Amazing Grass Facts

Bluegrass

Did you know ... there are at least six types of Kentucky Bluegrass? According to the 1993 Rutgers's Turfgrass Proceedings, these include the following: Aggressive types, such as Limousine and A-34, are dense with aggressive lateral growth.

The BVMG types, such as Viva and Merit, are medium-wide, medium low growing, and medium dense. These are also the seed yield crankers. Common/Midwest types, such as Huntsville and S-21 are usually erect and narrow, making them great for pasture and low maintenance turf.

Mid-Atlantic types, like Wabash and SR2000, are very vigorous, medium high in density, and deeply-extensively rooted. Compact types, such as Midnight and Glade, are low and compact giving them excellent late spring ratings, but higher susceptibility to summer stress and drought.

The Bellevue types, like Classic and Trenton, are similar to the BVMGs with medium-low growth, medium-wide width, and medium density. (from Jan ‘96 Did You Know Newsletter)

Did you know... Disease resistance is an important factor for determining mixture component? With the multitude of new varieties available, it is easy to simply pick 3 or 4 varieties for a mixture assuming they will perform well because they rated well for overall turf quality. However, to put together a blend that will be both attractive and survive your region’s disease pressure, be sure to consider both the species and the variety’s disease resistance.

For example, consider Summer Patch. In general, Kentucky bluegrass is especially susceptible to this disease. Therefore, when using bluegrass in regions where Summer Patch can be a problem, it is best to formulate mixtures that include either perennial ryegrass (which is less susceptible) and/or varieties of bluegrass that are better resistant. This is one reason why we promote Sidekick as a good blender.

In recent NTEP trials, Sidekick performed very well in disease resistance to Summer Patch, damping off, powdery mildew, crown rust, billbugs, and more.

For more information about ways to improve your disease resistance, visit Controlling Turfgrass Diseases. Also check out Texas Agricultural Extension Service’s Plant Answers Site. (from March ‘97 Did You Know Newsletter)

Earthworms

Did you know ... Earthworms were one of the earliest serious pests on golf course turfs in the United Kingdom? This resulted in golf principally played on the seaside links regions of Scotland. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that irritants were used to force the earthworms to the surface where they were raked into piles and moved elsewhere. By the way, this practice is now prohibited by the UK Environmental Quality Agency!

Endophyte, what is it?

Did you know ... Endophyte is a beneficial fungus? Endophyte is a fungus that lives inside infected grass plants. Some grass varieties grown for turf seed have high levels of endophyte. Toxins produced by the fungus are harmful to insects feeding on the surface areas of the leaves. This natural insecticide is both non-appealing and sometimes fatal to the insects, thereby reducing the need for chemical insecticides. Affected insects include chinch bugs, sod webworms and billbugs, but not sub-surface insects such as Japanese beetle grubs.

Endophyte-enhanced varieties also have increased growth and vigor, making the varieties better tolerable of drought stress, summer weed invasion, and other possible turf diseases. The advantages of endophyte are most obvious during the late summer and fall months.

Endophyte is transmitted only by seed, and its entire life cycle takes place inside plant tissues. A plant does not become infected from its neighbors, nor can it infect other plants. Since it does not affect the appearance of the grass plant, its presence can be detected only by laboratory analysis. Although seed may decrease in endophyte over time, plants that are infected maintain their endophyte fungus. It is best to plant endophyte seed within two years of harvest.

Golf

Did you know ... Over 440 new golf courses opened up in 1996? Add to the previous year’s 468 new courses, an estimated 450 openings this year, 850 under construction, and another 800+ planned all means more business to the turf industry. Much of this construction is in East-North central and the South Atlantic. Michigan alone had 34 new openings last year and has 62 under construction. For more information on golf course trends, projects, etc., get a copy of Golf Facilities in the US/1997 Edition from the NGF at 1-800-733-6006. (9/97 DYKN).

Grain/Feed

Did you know ... On July 1, 1996, the beef cow inventory was 36.6 million head, down from 36.1 million in 1995, marking the first decline in 6 years? USDA forecasts 1996 winter wheat yields on harvested acres at 37 bushels per acre, down 2% from 1995 for a 4th consecutive year of decline. Global rice production and consumption are projected to reach records for the 3rd year in a row at 376.5 million tons. These and other agricultural statistical reports are available automatically via e-mail from the USDA. Ask us for details. (Aug '96 Did You Know Newsletter).

Grazing/Forage

Did you know ... Cool season forages don’t show noticeable growth until average temperatures exceed 52F? “Summer Slump” is a phenomena that occurs when cool-season grass growth declines even when moisture is readily available. What causes it? Temperature. Growth rates increase until reaching an optimal temperature of 63F. As average temperatures rise above 63F, growth rates decline. Additionally, TDN levels decline as temperatures increase in the Spring until reaching a low in early August. They then return to the high levels seen in the Spring as temperatures cool in the Fall. (June ‘97 Did You Know Newsletter)

… Penn State has a number of excellent forage and intensive grazing resource publications? To get a list of all the publications, contact Marvin Hall- Fax: 1-814-0863-7043 or e-mail: mhh2@psuvm.psu.edu.

Here’s another valuable resource from Wisconsin: Pastures For Profit, A Guide to Rotational Grazing! Publication #A3529. Call Extension Publications at 608-262-3346 for your copy. (May ‘96 DYKN).

… Pastures can provide 100 lbs of TDN (total digestible nutrients) for half the cost of alfalfa, a quarter of the cost of corn silage, and a fifth of the cost of grain; while providing 2-3 times the crude protein levels of corn silage with comparable net energy for lactation? This according to Darrell L. Emmick. (Jan ‘96 DYKN).

Milk, Dairy, Beef

Did you know ... More people in the world drink goat milk than cow milk? Although in the US the opposite is true. Goat milk is similar nutritionally to cow milk, but contains smaller fat globules. As a consequence, it is easier for some people to digest and does not require homogenization. (Jan ‘97 Did You Know Newsletter).

… The American hamburger was first introduced in 1885 at the Outgamie Country Fair by Charlie Nagreen of Seymour, WI? Popularized at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and propelling the first hamburger chain - The White Castle in Wichita, KS in 1921. Do you think ol’ Charlie ever imagined chili burgers, turkey burgers, or veggie burgers? (May ‘97 Did You Know Newsletter)

Nitrogen

Did you know... Research is showing that only small amounts of nitrogen are subject to leaching in turfgrass soils? However, significant differences seem to exist between species, and even cultivars, according to recent University of Rhode Island studies. Kentucky bluegrass had the highest leaching levels at 7% of the applied nitrogen. Perennial Ryegrass leached only 2%, while tall fescue leached the lowest amount, 0.8%.

The 2-year study also showed a large variation between tall fescue and perennial ryegrass varieties. Is this an avenue to explore for more “environmentally friendly” marketing? Pick up Grounds Maintenance, June ‘97 issue to find the full story. (Jan. ‘98 Did You Know Newsletter).

Organizations

Did you know... the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is looking for ways to partner with the seed industry for improved feed options? Jim Gibb, vice-president of the Center for Quality recently issued a plea for partnership at the ASTA Forage Pasture Committee Meeting. He presented some polling data that showed a growing interest with Beef Cattlemen in improved forage varieties, new grazing grasses, and better grazing management.

We encourage you to contact Jim or your local chapter for ways you can get involved. (Jim can be reached at 5420 S. Quebec St., Englewood, CO 80111, 303-6984-0305, or e-mail him at: jg@ncanet.org). (Aug. ‘96 Did You Know Newsletter).

Pesticides

Did you know... Pesticides approved and used on turf grasses are in many ways less toxic than foods and medicines we regularly use? If you were to apply the antibiotics streptomycin and ox tetracycline against wilt, you would be required to wear a respirator and protective clothing. Yet your doctor might prescribe these as antibiotics if you have strep-throat or pneumonia! “Banner’s” active ingredients, micosin and miconazol, that would require protection against skin exposure, are active ingredients for various topical ailments, infections, and rashes. If only they knew! For more info, contact the GCSAA. (Nov.'97 DYKN)

Ryegrass

Did you know... There are over 250 perennial ryegrass varieties eligible for certified Oregon production... 276 to be exact! Fortunately, only 151 of those are in production. If you think those numbers are high, consider tall fescue... 227 eligible varieties with 162 in production, or Kentucky blue. at 159 eligible/79 in production.

… In 1967 less than 10 varieties of perennial ryegrass were available? You could choose from Barenza, Game, Linn, Manhatten, NK-100, Norlea, and Pelo. Now almost 200 varieties are in the national trials! You can count on Ampac to provide you with a well-balanced range of proprietaries. We promise you won’t need to choose from 200+ varieties! Furthermore, every variety comes with the Ampac Integrity and Excellence - intangibles that make the difference! (In case you’d like to memorize such lists of information, you can get your own copy of the US Turf-grass Variety List, 1997 from the National Turfgrass Federation, Inc. in Beltsville, MD.). (November ‘97 Did You Know Newsletter).

Seed Establishment

Did you know... It takes 100 growing degree days per each leaf of a grass plant for establishment? The plant itself is fully established when three leaves have fully emerged. Sequential to the emergence of the third leaf is the emergence of the first tiller from the base of the first leaf. The surprising news is that this pattern is true of all grasses! This and other intriguing grass facts were recently presented by Tom Chastain, Seed Crop Physiologist at Oregon State University. His studies have also found that the ability of a plant to persist depends on its capacity to replace dead tillers, as tillers are short-lived. This probably explains why grasses that are profuse tiller producers are more persistent. (May ‘96 Did You Know Newsletter).

Seed Production

Did you know... Grass seed is now the 2nd largest agricultural sales product in Oregon? In fact, total sales were up 34% in 1996 to $317 million, surpassing hay, wheat, and cattle. Another growing industry is straw. The Willamette Valley produces about 350,000 tons of grass straw each year. Most of this straw is compressed, compacted, mixed with hay and shipped to Japan. (Nov. ‘97 Did You Know Newsletter).

Seed Treatment

Did you know... Gustafson has recently come out with a program to assure that customers are receiving seed treated with proper rates of Apron? As you may know, Apron-FL has a recommended rate of 1.5 fl oz/cwt. Ampac Seed Company has applauded this, and is fully authorized to label turfgrass with the new Apron GREEN TAG. This tag assures customers that the labeled rate of 1.5 fl oz/cwt. of Apron-FL has been applied to each bag of seed. The existing Apron Blue Tag is still available for those who elect a lower treatment rate. (July ‘96 DYKN).

Tall Fescue

Did you know... There are over 187 turf-type and 39 forage-type tall fescues approved for use in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia? According to William Cook of the Penn. State Seed Lab, this list is not even complete as new varieties are constantly being released. And to think that this all started with K-31! (June ‘96 DYKN).

Turfgrass

Did you know... Turf requires about 43” of water per growing season? While some parts of the country easily exceed this amount, timing is not always the best. Times of insufficient moisture results in wilting and dormancy. Excess moisture can bring about disease pressure. Even periodic wetting and drying can be unfavorable, bringing about diseases such as leaf spot. Now add fertilization to the equation: Too much N. encourages some diseases, while under-fertilization hosts its own set of spots and patches. Oh, don’t forget about mowing height and temperature. It’s a wonder the stuff ever makes it through a season! (Sept. ‘97 Did You Know Newsletter).

… Twelve or more hours of moist foliage can trigger a major disease outbreak? The shorter the time the grass is wet, the less the disease problem. The infection of a plant by a fungal pathogen requires spore germination and development before tissue penetration can occur. The requirement of leaf wetness for these processes to occur in part explains the reason why leaf-spot is more serious in lawns on the north side of a building or in low areas where the turf remains moist for extended periods of time. (Source: Colorado State U., Watering Turfgrass and Disease Potential: Leaf Wetness by: Curt Swift, Area Extension Agent).

… A 1994 survey estimated 46.5 million acres of turfgrass exist in the US? Of that figure, over 23 million acres are in home lawns, 11 million in commercial or other sites, and 5.63 million in roadsides. Interestingly, only 1.4 million are in golf courses, yet, we as an industry, often pay more attention to the golf market than to our own backyard! (Source: DPRA Inc. Grounds Maintenance Magazine).