TURF TIPS

How would you like to participate in an EDUCATIONAL CONFERENCE that covers the ENTIRE landscape from TURFGRASS to TREES & SHRUBS? Wouldn't that be ideal? Maybe you're a turfphile that suddenly is responsible for the ornamental plants on the job and you don't know where to start!


Although proper turfgrass maintenance programs can greatly reduce the invasive pressures of the various turfgrass weeds, even the highest quality turfgrass areas will occasionally be invaded by one or more weed species. While a few weeds can be physically removed, considerable weed encroachment may require chemical controls. Fall is the best time of year to control many of the perennial broadleaf weeds (e.g. dandelions, violets, ground ivy).


It is not a good idea to allow whole tree leaves to accumulate and lie on lawns over the winter. The dense layer of leaves will decompose very slowly if at all. The matted down leaves hold excess moisture over the grass potentially promoting turfgrass diseases such as snow mold. They provide harborage for animals such as voles.


There is an age-old suggestion to lower mowing heights in the fall to avoid turf diseases developing during the winter. This is not necessarily accurate. Ohio State University turfgrass specialists say that it is more important to KEEP MOWING until the grass stops growing for the season.


There seems to be no end to the mysteries of grubs in Ohio! This week, BYGLers tackled the existential question, "How can a lawn have high grub populations when the Japanese Beetles were few to non-existent this year?" Dave Shetlar, our ever-knowledgeable "Bug Doc," reminded us that all grubs are NOT created equal.


Curtis Young, Dave Shetlar, and Joe Boggs reported that fall crane flies (Tipula spp.) are rising from turfgrass in northwest, central, and southwest Ohio, respectively. They look like giant, mutant mosquitoes; a startling image outside of a sci-fi movie. Fortunately, crane flies do not possess mosquito-like piercing mouthparts, so they do not bite.


Dave also reported that he's getting calls from concerned homeowners of BLUEWINGED WASPS (Scolia dubia) performing their low-level flight plans over home lawns. This is actually a good thing since the larvae of these blue bombers feeds on white grubs.


Dave Shetlar reported that late instar JAPANESE BEETLE grubs (Popillia japonica) in central Ohio are now yellowish-white in color, meaning they have accumulated enough fat to stop feeding and successfully survive the winter.


Julie Crook gave turfophiles in the BYGL group, a chance to "cross blades" with turfgrass identification. Someone sent to Julie, a photo of some wide-bladed, open-crowned grass in their lawn, which was disturbing their karma while gazing upon their greenness! They were wondering if the coarse-bladed invader of their green domain was really a southern incursion of Dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum).


One question, which often arises this time of year, is regarding turf and the best way to prepare for winter, often called "winterizing". There is as much misinformation, like "home or neighbor remedies" on winterizing lawns, as there is valid and accurate research to provide factual information on turf winterization.


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