Turf and Landscape Field Day on July 12, 2016

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016 the Purdue Turf Program and the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation will host the Turf and Landscape Field Day. The Turf and Landscape Field Day is Indiana’s largest green industry field day. This will be the third year with landscape research tours added. Specialists from four different departments in the College of Agriculture will share their findings and recommendations to Green Industry professionals. We invite you to join us. Attendees will receive education (with CCHs in categories 2, 3a, 3b, 6, and RT), listen to research updates, receive product updates from exhibitors, and also network with others in the Green Industry.

The field day will feature about 40 exhibitors representing companies from around the region ranging the gamut from equipment, seed, fertilizers, pesticides, landscape plants, hardscape and more. Last year approximately 525 attendees from Indiana and all its surrounding states attended to learn more about Purdue’s latest green industry research. Attendees came from a variety of backgrounds including business owners, managers and staff of wholesale and retail nurseries, landscape management firms, greenhouse growers, golf course superintendents and staff, lawn care companies, grounds maintenance departments, landscape design and installation firms, garden centers, consulting firms, educational institutions, suppliers and more!

This year’s field day will have three morning research tours and four afternoon tours including a field trip to Purdue's New Ackerman-Allen Golf Course. We will have sixteen different speakers at the field day including Purdue faculty/staff from Botany and Plant Pathology, Entomology, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and Forestry and Natural Resources.

YOU CAN STILL REGISTER ONLINE for this July 12 event until midnight, July 8 at the onsite price
THOSE WISHING TO REGISTER AFTER July 8 should register onsite at the field day at 8:00 am.
Register on-line, US mail, scan/email attachment, fax or call. 
Exhibitor Registration PDF
Brochure and Attendee Registration PDF
Register On-line (NEW registration system)

We look forward to seeing you this year at the Purdue Turf Field Day!  If you have any questions please contact Tammy Goodale at 765-494-8039 or tgoodale@purdue.edu

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Weed of the month for August 2015 is Field Paspalum

Field Paspalum  

Biology: Field paspalum (Paspalum laeve Michx.) is a warm-season perennial weed with short rhizomes similar to dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum Poir.). Much of the below Weed of the Month entry comes from research conducted in Indiana on how to control Field Paspalum. That research was published in 2012. Reicher, Z.J., A.J. Patton, and D.V. Weisenberger. 2012. Suppression of field paspalum in Kentucky bluegrass with mesotrione. [Online]. Appl. Turfgrass Sci. doi:10.1094/ATS-2012-0626-01-RS.

Identification: Field paspalum is a wide-bladed (3-10 mm wide), warm-season perennial turfgrass that becomes easily visible in mid-summer. It can have either dark green or yellow green foliage. It is found in cool-season and warm-season turf. It has a short rhizomes near the soil surface but spreads primarily by seed. Although these species have short rhizomes, they effectively are a bunch-type plant and form scattered clumps of grass in the landscape.  

Field paspalum and dallisgrass can be distinguished from one another by a few characteristics although they are more similar than different. The range of adaptation is different with field paspalum distributed into farther north than dallisgrass. Field paspalum can be found in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland whereas dallisgrass is less commonly distributed in those areas (Fig. 1). Leaf sheath, leaf blades, and rhizomes of the two species are similar (Fig. 2). Both species have terminal panicles with racemosely arranged branches of similar number and length (Fig. 3). Dallisgrass can be distinguished from field paspalum by the spikelets in pairs appearing to be in four rows on dallisgrass compared to two in field paspalum (Fig. 3). Additionally, dallisgrass has long, silky hairs on the spikelets while field paspalum is glabrous (Fig. 3). Dallisgrass also has a 5- or 7-veined glume while field paspalum has a 3-nerved upper glume with veins at the margins (Fig. 3).

Fig. 1.

Fig. 2.

Fig. 3.

Cultural control: Reduce soil compaction and promote practices that increase turf density. The most effective way to control these weeds is to dig up the clumps in the turf with a shovel.

Biological control: None known.

Chemical control: Another option is spot treatment with the nonselective herbicide glyphosate (Roundup and others). At least two glyphosate applications are needed. Apply when the plant first greens up in the spring (late April or May), and again when regrowth appears. Multiple follow-up applications may be required. You can also spray dallisgrass and field paspalum in October before they turn off color and enter winter dormancy. Use a 1-2% spray solution (1.3-2.6 fl oz of glyphosate/gal of water).

Obviously, glyphosate is going to kill some of the desirable grass and could leave big, brown spots in the turf so spot apply the herbicide only to the weed and not to the turf, if possible. You can even use a paintbrush, sponge, or foam applicator to apply the glyphosate only to the weed to help reduce the risk of injuring the desirable turf.

In Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, tall fescue, or perennial ryegrass lawns, three applications of mesotrione (Tenacity) at 5 oz/A spaced with a two-week application interval should reduce dallisgrass and field paspalum by 75 percent or more. Start making these applications in June. In tall fescue, two applications of fluazifop (Fusilade II) at 5-6 oz/A at three- to four-week intervals starting in late-April and September will suppress field paspalum and dallisgrass. Adding triclopyr (Turflon Ester Ultra or Triclopyr 4) at 1 qt/A to fluazifop will improve turfgrass safety. Do not use on seedling tall fescue less than four weeks old.

Tribute TOTAL (thiencarbazone + foramsulfuron + halosulfuron) at 3.2 oz/A also is effective at controlling dallisgrass in bermudagrass and zoysiagrass turf when making multiple applications in later summer and early fall before winter dormancy, and a subsequent follow-up application in spring.

In zoysiagrass, two applications of fluazifop (Fusilade II) at 3-4 oz/A at three- to four-week intervals during the summer will suppress field paspalum and dallisgrass. Adding triclopyr (Turflon Ester Ultra or Triclopyr 4) at 1 qt/A to fluazifop will improve turfgrass safety.

For more information on weed control, search this blog and check out our Turfgrass Weed Control for Professionals Publication.

For archives of past weed of the month postings, visit our Weed of the Month Archive.

Aaron Patton, Turfgrass Extension Specialist, Purdue University
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New Turf Disease Publications

Turfgrass Disease Profiles: Root Knot Nematode

This publication describes the root knot nematode life cycle, and how to identify and manage them in turf. Free download at: http://extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-121-W.pdf 

Turfgrass Disease Profiles: Spring Dead Spot

Spring dead spot (SDS) is the most serious disease of bermudagrass. It is a root disease that kills individual plants, thins turf stands, and increases vulnerability to weed infestation. This publication describes the symptoms of SDS and suggests ways to control it. Free download at: http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-120-W.pdf

Bermudagrass spring dead spot.

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Monitoring and Managing Caterpillars

Doug Richmond
Associate Professor and Entomology Extension Specialist
Department of Entomology
Purdue University

Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies and several common species are capable of damaging turfgrass. This publication will help you detect and identify the most common caterpillars associated with turfgrass.

Armyworms are the immature stage (larva/caterpillar) of the several widely distributed moth species. Species most often associated with turfgrass include the common armyworm Mythimna unipuncta (Fig. 1) and fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (Fig. 2) These insects are better known as pests of agricultural crops, but they sometimes infest turfgrass, especially in areas that border agricultural fields or unmanaged areas such as ditches or fencerows. Outbreaks in turf tend to be patchy and sporadic, but sometimes occur on a larger scale. As their name implies, armyworms may occur en masse and can migrate across large areas of turf, cutting it down to crown level as they go. Because they often go unnoticed while they are small, turf may seem to disappear almost overnight once these insects reach a larger size. Small patches of brown and overall ragged appearing turf are more typical symptoms. Fortunately, unless the turf is severely stressed by drought, it generally recovers well with irrigation or rainfall and adequate fertility.

Figure 1.  Common armyworm with lengthwise brown, yellow and white stripes. 

Figure 2.  Fall armyworm with lengthwise stripes and inverted Y-shape on head (J. Obermeyer photo).

Cutworms are also the immature stage (larva/caterpillar) of several moth species, but only two species are typically associated with turfgrass. The black cutworm Agrotis ipsilon (Fig. 3) is primarily a pest of closely mowed, golf course turf where it creates unsightly pock-marks or depressions in highly manicured playing surfaces. Black cutworm damage interferes with play and can be a serious nuisance to golfers, especially with regard to their “short game”. The bronze cutworm Nephelodes minians (Fig. 4) is a more sporadic pest of lawns and low maintenance turf. Bronze cutworm has a penchant for feeding on turf under the cover of snow and damage from this insect is often unnoticed until after the snow melts and turf begins to green-up. Damage rarely occurs after mid-June.

Figure 3.  Black cutworm caterpillar and damage on bentgrass. 

Figure 4.  Bronze cutworm caterpillar with alternating dark and light lengthwise stripes.

Sod webworms
Sod webworms are the immature stage (larva/caterpillar) of several small buff-colored moths that are common during the summer months. The moths are easily observed as they fly from the turf when disturbed, only to light again several yards away where they typically align themselves lengthwise along a blade of grass. They roll their wings close around the body when at rest and they possess an elongated snout that gives their heads a conical appearance. Adults do not feed, but mate and drop their eggs into the turf canopy during the evening. Larvae (Fig. 5) overwinter in silken tunnels and emerge in the spring to feed on grass stems crowns and leaves. Damage usually occurs in sunny areas and may appear as irregular, brown patches that take on a thin or ragged appearance during the summer. On short-cut golf course turf, overwintered larvae may attract attention due to their habit of knitting together small pieces of debris or topdressing material over the entrances to their burrows. Two to three generations of sod webworms may occur each season.

Figure 5.  Sod webworm caterpillar with rows of dark, square spots.

Early detection of an insect infestation can be accomplished using a systematic approach that combines broad scale, coarse inspection of general turf appearance with fine scale inspection of individual plants or plant parts. If turf appears discolored or thin upon coarse inspection, examine suspect areas more closely by looking for feeding scars and tattered foliage. Probe the margins of damaged patches of turf by scratching through the thatch and looking for movement. Green fecal pellets also may be present and can be a good indicator for the presence of caterpillars.
The use of a disclosing solution (1 tablespoon of JoyÒ Ultra, DawnÒ Ultra or IvoryÒ Clear liquid dishwashing detergent in 1 gal. of water per 1 square yard of turf) poured over the surface of infested turf will encourage caterpillars to come to the surface where they can be collected and identified (do not use PalmoliveÒ as it may burn the turf). It is important to keep in mind that some caterpillars are only active at night and may be challenging to find during the day.
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