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Update (12/5/2014)

The Magic of MoGIC

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A Cold November/Warm Start to December A. The first sustained winter dip of the jet stream led to a cooler than normal November 2014. - Source: Pat Guinan   B.  Forecasted temperatures are expected to be above normal during the first few weeks of December

I wondered in the last update when our first frosty weather may occur, and November answered that bell resoundingly.  November temperatures were well below normal, fueled by the first hearty dip of the jet stream.  A few record lows and earliest snows were set around the country, (many in the Southeast), with Joplin, MO recording a coldest November low of 6 F on the 18th.  After the snow flurries (aka winter’s dust) settled on November, our state climatologist Pat Guinan reports the statewide average was approximately 7 degrees below normal, the 7th coldest on record, and the coldest since 1976.

The first few weeks of December look to reverse the trend in the Midwest, as the jet stream retreats and temperatures are forecasted to swoon to above normal over the next 8-14 days (see above).  As it rains across most of MO this morning, precipitation forecasts from the NOAA also indicate a slightly higher chance of above normal precipitation to go along with the warm up.  Although hard to fathom with the current below freezing soil temperatures, hopefully dormant turfgrass seed won’t be awakened by this warm-up and be made susceptible to winter’s wrath.  These fluid temperature cycles may be a good reason to wait until late February or early March before attempting dormant seeding in Missouri.      

Quick Hits

Spring Sampling:  Although it seems far away, next spring will be here before we know it.  We currently have two research projects described below that will require extensive regional sampling to resolve.  I will remind again next spring as things get going, but hopefully this will plant the seed for those that would like to aid and participate in these studies. 

2015 Sampling Objectives A. Beginning again in spring 2015, we’ll be after those oospores. B.  We also would like to focus on obtaining a larger collection of large patch isolates for our assays.

  • Pythium:  The Pythium distribution project is continuing; as we work towards assessing which Pythium spp. inhabit the rootzone and cause decline on bentgrass putting greens in the Midwest.  Max Gilley has resumed this work as the focus of his dissertation research, and has expanded the research to include a survey of irrigation water as a potential point source of initial inoculum.  If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Max ( or myself to facilitate the sampling.   
  • Large Patch:  Our second ongoing project is investigating the impact of nitrogen application timing and source on large patch severity.  John Koehler is conducting this project, which requires a library of different strains of the large patch pathogen to determine if any differences exist among them.  If an outbreak of large patch occurs at your site (lawn, golf course, sod farm, etc), we would like to sample it and isolate the pathogen. If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact John ( or myself to facilitate this sampling.  

Missouri Green Industry Conference – December 10 

No cold weather or snow shoveling should keep attention away from next Wednesday’s Missouri Green Industry Conference (MoGIC).  Missouri’s flagship turfgrass and ornamental conference is set with a bevy of great speakers including Virginia Tech weed specialist and Poa expert Dr. Shawn Askew, sports turf management specialist and true son of Mizzou Jerad Minnick, Dr. Roger May from TruGreen, the Mizzou Turfgrass Team and others.  With tracks in ornamentals, golf, lawn and landscape, sports turf, irrigation, and equipment maintenance and safety, all managers and employees of an operation can gain an educational benefit from attending and networking with colleagues.  In addition, Missouri pesticide applicator recertification training will also be held at the event.  For more information, schedule, and registration, please visit, and I hope to see you next Wednesday. 

Common Ground Conference – December 15-16 

If you’re in KC or Kansas, then perhaps the Common Ground Conference held next week may be more geographically amenable.  I’ll be joining my colleagues from Kansas State and am slated to speak Tuesday morning, while Dr. Fresenburg will be speaking during the pesticide recertification portion on Monday morning.  For more information and schedule about the Common Ground conference, click here.   

Missouri Commercial Applicator Pesticide Training 

Throughout the entire month of January, a team of experts from the MDA, University of Missouri and other entities embark on a road tour of Missouri to train its pesticide applicators.  Dr. Brad Fresenburg and I lead the certification (new license) and recertification training for the turfgrass and ornamental category.  If you don’t have a license, we will guide you through the information necessary to pass the test and obtain your permit.  If you need to see us for your 3-year recertification, we’ll present the most recent information including new pesticide uses, application concerns and management trends.  To see a list of our tour stops and schedule the location most convenient for you, go to  

Hope to see you next week in St. Louis or the week after in KC.    

Have a great weekend, fantastic holiday season and GO TIGERS!



Lee Miller
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Extension Turfgrass Pathologist
University of Missouri