Monday, April 29, 2013


Nick Christians
April 29, 2013

The Iowa State University turf club has had a busy week leading into the end of the semester.   On Thursday April 25, they applied preemergence herbicide and fertilizer to the university botanic garden, Reiman Garents.

They followed that up with a semester end golf tournament at Veenker Memorial Golf Course on ISU campus.

Nearly everyone will be leaving for a summer internship at the end of next week.  They will be back on campus the 3rd week of August.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Nick Christians
April 23, 2013

About once a decade, we get just the right weather conditions to cause a serious loss of Poa annua during the winter.  This was not the year in central Iowa.  Our bentgrass and Poa appear to be recovering very will this spring.  However, I am getting some contacts from the Chicago area and Wisconsin indicating that they are seeing some Poa loss.  This apparently happened this spring after snow cover melted.  The following pictures are from Marc Davison of Green Bay country club in Wisconsin.  The first one shows ball sized spots of Poa on the green that are dead, while the surrounding bentgrass is healthy.  


 The second picture shows a green with healthier grass in swales where snow cover persisted longer than on other parts of the green.  Evidently, the snow protected the turf, while exposed areas lost Poa.  This would require just the right spring weather conditions.  My guess is that the Poa began to green up earlier than the bent.  Then there was some wet weather, followed by a quick freeze that selectively killed the Poa.  That is just a speculation at this point, but it seems to make sense from discussions that I have had with other superintendents in that region who lost Poa. 

I am wondering if any Iowa superintendents are seeing this problem.  I have not observed it here, but I know that the Northeast and Northwestern parts of the state have had some very unusual weather conditions.  In fact it is still snowing in late April in Northwest Iowa.  If you lost some Poa, send me some pictures by e-mail and I will get them on the blog

Monday, April 15, 2013


Nick Christians
April 15, 2013

On January 11, 2013, Dan Strey reported on the new tee complex at the Iowa State Research area.  The new site had been seeded in the fall and covers had been placed on it for winter protection.  We lost a surprising amount of grass under the covers on the upper part of the tee this spring, even though the area had been covered.  Here is Dan's report on the spring results.  I do not have a good explanation for why we lost the grass on the upper part of the tee, I generally do not see this on covered areas.

 From Dan.
At the end of last year, I wrote about the construction of a new tee complex at the Horticultue Research Station. Well, the covers were finally removed this past week, and it was rather surprising what we found underneath.

The 80/20 mix of Kentucky bluegrass and Perennial ryegrass that was planted on the surrounds handled the winter well, especially in the areas covered. However, the bentrgrass areas had much different results. 

 The bottom tee grew in well before the winter and was even mowed once before covering the area. We did observe yellow patch in late October, but the damage was rather minute. The bottom tee showed very little winter damage after removing the covers.

The top tee is another story. The area hadn’t germinated as well as the bottom tee last fall, but was still in pretty good shape.  As we removed the covers, I noticed the sand was extremely dry and there wasn’t green grass to be found. 

 I am thinking that the area became too dry since the snow melted off.  The tee is located in an area that is exposed to winds from any direction. The probability of the turf recovering is rather small. We will most likely have to reseed the area this spring.