Thursday, August 29, 2013

Potential for Late-Season Pythium

Ryan Adams
August 28th, 2013

With the Iowa temperatures expected to continue in the upper 90’s with high humidity for the foreseeable future, it presents conditions conducive to Pythium blight activity. Pythium is known as one of the most destructive turf diseases in the Midwest and overnight it can lead to large turf death. With most turf managers fungicide programs winding down for the year; it might be the time to have a bottle of Cyazofamid (Segway®) handy for a knockdown contact application. 

Pythium is a high temperature disease which presents the most damage under daytime temps in excess of 86⁰F, followed by nights in the high 60's. It usually affects close-mown turfgrass under intense management. Symptoms generally include small circular patches (1-2 inches) accompanied with a cotton-like mycelia that appears in the early morning. Pythium is often first noticed on sites with poor drainage. It is also easily spread by mechanical means and can be carried over turf by foot traffic and/or mowing equipment.  Reducing your nitrogen fertility inputs, avoiding night watering, increasing air movement, and improving areas with poor drainage reduces your threat for disease incidence.

Below are some pictures of the cotton-like mycelia seen in the early morning.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

QUACKGRASS (Elymus repens) IN TURF

Nick Christians
August 28, 2013

Here are some pictures of Quackgrass (Elymus repens).  This is one of most prevalent perennial grassy weeds in the Midwest.  It the hardest one to control in my experience.

The easiest way identify it is by its long clasping auricles wrapping around the stem from the collar. 

 It also has an extensive rhizome system below ground.  It is the rhizome that makes it so hard to control.  While systemics like glyphosate (Roundup) can translocate down and kill the rhizome, the rhizomes are often so extensive that the entire rhizome is not killed and the quackgrass comes back from the buds on the nodes of the rhizome.

Here is a recent picture from the turfgrass research area.  We noticed that quackgrass was spreading into a sandy area from the edge of a creeping bentgrass green.  This demonstrates the ability of this species to spread into surrounding areas.

In the final picture, Dan has pulled up a section of the rhizome to show how long they can get.  There are no effective selective controls labeled for quackgrass at this time.  We did have Certainty (sulfosulfuron) from Monsanto up to about a year ago, but that product has been removed from the market for use in cool-season grasses.

Non-selective control with Roundup is still the best bet and even that will  require persistence.  The best way to get rid of it in your lawn is to hit it repeatedly with roundup.  Then, till the soil and sod over the spot, rather than seed.  It tends to out compete seedlings, but has a hard time emerging through sod.

Friday, August 23, 2013


 Nick Christians
August23, 2013

Dan Strey, ISU graduate student and research associate received 3rd place in the national Golf Course Superintendent Association of America (GCSAA) essay contest.  The prize was a $1000 scholarship.  Congratulations Dan!

The story from GCSAA is below:

Derek Pruyne, John Parvin, and Dan Strey, are winners of the 2013 Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Student Essay Contest.

Open to GCSAA members who are undergraduate or graduate students pursuing degrees in turfgrass science, agronomy or any field related to golf course management, the GCSAA Essay Contest accepts entries with a focus on golf course management. The scholarship funding is provided by the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG) through the Robert Trent Jones Endowment. The EIFG is GCSAA’s philanthropic organization.

Judges from the GCSAA Scholarship Committee select winners to receive scholarships and the first place entry may be published or excerpted in the association's official publication, GCM.
Pruyne, from State College, Pa., is a first-year graduate student at Penn State University. He won the first place scholarship of $2,000 for his essay: "Implications of Rising Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Turfgrass Systems."

Parvin, from White Lake Township, Mich., is a senior at Michigan State University. With his paper "Golf Course Management, a Stimulating Science," Parvin won the second place prize of $1,500 for the second consecutive year.

Strey, from Ames, Iowa, is in his first year of graduate school at Iowa State University. He claimed the third place award of $1,000 for his writing: "Alternatives to Synthetic Herbicides."

"Derek, John and Dan are wonderful examples of the industry’s future," GCSAA President Patrick R. Finlen, CGCS, said. "We are proud to honor their achievements on behalf of the GCSAA membership, and it will be exciting to see where they go from here."

The picture below is of Dan at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing this summer.  He attended the International Turfgrass Research meetings in July.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Nick Christians
August 22, 2013 
Zac Simons, massters student in turfgrass management,  was chosen to attend the Jacobsen Future Turf Managers program in Charlotte, NC this past may.  He had a great time.  Here is his description of the experience.

By Zac Simons:

This past May I had the opportunity to attend the Jacobsen Future Turf Managers program at Jacobsen’s corporate headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Each turf program around the country has the opportunity to nominate a student to attend the event.  This year 21 students attended the event with one student coming from the United Kingdom.  The event was from May 13 – 16 and included stops at Jacobsen’s manufacturing facility and distribution warehouse, the Quail Hollow Club, Sage Valley Golf Club, and the University of South Carolina. 
            On Tuesday the day began with tours of Jacobsen’s manufacturing facility and distribution warehouse.  At the Jacobsen manufacturing each machine is assembled by hand which shows the care Jacobsen puts into each of their machines.  The distribution warehouse houses all the equipment waiting to be shipped as well as a section where all of the replacement parts are stored.  The distribution warehouse also houses Jacobsen University which is where employees can attend classes to learn about Jacobsen’s equipment and the maintenance they require.  While at Jacobsen University we had two guest speakers.  Abby McNeal CSFM from Wake Forest spoke about her experience managing athletic fields and Dr. Jim Brosnan from the University of Tennessee spoke about future issues facing turfgrass management. 
            The next stop on the trip was to Quail Hollow Golf Club which hosts the Wells Fargo Championship and will host the 2017 PGA Championship. Quail Hollow was under renovation for the 2017 PGA Championship. Superintendent Chris Deariso gave us a tour of the course and explained the renovation projects that are occurring on the course.  For the 2017 PGA Championship Quail Hollow is converting their creeping bentgrass greens to MiniVerde ultra dwarf bermudagrass greens. 
On Wednesday we visited Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, South Carolina.  Sage Valley Golf Club is a private club which is located 11 miles from Augusta National.  Sage Valley also resembles Augusta National very closely with its bentgrass greens and wall to wall overseeding of ryegrass in the winter months.  Superintendent Chuck Green showed us the three practice holes on the course and explained the maintenance practices that are done on the course.  It was a busy day on the course so we were only able to see the 16th hole. 
            From Sage Valley we went to the University of South Carolina in Columbia.  We first stopped at Williams Brice Stadium which is the home of Gamecocks football.  The stadium had hosted a Kenny Chesney concert in the spring and was still showing some wear.  We also visited the University of South Carolina baseball stadium which is home to the 2010 and 2011 National Champions.  It is beautiful stadium which seats around 8,000 and rivals some minor league stadiums.  Clark Cox the head groundskeeper at South Carolina gave the group tours of each stadium and explained the maintenance practices that are done on each field. 
            The Jacobsen Future Turf Managers program was an excellent experience.  I would like to thank Dr. Nick Christians for his recommendation and Jacobsen for their hospitality.  It was a great networking and learning experience which will be useful as my time as a turf manager.  

 Quail Hollow:

Sage Valley:

 William Brice Stadium

University of South Carolina baseball field

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Nick Christians
August 21, 2013

Ryan Adams joined the ISU staff on August 19 in the position of lecturer/turfgrass extension.  His primary responsibilities will be communication with the turfgrass industry in Iowa and the region. 

Ryan received his M.S. at the University of Florida in August 2013. His work focused on nutrient management of bermudagrass fairways surrounding environmentally sensitive areas. Mr. Adams received his B.S degree in 2010 from Iowa State University. During his tenure at Iowa State University, Ryan interned at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, NC, Shoal Creek Country Club in Shoal Creek, Alabama and with the United States Golf Association Green Section. He has also worked at the Iowa State University Research Farm, Ames, IA and Charlotte Country Club in Charlotte, NC.

His contact information is:

Ryan Adams
Lecturer/Turfgrass Extension Associate
Iowa State University
222 Horticulture Hall
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: 515-294-1957