one to two feet in diameter.  Notice the close up of the turf in the third picture, showing a redish to purple discoloration on new growth.

I am suspecting a nutritional problem.  My guess is phosphorus and I am recommending a application of phosphorus as soon as possible.  I think that there is probably some fungal organism involved but I suspect that it is because the grass is deficient in phosphorus.  We may also try some chlorothalonil fungicide on a test area.  They will also do a soil test on the area and take a sample of the grass to the plant disease lab, but both will take some time.  It is the end of the season and we do need to act fast.

I could be wrong and I would like some feedback on this.  Has anyone seen this before on a bluegrass grow-in on sand?  If so what did you do about it.  Send the response to my e-mail, or put it on the comment section below.  Any ideas would be helpful.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Nick Christians
October 10, 2010

Since I posted the information on the amount of Bermudagrass showing up in Iowa, I have had a number of questions on how to kill it.  Roundup is the standard answer, but it is very hard to kill.  I have also heard from former students in Bermudagrass country about its control.  Below are two recommendations.  Notice that these come from other states and that pesticide labeling and recommendations vary by state.  Check labels for use of these products in your locations.

The first is as follows:

In our region, we use a combination of  Roundup and Turflon (Triclopyr) Ester. 
Tank mix Roundup is 3oz/1000ft2 and Turflon at 2oz/1000ft2.  Be careful with seeding cool-season grasses back into the area.  If seeded within 3 days, you'll see about 50-75% germantion on the cool-season seed.  If you wait 2 weeks, you'll see anywhere from 75-100% germination. 

(You can also find a number of articles on the internet about using Turflon Ester to control Bermudagrass.)

The second from another location includes Roundup and Fusilade in a tank mix, followed by Tupersan.

The aggressive way of killing Bermudagrass is to apply Roundup at 4 oz/1000 ft2  with Fusilade at 2 oz/1000 ft2 in a tank mix combination.  It may take a repeat application

You can then use Tupersan at 14-16 oz /1000 ft2 as a follow up.  Tupersan will hold back the Bermuda and you can seed into it. 

Again, check label recommendations for your area before using these approaches.