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  • 02 Oct 2019 11:49 AM | Anonymous


    Jim Kells joins MSU AgBioResearch, MSU Extension

    We are pleased to announce that Jim Kells, most recently chair of the MSU Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences (PSM), will begin working for MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension in the coming weeks. Please join us in welcoming him to our organizations.

     

    Dr. Kells will provide leadership and oversight of the day-to-day operations of Project GREEEN, a partnership between both organizations and the State of Michigan.

     

    Within MSU AgBioResearch, Dr. Kells will serve as a member of our leadership team and contribute to the oversight and operations of the field research center network. He will also represent MSU AgBioResearch at various stakeholder gatherings and events.

     

    Within MSU Extension, he will work to help further develop MSU’s hemp program and provide leadership on international programs and activities. He will also work on professional development and work team dynamics, faculty engagement and defining faculty expectations.

     

    We’d like to thank Dr. Kells for his long-time service as department chair and for his commitment to supporting both MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension. We appreciate his hard work and dedication and look forward to working more closely with him in the near future.

     

    Doug Buhler, director of MSU AgBioResearch

    Jeff Dwyer, director of MSU Extension


  • 11 Feb 2019 2:18 PM | Kevin Frank (Administrator)

    Here in mid-Michigan winter was late to arrive but has certainly made its presence felt in the last several weeks. However, from Minnesota to Ontario I’ve been fielding questions since mid-December on ice cover on putting greens and what should or should not be done. This winter has been characterized by drastic swings in temperatures that have resulted in numerous melting and refreezing events and there have been ice storms mixed in for good measure that greeted some superintendents upon returning from the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. 


    As we approach the middle of February there is both good and bad to be recognized with this date. The key question for anyone dealing with ice is when did you start your ice clock? Many superintendents vividly remember the winter of 2013-2014 that resulted in thick ice sheets remaining in place for up to 80 days in some locations (http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/what_lies_beneath_ice). That winter produced ice on putting greens the first week of January and it never melted until March, which resulted in death from anoxia (suffocation). Remember, estimates of days of ice cover causing death for annual bluegrass range from 45-90 days and 120 days for creeping bentgrass. Just last year some locations in northern Minnesota suffered over 150 days of ice cover that killed not only annual bluegrass but also creeping bentgrass. So when did your clock start? If your ice clock only recently started I would have minimal concern in most areas as it is likely Mother Nature will “help the melt” before you reach 30-45 days of ice cover. If your ice clock started in early December and cover has been constant, then the turf is in the danger zone of life/death and it’s probably time to consider removal strategies. 

    Removing Ice

    Whether or not to attempt ice removal is a difficult decision for golf course superintendents.  The decision to remove ice can be based on several factors including: turf sampling, duration of ice cover, current and future temperatures, ability to remove water following melting from the green, and labor. 

    1. Sampling – there’s a great YouTube video from Bob Vavrek of the USGA http://tinyurl.com/k9mbfjc on how to sample greens under ice to assess survival.  An important point that Bob makes is that there is variability in sampling and just because your sample comes out alive doesn’t mean all areas on the green will survive – same can be said if your sample is dead.   

    2. Duration of ice cover – as discussed in the previous section, estimates of days of ice cover causing death vary from 45-90 for Poa annua and 120 days for creeping bentgrass.  Check your ice clock and proceed accordingly.

    3. Temperatures and sunshine – Check your local forecast for temperatures and hopefully sunshine that will facilitate ice removal and melt. Part of the concern with removing ice is exposing the turf to cold air temperatures after being insulated with snow and ice for long periods of time. In the past some superintendents have removed ice and then recovered the greens with snow to provide insulation against cold temperatures.  

    4. Physical ice removal – physical ice removal includes practices to fracture the ice with impact (hammers, chisels, aerifiers, slicers) and then remove the fractured ice sheet with shovels, tractors, or skid steers.  Avoid direct impact with tools such as hammers, I’ve seen superintendents use a vibratory tamp with good results as it minimizes direct impact when shattering the ice. There’s always some risk associated with impact related ice removal but the alternative of leaving ice in place and rolling the dice on survival is also risky. 


    5. Melting ice – there are many different products that have been used to melt ice including black sand, dark colored natural organic fertilizers, sunflower seeds, and fertilizers. The key to any melting strategy is to be able to remove the water from the green following melting so it doesn’t refreeze and form another ice sheet. Hollman et al. (2017) published an article on the ‘Effects of De-Icing Products on Putting Green Turf’. The results indicated that urea-based chemicals have the potential to severely damage turfgrass when applied to snow/ice free turf in early March. We applied these same treatments at MSU in 2014 to an ice covered putting green but were unable to assess turfgrass injury as all the turfgrass was dead by the time the ice receded. A YouTube vide of this trial is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKK0QYUCIks. My simple message to selection of melt materials is keep in mind that whatever you apply will ultimately end up on the turf. If you don’t feel comfortable applying it to turf that should tell you something about applying it to ice. 


    6. Labor – if you’re going to remove ice you need help.  Ice removal is not a 1-person job. If your golf course has 18 greens covered in ice even with several employees helping this is not going to be finished in 1 day.  

    There are Few Guarantees in Life or Ice Cover

    There are no guarantees with respect to winterkill and whether or not ice is removed will save the turf. The days under ice cover for survival are estimates from research and conditions from course to course and even within the same course vary thereby effecting how long turf can survive under ice. For further winterkill information or if you simply want to view some great winterkill death photos, there’s a complete winterkill presentation on YouTube from the Great Lakes School of Turfgrass Science at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IfIAvZllyo

  • 29 Jan 2019 3:19 PM | Douglas Johanningsmeier (Administrator)

    Doug Johanningsmeier, Southeast MI Territory Manager for Harrell’s LLC one of the nation’s largest distributors of branded fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides has been elected President of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation at the Foundations annual meeting Jan 22nd in East Lansing MI.

    Also elected were Curt Boak, from Lawn Tech as Vice President & Dan Mausolf, from Stine Turf and Snow as Treasure & Mark Wildeman CGCS from Clio CC as Secretary. The MTF which is governed by a twelve-member board, also welcomed Dan Jennings from ATS as a newly elected director replacing outgoing President Amy Fouty in the Sports & Commercial Turf position. Re-Elected to the Board were Eric Davey from Prestwick Village GC, Mark Wildeman CGCS from Clio CC. Craig Moore from Marquette CC was appointed to the Board to fulfill the term of Rob Pylar from Bayer who stepped down. The board also re-appointed Carey Mitchelson  as Executive Director for 2019.

    MTF was created in 1956 with 22 members and today manages over $2,000,000 in assets supporting Turfgrass research at Michigan State University and annually awards more then $100,000 in research and support grants to the Turfgrass program at MSU.

    "The mission of the Foundation is to work in partnership with Michigan State University, supporting ongoing programs in research, education, and extension in the area of professional turfgrass management that will benefit all individuals who manage turfgrasses or derive pleasure from the results of such management."

    Download hi-res image


  • 10 Jul 2018 1:14 PM | Anonymous

    Fairway Rolling 
    Dr. Thomas Nikolai
    Michigan State University



    We are 1/3rd into July, hardly the dog days of summer, and dry hot weather is resulting in stressed turfgrass which too often leads to human stress.  At this point I would like to remind you that rolling, in place of mowing, helps retain turfgrass health and soil moisture.

    All the way back in 1996, with the aid of MTF funding, MSU discovered that maintaining a frequent rolling program on putting greens decreased localized dry spot (LDS).  This summer, on plots measuring 20' x 195', on a Smithco Ultra 15 fairway rolling study current results indicate rolled plots average 6 times less LDS.  I will keep you posted as the season progresses and invite you to attend Field Day at the Hancock Turfgrass Research Center and check out the plots for yourself.







  • 31 May 2018 10:10 AM | Anonymous

    Thanks for your continued support of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation. The mission of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation is to support the research, teaching, and extension programs at Michigan State University. The LaFontaine golf outing is scheduled for June 21 at Coyote Preserve Golf Course near Fenton. Please register to support turf research and help Gordie celebrate his induction into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.

    null 

    Got Seedheads?

    We have been evaluating different products and different application timings for seedhead suppression for about 20 years at the Michigan State University Hancock Turfgrass Research Center. Embark is no longer being produced, so those who haven’t stockpiled it over the years can no longer use what has always been considered to be the most effective product for seedhead suppression.

    Over the years, we have developed growing degree-day (GDD) models to better time applications of Embark, and Proxy plus Primo Maxx. After years of research and talking with other researchers and golf course superintendents, many applications still fail to effectively suppress seedhead production in annual bluegrass greens and fairways. Efforts to suppress seedheads in East Lansing, Michigan, failed in 2018 and many golf course superintendents also appeared to have struggled with seedhead control. 

    We applied different combinations of plant growth regulators in 2018 using the Proxy/Primo GDD timer within the application window of 200 and 500 GDDs base 32 F, available at GDD Tracker. This year in East Lansing, the application window was from March 30 to May 1, 2018. First applications were made April 25 and although there was some seedhead suppression, we consider it a failure as more than 10 percent of the surface area was covered with seedheads. We waited for the end of the application window because we had yet to mow until a few days before April 25 because it was so cold.

    Many in Michigan experienced the same process by waiting for growth before making the first application. In 2017, the application window using the same GDD model ended April 10.

    So, what went wrong this year? What good is a window of application if it can still fail?

    It’s important to remember that seedhead production in annual bluegrass can be affected by many factors. We use a GDD model to time our applications that only accounts for the accumulation of heat units. There may be other climatic factors that affect the timing of peak seedhead flush that we aren’t measuring. Furthermore, annual bluegrass is so biologically diverse that seedhead production can vary greatly.

    It’s difficult to know exactly why many seedhead suppression efforts failed this year. However, here are a few thoughts.

    There is evidence to suggest that a PGR application must be timed before a seedhead emerges from the plant. The model is designed to signal application timing before emergence. Seedheads may emerge and not be easily viewed without some hands-on investigation of plants, so investigate. Look closely for emergence in south-facing slopes or other areas that may heat up faster than others. You could use these observations to help fine-tune your application even within the window given by GDD models. In the end, apply early rather than late. Once seedhead emergence begins, it is too late.

    If you are applying Proxy plus Primo, start your applications in late fall. Proxy plus Primo fall applications followed by GDD-timed Proxy plus Primo applications in spring have proven to consistently provide better seedhead suppression than spring only applications. We have made our fall-timed applications in the end of October to the beginning of November and had good results. If you are spending the time and money in spring to control seedheads, add a fall-timed application for a little insurance.

    Whether your seedhead suppression failed or not in 2018, keep trying. As a researcher, we observe the “failed” treatments next to the untreated plots, although the objective is 100 percent seedhead control, any amount of control makes a big difference when compared to the untreated plots.

    Dr. Frank’s work is funded in part by MSU’s AgBioResearch.

    This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

    The mission of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation is to support the research, teaching, and extension programs at Michigan State University. Join Us to become a member.


  • 12 May 2018 7:56 AM | Anonymous


    MTF President’s message- 5-11-2018

    I want to take the opportunity every few months to let you know what the MTF is working on and doing for the Turfgrass Community in Michigan. We have a very active and dedicated board with several thoughtful concepts and many undertakings.  Numerous have already been accomplished and others are in the process of being implemented.

    Here are a few bullet points of our activity.

    • Tee Times 4 Turf will end Sunday May 13 at 8:00pm   It is the MTF’s  largest Fund Raising effort during the year.  We appreciate all those that donated their course and we are pleased to acknowledge that the number of courses willing to donate were significantly higher than last year!  Auction proceeds go directly to support the research at MSU by our Turf Team. All Board members participated in soliciting clubs to support this event. Thank you to those who support this event!
    • The Research Committee has been very active this spring with the turf team. The following is a link to the current research going on at MSU.
     https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/msu-turfgrass-research-update-2017

    **A little known fact about researching funding- all the funding for turfgrass research projects at MSU is raised thru grants, donations, sponsorships. The department does not provide support funding for professors research projects. 

    • The Gordon LaFontaine Golf Outing:   Registration will soon be underway.  The date:  June 21st at The Coyote Preserve Golf Club.  Hope you may be able to attend / or be a sponsor.
    • Founders Committee:   Recently approved funding for some technology upgrades at the Hancock Turf Research Center. Thank you for your support!
    • Membership committee: has been hard at work over the past 6 months to correct information and get a mailing out for membership renewal. Thank you to those who once again have renewed your membership. 

    Finally, the MTF would like to congratulate Jesse Scholl on his new position at the Hancock Turf Research Center as the Farm Manager.  Jesse replaces Mark Collins who retired this year after decades of caring for the HTRC.   We are very happy for Jesse and his new position.  We would also like to thank Mark for all his years of caring for the Facility.  The MTF looks forward to supporting Jesse for many years to come.

    The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation goal is to provide our members with research information and we encourage those with comments and suggestions to please contact us.

    Have a great summer!


    Amy J. Fouty, CSFM President 2018

    fouty@msu.edu 


  • 23 Jan 2018 9:42 AM | Anonymous

    Student Scholarship Winners

    Congratulations to all student scholarship winners from the 2018 Michigan Turfgrass Conference.



    MTF Scholarship Award Winners
    Left to Right
    Kenyon T. Payne Outstanding Student Award - Reid Rahoi
    MTF Scholarship Chairman - Dan Lucas
    Memorial Service Award - Tom Robbins
    Two Year Sports and Commercial Turf Award - Adam Vecitis
    Norman Kramer Outstanding Student Award - Elana Cadenas Rivas (Not Pictured)



    What's Happening at the MSU Turfgrass Programs!

    Please take a moment to view what is going on at the MSU Turfgrass Program.  Thanks to Dr. Trey Rogers for providing us with this material.




  • 18 Jan 2018 9:57 AM | Anonymous

    Turfgrass Talk Show
    February 10, San Antonio Convention Center


    Free Beer, Edutainment and Munchies.

    Attention MTF & MiGCSA members attending the 2018 GIS in San Antonio.  MSU’s Dr. Nikolai offers the perfect meeting place for distant friends to kick-off their stay in San Antonio.

    The Turfgrass Talk Show takes place from 3:00-5:00 pm February 5 in the San Antonio Convention Center Stars at Night Ballroom. 

    Doors open at 2:45 pm and the first 500 attendees receive two beer tickets for a reception that immediately follows the event.

    The Talk Show and Reception is sponsored by Tru-Turf, a proud supporter of MSU Turfgrass Research, that is celebrating its 30th anniversary.  


    New From the MIGCSA

    Registration is now open for the brand new Match Play Championship. New for 2018, two person handicapped best ball match play championship. $25 per person, 100% of entry awarded back as prize money. Meet new members at a neutral site on your own pace. Starts April 1 2018, ends at the 2018 State Championship on Wednesday, August 29th at Hawk Hollow in Bath. Limited space in each bracket, first come first serve.

    Click here for more information.


  • 02 Oct 2017 1:09 PM | Kevin Frank (Administrator)

    It seems that August and September switched places this year as September delivered record setting heat and generally a lack of precipitation. High temperature records were shattered across many areas of Michigan from September 21-26 when in the Lansing area and throughout of most of the lower peninsula of Michigan high temperatures exceeded 90 degrees. Combined with the high temperatures, many areas of the lower peninsula are still under or near drought conditions. Although forecasts indicate temperatures should be moderating, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above average temperatures over the next three months. The combination of warm, dry weather has created some interesting challenges for fall turf management.

    Broadleaf Weed Control

    Fall is one of the best times to treat difficult to control broadleaf weeds such as ground ivy, wild violet, dandelion, and white clover. Weeds that have endured droughty conditions may be weak and burning down the above-ground foliage with a contact herbicide in addition to a translocating herbicide will help in control this fall. Some contact, ”burn down”, active ingredients (a.i.) include carfentrazone, sulfentrazone, pyraflufen. Traditional translocating a.i. (2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba, triclopyr, clopyralid, fluroxypyr, quinclorac, etc.) move into a targeted weed quickly after application, and then move with sugars to an active site where it kills the weed. If the weed isn’t growing due to drought or high temperatures then the herbicide cannot effectively move to the active site in the weed. Although a contact or “burn down” a.i. doesn’t move to an active site, it does disrupt the membrane of the plant, which only requires that it be applied to the surface of the plant. The recommendation for herbicide applications during this dry fall is to attempt to hedge your bets by applying a herbicide that mixes systemic (translocating) active ingredients with a contact (burndown) a.i. (e.g. products include SpeedZone, 4-Speed XT, RedZone, Surge, SureZone, etc.). The translocating a.i. have at least a chance to move to the active site, while the contact will provide some extra burndown, which is not dependent on the growth of the weeds in unirrigated sites.

    Disease Management

    On golf courses there have been many cases of Waitea patch occurring from late summer through early fall. Waitea patch is caused by Rhizoctonia zeae and any of the good brown patch fungicides will help to manage it. However, chlorothalonil is not very effective in controlling Waitea patch. Again this year as summer wound down and fall arrived, resistance raised its ugly head again. Similar to last year the Vargas lab has been receiving calls about fungicides providing only 7 days control of dollar spot. This is called quantitative resistance, which shows up as a shorting of the interval of control compared to the qualitative resistance where the fungicide no longer works at all at any interval. Fungicide resistance is becoming more prevalent in Michigan and golf course superintendents need to be aware of resistance and adjust fungicide application schedules accordingly. Unfortunately, resistance results in shorter intervals between fungicide applications, an increase in number of applications, and increased cost from additional fungicide applications.  

    Rust has become very prevalent this fall, especially in un-irrigated areas. Rust diseases are characterized by yellow to dark brown urediospore infestations that, from a distance, make turf stands appear orange or yellow. As a general rule in almost all cases, rust is considered a cosmetic turfgrass disease that, although it may discolor the turf, will not result in widespread turfgrass death. Fungicides are not usually recommended for control, precipitation and a fertilizer application to stimulate growth will help the turf recover from rust infestations.

    Fertilizer Applications

    Similar to the issue with weed control in un-irrigated turf, fertilizer applications may require special considerations. I’d proceed with any scheduled October fertilizer applications in irrigated, growing turf as planned. However, for drought stressed dormant turf, unless the fertilizer is primarily slow release I would wait until rainfall returns and growth resumes before making an application. Fast release sources such as urea that are applied to dry, dormant turf could result in high gaseous volatility losses. Stabilized urea fertilizers contain a urease inhibitor to suppress volatilization and would be beneficial. However, even if you plan on using these products I’d probably wait until some precipitation returns to stimulate turf growth before making an application.  

    Insect Management

    In the last three years Japanese beetle has spread further into the thumb area, up to Houghton Lake and Pinconning on the eastern side of the state, and up to Traverse City on the western side.  All of these areas are seeing new turf damage from Japanese beetle grubs as the skunks and raccoons dig turf to find them.  This includes golf course, home lawns and sod farms. During fall, Sevin or Dylox can be used to control Japanese beetle and European chafer grubs in turf. Sevin should only be used if the soil pH is less than 7.8. New research on the pathogen we introduced to control Japanese beetle indicates that infestations of Japanese beetle in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and much of the greater Detroit area have declined by 75% as the pathogen built-up from 2001 to 2016.   We are now distributing infected beetles to the rest of the state. 

    European crane fly populations have built-up to damage levels in much of the greater Detroit and Grand Rapids areas, with a big emergence of crane flies reported by many in late September, 2017. After leatherjackets are found October treatments can be made to prevent most of the crane fly damage expected in late October and next April and May. October treatment options include insecticides with the following a.i.: bifenthrin, carbaryl, chlorantraniliprole, imidacloprid, and trichlorfon. 

  • 15 Jun 2017 11:35 AM | Kevin Frank (Administrator)

    Ant mounding activity is reaching peak levels right now in Michigan.  Typically, ant mounding increases in May and June, then slowly declines in July and August, so that if the ants are undisturbed the number of mounds present in September may be one half one third of what was present in June.   Nearly 100% of the ant mounds on golf courses in Michigan are made by one species: the Turfgrass Ant (Lasius neoniger).   This ant is pretty small: workers are only 3 mm long, and mounds are usually 1 – 2” wide.   Still, they can be so abundant that the mounds interfere with putting or stifle the turf under them.   For these reasons the turfgrass ant is usually suppressed on tees, greens and fairways.   In golf course roughs and home lawns it is considered beneficial because the ants are good predators that help keep turf pests under control. 

    You have probably noticed that most of the ant mounds are along the edges of fairways, tees and greens, with much less or no ant mounding in the center.    This is because the surrounding turf supports many colonies of turfgrass ants that will establish satellite colonies on the fairways, tees and greens.   Insecticide applied to suppress ant mounding should also be sprayed 10 – 20’ into the surrounding rough to slow the spread back onto the short-mowed turf areas.

    In research funded by the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation we have evaluated insecticides used on golf courses in Michigan to suppress ant mounding.  Superintendents can expect 6 months of ant suppression following a single application of Aloft, Arena or Meridian at the highest labeled rate when applied in May or early June.  In ¼-fairway plots (replicated 6 times) we were able to reduce ant mounding by 90% compared with only a 50% reduction in our standard-sized plots (10’ x 20’).   Efficacy was reduced in the smaller plots because the ants spread back into the plots from surrounding areas.   Merit and other imidacloprid products may also work well for suppressing ants, but the results tend to be less consistent.  This means that if golf course superintendents treat 20’ beyond the edges of tees, greens and fairways, it will reduce re-colonization and dramatically improve ant control, especially along the edges of fairways, tees and greens.  These insecticides are also used for grub control (Japanese beetle and European chafer).   If applied in late May or early June they should control grubs and provide ant suppression.   However, late May is too early to apply an insecticide for European crane fly, so a second application may be needed in mid-September for crane flies on some golf courses in the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas.   Spot-treating tees and greens with a surface spray of a pyrethroid insecticide (Talstar, Scimitar, DeltaGard, Astro, Tempo, and others) will provide a week or two of suppression before the mounds begin to appear again.  

    Dr. David Smitley

    Michigan State University


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