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August 2013

Presentation Video: Five Easy Ways to Improve Turfgrass Performance

Manilagrass_demoAt the Philippines Turfgrass Forum on 1 August, I spoke about Five Easy Ways to Improve Turfgrass Performance. The presentation slides are available for download as a 9.3 MB PDF file, and UPLB Research, Development, and Extension have recorded a video of the presentation and made it available to the public.

In the presentation, I talked about the management, selection, and optimization of mower adjustment, grass variety, soil moisture, soil organic matter, and nitrogen application rate as being the five things, all interrelated, that when moved closer to optimum management will be sure to produce improved turfgrass. Watch the video here (20 minutes).

The Global Soil Survey for Sustainable Turf, a new citizen science project

In 2012, the Asian Turfgrass Center and PACE Turf developed and introduced the Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition (MLSN) guidelines. Now, in an expansion of this project, we have initiated the Global Soil Survey for Sustainable Turf.

The Global Soil Survey is a citizen science project in which turfgrass managers from around the world can submit samples from their location. These samples will be added to those of other survey participants to generate new and improved nutritional guidelines for turf.

The mission and goals of this project are:

  1. production of new, sustainable soil nutritional guidelines that target the lowest nutrient levels needed to support the desired levels of turf quality and playability
  2. generating the new guidelines through analysis of soil samples collected by survey participants from around the globe
  3. providing participants with individualized reports on soil nutritional conditions at their location, as well as quantification of their sustainability index
  4. promoting adoption of the new sustainability guidelines through social media, websites, articles, scientific presentations and educational seminars
  5. insuring reliable data by utilizing a single, highly reputable laboratory for all analyses

Sign up now, online or with this mail in form. The cost for a survey kit is $250 and includes:

  • Sampling and shipping instructions for collection of 3 soil samples
  • Sample bags, sample submission form, box for sample shipment to Brookside Laboratories (All shipping costs will be pre–paid for U.S. participants)
  • An individualized report, emailed to each participant, that assesses the soil nutritional status at their location, quantifies the sustainability index, and provides guidance on nutritional practices that will help to reduce inputs without sacrificing turf quality or playability. Twenty–one different parameters will be analyzed including pH, S, Ca, Mg, K, Na, P (Mehlich 3, Bray and Olsen), PSI, nitrate–N, ammonium–N, total N, EC, B, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Al and Cl. 
  • Each participant's data will be pooled with that of other survey participants to generate new and improved soil nutritional guidelines for turf. These guidelines will be made available to the public on websites and in articles, presentations and educational seminars.

For more information, see the Global Soil Survey page or the Global Soil Survey page on Facebook.

Turfgrass Mystery on the Putting Green


This is a good one. A friend sent me these photos and asked if I could identify what had caused the yellowing seen in the photo above, and in a closer view below. I couldn't solve it at first, but once it was explained to me, the symptoms made perfect sense.


Here is a bit of contextual information that may help in solving the mystery. These symptoms appeared on a korai (Zoysia matrella) putting green maintained at a mowing height of about 3 mm in Japan in early August. Can you identify what has happened here?

This one proved difficult to solve, with answers coming in speculating that it was caused by: surfactant or herbicide spilling from a leaky bucket; scalping caused by too much fertilizer or sand or grain or aerification; crop circle caused by mythical rabbits; disease; fireworks; bug spray; and more.

The correct answer is that this korai green had a few small patches of Miniverde utlradwarf bermudagrass in it. The greenkeeping staff removed the Miniverde by plugs, replacing with korai, but somehow did not remove all the Miniverde. Because of the different growth habit between korai (very upright) and bermudagrass (more creeping and stoloniferous), when the greens were verticut, the korai remained green, while almost all the green leaf material of the Miniverde was cut off.

Dr. Brett Morris from Australia and Billy Aylmer from Ireland were the closest in identifying the cause of this mystery.

One of the implications of this differential response to verticutting is that korai greens grown in that climate may require substantially less frequent verticutting than ultradwarf bermudagrass. The Miniverde would not have looked like this had the greens been verticut more frequently.

Presentation Video: Minimum Nutrient Requirements for Putting Green Turf

I spoke about Minimum Nutrient Requirements for Putting Green Turf at the Philippine Turfgrass Forum 2013, and UPLB Research, Development, and Extension have graciously recorded a video of this presentation and made it available for viewing. 

The presentation slides and handout can be downloaded for further reference. This presentation makes use of the MLSN guidelines, which were developed in a joint project of the Asian Turfgrass Center and PACE Turf.

Malaysia International Golf Symposium 2013: Registration & Program

2013_Malaysia_International_Golf_Symposium_Registration_ Form.pdf (1 page)On October 21 to 23, the Malaysia International Golf Symposium 2013 will be held at The Royal Selangor Golf Club and at The Royale Chulan Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Registration is now available through the Malaysian Golf Association.

I will be speaking about Nutrient Requirements for Golf Courses in Asia and then giving another presentation on Selection of Grass. Both of these topics are ones I am excited to speak about and are ones that I have studied extensively over the past few years.

The program includes other presentations about turfgrass management, including one on the Latest Trends in Golf Course Maintenance by Andy Johnston, along with additional talks on a range of subjects related to course design, construction, and club management.

Download registration form

Download educational conference and field day program

Download accommodation form

Monthly Turfgrass Roundup (July 2013)

In case you missed them, these articles and links from July are likely to be of interest to turfgrass managers in Asia:

Be careful when applying DMI fungicides to putting green turf.

A golf tourism boom is expected in SE Asia, with Thailand and Vietnam expected to receive 85% of the traffic.

Essential info from Garr Reynolds for anyone who gives presentations - No excuse for boring an audience: advice on giving technical presentations.

I spoke with Matt Adams about turfgrass on the Fairways of Life radio show. Listen to our conversation here.

The R&A shared this interesting report about wildlife and nature at Muirfield, site of the Open Championship.

More evidence that phosphorus application encourages the growth of annual bluegrass (Poa annua), and withholding phosphorus reduces annual bluegrass.

More photos have been uploaded to the Asian Turfgrass Center Flickr gallery, including images of the best turf under tree shade in Southeast Asia.

New research about honey bees, crop pollination, and pesticides which all turfgrass managers should be aware of.

When I was a superintendent at Habu CC in Japan, we experienced a July with record heat and drought. How hot and how dry was it? I looked up the historical weather data.

This is an excellent reference guide to heat and drought recovery from PACE Turf (members only).

For superintendents who collect data on their course and for turfgrass researchers and graduate students, this paper from Hadley Wickham on tidy data and organizing datasets will help to save time by explaining the optimum way to organize the data.

Interveinal chlorosis on grass leaves is indicative of a nutrient deficiency, in this case probably iron deficiency.

For more about turfgrass management in Asia, browse the many articles available for download on the ATC Turfgrass Information page, subscribe to this blog by e-mail or with an RSS reader - I use Feedly, or follow @asianturfgrass on Twitter.

Does extra potassium improve bermudagrass performance when soil sodium is high?

The short answer is no, as long as sufficient potassium (K) is present in the soil. In another interesting paper from the 2013 International Turfgrass Society Research Conference, Cisar et al. looked at Tifway bermudagrass performance when the soil contained high amounts of sodium (Na).

The results were presented in Beijing and are published in the ITS research journal as Potassium and sodium application effects on soil-test values, and turfgrass quality, clipping yield, and elemental composition of bermudagrass grown in a sand soil. I was especially interested in this research, because I observed Tifway bermudagrass growing in Thailand, and performing well (Figure 1), despite soil Na more than twice the level of soil K.

Figure 1. Tifway bermudagrass grown at the Asian Turfgrass Center's research facility in Thailand performed well despite soil sodium more than twice the amount of soil potassium.
In the experiment of Cisar et al., treatments of sodium chloride were made to establish high levels of soil Na. Over the course of this four-year study, where Na was applied, the soil Na levels were often more than 10x higher than the soil K levels. Where Na was applied, the average soil Na was 246 ppm; where Na was not applied, average soil Na was 47 ppm. 

After a thorough examination of the results, Cisar et al. conclude that:

"The results of this intensive 4-year investigation do not suggest that additional K fertilization is beneficial for bermudagrass quality or clipping yield when elevated soil Na is present."

"Little to no increase in tissue K was observed for K application rates greater than 1.25 g/m2/month." (1.25 g/m2/month is equivalent to 0.25 lb/1000 ft2/month)

"Higher application rates of K fertilization generally did not result in an improvement of bermudagrass quality ratings."

One can use the MLSN guidelines to ensure soil K is kept at an adequate level. Adding more K beyond that level, as this research by Cisar et al. reports, does not seem to confer any benefit.

Report, Handout, and Presentation Slides from the Philippine Turfgrass Forum

Uplb_ph_turfgrass_forum 2

This week I spoke at the Philippine Turfgrass Forum, organized by Dr. Amihan Arquiza at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. The slides from my presentations, along with the accompanying handout, are available for download here:

Minimum Nutrient Requirements for Putting Green Turf (slides, 2.2 MB PDF)

Five Easy Ways to Improve Turfgrass Performance (slides, 9.3 MB PDF)

Handout, mostly related to nutrient requirements (86 kB PDF)

Uplb_ph_turfgrass_forum 1

The forum involved students, golf course superintendents, golf course architects, professors, landscape contractors, property developers, sod producers, and industry suppliers, with over 100 people in attendance. Dr. Arquiza began the afternoon with a wide-ranging talk on turfgrass in the Philippines and around the world, sharing her experiences and ideas of turfgrass use, as it is, and as it might be.

Tomas_valenciaTomas Valencia spoke about the production, use, planting, and export of manilagrass (Zoysia matrella), sharing his extensive knowledge of this grass and its wide range of uses as a turfgrass in Southeast Asia.

We then had an open forum, discussing turfgrass research and teaching in the Philippines, the bermudagrass white leaf pathogen, how one might apply nutrients to fine turf during the rainy season, the relative salt tolerance of manilagrass, and much more.

For more information about estimating turfgrass nitrogen requirements from a temperature-based growth potential, the MLSN guidelines for interpreting soil test data, manilagrass as an excellent turf for Southeast Asia, and other articles about turfgrass management in Asia, please visit the ATC turfgrass information page.