Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2014

Leatherjackets looming

leatherjacket in matted grass

leatherjacket in matted grass

Just like grubs, leatherjackets are high up in the soil now and feeding on turf. They look pretty wee so far. Damage is usually beginning to be evident by Mother’s Day weekend. It is difficult to predict yet what the timing of the damage will be this spring. Damage to turf shows as yellow spots, thinning to bare patches. Similar to grubs, secondary pests such as skunks and starlings can also damage the turf: skunks dig up small patches of turf in search of leatherjackets, and birds peck them out of turf during May and June.

This insect loves moist soils so make sure to scout those areas. One is to take a cup changer-sized plug of turf and tear it apart, looking through the leaf blades, thatch and soil for leatherjackets.here are two methods for scouting. Another is to submerge that same cup changer-sized plug in a tray with a saturated salt solution. A saturated salt solution can be made with 3/4 of a cup of salt in a litre of water. The leatherjackets will float to the top of the tray.

As far as leatherjacket control goes, our attempts to control leatherjackets with nematodes have been inconsistent, but the best results were when nematodes were applied in the fall. For golf courses or sod farms there are curative pesticide options that can be applied in the spring. More information on leatherjackets can be found at the link below.

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/13-023.htm

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

My annual grub rant

Grubs up at soil thatch interface

Grubs up at soil thatch interface

Grubs
It only takes a few days of mild weather for the grubs to be up at the soil surface in the spring. Because we had a summer and fall with adequate rain, grub damage is not severe this spring. That being said, there are still some grubs out there but the damage being reported is the secondary damage from skunks, racoons and starlings. Here comes my annual rant (I know I am no match for Rick Mercer, but we are about the same height). Whether you are in lawn care, are a golf superintent or a sod grower, now is not the time to attempt grub control. The grubs are huge, barely feeding, will pupate soon and are very difficult to control. For lawn care operators, make a note of the damaged areas and consider applying nematodes in August. For sod growers or golf course superintendents, note the damaged areas and consider applying a preventative grub control product in June or July.

Read Full Post »

Patches of different shades brown turf on GTI research range

Patches of different shades brown turf on GTI research range

Well …….. maybe not fifty, but there are many dead areas of turf and the range of colour of dead or damaged turf is astounding. Also, I don’t think this post is going to be a bestseller. I guess the reason for the range is that there have been many pathways to the death of turf this spring. There is definitely dead Poa annua that died of anoxia (too many days under the ice cover), Poa annua that may have died from direct low temperature injury, or crown hydration and even in some cases perhaps desiccation, not to mention snow mould and there may even be some damaged creeping bentgrass. The colours don’t really mean anything and some of that brown turf may green up. The extent of the damage is still not clear in many areas. Let’s hope the next three days of temperatures in the double digit will help reveal the extent of the damage.

Green Kentucky bluegrassin the foreground and brown perennial rye and tall fescue in the background

Green Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue in the foreground and brown perennial rye and tall fescue in the background

On home lawns and sportsfields, there is plenty of snow mould injury but there is also the possibility of winter injury to our most susceptible lawn and sports turf species perennial ryegrass and tall fescue.

Next steps?
Many of you are still in the assessment phase and until you have a handle of the extent of the damage it is hard to have a comprehensive plan. Covers can speed up recovery, especially if we continue to have a colder than normal spring. Companies that have been supplying covers have had them flying out of their warehouses. There have been many questions about the best type of covers or which colour is preferable for warming up soils and promoting turf seed germination. Interestingly enough, there doesn’t seem to be any good information on this. You want to be able to warm up the soil on a sunny day and prevent the heat loss from the soil on cool nights, so not sure what works best for that. At this point, the best type of cover is any one that you can lay your hands on.

Prepare damaged areas to maximize seed to soil contact. A common method on golf greens to achieve this is to core aerate, topdress, seed and then go over badly damaged areas with a Jobsaver to maximize the seed to soil contact. On home lawns and sportsfields, scalp the turf to create as much seed to soil contact as possible and either slit seed or broadcast the perennial ryegrass seed. As mentioned above, covering the greens or damaged areas of sportsfield will help speed up the germination and recovery efforts. Adding phosphorus has also been demonstrated to help speed establishment. MSU Turf blog has a good summary of actions to take to recover from winter injury at http://www.msuturf.blogspot.ca/. Even with covers, it will require some cooperation from Mother Nature to get speedy turf recovery this spring.

Read Full Post »

Epic snow mould

Pink and grey snow mould on bentgrass

Pink and grey snow mould on bentgrass

Pink and grey snow mould on Kentucky bluegrass

Pink and grey snow mould on Kentucky bluegrass

There are many areas of the province that still have snow cover and that was exacerbated last night with more snow fall in some regions (even Guelph had a dusting of snow last night). What is clear is that snow mould damage is extensive on golf course fairways, roughs, surrounds, sportsfields and home lawns. Both grey and pink snow mould damage is abundant. Grey snow mould needs roughly 90 days of snow cover and most areas in the province had that. In a normal winter (we all know that this was in no way a normal winter) that damage to turf from snow mould is usually superficial. It is usually just the leaf blades that have been attacked and once the soil and air temperatures warm up and the damaged leave blades are mowed off the new growth comes in healthy. With the length of snow cover and the length of time the snow mould had to grow, it isn’t clear if the damage is only on the foliage. If the damage did penetrate through to the crown of the plant, there could be permanent damage to turf can only be repaired by overseeding this spring. It is too early to tell yet as frost is still in the ground and air temperatures haven’t warmed enough for spring growth to start. It is too early to tell if the snow mould damage will recover. Let’s keep our fingers crossed because there is death by snow mould and winter injury that will have to be repaired this spring. At least the forcast for later this week includes some temperatures in the double digits.

Read Full Post »