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March 2013

February 2013

Turfgrass Mystery: where can we find this beautiful grass?


This might be an easy one. The picture above is manilagrass (Zoysia matrella) and was taken in December 2009. If you've followed this blog, you will know that I am a big fan of manilagrass in East and Southeast Asia, as this native grass produces a fine turf with fewer problems than other grasses in this part of the world. The grass in this picture is perhaps the best example and the best-maintained large sward of manilagrass in Southeast Asia.

The simple turfgrass mystery was ... where was this photo taken? This turf is at the Manila American Cemetery.

The location was identified correctly:

The turf here is not only some of the best manilagrass in Southeast Asia, it may be the best large sward of turf in all of Asia. The fine lawns at the Manila America Cemetery are spread over more than 31 hectares and are usually mown at less than 20 mm. 

The grass here should be studied by whoever works in turfgrass management in Asia. For more than 50 years, the manilagrass has produced an excellent surface here, and the native manilagrass has many advantages over the Cynodon and Paspalum species that are often planted in Southeast Asia. Mnl-am-cemetery1

Shade and the Performance of Warm Season Grasses in Asia

Have a look at this image. It is an aerial view of Wack Wack Golf and Country Club, a 36 hole golf course in Manila. The West Course is on the left side of the image, and the East Course is on the right side. Do you notice a difference in the grasses?

To me, the grass on the East Course looks greener and healthier than the grass on the West Course. And the grasses are different. The East Course has broadleaf carpetgrass (Axonopus compressus) fairways and manilagrass (Zoysia matrella) greens; the West Course is all hybrid bermudagrass.

Trees on the East Course (see below) throw shade everywhere, but the carpetgrass and manilagrass still thrive in these conditions. The bermudagrass does not.

This case study on The R&A's Golf Course Management site provides more details and photos about the benefits of using native grasses at Wack Wack. The aerial view shows just how well those native grasses perform in that environment.

Just down the road at Manila Golf Club, there is some incredible shade thrown across the course each morning by a row of 55 story buildings on the east side of the property.
In such heavily shaded conditions, manilagrass performs the best, then seashore paspalum, with bermudagrass (Cynodon) not doing well at all. In the photo below, I identify the manilagrass with my nose, and the bermudagrass test plots identify themselves - they are basically dead. 
In tree shade or in building shade in Southeast Asia, manilagrass performs exceptionally well as a fine turfgrass. But there is another type of shade, one that can block up to 75% of photosynthetically active radiation. That is the shade that comes from clouds. 

498_micromolesLast week, I took this photo at 10:51 in the morning. The sun was behind a cloud and the quantum meter has a reading of 498 micromoles of photosynthetically active light per square meter per second. That is less than 25% of full sunlight. The effect of clouds is not terribly important for cool-season grasses, and most textbooks ignore it, but this is a big issue for warm-season grasses.

I've studied and written about this and its relevance particularly to the conditions so common in East and Southeast Asia.

From Indonesia in the south to Japan in the north, we see that manilagrass, and in the areas with average annual temperature above 22°C, carpetgrass as well, perform extremely well. Particularly in shaded conditions, which can be caused by trees, buildings, or clouds, these grasses outperform bermudagrass and seashore paspalum. 

Upcoming Seminars: seashore paspalum, turfgrass nutrient requirements, ultradwarf bermudagrass, and much more

Starting next week, in a span of 21 days I will be making 8 presentations on a variety of turfgrass topics. In case you are able to attend, here is the schedule and the topics. And if you are not able to attend, I will be making many of these presentations and the associated handouts available for download after the seminars.

Home21 February, India Golf Expo, Oxford Golf & CC, Pune: Turfgrass Management Master Class, setting up golf course management systems and reviewing the golf course (with Robert Cairns)

21 February, India Golf Expo, Oxford Golf & CC, Pune: Turfgrass Management Master Class, sands and soils, how to make them work for you, and practical application methods (with Robert Cairns)

27 February, Ultradwarf Bermudagrass Champion Dwarf Technical Seminar 2013, Tokyo, Japan: Application of Ultradwarf Bermudagrass Cultivars in the World

28 February, Ultradwarf Bermudagrass Champion Dwarf Technical Seminar 2013, Osaka, Japan: Application of Ultradwarf Bermudagrass Cultivars in the World Seminar_championdwarf

5 March, Hokkaido Green Association, Sapporo, Japan: Turfgrass Management Key Points for 2013

GCSAA | Webcasts_ Today_s Turf is ... Paspalum7 March, GCSAA Webcast, online: Today's Turf is ... Paspalum, Love it? Hate it? Here's what you need to know about the selection and management of this salt-tolerant turfgrass

11 March, Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2013, Pattaya, Thailand: Nutrient Requirements of Tropical Turfgrass

13 March, Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2013, Pattaya, Thailand: What Fertilizer Should I Use?

An Exemplary Guide to Control of Turfgrass Diseases

Vincelli_kentucky_2013_chemical_control_turfgrass_diseases.pdf (page 1 of 24)One of the best guides to control of turfgrass diseases is this one: Chemical Control of Turfgrass Diseases 2013 by Dr. Paul Vincelli and Dr. Gregg Munshaw from the University of Kentucky. 

In just 24 pages, this guide covers it all. And it is free! Topics covered include:

  • Contact and systemic fungicides
  • Preventative and curative use of fungicides
  • Details on more than 40 fungicidal and biological control products
  • Advice on cultural methods to reduce disease
  • Management recommendations for more than 25 turfgrass diseases
  • Links to additional information

This is a document that I use for reference throughout the year and I have now updated my files with the 2013 version. If you find it as useful as I do, you should do the same. Download it here.

Another turfgrass disease reference that I use frequently is the Compendium of Turfgrass Diseases

Turfgrass Fertilizers: an exemplary fact sheet

Fert_fact_sheetThis fact sheet, Selected Fertilizers Used in Turfgrass Fertilization by Dr. Sartain and Dr. Kruse from the University of Florida, is only 12 pages long but is packed with useful information about the primary sources of turfgrass nutrients.

Covering the major fertilizers from ammonium sulfate to urea, potassium chloride to Polyon, this document serves as a reference and a review of the various properties of these fertilizer products. This is an excellent guide to the main sources of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium applied to turfgrass, along with an overview of some of the different controlled-release nitrogen sources.

It is a good document to have on one's desk or computer.