Page 1

Fall 2017

Native Areas for

Southern Golf Course Roughs

Come Play on Our Turf: Deep South Turf Expo, November 7–9, 2017 A Handy Guide to Choosing and Using Turf colorants

Fall 2017


Top Features Save These Dates! 10 2018 ATA Events 11

ATA Member Spotlight —

Tres’ Wilkinson, ATA Upcoming President

Upcoming Event — 12 Come Play on Our Turf:

Deep South Turf Expo, November 7–9, 2017

Cover Story — 14 Native Areas for Southern


Golf Course Roughs

Turf Talk — 21 A Handy Guide to

Choosing and Using Turf Colorants

Departments 6 6 8 28 29 30

From the President’s Pen ATA Annual Sponsors News from ATA Auburn University Turf Team Calendar of Events Advertiser Index

Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7

21 4

The Alabama Turfgrass Association serves its members in the industry through education, promotion and representation. The statements and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the association, its staff, or its board of directors, Alabama Turf Times, or its editors. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers, or their identification as Alabama Turfgrass Association members, does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services featured in this, past or subsequent issues of this quarterly publication. Copyright ©2017 by the Alabama Turfgrass Association. Alabama Turf Times is published quarterly. Subscriptions are complimentary to members of the Alabama Turfgrass Association. Third-class postage is paid at Nashville, TN. Printed in the U.S.A. We are not responsible for unsolicited freelance manuscripts and photographs. Contact the managing editor for contribution information. Advertising: For display and classified advertising rates and insertion please contact Leading Edge Communications, LLC, 206 Bridge Street, Franklin, TN 37064, (615) 790-3718,

From the President’s Pen >>>

Lots of


Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7


in my last president’s message, I feel like there is so much to share! I have enjoyed my term as the Alabama Turfgrass Association president, and I’m thankful for the opportunity and faith you have instilled in me. Your board members have accomplished much this year, and I am appreciative of their hard work. We’ve had successful events, raised money for the turfgrass program at Auburn University and the Alabama Turfgrass Research Foundation, tracked legislative issues and brainstormed on how to make our events even better for the future! I’m proud to announce we have also given away two Legacy scholarships — one to Lynleigh Byram, who is a freshman at Bevill State Community College and majoring in Special Education, and the other to Sarah Halfacre, who is a junior at East Tennessee State University and majoring in Media & Communications. This is our second year to award these scholarships, and we look forward to carrying on this member benefit for years to come. Our scholarship endowment will also award a turfgrass student a scholarship this fall at Auburn University. This scholarship will continue annually for years to come. At our last board meeting, we were presented with a resignation letter from our executive director, Tricia Roberts. Tricia has been with our organization for the last 16 years, and she will be missed greatly. She will be working with The Realty Alliance, a national association of large real estate firms across the country and Canada after the first of the year. We wish Tricia the best and thank her for all the years she has worked on our behalf. Prologue Association Management will still be our association’s management team and will continue to provide support for our organization. We have nominated a great slate of officers and directors for 2018. Please find them listed on page 8. Be sure to attend our Annual Business Meeting at the Deep South Turf Expo to vote on these positions. Remember, these individuals are representing you, serving you and our industry. Please get to know them and voice your concerns or ideas to them. We will have a planning meeting in December and look forward to their input. Speaking of December, we will have our second annual Sponsor Appreciation Sporting Clay Tournament in Montgomery on December 7. Come out and support this event, give your thanks to our sponsors and shoot a few rounds. If you don’t want to shoot, come out for the lunch and fellowship. In closing, I would like to thank again the board members who served with me this year. I couldn’t have done it without them. We have some talented folks in our industry, and I’m proud to have served with some of the best!

Paul Patterson 2017 ATA President


Paul Patterson

2017 ATA Annual Sponsors Gold • Bayer Environmental Science • Beard Equipment Company • Greenville Turf & Tractor • Harrell’s, Inc. • Jacobsen • Jerry Pate Turf & Irrigation

Silver • BWI Companies • Ewing • Residex • SiteOne Landscape Supply • Syngenta

Bronze • AGRI-AFC, LLC • Agromax • Aquatrols • BASF • Dow AgroSciences • Humphries Turf Supply • PBI-Gordon • Southern States Turf • Sur-Line Turf

Alabama Turf Times is the <<< Upcoming Event official publication of the: Alabama Turfgrass Association P.O. Box 70 Auburn, Alabama 36831 Tel: (334) 821-3000 Fax: (334) 821-3800 Email: Published by: Leading Edge Communications, LLC 206 Bridge Street Franklin, Tennessee 37064 Tel: (615) 790-3718 Fax: (615) 794-4524 Email: info@leadingedge Executive Director Tricia Roberts Alabama Turf Times Editor James Horton Birmingham Botanical Gardens

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE President Paul Patterson

University of Alabama Huntsville

Vice President Tres’ Wilkinson South Dallas Turf

Treasurer Kim Byram

University of Alabama

Past President Jason Cooper

Sweetspire Gardens

BOARD OF DIRECTORS At–Large Randy McQueen TruGreen

Daniel Strickland

SiteOne Landscape Supply

Golf Glen Junkin

True Point Yahct and Country Club

Industry Buddy Williams BWI Companies

Institution Joe Collins

Samford University

Lawn Care Andrew Bice

Blackjack Horticulture

Parks & Recreation Deven Peek City of Prattville

Sod Paul Salzmann Salzmann Farms

EX OFFICIO/ EDUCATION ADVISORS Dave Han, Ph.D. Auburn University

Jim Jacobi, Ph.D.

Alabama Coop. Extension System

Cover from StoryATA >>> >>> Continued News

Alabama Turfgrass Association

2018 Slate of Officers

and Board of Directors


membership of the Alabama Turfgrass Association will have the opportunity to vote on the following slate of officers and directors for the upcoming year at the ATA Annual Business Meeting, to be held at the Deep South Turf Expo on Wednesday, November 8, at 5:30 p.m. in the Mississippi Coast Convention Center. Please make every point to attend this important meeting and vote on the future leadership of your association.



Tresâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Wilkinson (1 year) South Dallas Turf

Deven Peek (1 year) City of Prattville

Vice President

Past President

Kim Byram (1 year) University of Alabama

Paul Patterson (1 year) Univ. of Alabama Huntsville

Board of Directors Golf

At Large

Glen Junkin (1 year) Turtle Point Yacht & Country Club

Ben Anderson Arrowhead Country Club Randy McQueen (1 year) TruGreen Daniel Strickland (1 year) SiteOne Landscaping

Industry Scott Wanzor PBI-Gordon

Institution Joe Collins (1 year) Samford University

Lawn Care

Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7

Darrel Arnold (2 years) Hermitage Turf

Park & Recreation Heath Puckett (1 year) City of Decatur

Sod Thomas Hugghins Hugghins Sod Farm


Ex Officio/ Education Advisors Dave Han, Ph.D. Auburn University (334) 844-3980 Jim Jacobi, Ph.D. AL Cooperative Extension System (205) 879-6964, ext. 19 v

save These Dates >>>

2018 ATA

Events Sponsor Appreciation Sporting Clay Tournament


your fellow members of the Alabama Turfgrass Association for our second annual Sponsor Appreciation Sporting Clay Tournament on Thursday, December 7, at the Lower Wetumpka Shotgun Sports Club in Montgomery, AL. The event will start with a lunch to recognize and thank our sponsors, and then attendees will enjoy an afternoon of clay shooting. Prizes will be awarded for a little competition. The registration fee of $60 will include lunch, shooting and prizes. Register online at Come join the fun, competition and appreciation! v

RoadShow Seminars January 3 Auburn, AL

January 10 Loxley, AL

January 17 Dothan, AL

January 24

Montgomery, AL

February 14

ATA’s RoadShow Seminars Are Heading Your Way This Winter!


Alabama Turfgrass Association will once again hit the road this winter with our popular RoadShow Seminars. The format will be the same as usual — one-day seminars full of educational sessions on turfgrass-management practices where members can earn pesticide points at a seminar close to home. Planning is already underway for the seminars. Topics to be covered this year include: Weed Control, Best Management Practices, Strange Problems: Diseases, Insects & Weeds, Nematodes and Communicating with Your Customers. There should be something valuable for every turfgrass manager. Make your plans to come to the location closest to you. The schedule and locations for the seminars are located at the right. The goal of these RoadShow Seminars has always been to educate turf managers on principles and practices of turf maintenance. They are scheduled during the winter months so there is no competition with busy work schedules. We appreciate our members for supporting these meetings over the years, and we look forward to seeing you on the road again in 2018! v

Huntsville, AL

February 31

Birmingham, AL

March 14 Sports Turf Field Day Samford University Birmingham, AL

April TBA Poa annua Classic July TBA ATA Mole Cricket Classic Southern Traditions Fishing Lodge Elberta, AL

July TBA AU Turfgrass Field Day Auburn, AL

Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7

October 30 – November 1 Deep South Turf Expo Mississippi Coast Convention Center Biloxi, MS

December TBA ATA Sponsor Appreciation Sporting Clay Tournament Wetumpka, AL v 10

<<< ATA Member Spotlight

By Tricia Roberts, ATA Executive Director


Tres’ Wilkinson,

Upcoming ATA President


Al abam a Tur f Ti me s >>> Fall 201 7

incoming president, Tres’ Wilkinson, is no stranger to many of our members. His company, South Dallas Turf Farm, has provided turf for golf courses, sports fields and landscapers for decades. Born into the turfgrass industry, Tres’ started working on the family farm at a young age, driving harvesters and tractors. He continued to work on the farm throughout high school and at Beck’s Sod Farm while in college. In his early twenties, Tres’ worked in residential landscaping for about five years then returned home to the farm. Since then, the business has expanded to three farms, and Tres’ has loved the challenge ever since. On that sod farm, Tres’ learned the greatest life lessons. His mentors were his grandfather, Whet Wilkinson, and his father, Stan Wilkinson. They both took time to show Tres’ everything he needed to know about managing a business successfully and having a strong work ethic. Tres’ and his wife Keli have been married for 16 years and have 5 beautiful children: Lauryn, Grace, Rori, Anna James and Jase. They enjoy spending time with their children and coaching Little League, a great place to teach life lessons to the next generation! Although he has his hands full with business and family, Tres’ is always giving back to others. He somehow makes time to not only serve on the ATA board of directors, but also he serves as the sod representative for ATA on the Deep South Turf Expo board of directors. He also serves as a deacon at Shiloh Baptist Church, where he focuses on the youth committee. When he finds a little spare time, Tres’ enjoys fishing and hunting. Be sure to thank Tres’ for his commitment to our association. He truly has a serving heart! v

ATA Member Spotlight on

Upcoming Event >>>

Come Play on Our Turf: Deep South Turf Expo November 7–9, 2017

2017 DSTE Schedule of Events TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Register today online at

Registration Open

8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Heavy Equipment Move-In 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Exhibitor Move-In 9:00 a.m.

Registration fees go up after November 3, so don’t delay!

Yoga at The Preserve Golf Club • Sponsored by Syngenta.

10:00 a.m. Skeet and Trap Tournament at Costal Rifle and Pistol Club Sponsored by Dow AgroScience. 11:00 a.m. Golf Tournament at The Preserve Golf Club Sponsored by Ameri-Turf, Aquatrols and Redox. 11:00 a.m.

Sports Field Tour — meet in lobby of Beau Rivage.

5:00 p.m. Past Presidents’ Reception (invitation only at Beau Rivage) Sponsored by Greenville Turf & Tractor, Beard Equipment Co. and John Deere Golf. 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Softball Game & Dinner at MGM Park (Home of the Biloxi Shuckers) Dinner Sponsored by Harrells & Bayer. • Game Sponsored by Aqua-Aid & Regal.


Continental Breakfast • Sponsored by Syngenta

Our host hotel, the Beau Rivage, is a four-diamond development by MGM Resorts International that sits directly on the Gulf of Mexico in Biloxi, MS. The Deep South Turf Expo has secured a room rate of $102 for DSTE attendees. Call the hotel directly at 888-567-6667, or go online to Be sure to mention that you are with the Deep South Turf Expo to get the discounted room rate. Don’t delay — our room rate is only available until October 6, 2017.

7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Registration Open 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Exhibitor Move-In 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Educational Breakout Sessions (see below). PEST MANAGEMENT SESSION


Turfgrass Breeding at the University of Florida Dr. Kevin Kenworthy, University of Florida

Interpreting Pesticide Labels Dr. Casey Reynolds, Turfgrass Producers International

Estimating Turfgrass Water Requirements: Dialing in Your Irrigation Dr. Jason Kruse, University of Florida

Turfgrass Breeding at the University of Georgia Dr. Brian Schwartz, University of Georgia

Proper Personal Protection Equipment Dr. Dave Han, Auburn University

Conducting Irrigation Audits: Essential and Easy to Do Mr. Phil Moon, University of Florida

Fertilization of Zoysiagrass: How Much is Too Much? Dr. Beth Guertal, Auburn University

Pesticide Selection BMPs Dr. J. Bryan Unruh, University of Florida

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Soil Testing and Fertilization: Is the Minimum Sufficient? Dr. Barry Stewart, Mississippi State University

Shade and Implications for Turfgrass Health Dr. Casey Reynolds, Turfgrass Producers International

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. GENERAL SESSION

“Leading Your Way to Success,” Mr. Bruce Williams, CGCS, Bruce Williams Golf Consulting “Thinking Outside the Box — Unusual Approaches to Unique Challenges,” Dr. Shawn Askew, Virginia Tech

New Herbicide Chemistries Dr. Scott McElroy, Auburn University

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Al ab ama Tu rf Ti me s > >> Fall 201 7


Drought Tolerance of WarmSeason Grasses Tested on the Linear Gradient Irrigation System Dr. J. Bryan Unruh, University of Florida

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.



The Science behind Fungicides: How They Work Dr. Maria Tomaso-Peterson, Mississippi State University

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8 (continued) 12:00 p.m.

Luncheon & Tradeshow Opening • Sponsored by Ladds and Ventrac.

12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tradeshow Open • Tradeshow bags sponsored by Amp Agronomy. 12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Silent Auction 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Putting Contest • Sponsored by Woerner Farms. 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tradeshow Reception • Sponsored by Jerry Pate Turf & Irrigation. Attendees turn in scorecards from 36-Hole Challenge sponsors for beverages. 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Annual Business Meetings 5:00 p.m.


5:30 p.m.


6:00 p.m.


5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Exhibitor Break-Down Dinner on your own (open night)


Continental Breakfast (in hallway). • Sponsored by FMC and Harrell’s, Inc.

8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Educational Breakout Sessions (see below). Golf

Sports Turf

LAwn care


8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Plant Growth Regulator Management on Putting Greens Mr. Austin Brown and Mr. Jim Harris, Auburn University

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

The Use of Colorants in Golf Course Management Dr. Casey Reynolds, Turfgrass Producers International

Managing Soil Compaction in Athletic Fields Dr. Jason Kruse, University of Florida

Avoiding Nutrient Pollution: Fertilization Strategies for Damaged Turf Dr. J. Bryan Unruh, University of Florida

Worker Protection Standards for Ag Workers: Things a Sod Grower Needs to Know Dr. Sonja Thomas, Auburn University

Managing Change Mr. Bruce Williams, CGCS, Bruce Williams Golf Consulting

Standards for Sports Turf Management and Material Specifications Dr. Barry Stewart, Mississippi State University

Look-Alike Problems: Diagnosing Problems with Symptoms Similar to Each Other Dr. Dave Han, Auburn University

Grow-In, Sod Strength and Harvestability Dr. Jay McCurdy, Mississippi State University

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Divot Recovery of Bermudagrass Cultivars Dr. Jason Kruse, University of Florida

Herbicide Programs in Warm-Season Turfgrass Dr. Shawn Askew, Virginia Tech

Trends in Disease Management in Lawns Dr. Maria Tomaso-Peterson, Mississippi State University

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Advances in Turf Nutrition: Moving Beyond the Norm Dr. J. Bryan Unruh, University of Florida

Roundtable Discussion with Growers and Turf Breeders Dr. Kenworthy, University of Florida; Dr. Brian Schwartz, University of Georgia; and Dr. Wayne Philley, Mississippi State University. Moderated by Dr. Eric Reasor, Mississippi State University

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

12:00 p.m.

Athletic Field Establishment: How Long Before You Can Play? Dr. Beth Guertal, Auburn University

Trends in Weed Management in Urban Lawns Dr. Jay McCurdy, Mississippi State University

The Future of Sod Production Dr. Casey Reynolds, Turfgrass Producers International

Conference Adjournment & CEU sign-ups


Al abam a Tur f Ti me s >>> Fall 201 7

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Integrated Off-Type Management in Ultradwarf Bermudagrass Putting Greens Dr. Eric Reasor, Mississippi State University

Cover Story >>>

Native Areas for

Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7

Southern Golf Course Roughs


By Jay McCurdy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Brian Baldwin, Ph.D., Professor; and Michael Richard, Extension Associate, Mississippi State University


inclusion of forbs (broadleaf plants) for pollinator habitat.

Tall grass roughs

Many American golfers and superintendents are familiar with the look of fine fescue roughs on links-style courses, such as Chamber’s Bay or Oakmont. Unfortunately, fescues often fail to persist in the mid to coastal Southeast and are rarely “low maintenance.” Furthermore, fescues are not native. Regardless, tall grass roughs make sense for southeastern golf courses. After several seasons, most native grasses achieve a dense stand that suppresses annual weeds, such as crabgrass and goosegrass. They respond favorably to periodic mowing and prescribed burning and are beautiful additions to existing courses. Despite the availability of many suitable native grasses, superintendents are not familiar with their characteristics and use patterns. Too often, they rely solely upon switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), which is readily available and often discussed. Unfortunately, switchgrass is less playable than many other native grasses, and it overwhelms native areas with its growth. In native prairies, switchgrass is found in association with numerous other important native grasses, including big and little bluestem, and indiangrass, as well as common forbs. These native grass “swards” are complex ecosystems that should be planted as polycultures, rather than as single monoculture grass stands.

Native plants to consider for certain scenarios Winter green cover Several native grasses used to achieve a natural, albeit less playable rough, include those that are less dense than tall fescue but more or less mimic its height and texture. For example, all of the Elymus species mentioned herein

Mixed native-grass rough at the Preserve Golf Course in Vancleave, MS. Contains Spartina spp., bushy bluestem, wiregrass and broomsedge.


Al abam a Tur f Ti me s >>> Fall 201 7

olf’s modern focus on environmental and economic sustainability has led to increased interest in native systems. Within Mississippi and the larger southeastern region, it is important to think about native areas in three overlapping “structures.” 1. The native grass rough: with its wispy grasses and forbs, this area is maintained yearly by mowing and may still be correctly called rough. 2. Woodland margins: this slightly more diverse and less playable area could be either in or out of play, depending upon time of year and ground cover. In this structure, a player has a low likelihood of cleanly striking a ball with a club. 3. Native woodland: the most native, whether mixed savannah or dense hardwood, this area excludes play almost entirely. Native areas can be composed of any of the described structures. Depending upon course design and characteristics, native systems may reduce inputs, such as fertilizers and fuel. Native areas also increase “ecosystem services,” whether by providing rich and biodiverse habitats for wildlife and native flora or by providing nutrient- and sedimentretention zones that protect wetlands. When installing native areas, a golf course architect’s guidance is recommended but is by no means necessary. Truthfully, in some instances, we have seen golf course architects lose sight of what is meant by native and what is actually possible agronomically. Some of the folks most familiar with the ideas and concepts are superintendents. Two or three plant types dominate “in-play” native structures. Grasses typically predominate, but broadleaf forbs, as well as sedges and rushes, are also an integral part of a healthy ecosystem. The priority of this first article is to discuss native-grass roughs. In our next article, we’ll discuss the

Cover Story >>> Continued

alopecuroidum or S. giganteum) — very tolerant of wet areas. • Virginia, riverbank or southeastern wildrye (Elymus species)

Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7

This mixed native area contains both grasses and forbs at the Preserve Golf Course in Vancleave, MS. Grasses include big and little bluestem, broomsedge, toothache grass and wiregrass.

would fit that description. These would be planted in conjunction with other warm-season grasses that follow: • Southeastern wildrye (Elymus glabriflorus) — needs full sun. • Virginia wildrye (Elymus virginicus) — does well in partial shade. • Riverbank wildrye (Elymus riparius) — does well along creeks and rivers. • Bottlebrush grass (Hystrics species) — a woodland-edge species that does well under deciduous trees.

•C  edar sedge (Carex planostachys) — tolerates deep shade. Grows under cedars and deciduous trees. • Upland switchgrass (Panicum virginicum) — the shorter and less robust of the switchgrass types. • Oatgrasses (Chasmanthium latifolium, C. sessilforum, C. laxum) — all excellent candidates for understory. Indian woodoat (C. latifolium) is widespread in the market.

Shade • Beaked Panicum (Panicum anceps) — Prefers moist areas but sandy soils. Grows best in ~30% shade. Should be planted in fall. • Toothache grass (Ctenium aromaticum) — understory for pines, especially longleaf pine. • Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) — good in both sun and shade. Likes sandier soils, but not a necessity. Can reach 8' to 10' in height. • Longspike tridens/greasegrass (Tridens strictus) — moderately tolerant of burning. Reasonable forage.

Wet or poorly drained soils • Lowland switchgrass (Panicum virginicum) — the more robust of the two switchgrass types. Tolerates standing water. • Spartina [AKA cordgrasses; especially prairie cordgrass] (S. pectinata) — some southern types are known but not widely propagated. • Palmetto palm (Sabal palmetto) — there are shorter-stature examples available for use near streams and low-lying areas. • Hardy sugarcane (AKA Silver plume grass; either Saccharum


Sun •P  urple muhlygrass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) — also called southern sweetgrass. • Lowland switchgrass (Panicum virginicum) — the more robust of the two switchgrass types. • Upland switchgrass (Panicum virginicum) — the shorter and less robust of the switchgrass types. • Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) — very slow to establish. May require transplanting seedlings and allowing to establish over time. • Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) — good in both sun and shade. Likes sandier soils but not a necessity. Can reach 8’ to 10’ in height. • Purple Top (Tridens flavus) — tolerant of rocky soils as well as fertile areas. General use • Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) — prefers pH 7 or higher. Will tolerate flooding but needs well-drained soil. • Bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus) — has large fluffy inflorescence and is common in most open fields of the Southeast. • Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus) — prefers acidic soils. Establish early in the spring. May take three or more years to fully cover. • Wiregrass (Aristada species) — there are many species native to the Southeast. Fire adapted. Tolerates moderate shade. • Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) — not very common in the South, but planted along interstates in AL and GA. A bunchforming grass.

Keys for establishment

Vegetation control prior to tillage is critical. Multiple applications of nonselective herbicides, sometimes a full year in advance, is necessary to control weeds like torpedograss, cogongrass and bermudagrass prior to seeding. Fall or “dormant” seeding imitates

Al abam a Tur f Ti me s >>> Fall 201 7


Cover Story >>> Continued

Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7

An example of rough that is soon to be converted to native grasses and forbs at the Reunion Golf and Country Club in Madison, MS.

natural re-seeding. Seed to soil contact occurs through natural moisture and frost action, which also leads to natural stratification of seed. When fall seeding warm-season species, germination doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t occur until spring. On the other hand, when spring seeding coolseason species, germination occurs soon after seeding. Warm-season species germinate within about three weeks after spring seeding, but they can also be planted in the fall. Spring seeding requires incorporation of the seed into the soil, since frost heaving and winter rains are no longer ensuring seed to soil contact. Spring seeding requires irrigation in drier months. The best way to plant native seed is by using a â&#x20AC;&#x153;native seed drill,â&#x20AC;? a type of drill with multiple seed boxes. Use at least one for fluffy grass seed and others for larger seed. A native seed drill can be used to plant native grasses as well as forbs without the need for tillage. The ideal seeding depth is 1/4" and no more than 1/2" of an inch. Drop seeders and broadcast seeders may also be used but require more aggressive tillage and soil preparation prior to seeding. After seeding, it may be necessary to use a roller-harrow or roller to ensure proper seed-to-soil contact. Hydro-seeding is also an option on slopes and surfaces


that cannot be aggressively tilled or worked. When using methods other than a native seed drill, it may be necessary to increase seeding rates by 25% to 50% in order to compensate for seed loss.

Mowing and burning

Native warm-season grasses naturally disseminate their seeds during the fall and winter of the year. Mowing should therefore occur to coincide with this process, during the winter or early spring, if necessary. Cool-season grasses disseminate their seeds during the summer. Ideally, this would be the time to mow; however, this may preference cool-season species. The recommended mowing height for most natives is no less than 8".

Weed control

For grassy weed control within nativegrass areas, options are limited. Imazapic (Plateau) is safe on most warm-season native grasses but will suppress or control cool-season natives. Sulfosulfuron (Certainty) is also safe on a broad range of native grasses, including: big, little and bushy bluestem; blue and side oats grama; buffalograss; indiangrass; lovegrass; and switchgrass. Broadleaf weed control is fairly straightforward, with most pyridine

herbicides being safe for use, including clopyralid and triclopyr. Non-selective herbicides, like Roundup (glyphosate), can be used only as spot treatments but, in some instances, can be used on dormant warm-season grasses. Ongoing research at Mississippi State University seeks chemical control options within native warm-season grass roughs. We are currently evaluating several preemergence herbicide options for safety in tall grass roughs; many of these herbicides are already commonly used on golf course fairways and should be easily adaptable to out-ofplay scenarios. In fact, once established, preemergence herbicides, such as prodiamine (Barricade) and pendimethalin (Pendulum), are safe to use but could potentially decrease natural propagation of native grass seed.


We hope this article sparks interest in native landscapes and reinforces the benefits that managed ecosystems, such as golf courses, can have. If you are considering including nativegrass roughs, there are numerous resources online. For larger projects, we suggest contacting reputable seed companies that support their products. Start by searching the internet or speaking with the authors. v

<<< Turf Talk


A Handy Guide to Choosing and Using



Athletic Field

Colorants By Grady Miller, Ph.D., and Drew Pinnix, North Carolina State University

urf managers in the southern United States have traditionally overseeded warm-season bermudagrass during the fall in order to maintain playability and provide aesthetically pleasing playing surfaces throughout the period of dormancy. The most significant negative attributes to overseeding are the agronomic and aesthetic challenges of transitioning the playing surface from a cool-season grass back to a warm-season grass the following spring, while experiencing temperatures that are prone to wide fluctuations.


Al abam a Tur f Ti me s >>> Fall 201 7



Why Would Colorants Be Used?

turf talk >>> Continued

Overseeding is not the only way to have green turf during the winter months of the year. In recent years, turf colorants have served as the standard for an alternative to overseeding warmseason grasses, and as a result, many new products have been introduced to the market. Their increase in popularity, particularly on golf courses and sports turf facilities, can be partly attributed to the spring transition from overseeded grasses to bermudagrass, which has become more problematic due to heat- and drought-resistant cool-season grass varieties. Conversely, prolonged cool springs have also allowed overseeded grasses to persist through May and June, causing delays in bermudagrass greenup. The use of turf colorants allows for a much more predictable spring greenup and contributes to a healthier stand of bermudagrass going into the summer.

Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7

Our research

In order to better understand how these new products visually perform and endure over time, numerous studies have been conducted at North Carolina State University. Our first detailed studies were applied to putting greens in fall 2008. Subsequent trials have included evaluations on bermudagrass and zoysiagrass at an assortment of mowing heights. In total, we have evaluated more than 30 products. These include products from manufacturers/distributers such as BASF, Burnett Athletics, D. Ervasti Sales, Enviroseal, Geoponics, Harrell’s, J.C. Whitlam Manufacturing, SiteOne, Milliken, Missouri Turf Colorant, Pioneer Athletics, Poulenger USA, Precision Laboratories, Solarfast, US Specialty Coatings and World Class Athletic Surfaces. While all of our research has focused on evaluating turf colorants during the period of dormancy, colorants can be used in a number of other situations throughout the year. They can be a useful tool to hide unsightly blemishes in both cool- and warm-season turfgrasses. These blemishes include turfgrass areas that may be suffering from issues such as disease pressure or nutritional deficiencies. Other possible uses of turf colorants include painting of divot sand for golf courses and mask-


ing of painted lines on athletic fields.

Colorant considerations

Before picking a product to use, you’ll need to consider several factors. Products have different chemistries, so some are more effective in some situations than others. While the resulting color — both at application and after it begins to weather — may be of primary concern, both of these are heavily influenced by the level of turfgrass dormancy at the time of application. Also, the formulation of some products allows for better flow through some sprayers, in terms of both distribution and subsequent wear on sprayer components. Cost may also be an important consideration.

Type of product needed/desired

Generally, products fall into two large categories: dyes versus colorants (or paints). In simple terms, the difference between these two groups is centered on the amount of binder added to the product. Colorants (paints) have binder amounts that usually compromise between 10% and 40% of the concentrated product, whereas the dye-based products have much lower amounts. Dyes also usually have more concentrated contents. These two components have a significant influence on application and durability. The dyes have lower viscosity when mixed for application and are applied at lower rates than colorants, but these products generally do not express the same color longevity compared to colorants. For this reason, dyes work much better when applied to “greener” turfgrass to enhance color for short durations. The colorants, on the other hand, can be applied to dormant turfgrass and still have acceptable, lasting color. Terms used in the industry are sometimes different. For instance, dye-type products are often called “pigments.” Technically, this is not a 100% accurate statement, since paints contain pigments (insoluble), whereas dyes are normally manufactured with soluble organic products. In reality, there are products along this formulation continuum that may partially fit in both categories.

✔C  olorants are the current leading alternative to overseeding warm- season grasses.

✔C  ool, wet springs and droughtresistant cool-season grass varieties used for overseeding have made spring transitioning more difficult.

✔P  ainting requires minimum turfgrass preparation and provides an attractive surface.

✔C  olorants are affordable, compared to overseeding.

✔T  hey can be used on cool-season grasses during drought or to reduce mottled appearances from winter or summer stress (to conceal turf blemishes).

✔T  hey increase surface temperature, which may aid in plant growth.

✔T  hey also include non-turf uses, such as making a green divot mix.

Desired turfgrass color

Remember the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” That certainly can ring true when evaluating these products for green color. As mentioned in the previous section, the two categories of products will normally have different colors. The low-binder products tend to be darker in color, which often is more towards a blue hue (especially when applied to dormant turf). The colorants have color variation that is more product specific. Since the application rates are so much higher for colorants, their coverage typically yields a color more indicative of their diluted liquid color. Some colorants have pigments designed to darken them (e.g., black pigments), whereas some companies just try to provide a more natural green color. Over the years that we have tested these products, in some years, a specific colorant provided color that lasted the full winter, but in some years, it did not. On average, the best colorants will have good color for about 75 days. Generally, a low-binder product color

Continued <<< Cover Story

Color 3 days after colorant application onto â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Miniverdeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Bermudagrass green.

Al abam a Tur f Ti me s >>> Fall 201 7


ABOVE: Exclusion square showing untreated turfgrass surface. RIGHT: Application of a short-term product before full color is lost in the fall.

Definitions Paint — contains four basic components: solvent, pigment, binder and additives. When applied to a substrate in a thin layer, it is converted to an opaque solid. 1. Solvent — consists of water in these types of products. 2. Pigment — the insoluble product that provides color. Multiple pigments may be combined to form desired color (e.g., yellow pigment added to blue pigment to form a green product). 3. Binder — the film-forming component of paint. It imparts adhesion, binds pigments together, etc. It is often a resin and classified as by its drying mechanism. 4. Additives — may consist of surfactants, thickeners, emulsifiers, etc., to enhance mixing, application, dispersion or adhesion properties. Colorant — a general term related to

Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7

a product applied to change color. It may be a dye, pigment, paint, ink, etc.

Pigment — is a dry, insoluble substance that when mixed with water forms a suspension. In relation to how it is used to describe products, it is a highly concentrated product with no binder (or at least minimal binder) compared to traditional paint products. It usually only lasts one to two weeks under normal weather conditions (and depending on amount and type of resin). Dye — is a liquid that contains soluble ingredients such that it forms a solution. It is normally used as a spray indicator. 24

will last 7 to 14 days. In our research, we have not been able to predict color longevity from year-to-year. The climatic influences on product performance have been a significant factor in this unpredictability. A common complaint heard is that some of the colorant-treated turf exhibits a bluish tint over time (some quicker than others). While this may sound like a negative attribute, in one survey many people did not mind the bluish color. Why blue? Well, a green color is often produced by mixing blue and yellow products. Yellow is generally not as stable under ambient conditions as the blue products, so as the products age, the blue tends to be the more dominant color. In NCSU research, we also found that most of the darker, more bluish products held their color longer than the products that started out a more natural green color. The more natural green products tend to fade to a grayish color as they age. Reapplication can provide improvements for off-colored colorants, but once a product shifts in color, reapplication may not result in a natural green color due to the base color. This is especially true for products that shift to a bluish color.

Application conditions

There are two conditions that may have a dramatic influence on the resulting color after applying a colorant product. The first of those conditions is the turfgrass color at the time of application. A tan to brownish appearance

of the turfgrass color is usually related to the level of turfgrass dormancy, but it may be the result of recent stress (disease or drought) that has caused the turfgrass to be “off color.” Applied to semi-dormant turfgrass, the color will look better. For optimum results, do not wait until the turfgrass is straw brown. The second application condition that has shown to be important is the presence of moisture (dew, irrigation or frost) on the turfgrass. This is especially the case if the turfgrass is dormant or nearly dormant. As the turfgrass becomes more dormant, the leaf tissue becomes dryer, so adding supplemental water (irrigation) will increase leaf moisture and help protect the applied colorant from potential absorption into the leaf tissue, which can dramatically increase the colorant’s coverage and improve color. While this is usually accomplished with a quick syringe cycle from irrigation, some people have waited to apply the colorant after a light rainfall or even early in the morning with the presence of dew or after a light frost. Be aware that too much irrigation (i.e., enough to result in puddling) can dilute the application and result in an undesirable appearance. It can also cause tracking. Some superintendents are strong proponents of applying over frostcovered leaves. That practice, however, has the potential of producing tiremarks from driving on frosted leaves. Also, many of the colorants do not dry/adhere very well when applied at low temperatures.

Continued <<< turf talk

Desired coverage

Product coverage onto the turfgrass surface is largely a function of the dilution and application rate of the diluted product. The application rate can be heavily influenced by equipment and method of application. Most manufacturers provide a range in application and dilution rates. Dilution rates among the products that we have tested have varied from 1 part colorant to 4 parts water to as dilute as 1 part colorant to 20 parts water. The second part of that coverage equation is how much water plus product will be applied. The product label may provide some guidance, based on level of turf dormancy and height of cut. General recommendations for colorants are around 40 gallons per acre (GPA) on the low end to 250 GPA on the high end. We generally had our best results at 80 to 120 GPA, using flatfan nozzles from a multi-nozzle boom sprayer. Be sure to calibrate your sprayer. Do not rely on a rate controller.

To get the higher volumes (>150 GPA), it is helpful to apply the product at half rate in two directions to get the total rate. Some turf managers use airinduction nozzles, and some have had great success using Dual-fan nozzles. Ultimately, applicators may need to test their sprayers to find out what works best in their situation. To get the higher volumes, turf managers are typically using singlewand applications. While a hand wand may be a slow way to apply these over an area, well-practiced painters can have excellent results on areas the size of golf greens or tees. A walking boom (often called a Spray Hawk) may be somewhere in the middle in terms of convenience/application rate of a single wand and a traditional sprayer. We have found it helpful to use a wand after using a boom sprayer. The wand can be used to fill in the unpainted triangles left over from painting rectangles within a circle with the boom applicator.

How to apply

The painting process can be boiled down to picking and purchasing a colorant, adding water plus colorant to your sprayer and beginning to spray. If the color is not applied evenly or dark enough, additional passes (ideally perpendicular) can be made to accommodate aesthetic desires. There is some cleanup required after application, but no season-long care like with an overseeded turf. Remember to be very careful to not get this product on anything you do not want to be green. Fences, tee markers, yardage markers, benches, etc., will absorb the colorant and may be permanently stained. These products are not labeled as pesticides, but you should still use good judgment and wear personal-protection equipment when using pressurized sprayers. There are a few other potential drawbacks to using a colorant. It does not provide a wearable surface like an overseeded grass. Once the dormant

Al abam a Tur f Ti me s >>> Fall 201 7


Late season “bluish color” from using a short-term product after full dormancy. The tee in the background was treated with a colorant for a more natural green color (during dormancy).

Cover Story >>> Continued

The Process of Application • Pick the product to use. • Calculate the quantity needed, based on dilution rate and area of application. • Set up and calibrate the sprayer. • Apply. • Re-application later in the season may be necessary. tissue is worn or torn away, there is no regeneration until spring. So, the “wear factor” must be considered if you get a lot of winter traffic. Also, divot sand in fairways or on tees may stand out more, although most of these products can also be used to color sand.


Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7

In order for any new practice to be accepted, it must make sense financially. Depending on the brand, a gallon of turf colorant will run from $30 to $75,


with most distributors giving volume discounts. This is particularly important if a golf course superintendent wants to apply a product to fairways or if a sports turf manager has a number of athletic fields that need to be treated. Almost all the products are sold as concentrates that must be further diluted prior to application. The cost of colorant needed per acre using the higher recommended application rates ranges from $200 to $500 an application, depending on colorant brand.

With seed prices a bit higher the last few years, using one of these products could save a turf manager a considerable amount of money when compared to overseeding. Considering that overseeding will require ground preparation, seeding, watering, fertilizing, mowing, pest control, spring transitioning, etc., colorants may also be a significant labor-saving alternative. Although potential monetary savings are a major advantage, the ability to better manage the warm-season grass the following

Continued <<< Cover Story

spring is what keeps turf managers interested in this practice.

Short-term versus long-term versus hybrid applications

In some instances, there are advantages to using short-term products over long-term colorants or visa-versa. For example, in areas with extended turfgrass dormancy, the short-term products generally do not provide a green color that looks very natural on dormant turfgrass, nor does the color last very long. Due to the long turf dormancy, the products are not removed by mowing. If turf growth occurs during extended warm spells, mowing may remove the colorant with the clippings. In these cases, the short-term products may give a more effective strategy since they can enhance the green color at a lower cost per application. In other instances, a hybrid application of both types of products has been advantageous. When bermudagrass just begins to turn off color, an application of a short-term product is an inexpensive way to improve color and also serve as a heat sink to promote sustained growth. Some turf managers have labeled this as “tinting” the turfgrass. With periods of fluctuating temperatures (but before a hard frost), subsequent applications may be necessary. Once a hard frost occurs, the quality of color from a short-term product will not match the lasting color from a colorant. Then, a turf manager may decide to use this technique in reverse in the spring if the turf begins to grow but does not have a rich green color from active growth.

Commonly Used Short-Term Products [often called pigments] (Manufacturer)


Al abam a Tur f Ti me s >>> Fall 201 7

Endurant TE (Geoponics) Envy (Precision Laboratories) Evergreen (Milliken) Foursome (Quali-Pro) GreenPig (Grigg Brothers) Optimizer Green Shade (United Turf Alliance) Par (Harrell’s) Sarge (Numerator Technologies) Transition HC (BASF) Vision Pro HD (BASF) v

Auburn Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Turf Team >>>

Auburn Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Turf John Beasley Jr., Ph.D. Department Head, Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences 204 Funchess Hall Auburn, AL 36849 P 334-844-3850

Al ab ama Tu rf Tim e s > >> Fall 201 7

Fudd Graham, Ph.D. Researcher/Entomology 301 Funchess Hall Auburn University, AL 36849 P 334-844-2563


Elizabeth Guertal, Ph.D. Professor/Turfgrass Soil Fertility 263 Funchess Hall Auburn University, AL 36849 P 334-844-3999

David Held, Ph.D. Asst. Professor/Entomology 301 Funchess Hall Auburn University, AL 36849 P 334-844-3818

Austin Hagan, Ph.D. Extension Plant Pathologist 143 ALFA Building Auburn University, AL 36849 P 334-844-5503

David Lawrence Superintendent, Turfgrass Research Center 201 Funchess Hall Auburn University, AL 36849 P 334-844-4100

Dave Han, Ph.D. Assoc. Professor/ Extension Specialist, Turfgrass Management 252 Funchess Hall Auburn University, AL 36849 P 334-844-3980

Jim Jacobi, Ph.D. Extension Plant Pathologist 2612 Lane Park Birmingham, AL 35223 P 205-879-6964, ext. 19

Team Scott McElroy, Ph.D. Assoc. Professor, Turfgrass Weed Science 233B Funchess Hall Auburn University, AL 36849 P 334-844-3992 Paul Patterson, Ph.D. Dean, College of Agriculture 107 Comer Hall Auburn University, AL 36849 P 334-844-3254

Calendar of Events >>>

Calendar of Events September 26–28

NRPA Congress and Expo (Nat. Rec. and Park Assn.) New Orleans, LA

October 18–20

LANDSCAPES 2017 (formerly the PLANET Green Industry Conference) Kentucky Expo Center Louisville, KY

October 19–20

GIE+Expo — Green Industry Equipment Expo and School of Grounds Management Kentucky Expo Center Louisville, KY

October 20–23

ASLA – Annual Meeting & Expo (American Society of Landscape Architects) Los Angeles, CA

November 7–9 Deep South Turf Expo Mississippi Coast Convention Center Biloxi, MS

January 16–19, 2018

STMA Conference and Exhibition Fort Worth Convention Center Fort Worth, TX

February 3–8, 2018 Golf Industry Show Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center San Antonio, TX

February 12–15, 2018 January 8–10, 2018

TTA Turfgrass Conference & Trade Show (Tenn. Turfgrass Assn.) Embassy Suites Hotel Murfreesboro, TN

TPI International Education Conference & Field Day (Turfgrass Producers Intl.) Westin LA Paloma Resort Tucson, AZ

Al abam a Tur f Ti me s >>> Fall 201 7


<<< Index of Advertisers

Agri-AFC, LLC........................................................... 17 BWI Companies.......................................................27 Color-Flex Distance Markers..................................7 Coosa Valley Turf Farm...........................................7 FMC Professional Solutions......Inside Back Cover Greenville Turf & Tractor, Inc................................3

Digital Marketplace Scan the QR code: Download your favorite QR reader to your phone and scan the code to learn more about these companies.

Harrellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s LLC.............................. Inside Front Cover Humphries Turf Supply.......................................... 8 Jerry Pate Turf & Irrigation................................. 20 KWMI/K & W Products, Inc..................................19 Leading Edge Communications............................. 9 North Georgia Turf Company, Inc.......................23 Progressive Turf Equipment, Inc.......................... 17 RD Murphy, LLC......................................................27 Riebeling Farms, Inc...............................................27 Shelby Sod.............................................................. 30 Smith Seed Services.............................................. 30 South Dallas Turf................................................... 29 Southeast Turf Maintenance............................... 30 Southern Specialty Equipment.............................10 Sur-Line Turf, Inc.....................................................11 Syngenta Professional Products.......................... 26 The Andersons Technologies, Inc........................25 The Turfgrass Group, Inc..................5, Back Cover

Al abama Tu rf Ti me s >>> Fall 201 7

TriEst Ag Group Inc............................................... 28 Weed Man.............................................................. 30


Alabama Turf Times - Fall17