Video of the Week:
Moth Orchids: Easy to Grow
Kansas Turf Conference in Conjuncture with KNLA
The conference is an excellent way to learn about turf, nursery and landscape management, visit with old friends, network with new ones, and see all the latest and greatest equipment and supplies from local and national vendors.
Build a Pitching Mound
The Sports Turf Management session on Dec. 2 at the Kansas Turf Conference will be presented by Ewing Irrigation Products. It is part of an initiative to educate coaches, sports turf managers and volunteers on how to maintain the safest, most playable baseball fields possible. At this event, you will have the opportunity to network and learn tips from two former top NFL/MLB groundskeepers. The breakout will be focusing on the proper construction (material selection, preparation tips, etc.) of building a pitching mound from the ground up.
The conference has been approved for Commercial pesticide recertification hours: 1 Core hour 3A - 9.5 hrs 3B - 9.5 hrs
International Society of Arboriculture CEUS and GCSAA education points will also be available by attending the conference.
Download a copy of the program, get exhibitor information, or register online at www.kansasturfgrassfoundation.com
Dormant Seeding of Turfgrass
As with any seeding program, good seed-soil contact is vital. Several methods can be used. One method is to seed when there has been a light snowfall of up to an inch. This is shallow enough that bare spots can still be seen. Spread seed by hand on areas that need thickening up. As the snow melts, it brings the seed into good contact with the soil where it will germinate in the spring.
Another method is dependent on the surface of the soil being moist followed by freezing weather. As moist soil freezes and thaws, small pockets are formed on the wet, bare soil that is perfect for catching and holding seed. As the soil dries, the pockets collapse and cover the seed.
A third method involves core aerating, verticutting or hand raking and broadcasting seed immediately after. Of course, the soil must be dry enough and unfrozen for this to be practical.
With any of the above methods, seed germinates in the spring as early as possible. There will be limitations on what herbicides can be used for weed control. Tupersan (siduron) can be used as a crabgrass preventer on new seedings even before they have come up. Also dithiopyr, found in Hi-Yield Turf and Ornamental Weed and Grass Stopper, can be used on tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass two weeks after germination. Dithiopyr is longer lasting and more effective than siduron. Other preemergence herbicides available to homeowners require that the turf be well established before application. (Ward Upham)
Water Landscape Plants
Although all perennial plants benefit from moist soils before winter, it is especially important for newly planted trees and shrubs due to limited root systems. Even trees and shrubs planted within the last 2 to 3 years are more sensitive to drought than a well-established plant. Evergreens are also more at risk because moisture is lost from the foliage.
A good, deep watering with moisture reaching at least a foot down into the soil is much better than several light sprinklings that just wet the top portions of the soil. A deep watering will help ensure that the majority of roots have access to water. Roots that actually absorb water are killed when the soil temperature reaches 28 degrees F. Those near the surface do not last long in our Kansas winters. We must rely on roots that are deeper, and provide moisture for them to absorb.
Regardless of the watering method used, soil should be wet at least 12 inches deep. Use a metal rod, wooden dowel, electric fence post or something similar to check depth. Dry soil is much harder to push through than wet.
Trees or shrubs planted within the last year can be watered inexpensively with a 5-gallon bucket. Drill a small hole (1/8") in the side of the bucket near the bottom. Fill the bucket and let the water dribble out slowly next to the tree. Refill the bucket once, and you have applied 10 gallons. Very large transplanted trees and trees that were transplanted two to three years ago will require more water.
A perforated soaker hose is a good way to water a newly established bed or foundation plantings. However, soaker hoses are notorious for non-uniform watering. In other words, you often receive too much water from one part of the hose and not enough from another. Hooking both the beginning and the end of the soaker hose to a Y-adapter helps equalize the pressure and therefore provide a more uniform watering. The specific parts you need are shown in the photo above and include the soaker hose, Y-adapter and female to female connector. It is also helpful if the Y-adapter has shut off valves so the volume of flow can be controlled. Too high a flow rate can allow water to run off rather than soak in.
On larger trees, the soaker hose can circle the trunk at a distance within the dripline of the tree but at least ½ the distance to the dripline. The dripline of the tree is outermost reach of the branches. On smaller trees, you may circle the tree several times so that only soil which has tree roots will be watered.
If using a soaker hose, note the time watering was started. Check frequently to determine the amount of time it takes for water to reach 12 inches. From then on, you can water “by the clock.” Use a kitchen oven timer so you remember to move the hose or shut off the faucet.
If you are seeing surface runoff, reduce the flow, or build a berm with at least a 4-foot diameter around the base of the tree to allow the water to percolate down through the soil, instead of spreading out. (Ward Upham)
Compost Pile Maintenance
Poor Drainage in Garden Area
Storing Power Equipment for the Winter
Some gardeners will also apply a light, sprayable oil into the cylinder through the spark plug hole. Check and clean air filters and replace if necessary. Many mowers and tillers will have a foam prefilter that can become filthy with use. If allowed to become too dirty, engines will run poorly or may not run at all. Sharpen blades, clean tines, tighten screws, replace broken parts and do all the other things needed to keep equipment in good shape. Though such maintenance takes some time and effort, it pays for itself by reducing frustration and lost time due to poorly performing equipment during a hectic spring. (Ward Upham)
Contributors: Ward Upham, Extension Associate