Archive for August, 2012

The deadline for registration  for the GTI Turf Research Field Day taking place on Thurs. Aug. 23, 2012 is this Fri. Aug. 17th.  Follow the link below for the online registration form.  http://www.guelphturfgrass.ca/

It is the 25th Anniversary of the GTI and there is a lot to see and to celebrate.  Some of the highlights of this years field day are the trials that feature an irrigation vs. a non-irrigation treatment.  With four weeks or more without rain those non-irrigated plots show some very interesting results.  There is also the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program Organic Kentucky Bluegrass trial as well as overseeding trials and disease management to name a few.  The price for the day is $25 which includes lunch.   Registration begins at 8:30 and the field day runs until 1:00 pm.

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Growing like weeds

Now that there is sufficient soil moisture, the grass is growing again.  Unfortunately, the same is true for the weeds.  Now is a good time to treat the broadleaf weeds that may have become established or flourished when the turf was suffering because of lack of water.  Treatment with the iron chelate based herbicide Fiesta can begin any time now.  For best results, make an application now and a second application within 4 weeks.  This is only one part of your weed control strategy.  Just watch the day time temperatures and do not apply Fiesta if the temperature is going to be higher than 28 degrees C.  The second part of the weed control strategy is to apply fertilizer to the turf to help the turf recover and out-compete the weeds.  We recommend an application of 0.5 kg nitrogen per 100 square meters. 

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We have been out in the field monitoring for European chafer grubs to see what size they are so we can determine the besting timing for nematode applications and the timing is now.  If the main grub species that you are dealing with is Japanese beetle however, it would be best to wait a couple more weeks.  There are still many adult Japanese beetles around and feeding and they probably have not finished egglaying yet.

The recent rains have replenished the soil moisture, which is needed for success with nematode applications .  Nematodes move in the soil moisture film to get to their target.  The grubs are ranging from very early first instar to late first instar, which is the stage that you want them to be when you apply nematodes.  Below are some tips for insuring success with nematode treatments against grubs. (more…)

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There has been widespread rain over the past week for most regions of the province.  As a result, most turf areas have greened up surprisingly quickly and thoroughly.  It is estimated that 90% of the turf that was dormant is actively growing again.  It is refreshing to know that the rules of thumb that we work with have held where turf and dormancy is concerned.  Turfgrass specialists estimate that turf can go 4-6 weeks without significant rainfall and still survive.  In many areas of Ontario we were reaching that mark by the time the rains finally came. 

What about the turf that isn’t coming back?  There are several reasons why turf might not be coming back.  Some of those reasons are:

  • insect damage (bluegrass billbug or hairy chinch bug damage)
  • south facing slopes or other areas that are prone to water runoff
  • dormant turf that was heavily trafficked
  • turf growing on very light textured soils (sand)
  • new seedings (areas that were seeded last fall)
  • immature sod (areas that were sodded last fall)

What can you do with those areas of dead turf?  Now is a good time to seed those damaged areas.  Mow the turf a bit lower than normal and rake the dead areas.  You can select grasses to match your current turf or use this as an opportunity to chose a different species to improve the performance of the turf you already have.  The link below outlines some of the grass species mixtures for a variety of conditions (sun, shade, irrigated, un-irrigated). 



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The question is “Can your turf survive?”.  The hotter than normal conditions throughout July and so far into August have been very stressful for annual bluegrass golf course turf.  This situation was exacerbated when this was accompanied by soil drenching thunderstorms.  High night time temperatures make the situation even worse again.  Temperatures and humidity are forecast to remain high until at least Fri. Aug. 10th.  The one slightly positive note is that the night time temperatures are dipping a little and will be hovering around the 15-18 degree Celsius mark.

The GTI Turf Diagnostics Lab has diagnosed more summer patch this week.  The last bout of thunderstorms will set things up again for more summer patch infection.  If we get sunny, hot, dry conditions following infection, the symptoms become much more evident because the infected roots are not functioning properly and they can not keep up with the evapo-transpiration demands of a cloudless, hot, windy day.  Cultural practices that reduce stress may reduce disease severity such as raising mowing height and syringing during the heat of the day.  Also, fertilizing with acidifying fertilizers has been shown to reduce the disease symptoms. (more…)

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Scarab beetle grubs

I have had a report of June beetle grub damage earlier this week.  From the photo, it appeared that they were early third instar.  There was already damage from grub feeding at these sites and the bad news is that the third instar grubs will be feeding all through the fall so there is more damage to come.  I am not aware of any nematode species that are effective against third instar June beetle grubs.

We know that European chafer grubs are developing on schedule on irrigated turf sites and they are now in the first instar.  It is very difficult to predict what may have happened to European chafer eggs on sites where there has not been significant rain during their egg-laying period.  Usually female adult European chafers will seek out sites with sufficient moisture to lay their eggs.  That may have been a difficult task for them this summer.  If they were unable to find moist sites, there is a chance that their eggs did not develop.  If they did find moist sites, it could be that grub damage will be in the low lying wetter areas instead of the usual high areas with light textured soils.  We will be doing some grub monitoring in the upcoming week and I will write a post on what I find.  There is also the question of when to start nematode treatments this summer.  There is still time.  Generally speaking, conditions are still on the dry side, although there were some widespread thunder showers yesterday.  Nematode treatments work best is soils are moist at the time of application and if they can be kept moist for several days after.  If there are watering bans in your communities, you or your clients may need permits to water lawns after a nematode treatment has been made.  Nematode treatments can easily be delayed for a couple of weeks without sacrificing efficacy.  I would welcome any feedback on what people are observing regarding European chafer grubs so far this summer. (more…)

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