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Update (7/8/2012)

Enjoy 90 Degree Highs (the "New Cool") @ Field Day


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Weather

Missouri still in drought situation despite yesterday's spotty rainfall

A cold front is passing through Missouri now, bringing some welcome temperature and precipitation relief to the region.  The 100°F + day high temperature run will end at 10 for St. Louis (108°F high – 6/28), 11 for Columbia (107°F high – 6/28), and 5 for Kansas City (105°F high – 7/7).  Despite what the map indicates above, we received an isolated thunderstorm cell at the turf farm, which dumped about 1/3” yesterday at the turfgrass research farm.  This was extremely localized, as northern Columbia and south at Bradford Farm no precipitation was recorded.  Some rain is on the radar now with the front passing, so hopefully we will experience more widespread rainfall today…

As I’ve stated a few times, this high temperature run has been brutal for creeping bentgrass putting greens.  Soil temperatures are well above normal, with 2” averages well into the 90’s for bare soil.  Soil temperatures in putting greens may be somewhat buffered by the thatch/ organic matter layer and constant irrigation water as opposed to exposed field sites.  However, I still recorded a 90°F reading at 3:30 pm last Tuesday on our research putting green in the middle of the warm spell.    Dr. Bingru Huang’s work at Rutgers University (see USGA TERO article here) indicated 73°F was the threshold for negative impact on bentgrass root growth and physiological parameters.  It’s fair to estimate low soil temperatures over the last 10-14 days haven’t been below this threshold temperature.

Soil temperatures skyrocketing throughout Missouri impacting cool season root growth

Quick Hits

  • With a diet of irrigation and a mistimed (6/28) nitrogen application, the brown patch on tall fescue has finally taken hold in our research plots at the turf farm. Just in time for field day (see below)!

  • With the drought and lack of leaf wetness, the diagnostic lab was rather quiet in the past week.  See last week’s update for information on diseases & pest issues that may still be impacting the region, including root knot nematode, etiolated bentgrass, and brown patch on creeping bentgrass.   

Field Day Preview

The program has been focused over the last week on preparing for this Tuesday’s upcoming Turf & Ornamental Field Day.  We have a ton of “show and tell” to do, and the “cool” forecasted low 90°F highs should let attendees enjoy the day.  Below is a brief teaser of just a few of the planned talks and research that will be on display.  If you are planning on attending, we are excited to have you.  If you are on the fence or haven’t attended before, give it a try.  

Evergreen Trees: What Can We Grow?

This will be the last field day presentation by our retiring friend and colleague, Woody Ornamentals Specialist Dr. Chris Starbuck.  As we send him off to pasture and thank him for his many years of dedicated research and service, he will give us one last branch to gnaw on (like a disgruntled squirrel).  This talk will focus on the use of evergreen trees in the region, and the many diseases that can limit their utility.  

Evergreen tree diseases such as brown spot needle blight, SNEED, and Dothistroma needle blight.

Brown Patch on Tall Fescue – Effects of Mistimed Nitrogen Application & Granular Fungicide Applications

Brown patch on tall fescue at the research farm with characteristic leaf symptoms.

Characterization of Root-Infecting Pythium species on Creeping Bentgrass Putting Greens

USGA spec green construction for research on Pythium root diseases

Pythium is often found in diagnostic samples from putting greens, and in high quantities several species can cause severe damage to creeping bentgrass roots.  A new research project focused on Pythium root diseases will be introduced in this talk, along with the steps necessary to build a USGA spec. green that will be used solely for this study. Read more about JB Workman, new PhD student, and this project in a previous update.

Register & Attend: Missouri Turf & Ornamental Field Day – July 10th

-  Want to see Dr. Starbuck discuss evergreen trees for the last time before his retirement? 
-  Want to meet JB in person and hear more about the Pythium project? 
-  Want to find out about the latest and greatest methods for turf and ornamental management?
-  Want to meet local vendors interested in providing management solutions?
-  Or, do you just want to eat a great lunch among your colleagues and research scientists?

Well then, come on over to the research farm on July 10th for all sorts of interesting lessons and information on how to effectively manage turf and ornamentals in Missouri.  Our outstanding lineup of presentations and displays is set, and our research teams look forward to meeting and discussing your plant management practices.  Look forward to seeing you there!!

Click here to see the event flyer.
Click here to see the full schedule.
Click here to register.

Lee Miller
Follow on Twitter!  @muturfpath
Extension Turfgrass Pathologist
University of Missouri