Indiana Green Expo: January 9-11, 2013

Indiana Green Expo – January 9 - 11, 2013

On-line Registration now available!
Register by December 21 and save
(Rates after December 21 will increase: members: $130 | nonmembers: $170)

View full PDF brochure and other Expo details at

Wednesday, January 9, 2013
9:00 – 12:00 Workshop A: Hardscapes 101
9:00 – 12:00 Workshop B: Improving Diagnostic Skills: Identifying Diseases, Insects, and Environmental Stress of Landscape Plants (IAH credits)
9:00 – 12:00 Workshop C: Understanding and Enhancing Herbicide Activity
9:00 – 12:00 Workshop D: Selecting Species and Planting Improved Cultivars for Enhanced Turf Performance
1:00 - 5:00 Workshop E: Certified Landscape Technician-Exterior Review & Written Exam
1:00 - 5:00 Workshop F: Indiana Accredited Horticulturalist (IAH) Review and IAH Test
1:00 - 4:00 Workshop G: Pond Maintenance and Aquatic Weed Control
1:00 - 4:00 Workshop H: Getting Your Hands Dirty: Basic Soil Fundamentals
Thursday, Janaury 10, 2013
8:00 – 10:15 am Opening Session Keynote Speaker: Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University,
Managing Inputs Effectively in Uncertain Times
10:00 - 5:00 pm TRADE SHOW OPEN
10:30 - 5:00 pm Business Track
11:00 - 5:00 pm Installation/Maintenance Track
11:00 - 5:00 pm Plant Materials Track
1:00 pm - 5:00 Combined Golf Track
1:00 pm - 5:00 Lawn Care Track
1:00 pm - 5:00 Sports Turf Track
1:30 pm - 5:00 Production Track
5:00 pm - 7:00 MRTF Awards Ceremony
2013 MRTF Distinguished Service Award: Mr. Bob Avenius, Tru Green
5:00 pm - 7:00 INLA Annual Meeting and Awards Reception
Friday, January 11, 2013
9:00 - 1:00 pm TRADE SHOW OPEN
8:00 - 3:30 pm Southern Golf Track
8:00 - 3:30 pm Northern Golf Track
8:00 - 3:30 pm Sports Turf Track
8:00 - 4:00 pm Lawn Care Track
8:00 - 4:00 pm Plant Materials Track
8:00 - 5:00 pm Installation/Maintenance Track
9:00 - 5:00 pm Hardscape Track
10:00 - 4:00 pm Vegetation Management Track
10:00 - 4:30 pm Landscape Design Track

Questions contact Jennifer Biehl
765-494-8039 phone | 765-496-6335 fax |

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Turf Herbicide Workshops - Space Still Avaiable

Join us at one of our three great workshops that are being held in December!

Turf Herbicide Workshop  - registration deadline: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
(CCH’s requested: 7 - category 3a, 7 - category 3b, 7 - category 6, 4 - RT license)

December 4, 2012: Caribbean Cove Conference Center, Indianapolis, Indiana
3850 DePauw Boulevard  |  Indianapolis, IN 46268
Registration: 8.00 am (Eastern); Workshop: 8:30 am - 4:00 pm (lunch on your own)
Register on-line at: or
PDF registration form at

December 6, 2012: Hilton Garden Inn, Fort Wayne, Indiana
8615 US 24 West  |  Fort Wayne, IN 46804
Registration: 8.00 am (Eastern); Workshop: 8:30 am - 4:00 pm (lunch on your own)
Register on-line at: or
PDF registration form at

December 10, 2012: Daniel Turf Center, West Lafayette, Indiana
1340 Cherry Lane  | West Lafayette, IN 47907
Registration: 8.00 am (Eastern); Workshop: 8:30 am - 4:00 pm (lunch on your own)          
Register on-line at or
PDF registration form at

8:00 – 8:30 am Registration
8:30 – 9:30 am Overview of Turf Herbicides
9:30 – 10:15 am Herbicide Mode of Action: Why Should I care?
10:15 – 11:15 am Principles of Weed Control: Maximizing Control
11:15 – 11:45 am Hands-on Weed ID (see over 50 live weed samples)
11:45 am – 12:45 pm Lunch (on your own)
12:45 – 2:00 pm Identifying and Controlling Annual Grassy Weeds More Effectively
2:00 – 3:15 pm Identifying and Controlling Broadleaf Weeds
3:15 – 3:45 pm Identifying and Controlling Sedges
3:45 – 4:00 pm Concluding remarks

Questions contact Jennifer Biehl
765-494-8039 phone | 765-496-6335 fax |

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MRTF Turf and Ornamental Seminar - November 14-15

Turf and Ornamental Seminar
November 14-15, 2012
Daniel Turf Center
West Lafayette, Indiana

Registration Form (PDF Format)

Registration Deadline: November 2, 2012
CCH's: Cat. 2 - 5 CCH's; Cat. 3a - 8 CCH's; Cat. 3b - 9 CCH's; Cat. 6 - 3 CCH's; RT - 4 CCH's

Wednesday, November 14
8:00-8:30              Registration
8:30-8:45              Opening comments, Aaron Patton
8:8:45-9:45          All About Turf Seed: Identification, Germination, Planting, Aaron Patton
9:45-10:45           Safe Tree Felling: What You Need To Know, Lindsey Purcell
10:45-11:45         Getting Your Hands Dirty: Learning More About Soils, Quincy Law
11:45-12:45         Lunch (on your own)
12:45-1:40           Selection and Inspection of Spray Hoses and DOT Rules, Fred Whitford
1:40-2:00              DOT Regulation Changes: What You Need to Know, Fred Whitford
2:00-3:00              State Chemist News and Updates, Joe Becovitz
3:00-4:00              Weather Effects on Insects: How Do Insects Cope?, Tim Gibb

Thursday, November 15
8:00-8:30              Turf Jeopardy, Aaron Patton
8:30-9:30              New Tools For Managing Landscape and Ornamental Insect Pests, Cliff Sadof
9:30-10:30           Maintaining Grounds: Keeping Native Species In and Invasives Out, Matt Kraushar
10:30-11:30         Perennial Disappointments: Diseases of Perennial Plants, Janna Beckerman
11:30-12:15         Lunch (provided)
12:15-1:15           Promoting Turf Recovery…Fertilizer Strategies, Seeding and More!, Cale Bigelow
1:15-2:15              Identification and Control of Turf Diseases, Rick Latin
2:15-3:15              Herbicide Update: New Resources and Ingredients, Aaron Patton

If you have any questions or have any special dietary needs please contact Jennifer Biehl at 765-494-8039 or
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When a GPS Unit Malfunctions

This photo was submitted from a golf course where it was found tunneling into a green.  It is obvious that it is creating some damage but the astute manager was able to find and photograph the beetle in association with the damage.  This combination always makes identification and control recommendations much easier.

The insect was identified as a ‘Fancy Dung Beetle’ in the family Geotrupidae: Bolbocerosoma sp.   It is closely related to the Scarabaidae (Japanese beetles, masked chafers, June beetles etc) that we are very familiar with.  Like the Scarabs, these insects often bore down into the soil to lay their eggs.  Usually Geotrupid beetles select areas very rich in decaying organic matter such as in manure and barn yards.  However, just like people, every so often one will become completely lost.  This one apparently has ended up on a golf green by accident.  

You can see that the beetle has created a bit of a burrow and this may be a concern if many of his kind were to do the same thing on a green.  However, I think this may be just a random occurrence and the damage, a very isolated incident. Why it is where it is nobody knows for sure.  I suspect that it’s GPS system is simply out of whack.

Timothy Gibb, Department of Entomology, Purdue University
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MRTF Golf Day at Highland Country Club in Indianapolis

Join us for the MRTF Golf Day
Monday, October 1, 2012
Highland Golf and Country Club, Indianapolis, IN

Registration Deadline: 9/24/2012
Registration Form (PDF format)
Register on-line for your team at
Continue to shop and add the game package
If you have any questions/comments/concerns please contact Jennifer Biehl at or 765-494-8039

11:00 am registration/lunch
12:15 pm shot gun start
  5:30 pm awards reception
Sponsorship Opportunities:
Platinum Sponsorship                                          $3,500
One free team for Golf Outing
One free tee sponsorship at Golf Outing
“Golf Day Scholarship provided by sponsor’s name.” to be given at the Indiana Green Expo to a turf student determined by Purdue Turf Program Staff. 
 Sponsorship posted on Golf Outing web page with link to company prior to the event and following the event.
Recognition on sponsor board at Golf Outing and Indiana Green Expo
Gold Sponsorship                                                 $1,750
One free team for Golf Outing
One free tee sponsorship at Golf Outing
Sponsorship posted on Golf Outing web page with link to company following the event.
Recognition on sponsor board at Golf Outing and Indiana Green Expo

Tee and Golf Day on-line payment at
Tee Sponsorship                                                      $100
Sponsorship displayed on one tee at the Golf Outing.
Sponsorship listed on Golf Outing web page following the event.
Recognition on sponsor board at Golf Outing and Indiana Green Expo
Golf Day Sponsorship                                                $25
A GREAT way to support the MRTF if not able to attend!
Sponsorship listed on Golf Outing web page following the event.
Recognition on sponsor board at Golf Outing

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GCSAA awards scholarships to essay contest winners


Turfgrass students Konow, Law and Huttie selected

GCSAA awards scholarships to essay contest winners

Christopher Konow, Quincy Law, and Nicholas Huttie are winners of the 2012 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.

Konow, from Plainfield, Conn., is a first-year student in the turfgrass management certificate program at Penn State University. He won the first place scholarship of $2,000 for his essay: "The effect of green speed on turfgrass health and playability."

Law, from Clear Lake, Iowa, is in his first year of graduate school at Purdue University. With his paper "Carbon sequestration as an aspect of land stewardship," Law won the second place prize of $1,500 for the second consecutive year.

Huttie, from Lehighton, Pa., is a first-year student at Penn State. He claimed the third place award of $1,000 for his writing: "Superintendents and social networking."

"It is our philosophy to reward and recognize the best and the brightest students," GCSAA President Sandy Queen, CGCS, said. "Christopher, Quincy and Nicholas have certainly demonstrated their excellence. On behalf of the GCSAA membership, I offer my sincere congratulations on their achievements."

About EIFG

The EIFG is the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, and has as its mission to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. With respect for the game and the environment, the EIFG inspires environmental, social and economic progress through golf for the benefit of communities. Collaboration between the golf industry, environmental interests and communities will lead to programs and services beneficial to all who come into contact with the game of golf. Visit


GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to 19,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Find GCSAA on Facebook, follow GCSAA on Twitter, and visit GCSAA at
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Gwen Daniel - Obituary

Gwen Daniel

Gwen H. Daniel, Age 91, of Westminster Village, West Lafayette, IN.

Gwen was born on June 28, 1921 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She received her BA degree from Quachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. She married William H. Daniel on January 9, 1944 while he was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following his military discharge they lived in East Lansing Michigan, where he completed his PhD at Michigan State University.

They moved to West Lafayette, in 1950 for Bill to join the Agronomy Department at Purdue University where he served as a Professor of Turfgrass Science for thirty-six years. For several years Gwen worked as a dietician and found it easy to arrange lunch for 400 college men. She was a member of Federated Church and served as both President of the Congregation and President of the Women's Federated Fellowship. Gwen served as President of the Home Hospital Auxiliary and managed the Home Hospital Gift Shop. She also served on the YWCA Board of Directors.

She served as President of her PEO Chapter and the Roundtable Club. She was very active in the life of Purdue Women's Club and served as co-chair of many of those events. She enjoyed being a member of the Purdue Women's golf group. She was the recipient of the Golden Deed Award for Community Service given by the Exchange Club. In 2003 she was nominated by her granddaughter and received the "Woman of Wisdom" Award at the Salute to Women Dinner hosted by the YWCA. In 2003 she also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation. Her volunteer work also included the St. Elizabeth Hospice program.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill, who died in 1996. She has one surviving sister, Genida Johnson, of Lynchburg, VA. She is survived by a son Donald L. Daniel and his wife, Sandra, and a daughter, Sue Eiler and her husband Edward Eiler, each of West Lafayette, IN. Her grandchildren are James Daniel and his wife Diedre of Louisville, KY; Kent A. Eiler of Washington, DC.; Ross Martinie Eiler and his wife Andrea Martinie Eiler of Bloomington, IN. and Lauren Gwen McClain and her husband Ryan McClain of Cincinnati, OH. Gwen has six great grandchildren.

Gwen possessed a sense of adventure, a zest for life and a love of people that were manifested whether snowmobiling at night in the Rockies, riding a camel in Egypt, getting lost in the Alps, walking The Great Wall of China, cruising the Amazon, bartering in the bazaars of the Middle East or serving as a gracious hostess to countless friends from near and far. The warmth of her smile, the twinkle in her eye, and her laughter will be greatly missed.

Memorial gifts may be made to the William H. Daniel Turfgrass Research Fund at Purdue University or the Westminster Village Foundation. A time to greet family and friends is set for 10:00 a.m. with a Memorial Service to follow at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 22, 2012 at Federated Church, 2400 Sycamore Lane, West Lafayette, IN.

Send online condolences to

Published in the Journal & Courier from September 12 to September 13, 2012
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Gray Leaf Spot

Recent weather (remnants of hurricane Isaac) raised concerns about gray leaf spot in the Ohio Valley and the lower Midwest in general.  You may recall that the pathogen does not overwinter efficiently in the Midwest, and inoculum (airborne spores) from storms that originate in the South is significant.

Gray leaf spot is a foliar disease that affects perennial ryegrass and tall fescue.  It is caused by a fungal pathogen (Pyricularia grisea) that readily infects and kills leaf blades.  Leaf infections can progress into the crown area, resulting in death of individual plants.  Moderate outbreaks of gray leaf spot result in clusters of thin, off-colored turf.  However, severe outbreaks will result in the death and decay of extensive areas and ruin the entire turf stand.

Gray leaf spot poses less of a threat that 10-15 years ago, primarily because of the reduction in the acreage of perennial ryegrass in the Midwest and the introduction of cultivars with some gray leaf spot resistance.  However, there are cases where turf managers must be vigilant in addressing the threat this year.

At this time of year, other leaf spot diseases can be confused for gray leaf spot.  If you manage perennial ryegrass or tall fescue, obtaining an accurate diagnosis is essential.  Otherwise, you may bear an unnecessary expense with costly fungicide applications.  Observing a few leaf spots or the “fish hook” symptom is not enough to draw the conclusion that gray leaf spot is present.  The only sure sign is the presence of very characteristic conidia (spores) that can be viewed only microscopically.

For individuals interested in chemical control, the most effective fungicides are QoI (strobilurin) products such as Heritage, Insignia and Disarm.   Thiophanate-methyl (Cleary 3336) also is very effective.  Chlorothalonil and DMI fungicides have limited efficacy but may be useful when disease pressure is low. 

Details on gray leaf spot are available online at the following link –

Rick Latin, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University

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Watering Bans Making Turf Establishment Tough in Some Locations

Now is the time to be seeding a lawn, but in some communities water restrictions and bans are preventing homeowners and lawn care professionals from renovating/reseeding damaged lawns following this summer’s drought. August 15 to September 15 is considered to be the optimum time to seed cool-season lawns in Indiana. This optimum window is slightly longer in southern Indiana until about September 30. The reasons why this window is optimum for establishment is because 1) soil and air temperatures are warm which promotes faster seed germination, 2) few weeds germinate at the end of the summer  and 3) this seeding date allows for maximum plant development and root growth prior to the next summer’s hot, dry conditions. All of these factors should improve long term turf survival. Aside from improving the appearance of the lawn, seeding lawns now will help turf reestablish thin and bare areas to reduce potential soil erosion, especially in newly established/constructed areas.

While turf can be established in the spring from seed, spring seeded lawns often perform poorly in the summer because 1) weeds like crabgrass also germinate in the spring and compete with turf seedlings, and 2) turf planted in the spring is shallow rooted at the start of summer and requires additional summer watering to keep spring seeded areas from succumbing to summer heat and drought. Thus, fall is the best time to seed a lawn and establish a lawn to reduce future watering needs and reduce erosion.

While water restrictions in Noblesville were lifted recently a water ban still exists in the city of Bloomington and the City of Indianapolis including Marion County and its surrounding communities.

The City of Bloomington and the City of Indianapolis water bans prohibit installing sod in damaged areas and new construction. While the optimum planting window for sod is slightly longer than the seeding window, early fall is still the best time to install sod. This helps promote long-term survival and fall rooting which in turn will reduce watering needs the following summer.

The City of Bloomington and the City of Indianapolis water ban does allow for watering new sod and newly seeded grasses, but only if these areas were installed prior to the watering bans going into effect. We would encourage the City of Bloomington and the City of Indianapolis to consider allowing exemptions this fall for planting seed or sod in turf areas damaged by this summer’s drought. This will help long-term turf survival, reduce soil erosion, and reduce 2013 watering needs.

The Bloomington water ban does excempt some businesses included golf courses (only greens, tees, and fairways) and nurseries. Both bans also allow watering of athletic fields to help keep these areas safe for athletes by reducing soil surface hardness and maintaining actively growing turf. The City of Indianapolis watering restrictions do restrict athletic field watering to Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays sometime between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am for athletic fields with sports in season.

Drs. Aaron Patton and Cale Bigelow, Purdue Turfgrass Scientists


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New Lawn Recovery Guide

The Purdue Turf Program has put out a new publication to help homeowners and professional answer some of the questions asked about drought stress.

Lawns and the Summer 2012 Drought/Heat Crisis: Now What? | PDF

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Read the Label! A Hard Lesson Learned

I was recently forwarded a video from one of our Extension educators in Vanderburgh County, Larry Caplan, that I thought I would share with you. The video chronicles the “misadventures” of a homeowner who simply wanted to control the weeds in his lawn. It should be a reminder to all of us to read the full label before applying a pesticide.

Always follow label directions when using herbicides, and obey all federal, state, and local pesticide laws and regulations. Labels provide specific safety suggestions and requirements for handling products. Labels also provide valuable insight on how to use the products safely (for you, the turf, and the environment) for maximum effectiveness.

The following are general guidelines to reduce the risks from herbicides.
  1. Apply a product only to the turfgrass species listed on the label.
  2. Clean spray tanks thoroughly when changing from one herbicide to another. Many herbicides contain instructions on how to properly clean and rinse the sprayer following an application.
  3. Calibrate sprayers correctly and often.
  4. Use the recommended herbicide application rates provided on the label. The label may also specify a specific rate for specific weed species. Rates listed on the manufacturer label are based on research at multiple locations across multiple years. Applying too much herbicide is costly and could result in turf damage or lack of control due to spray runoff. Applying too little herbicide can result in poor weed control and unsatisfied customers.
  5. Apply herbicides as specified on the label (timing, site, interval between applications, interval before and after seeding, and so on).
  6. Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) specified on the label.
  7. Use caution when spraying around ornamental plants and sensitive crops to avoid injury. Follow wind restrictions on the label.
  8. Apply herbicides when temperatures are in the range provided on the labels.
  9. Do not apply herbicides when children or students are in the application area. This is known as the “School Rule.” More information about the School Rule is available on the OISC website,
  10. Check the label for instructions and options on how to remove pesticide residues from containers prior to their disposal.
  11. Store pesticides in their original containers and keep unused pesticides in a safe, secure location. Keep storage areas on trucks or within buildings locked, and keep pesticide containers away from children.
Aaron Patton, Turfgrass Extension Specialist

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Cicada killers are Wimps

Spread the word – Cicada killers are wimps! Unfortunately, because of their size and the fact that they often live in lawns and landscapes close to where people live, cicada killers evoke a great deal of anxiety.  These wasps are huge and look very much like oversized yellow jackets but they have some very important differences. First, cicada killers are not social wasps that build colonies and protect their queens.  Because they have no colony or queen to protect, they are not aggressive and have no reason to sting people.

Cicada killers are one of the largest wasps that burrow into the ground in this area.  At first glance, they are a very large, ominous looking wasp resembling a hornet or yellow jacket and evoke a good deal of fear. However, most of the wasps encountered are males, patrolling the nesting area. They may fly about, dive bomb, or even hover in front of, but they cannot sting people. They do not possess a stinger.
Females do not defend their burrows, and will sting only if handled. Female cicada killers dig burrows in well drained, light textured soil, typically in an area with full sunlight. The 1½ inch diameter opening leads into an oblique tunnel that runs for 12-18 inches and reaches a depth of 6-10 inches. The female completes and stocks up to four cells, each containing from one to three paralyzed cicadas on which eggs are laid. When eggs hatch the larvae bore into and feed on the cicada. Secondary tunnels are often built off the primary tunnel; thus each female may rear up to 16 larvae in a burrow.

Cicada killer wasps are beneficial and do not pose danger in most cases.  When possible they should be left alone. 

The larvae pass the winter in their burrows and emerge the next July as adults. Between late July and mid August, these new adults emerge, mate and the female digs new soil burrows, stocks them with cicadas, and the cycle is repeated. Adults usually die by mid September.
On occasion a large nesting aggregation can result in many holes and unsightly mounds of soil in a small area of a yard or garden. Control of cicada killers is safely and most effectively done by placing a small amount of 5% carbaryl (Sevin) dust down into the soil tunnel. For a large nesting aggregation, the area can be sprayed. In both cases, the tunnel entrances should be left open.
In most cases, Cicada killer wasps are beneficial and do not pose danger.  When possible they should be left alone.  Education is the single best strategy to help people deal with cicada killers.  Teach people that they may look dangerous but in reality – they are wimps.

Timothy Gibb, Department of Entomology, Purdue University
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Turf Field Day: Another Hot Day in the Sun

Thanks to all the 459 attendees and 32 exhibitors who attended the Midwest Regional Turfgrass Field Day Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at the W.H. Daniel Turfgrass Research Center in W. Lafayette, IN. We had golf and lawn research tours in the morning, two different afternoon tours, and two afternoon workshops and addressed many current topics including new products, drought, fertilizer burn, diseases, and more. We heard many good comments regarding the field day and the education provided. The only bad comments were about the 99° F temperature outside. We hope to have a cooler day in 2013.
On behalf of the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation, thank you to all of those who attended!

If you didn’t get a chance to attend this year, we encourage you to pencil in Tuesday, July 9, 2013 on your calendar and attend next year. We will be meeting one week earlier than normal in 2013 to avoid a conflict with an International Turfgrass Research meeting that many in the Purdue Turf Team will be attending. Numerous research tours and workshops in addition to an outstanding trade show will be available again in 2013.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for 2013 let us know: or

Aaron Patton, Turfgrass Extension Specialist and Executive Director of the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation

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Drought Outlook and Water Restriction Updates

An updated drought map of Indiana was released on July 26, 2012. Drought is rated as D0=abnormally dry, D1=moderate drought, D2=severe drought, D3=extreme drought, and D4=exceptional drought. Eighty-seven percent of the state is D2 or worse with 18.7% of the state in exception drought, with another 40% rated as extreme drought.

Water Restrictions/Bans
Because of the drought and lack of water in some areas, Marion county instituted a “water ban” on July 13, 2012 and many other communities have issued “water use restrictions” or “water conservation ordinances”.  The state issued a water shortage warning last week and asked those who use more than 100,000 gallons of water a day to cut back 10 to 15 percent on their water usage. Many other communities are asking for a voluntary reduction in water use. If you live in an area with a watering ban, there is little that you can do at this point other than to keep traffic off your lawn and to pray for rain. In you still can water, the below links will provide some helpful guidance.

•    Irrigation Practices for Homelawns discusses how much (and how) lawns should be watered
•    My Lawn is Brown and Crunchy… Is it Dead? What do I do now? explains how "brown and crunchy" grass might not be dead
•    Specialist: Controlling lawn weeds in drought carries risks explores whether herbicides are safe to use on lawns during drought
•    Your Lawn in Times of Drought (video)

What’s Next?
We are working on creating some information for homeowners and turf professionals to answer some of their frequently asked questions regarding how to recover turf following drought.

How long will the drought last?
If crystal balls actually worked or if we had a lifeline to Joseph of the old testament we might be able to predict when this drought might end and how to respond to it best. Even our best experts don’t know for sure when rains might return. A drought forecast map from NOAA released July 19, 2012 does not look promising and forecasts drought to persist in Indiana until October 31, 2012. IF this holds true, drought will continue to impact our fall management (fertilization, seeding, and weed control) programs.

Aaron Patton, Turfgrass Extension Specialist

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2012 Pesticide Clean Sweep Information and Planning Form

WHAT: An Indiana Pesticide Clean Sweep Project designed to collect and dispose of suspended, canceled, banned, unusable, opened, unopened or just unwanted pesticides (weed killers, insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, miticides, etc.) is being sponsored by the Office of Indiana State Chemist (OISC). This disposal service is free of charge up to 250 pounds per participant. Over 250 pounds there will be a $2.00 per pound charge. This is a great opportunity for you to legally dispose of unwanted products at little or no cost.

WHO: All public and private schools, golf courses, nurseries, farmers, ag dealers, cities, towns, municipalities and county units of government or others receiving this notice are eligible to participate.

WHEN: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Local Time

WHERE: August 7, 2012: Vigo County Fairgrounds in Terre Haute, IN
August 9, 2012: Dubois County Fairgrounds, Huntingburg, IN
August 14, 2012: White County Fairgrounds in Reynolds, IN
August 16, 2012: Henry County Fairgrounds in New Castle, IN

HOW: Complete Page 2 of the linked Pesticide Clean Sweep Planning Form to the best of your ability. Mail, fax or e-mail the completed form to Kevin Neal at 765-494-4331 or no later than Mon., July 30, 2012. Then bring your labeled, leak free and safe to transport containers to the collection site. DO NOT mix materials. In case of an emergency, you should bring with you a list of products you are carrying and a contact
phone number.

*NOTE: OISC reserves the right to cancel this Pesticide Clean Sweep Project if there is not adequate demand. Participants submitting the enclosed planning form by July 30, 2012 will be contacted immediately if cancellation is necessary.

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New Weed Control Publication for Turf Professionals

A new publication from the Purdue turf program is now available to professional turf managers. The 88 page publication includes content on:
  • Turfgrass Culture
  • Weed Types
  • Weed Life Cycles
  • Developing a Weed Control Program
  • Indicator Weeds              
  • Herbicide Information (use, nomenclature, classification, mode of action, movement, resistance, etc.)
  • Control of Tough Weeds
  • Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Weed Control with Herbicides
  • Nonselective Herbicides/Fumigants for Turfgrass Renovation
  • Nonselective Herbicides for Turfgrass Border Maintenance (Edging)
  • Preemergence Herbicides (weed control ratings for preemergence herbicides, turf tolerance information, and more instructions for each product)
  • Postemergence Herbicides (weed control ratings for postemergence broadleaf herbicides and turf tolerance, and more instructions for each product)
  • Commonly Used Broadleaf Herbicide Combinations for Turfgrass
  • Active Ingredients in Commonly Used Herbicide Combinations
  • Sedge Control Herbicides (sedge control and turfgrass tolerance ratings, turf tolerance information, and more instructions for each product)
  • Plant Growth Regulators for General Turf Use
  • Preemergence, Postemergence and PGR Options for Putting Greens
  • Postemergence Weed Control in Creeping Bentgrass Putting Greens
  • Common and Trade Names of Registered Herbicides and Plant Growth Regulators (264 different products and 98 unique herbicide ingredient combination are discussing in this publication)
  • Herbicide/PGR Common Names, Chemical Families, and Modes of Action
  • Herbicide Math
This is truly a comprehensive guide for those using herbicides in turf regardless of whether you manage athletic fields, a golf course, lawns, cemeteries, sod farms, parks, or other turf areas.

It is sold for $12 as a hard copy (paperback) only. For companies with many employees interested in this information, a 25% discounted bulk order of 25 copies is available for $225.

Turfgrass Weed Control for Professionals, 2012 edition

Aaron Patton, Turfgrass Extension Specialist

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Burn Bans, Fireworks, and Turf

As of today, July 10th 2012, there are 85 counties in the state of Indiana that are reporting active burn bans (  Many of these bans include the use of public and personal firework displays.  Although these bans are in place and we are past July 4th, it may be necessary to survey sites under your control for damage (see image below).  Unintended fires in extreme drought conditions can start for a variety of reasons and care should be taken for turfed areas as they pose a threat for spreading fires among residential areas.  A recent Turf Tip titled “My lawn is brown and cruchy…is it dead? What do I do now?” details some management decisions to be made in these extreme weather conditions.    

A firework caused this stand to catch on fire on the evening on July 4th, 2012. 

Jon Trappe, Graduate Research Assistant

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Ground Moving with Tiny Migrating Insects

Whenever I give my ‘General Insect Pest’ presentations I include a couple of photos of chinch bugs and their nymphs.  Usually I say something like “These are not pests every year in Indiana but can become troublesome in years when we have a drought.”

Guess what?  That is now! The dry conditions we are experiencing in much of the state are perfect for chinch bugs and false chinch bugs to thrive and we are beginning to receive reports of chinch bugs by the gazillions.  Some reports are that the ground appears to be moving due to the migration of these insects.
These bugs belong to a family of true bugs known as the seed bugs (Lygaeidae).  Adults chinch bugs are small (about 1/8 inch in length), narrow, and are gray-brown (if they are false chinch bugs), or black and silver (if they are true chinch bugs). They deposit eggs in cracks in the soil or on various plants in late winter or early spring. Small reddish-brown nymphs (immatures) feed, go through a series of molts, and reach the adult stage in approximately three weeks. Several generations may be produced per year, especially when dry conditions abound.  

False chinch bug nymphs with gray brown mottling and dark developing wing pads. Adult (bottom right) with silvery grey wings (Photo credit Surendra Dara)

True chinch bug nymphs in thatch with reddish body separated by distinct white band (Photo credit John Obermeyer)
Chinch bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts and feed by removing fluids from their host plants. Some sources report the possibility of the injection of a toxin during the feeding process. Damage symptoms are usually restricted to a general wilting of the plant and heavy feeding may cause leaves to turn brown and die.
During droughty years large populations develop primarily on weeds especially in the mustard family and on clump grasses in rangelands, waste areas, and other uncultivated land. As the vegetation in these areas begins to dry up, the bugs migrate in large numbers to other more succulent food sources.
Agronomic crops, such as corn, soybeans and alfalfa, may be damaged by the feeding of chinch bugs.  Ornamental plants, including turfgrass can also become damaged. Damage is most likely to occur in fields, lawns or golf courses that are adjacent to the uncultivated areas the bugs are migrating from. Populations are extremely high along the migration "front" and damage may occur until the bugs disperse over a wider area.
Sometimes chinch bugs get into homes that are in their path of migration. Rest assured that they are a nuisance only and that they will not damage the structure of the building and are harmless to people and pets.  Excluding them by sealing up cracks, broken windows etc. will be helpful.
Chinch bugs should only be controlled if they are causing damage.  Effective chemical control generally requires that the bugs be contacted with the insecticide. Residual control is not likely during migration periods as bugs may not stay in treated areas for a sufficient period of time to accumulate lethal doses of the pesticide and any insects that are killed are merely replaced by other migrants.

Timothy J.  Gibb
Purdue University Insect Diagnostician

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New! Purdue Extension Website with Drought Information

A new website has been created to help homeowners and professionals find useful information concerning how to cope with drought. This page includes resources about crops, turf, landscapes and more. Visit for more information.

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My Lawn is Brown and Crunchy… Is it Dead? What do I do now?

The first day of summer/longest day of the year for 2012 has come and gone and just this past week a new National Drought Monitor Map was published (see below).  The city of West Lafayette in Tippecanoe County has now fallen into the “Severe Drought” category. In fact 36% of Indiana is now in severe drought, while > 5% (the southwestern counties) are now in “extreme drought”.

Frankly, if you have been paying attention to landscape conditions, it doesn’t take an expert to declare it a severe drought out there. The overall appearance of unirrigated lawns and most turf areas is straw brown and dormant with a “crunchy” leaf canopy. Many of these areas have been that way for several weeks now.
This newer lawn is very "dormant", the small green areas are patches of tall fescue that are still surviving and green.
 The dry conditions combined with typical “above average” summer temperatures, > 90 F, have led to a number of people contacting us and asking… “Is my lawn dead?” The answer to this question is complicated, and honestly, it is difficult to truly tell until many of these areas fully rehydrate.  Regardless, we are clearly pushing the edge of the envelope on what many turfgrass species can tolerate. Some of our weaker cool-season lawn grasses like the ryegrasses, annual bluegrass and roughstalk bluegrass (See Images) are most likely not to recover. Other common turfgrasses like Kentucky bluegrass or the fescues are more likely to survive.  If you are fortunate to have a warm-season lawn (e.g. zoysiagrass or bermudagrass) these lawns are likely not dead.
This finer textured patch of turf above is most likely roughstalk bluegrass it will look "dead" but may actually recover, there are still some green shoots.

Relative drought tolerance and irrigation requirement rankings of turfgrass lawn species commonly grown in Indiana.

1. Relative Drought Tolerance
2. Relative Irrigation Requirement
(to look their best)
Turfgrass Lawn Species
Turf-type tall fescue
Very good
Kentucky bluegrass
Good – Very good
Medium – High
Fineleaf fescue
Perennial ryegrass
Poor - Good
Annual bluegrass
Very high
Roughstalk bluegrass
Very high
Annual ryegrass
Very high
The other issue to consider is the maturity of the turf and growing environment. Well maintained, mature lawns with a deep root system will be faring much better than recent plantings. Furthermore, turf growing in severely compacted soils or very coarse textured sandy soils may really struggle and not recover. The driving factors for survival during severe drought have to do with rooting depth and the “reservoir” of available water. Sandy soils have less reserve water than fine textured soils and will need more supplemental irrigation.

Now what???
A friend recently asked me recently what to do about their lawn during these very dry conditions. I told them, honestly we will really just need to wait and see. I told him if he has not been irrigating and the lawn is brown then the plant is likely doing it’s best to conserve moisture during this “survival mode”, protecting the crown or growing point. He said, “So I should just accept “a little bit of brown?”, I responded “accept a whole lot of brown!”

Should I water my lawn?
If you have been regularly watering your lawn you should continue, the turf has been conditioned to this practice and shutting off the water may be damaging to survival. Remember the rule of thumb for lawn irrigation is to “water deeply and infrequently”. In other words, you should not be watering lawn grasses every day but every 3 days or so.
On the other extreme, if you have not been watering your lawn it is probably not worth starting at this point. Allow the turfgrass to remain dormant. There is no guarantee that your lawn will survive these conditions of 2012, but… heavily watering at this time may actually shift the competitive edge toward some of the warm-season grassy (e.g. crabgrass, etc.) and broadleaf weeds that thrive during the summer months. Furthermore, the amount of water to help the turf recover and then continue to sustain healthy growth may be cost prohibitive. Allow the turf to remain dormant, some grasses like Kentucky bluegrass have a dormancy mechanism and regrowth may occur from underground stems/rhizomes when more favorable weather returns. If you feel like you need to do something... applying about ½ inch of water every few weeks to keep the crown alive and hydrated. This will help down the road. The turf leaves will not turn green, but this practice will increase the chance for future survival.  
Light irrigation may help this dormant Kentucky bluegrass survive

Will my lawn recover?
While many lawns might not be “dead”, one major factor that will kill drought stressed turf is when the plant is subject to intense traffic and the crown is damaged. Those areas likely will not recover from that abrasive stress of heavy foot traffic or wheel traffic. Therefore, avoid heavy use during this drought period.

What if I need to replant?
The plus side of all of this is there is a lot of time to plan for a better lawn for the future (generally mid-August is the suggested time to begin turf seeding for the cool-season turf species (e.g. ryegrasses, fescues, bluegrasses). If you lawn does severely thin or large areas do not survive this is a perfect opportunity to replant with an improved species or cultivar/variety.
This area has severely thinned and may require replanting.

One group that I am collaborating with is the Turfgrass Water Conservation Association (TWCA: The stated mission of this organization is “The main goal of the TWCA program is to combat the rising concern of our depleting water resources. To accomplish this goal, the TWCA program is designed to recognize plants and other live goods products in the lawn and garden industry that provide a clear benefit in water conservation. Products that become TWCA qualified will have successfully met a stringent set of criteria.”  In this program we are testing and learning about new varieties of various common lawn grass species that are most drought tolerant.  Several new very drought tolerant cultivars are listed on the program’s website. One characteristic of these varieties compared to prior generations are these grasses are simply are able to retain their green color for a much longer period of time even though they are drought stressed.  Additionally, I participate with another species/cultivar evaluation program, the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) This organization also has information regarding the relative drought tolerance of many commercially available cultivars.
If you need to replant immediately, Sodding damaged areas is certainly another option, but the availability of the aforementioned drought tolerant cultivars may be limited. Furthermore, unless it can be regularly watered, it may not survive.

What about fertilizing?
One of the suggested water conservation practices is to stop or reduce (decrease amount) nitrogen fertilization during periods of drought. There is no need to push shoot/leaf growth in the plant when other resources like water are limited. Hence, if your lawn is brown and “crunchy”, certainly do not fertilize at this time.

The partial silver lining…
The upside to this very slow growth and dry conditions is that drought stressed turf does not grow vigorously and thus will require fewer mowings. Furthermore, turfgrass disease incidence is also very low. Consider the current state of your lawn a “more sustainable” turf cover.

Cale A. Bigelow   Purdue – Agronomy

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