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  • $40 Afternoon Session/ $30 MTF Members

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Turfgrass Field Day Recap - August 11, 2021

For the MSU Turf Team and the more than 400 participants who came out to learn, network and participate in the study of turfgrass, it turned out to be a great day.  One day later, and it would have been a completely different story, as MSU along with many other Michigan areas, received 4 inches of rain overnight.  

Highlights from the day included Dr. Vargas's turf dust - IRS comparison, Dr. Frank's barefoot test and learning that Poa Annua ranks only behind cockroaches on the toughness scale.  A photo recap of the day can be found below.

Congratulations to Peter Cookingham, Head of the Turfgrass Information Center, on his upcoming retirement.  Read More

Thank you to Jesse Sholl and the staff at the Hancock Turfgrass Research Center for all they did to make this one of the most successful Field Days to date.

The 2021 Turfgrass Field Day was presented with the support the following sponsors:

Lanyard sponsor:  MeritHall Inc., Rep. Travis Goeski
Corporate Lunch Sponsors: NuFarmFMC Professional SolutionsMTESP
Bottled Water Sponsor: Green Point Consulting
Breakfast Sponsor: Harrell's LLC

Golf 1. Disease Management for Golf Courses
Nancy Dykema and Dr. J. M. Vargas, Jr.
Dollar Spot Management
Summer Stress in Turfgrass

Lawn and Athletic Fields 7.  Turfgrass Weed Research
Dr. Thom Nikolai, Dr. T.O. Green, Eric Galbraith, Dr. Eric Patterson, and Ben Pritchard

Discussing results of a 3-year lawn HOC study and a walk over to a GDD crabgrass application study.

Golf 2.  The Effects of Soil Test Philosophy Recommendations on Creeping Bentgrass and Annual Bluegrass
Jackie Guevara and Dr. Kevin W. Frank

The study evaluated two soil testing philosophies and fertilizer recommendations, namely Sufficiency Level of Available Nutrients (SLAN) and Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition (MLSN).

Lawn & Athletic Fields 8.  Disease Management in Lawns and Athletic Fields
Nancy Dykema and Dr. J.M. Vargas Jr.

Leaf Spot, Dollar Spot, Red Thread, Necrotic Ring Spot

Golf 3.  Abiotic Stress Physiology of Putting Green Species
Megan Gendjar and Dr. Emily Merewitz, Kailey Miller, Dr. Kevin Frank

Soil water content and plant growth regulator effects on Poa Annua acclimation to and survival of winter.
Mowing height effects on winterkill of Poa Annua putting greens.

Lawn & Athletic Fields 9.  The Long-Term Effect of Irrigation and Fertilizer Programs on Different Turfgrass Species
Dr. Kevin Frank and Jesse Sholl

The objective of the study is to demonstrate the interaction and performance of fertilization and irrigation on different turfgrass species and mixtures.

Golf 4.  Racecourse Athletic Field Systems, and Golf Ball Reaction and Soil Strength Studies
Dr. J.N. Rogers, III, Dr. J.R. Crum, and Dr. T.O. Green
The the golf ball reaction and soil strength study (2021-2022) will give insight to improving golf shots by allowing golfers the option of bouncing shots to gain distance while placing them nearer target putting green.

Lawn & Athletic Fields 10, Golf 5.  Outbreaks of Japanese Beetle Decline in Southern Michigan Due to Biological Control While Populations Increase in Northern Michigan
Dr. David Smitley

In 1999, with Japanese Beetle populations exploding in Michigan, a survey by Cappaert and Smitley (2002) revealed that the most promising biocontrol organisms were either absent or nearly absent in Southern Michigan.

Golf 6.  Turfgrass Weed Research
Dr. Thom Nikolai, Dr. T.O Green, Eric Galbraith, Dr. Eric Patterson, and Ben Pritchard

Attendees were encouraged to take ratings at two different studies.

Highlights from the Afternoon Workshops:

2021 Turfgrass Field Day
Wednesday, August 11th
Hancock Turfgrass Research Center


7:30 AM Registration Opens 

8:45 AM Opening Comments

9:00 AM Morning research tours begin

11:00 AM Catered lunch by Gravity Smokehouse and BBQ 

12:00 PM Afternoon workshops/field tours begin

2:00 PM Afternoon workshops/field tours conclude

4 MDARD pesticide recertification credits available.

2 credits for 3A, 6, or Comm. Core for the morning tour and

2 credits for 3A, 6, or Comm. Core for the afternoon tours. 

Morning Research Tours 

Note:  There are separate tours for Golf and Lawn Care/Grounds/Athletic Fields. 

Golf Research Tour

(2 MDARD pest. re-certification credits; .20 GCSAA Education pts)

Topics/Stops include:

  •  Disease management strategies for golf turf – Dr. Joe Vargas, Jr. and his research team will discuss fungicide and cultural practice recommendations for controlling dollar spot, crown rot anthracnose, foliar anthracnose, brown patch, and summer stress syndrome.
  • Effects of different soil testing interpretation philosophies on turfgrass performance – Jackie Guevara and Dr. Kevin Frank will discuss how different soil testing philosophies affect nutrient rate recommendations, turfgrass performance, and soil nutrient concentrations.
  • Cold acclimation, winterkill, and ice encasement – Dr. Emily Merewitz and her research team will discuss the most recent research efforts to understand the factors that cause winterkill from ice encasement and how plant growth regulators and fungicides might mitigate winterkill.
  • Golf ball reaction and soil strength study – Dr. Trey Rogers’ research team will discuss research to determine golf ball reaction from simulated inbound golf shots on various rootzone mixtures, turfgrass species and mowing heights.
  • Herbicide and plant growth regulators research – Dr. Thom Nikolai will present research on burn down herbicides, PGRs for annual bluegrass control on greens and fairways, and PGRs impact on green speed.  
  • Changes in Japanese beetle damage on golf courses in Michigan – Dr. David Smitley will discuss Japanese beetle damage, cultural and insecticide recommendations for golf courses.

Lawn Care/Grounds/Athletic Field Tour (2 MDARD pest. recert credits)

Topics/Stops include:

  • Changes in distribution of Japanese beetle and European chafer damage to lawns in Michigan – Dr. David Smitley will discuss insecticide and cultural control options for European chafer and Japanese beetle throughout Michigan.
  • Weed control strategies for lawns and athletic fields – Dr. Thom Nikolai will pre and postemergence crabgrass control, postemergence broadleaf weed control, burn down herbicide options, and non-pesticide control of crabgrass.
  • Fertilizer programming, nutrient fate, and Kentucky bluegrass cultivar evaluations – Dr. Kevin Frank will lead discussion on turfgrass fertilization programs, potential water quality risks from applications, and the NTEP Kentucky bluegrass test, and A-LIST Kentucky bluegrass test.
  • Identification and management of lawn grass diseases - Dr. Joe Vargas, Jr. and his research team will discuss common lawn diseases such as red thread, dollar spot, rust, and brown patch. Fungicide recommendations and the effect of cultural practices such as irrigation and cultivation will be discussed.

Afternoon Workshops/Tours

1. Weed Walk (2 MDARD pest. recert credits; .20 GCSAA Education pts) limited to 60 registrants

As the weed walk enters its 22nd year, the summer of 2021 has produced another bumper crop of weeds infesting turf. Dr. Thom Nikolai will lead the tour of the turf center and teach identification characteristics of the common turf weeds and the best control practices. Tour will include discussion of best management practices both with and without herbicides to ensure high turfgrass quality and most importantly customer satisfaction. 


2. Disease Walk (primarily golf turf diseases) (2 MDARD pest. recert credits; .20 GCSAA Education pts) Note: Limited to 60 registrants

Dr. Vargas and and the turf pathology research team will lead this diagnostic tour for pathogens at the turf center.   If you have difficulty distinguishing between Laetisaria fuciformis and Limnomyces roseipellis on your golf course you definitely need to attend this workshop.  Participants will learn:

  • 1)    How to identify the common turfgrass diseases using both in-field techniques and microscopes
  • 2)    Management options for common diseases including: dollar spot, brown patch, crown-rotting anthracnose, red thread, and pythium blight and root-rot.
  • 3)    How to recognize the symptoms of summer decline of both bentgrass and Poa annua

3. Dean and Marilyn Look MSU Golf Training Grounds  (2 MDARD pest. recert credits) limited to 50 registrants 

The Dean and Marilyn Look Training Grounds was recently constructed and established adjacent to the Forest Akers West golf course. Designed by Golf Architects  Paul Albanese & Chris Lutzke , it will serve as the practice area for the MSU Men and Women’s golf teams. Come take a tour of the new facility to learn about turfgrass selection and establishment protocols and the architectural design with Ron Lewis, Dr. Trey Rogers, and Paul Albanese


A look back at last year's Virtual Field Day:  

Hancock Turfgrass Research
Center Virtual Field Day:
Turfgrass and Athletics

October 3, 2020

Researchers at Michigan State University Hancock Research Center share their turfgrass and athletic field research.

Michigan Turfgrass Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 27156, Lansing, MI 48909

The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation exists to promote safe, healthy turf surfaces for all Michigan residents.

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