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Fall 2018 • Vol. 7/No. 4

Pure Eclipse A New Creeping Bentgrass from Penn State and Pure Seed Testing


Plan Ahead for Crabgrass Control Next Spring

Vol. 7 / No. 4 • Fall 2018




Features 8 Cover Story

Pure Eclipse: A New Creeping Bentgrass from Penn State and Pure Seed Testing

16 Feature Story

Plan Ahead for Crabgrass Control Next Spring

4 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

22 Departments

20 Between the Lines

Tony Leonard Relives the Path To Super Bowl 2018

22 Research Summaries Updates on Research by Penn State’s Turf Team

6 President’s Update 6 Calendar of Events 24 Penn State News 26 Penn State Turf Team 27 Advertiser Index

The Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council (PTC) 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, Pennsylvania Turfgrass, or its editors. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers, or PTC members, does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services featured in this, past or subsequent issues of this publication. Copyright Š 2018 by the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council. Pennsylvania Turfgrass, is published quarterly. Subscriptions are complimentary to PTC members. Presorted standard postage is paid at Nashville, TN. Printed in the U.S.A. Reprints and Submissions: Pennsylvania Turfgrass, allows reprinting of material published here. Permission requests should be directed to the PTC. 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 insertions, please contact Leading Edge Communications, LLC, 206 Bridge Street, Franklin, TN 37064, (615) 790-3718, Fax (615) 794-4524.

Fall 2018 • Pennsylvania Turfgrass


President’s Update

Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a train?


is usually about two months from when these messages are written until you read them. Therefore, as of mid-August, the summer of 2018 is the wettest on record in State College and close to breaking the record in Williamsport and Harrisburg. Two people lost their lives in flood waters. The rainfall this summer has affected everyone to some degree. Just when you think you have it bad, someone sends you a picture of a facility under water. So much for those quant little streams and creeks that we have running through our properties. Hershey Park had a new water ride called ‘Spring Creek’. I hope that something good has come from the stress of this past summer. Severe weather is usually the catalyst for discussions on upgrading the infrastructure. The problem is that decision makers would have to admit that they never funded it in the first place. We have not had to deal with water issues this bad in several years, and now we have a big brown map of where they are. It is difficult for turf managers to get those in authority to put money into the ground, especially in a year where maintenance was so difficult and revenue was so impacted.” Golf revenue was off as much as 20%, making

capital improvements nearly impossible. Many times, this past season felt like it was just a matter of survival. Do not allow people to pass off the events of this summer as ‘this hardly ever happens’. It happens all the time to some degree; we just do a good job of mitigating it. This year it can be seen from Google Earth. Don’t fall into the trap of being your own worst enemy. Draw their attention to your solution to the problem. Passion and vision are the parents of funding. I’m going to go out on a limb and make some predictions now and see if they are holding up when you read this. Gray Leaf Spot is going to be severe. Once those cooler nights get here, I think it will take off. So far, the tropics are quiet. We should all have some good stories to tell in November at the conference. Hopefully everyone will have recovered from this summer by then. We might not be able to relax for too long; the oceans are cooler than normal. It could be a good old-fashioned winter. Remember, if the light is a train, it will pass.

Calendar of Events

November 13–15, 2018 Penn State Golf Turf Conference Nittany Lion Inn State College, PA

January 16, 2019

Eastern Pennsylvania Golf, Lawn, Landscape and Sports Turf Conference and Trade Show Shady Maple Conference Center East Earl, PA

January 31, 2019

Northeastern Pennsylvania Turf Conference and Trade Show (NETS) The Woodlands Inn & Resort Wilkes Barre, PA

Pete Ramsey

2017–2018 PTC President

February 22, 2019

KAFMO/PRPS Athletic Field Conference and Trade Show *New location and date* Shady Maple Conference Center East Earl, PA 6 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

Get ahead of the game in the cold months with FieldSaver® Winter Turf Blankets/Growth Covers. Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council P.O. Box 99 Boalsburg, PA 16827-0550 Phone: (814) 237-0767 Fax: (814) 414-3303 www.paturf.org Publisher: Leading Edge Communications, LLC 206 Bridge St. • Franklin, TN 37064 Phone: (615) 790-3718 Fax: (615) 794-4524 info@leadingedge communications.com Pennsylvania Turfgrass Editor John Kaminski, Ph.D. Penn State • jek156@psu.edu Pennsylvania Turfgrass Associate Editors Maria Landschoot maria.landschoot3@gmail.com Heather Welch Penn State • hgw1@psu.edu President Pete Ramsey Messiah College • Mechanicsburg, PA (717) 577-5401

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Vice President Chase Rogan GCSAA Field Staff • Mid-Atlantic Region Allison Park, PA (614) 241-3037 Secretary-Treasurer Tom Fisher Wildwood Golf Club • Allison Park, PA (412) 518-8384 Past President Andrew Dooley Berkshire Country Club • Reading, PA (610) 451-3229 Directors Tom Bettle Penn State University Rick Catalogna Walker Supply, Inc. Dan Douglas Reading Fightin Phils Elliott Dowling USGA Agronomist, Northeast Region Nick Huttie Muhlenberg College Shawn Kister Longwood Gardens Tim Wilk Scotch Valley Country Club Matt Wolf Penn State University

Fall 2018 • Pennsylvania Turfgrass


Pure Cover Story

Eclipse A New Creeping Bentgrass

from Penn State and Pure Seed Testing By David R. Huff, Ph.D., Professor of Turfgrass Breeding and Genetics, Penn State University, Crystal Rose-Fricker, M.S., President, Pure Seed Testing, Canby, Oregon Melodee Fraser, Ph.D., Director, Pure-Seed Testing East, Rolesville, N. Carolina


enn State has a long and storied history of creeping bentgrass varietal development for the golf course industry. It all began with the development of Penncross released in 1954, by H. Burt Musser. Prior to Penncross, the only sources of creeping bentgrass for golf course putting greens were either seed of naturalized ecotypes, ex. Seaside or South German Bent, or strains of vegetatively propagated clones that had been collected from other golf courses, ex. Arlington, Congressional, Cohansey, and Toronto. Back then, Penncross was different in that it was the first creeping bentgrass variety intentionally developed as a seeded-type specifically for golf course playing surfaces. Actually, as the story goes, Penncross was second in line. Originally, Dr. Musser had discovered a remarkable vegetatively propagated strain he called Pennlu, also released

8 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

in 1954. Dr. Musser wanted to develop a seeded product of Pennlu and so he chose 2 other high quality bentgrasses as pollinators. Throughout the development of his seeded product, it was referred to as Pennlu-crossed, but was ultimately contracted down to simply Penncross. Unique among commercial creeping bentgrasses, Penncross is the only variety that is produced solely as an F1 hybrid in order to limit the amount of segregation that occurs on mature greens. In 2004, the 50th anniversary of the release of Penncross, Dr. James Beard reported at the national Agronomy meetings that “No other variety of any turfgrass species has had such a profound impact on the world’s turfgrass industry.” Dr. Musser’s graduate student and champion of Penncross, Joe Duich, continued the selection process and breeding development of creeping bentgrass at Penn State.

Fall 2018 • Pennsylvania Turfgrass





In much the same way as Penncross was developed, Dr. Duich collected plants of creeping bentgrass that had survived decades of use on old putting greens from various golf courses. These collected plants then became the breeding stock, i.e. parents, of subsequent generations of creeping bentgrass families that were further evaluated and selected under ever decreasing mowing heights. Eventually, Dr. Duich released the varieties Penneagle (1978), now a favorite for use on golf course fairways, and Pennlinks (1986) for use on putting greens. Dr. Duich continued to add plants to his collection of breeding stock parents and continued to further select their progeny under decreased mowing heights. In 1993, Dr. Duich released a series of varieties known as the A’s and G’s that were even more adapted to close mowing heights (1/10"). The high shoot density and improved heat tolerance of the A’s and G’s immediately set a new industry standard among creeping bentgrass varieties. Fast forward to present day, the Penn State creeping bentgrass breeding stock has continued to receive new collections of superior, vigorous, and hardy parental plants and has continued to receive the intense management practices of today’s golf industry. However, unlike in the distant past, today the U.S. boasts a vibrant and capable private turfgrass breeding industry with dedicated resources for the evaluation and selection of varieties that are beyond the scope of most public universities. Thus, it made the most sense to collaborate with a private breeding company for the continued varietal development from the Penn State breeding stock (also known as germplasm among plant breeders). Pure Eclipse is the latest varietal development from the Penn State creeping bentgrass germplasm resource that Figure 1: Pure Eclipse is the latest variety of creeping bentgrass developed from Penn State germplasm. Figure 2: A side-by-side comparison of Penncross (left) and Pure Eclipse (right). Figure 3: A side-by-side comparison of Pure Eclipse (left) and Penn A-4 (right).

10 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

was only made possible through the collaborative association with Crystal Rose-Fricker, president of the private breeding company, Pure Seed Testing, LLC. Most U.S. turfgrass breeding companies are based solely in the Pacific northwest, in regions where seed yield and commercial seed production are best evaluated. However, Pure Seed Testing also maintains a turfgrass breeding research facility in Rolesville, North Carolina led by Dr. Melodee Fraser, in order to evaluate and select within their germplasm resources under hot, humid conditions. Thus, through this publicprivate collaboration, the creeping bentgrass breeding stock of Penn State was able to be evaluated and selected for heat tolerance and disease resistance under conditions of North Carolina and for commercial seed production in Oregon. Together, these efforts have resulted in an exciting new variety of creeping bentgrass for use on golf course putting greens known as Pure Eclipse. Overall, Pure Eclipse is a fine textured, high shoot density creeping bentgrass with exceptional turf quality, heat tolerance and summer performance. The original parents of Pure Eclipse were initially selected for summer survival as mowed spaced-plants in North Carolina and then for seed yield in Oregon. Pure Eclipse was entered into the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program’s (NTEP) 2014 National Putting Green Test and from the three years of available data (2015-2017; see www.ntep.org), Pure Eclipse has performed extremely well. It has a very attractive medium dark green color with good spring green-up and fall color retention. Pure Eclipse has among the finest leaf texture and highest shoot density of any creeping bentgrass evaluated in the test. These traits enable it to excel under extremely close mowing heights (i.e. 1/10"). As with any high shoot density bentgrass, regular vertical mowing and top dressing are recommended. Regarding disease resistance, Pure Eclipse has good field resistance to brown patch, anthracnose, pink snow mold, copper spot and moderate to good resistance to dollar spot. According to NTEP studies, Pure Eclipse

Native grass & wildflower seed

ernstseed.com sales@ernstseed.com 800-873-3321

Fall 2018 • Pennsylvania Turfgrass 11

Cover Story • continued

also has excellent wear tolerance and drought tolerance as well. Interpreting NTEP performance data of varietal entries can be a little tricky for novices and experts alike. Maintaining high quality putting surfaces is a costly endeavor for university research programs existing on a tight budget and so, a number of years ago, NTEP also allowed golf courses to participate in the trials. In the 2014 putting green trial, the California Golf Club (San Francisco), the Los Angeles Country Club (LA), and the North Shore Country Club (Glenview IL) were participants. Pure Eclipse has performed exceptionally well at the Los Angeles CC where it has topped the list of all entries for turf quality two years running (2016, 2017). However, at the California GC and North Shore CC, Pure Eclipse was ranked somewhere between 3rd and 6th out of the 20 entries in the trial (though not statistically different from the top entries). Among university locations, Pure Eclipse has performed well from Michigan to Georgia but hasn’t performed as well in Minnesota and New Jersey. Also, while Pure

Eclipse was in the top statistical ranking for establishment and seedling vigor at trials conducted on golf courses, it was among the lowest for these traits on university trials. Variable performance of varieties in different locations is called “genotype by environment” interactions in plant breeding terms and is a common problem that breeders constantly try to overcome. Thus, when it comes time to choose a variety of creeping bentgrass to plant at a specific location, great care and forward planning is a necessity (see below for further explanation). Specific stresses like drought, wear, and diseases require a certain level of expertise to evaluate and tend to be performed at universities focused solely on those particular stresses. Pure Eclipse topped the list of entries for wear tolerance and was ranked 2nd in drought tolerance in 2016, the last year that data for these stresses was reported. When it comes to disease rankings, there is also interaction with the environment but also with the organism causing the disease. For example, your specific location may contain a race of a disease-causing

Pure Eclipse Creeping Bentgrass Summary of traits and performance (based on 2014 NTEP Putting Green trial) Seedling vigor

moderate to excellent


moderate to excellent

Turf quality


Leaf texture


Shoot density


Wear tolerance


Drought tolerance


Genetic color

medium dark green

Spring green-up


Fall color retention


organism not encountered in the NTEP trials and therefore you may experience disease on a variety that was ranked as disease resistant. And so, ultimately, one should never base their choice of converting to or establishing a new creeping bentgrass variety on NTEP data alone. Before selecting any variety of creeping bentgrass for your putting greens, do your homework. Databases of information like NTEP (www.ntep.org) are an invaluable resource but also reach out to your colleagues and public/private consultants within your area for their input. Just remember that no one has your exact same conditions; neither environmental nor in terms of management. Therefore, after you have narrowed your selection down to several potential candidate varieties, grow them out in a nursery area or on a practice green that you maintain just like your regular greens. This way you will be able to judge firsthand how well your choice(s) perform given your specific management regime under your specific set of environmental conditions; then choose accordingly. In other words, the choice of which bentgrass to plant, grow, and manage resides with each superintendent’s particular set of conditions. And while the decision of which bentgrass cultivar to plant may be frustrating to some, it will certainly empower others to personalize and specialize their putting greens simply by virtue of the choices available to them. To that end, Pure Eclipse has the potential to provide an excellent putting surface given the extreme demands on current golf course management practices and in the proud tradition of previous varieties developed from the Penn State bloodline. 7

brown patch


For further information regarding the availability and sale of Pure Eclipse seed, interested individuals may contact:




pink snow mold


copper spot


dollar spot

moderate to good

Disease resistance:

12 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

29975 South Barlow Road Canby, OR 97013 Phone: (503) 651-2130

Email: info@pureseed.com


THE NUTSEDGE. Quickly control yellow nutsedge, green kyllinga and broadleaf weeds with symptoms often visible within 24-48 hours. Surepyc with sulfentrazone can be applied to both cool- and warm-season turfgrasses. And with dual modes of uptake through roots and leaves, you’ll deliver a more effective strike every time. It’s not just a fast-acting answer to add to your program. It’s a glimpse of new, innovative products to come. ®

Important: Always read and follow label instructions. SUREPYC is EPA registered. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. ©2018 AMVAC Chemical Corporation. All rights reserved. AMVAC and SUREPYC are trademarks owned by AMVAC Chemical Corporation. EIFG is a trademark of the Environmental Institute for Golf. www.amvac-chemical.com. A300-051514-20-8 9/18



IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD. PCNB. It’s been around awhile. But discovering that it controls anthracnose at highly effective levels? That’s news. AMVAC’s breakthrough premix of PCNB and tebuconazole, Premion™ fungicide, is getting attention. Formerly called Oreon, Premion delivers multiple modes of action against anthracnose. And it’s just one of many answers to come from AMVAC that are worth talking about.

Important: Always read and follow label instructions. PREMION is EPA registered. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. ©2018 AMVAC Chemical Corporation. All rights reserved. AMVAC and PREMION are trademarks owned by AMVAC Chemical Corporation. EIFG is a trademark of the Environmental Institute for Golf. www.amvac-chemical.com. A300-051514-20-8 9/18


Feature Story

Plan Ahead for

Crabgrass Control Next Spring By Michael Fidanza, Ph.D., Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences, Berks Campus, Pennsylvania State University, Reading, PA and Thomas Watschke, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Turfgrass Science, Department of Plant Science, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Historical Perspective An archeological site along the banks of a lake in Switzerland revealed that crabgrass seeds were on the diet of our Neolithic ancestors. Today, a quick search on the internet will reveal a recipe for crabgrass muffins (…no thanks). Plant taxonomy evidence also suggests that crabgrass originated in Europe, as well as a related crabgrass cousin known as ‘foxtail millet’ that was cultivated in China as far back as 2700 B.C. Because 16 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

crabgrass is such a prolific seed producer, the U.S. Patent Office introduced crabgrass as a forage crop in 1849, in hopes of converting crabgrass ‘grain’ into animal feed. Our livestock industry had better feed options then and now, and the result of that invasive plant introduction enabled crabgrass to become a troublesome weed in crop fields and lawns throughout the USA. Crabgrass is listed in the genus Digitaria (crabgrass seeds extend on an elongated stalk like skinny fingers or

“digits”), with large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) and smooth crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum) as the most common lawn invaders. Lorenz Heister (16831758) named the genus ‘Digitus’ (Latin for “finger”). In 1772, Digitaria sanguinalis was described by Giovanni Antonio Scopoli (1723-1788). In 1804, Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber (1739-1810) described Digitaria ischaemum, but in 1817 Gotthilf Henry Ernst Muhlenberg (1753-1815) reclassified it. The species name ‘sanguinalis’

Figure 1a: Example of mature, multitillered large crabgrass in late July in an untreated lawn area.


Figure 1b: Left – large crabgrass invading perennial ryegrass. Right – an early spring application of a preemergence herbicide on a fertilizer carrier provides good control. Figure 2: Typical crabgrass germination calendar dates across the USA. Note, in Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region, crabgrass emerges in the spring when minimum soil temperature at the one-inch depth reaches 54-55°F for three to four consecutive days.

refers to the plant’s blood-red or purple color observed at stem bases and leaves of mature plants, and ‘ischaemum’ refers to the arrangement of the plant’s seeds along the seed stalk. Also, large crabgrass has many hairs visible on leaves and stems, while smooth crabgrass has very few hairs except for the collar region.

Crabgrass Biology Crabgrass is a warm-season grass, which means it’s a C4 plant. You may recall from plant physiology class that C4 plants fix carbon very efficiently four-at-a-time, and they are better at operating their photosynthesis engine than our desired cool-season C3 turfgrasses that fix carbon three-at-a-time. Our cool-season lawns in Pennsylvania, which can include species of Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescues, have a bimodal seasonal growth pattern. These turfgrasses exhibit competitive shoot and root growth in the spring and fall, but slow down and relax in the summer. Crabgrass thrives in the summer, when our turfgrasses are growing slower and are not as competitive, and that’s when crabgrass can really establish itself in our lawns and landscapes. Crabgrass is an annual (i.e., completes its lifecycle in one year), and its seeds germinate and emerge in the spring when minimum soil temps at ~1 inch depth reach 54-55°F for three to four consecutive days. This is also


After May 30 After May 10 After April 20 After March 20 January 1 to March 20

2 Fall 2018 • Pennsylvania Turfgrass 17


the time that the bright yellow floral blooms of forsythia are starting to wilt and drop. Crabgrass is a shallow-rooted plant, which means it puts all its energy into seed production at the expense of roots and extensive foliar growth. One fully mature crabgrass plant can produce hundreds of tillers with over 100, 000 seeds! So, that explains the large deposit of crabgrass seed in our lawn soils. Crabgrass has even been written about in the New York Times (Legions of Plants Thrive Where They Don’t Belong by W.K. Stevens; New York Times – Science Section, Dec. 18, 1990).

Cultural Practices

Figure 3: Example of a vintage product promoted for crabgrass control in lawns; this product is no longer available.

18 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

There is no ‘silver bullet’ for keeping crabgrass out of your lawn. But, maintaining a dense, healthy turf stand is the best way to prevent crabgrass from taking over your lawn. Good mowing practices include higher height-of-cut

at 3 to 3.5 inches for most Pennsylvania lawns, and mow frequently so as not to remove 1/3 of the turf canopy at-a-time. For example, when the lawn reaches 4.5 inches height, mow at 3 inches. This often translates to mowing more often in the spring and fall, and less often in the summer. It also is very important to maintain sharp mower blades and check the mower deck setting to make sure the mowing height is accurate. Avoid scalping, as this weakens the lawn’s competitive ability against crabgrass. Along with a good fertility program to promote lawn health and density, irrigate deeply and infrequently for those lawns with an irrigation system. A good rule-of-thumb is to water deeply to wet the rootzone, then water again at the first signs of drought (i.e., when you see footprints in the lawn). Avoid daily, light irrigation that promotes shallow roots for your lawn but favors the shallow-rooted crabgrass.

continued • Feature Story

Preemergence Herbicides The active ingredient in a preemergence herbicide does not prevent weed seeds from germinating, however, as the germinating seedlings contact the herbicide it then prevents those seedlings from developing into a mature, invasive weed. These herbicides need to be applied before crabgrass germinates, and ideally these products need to be watered-in sufficiently within 24 to 48 hours to be activated. Whether you’re applying a liquid product, or a granular product (i.e., herbicide on a fertilizer carrier) always read the label for proper and safe application instructions (i.e., rates, timings, and more). A properly timed and correct rate of a single application may provide season-long crabgrass control in lawns, but another reliable option is a split-application with product applied once in the spring and again several weeks later. For crabgrass

control in newly seeded lawns, the products Tupersan and Tenacity (alone or on a fertilizer carrier) are labeled for this purpose. Of note, one of the first commercially available preemergence herbicides was pendimethalin. This herbicide was first tested at Penn State back in the 1970s. The story goes that it was developed for use in paint, to be used as an agent that helps paint “stick” to walls. It actually “sticks” to lawns better, thus maintaining that herbicide “barrier” against crabgrass.

Postemergence Herbicides Trying to remove a grass weed from a grass lawn, without injury to the desired turf, was the search for the Holy Grail in the 1970s and 80s. The Hoechts Corporation had a postemergence herbicide (active ingredient = fenoxapropp-ethyl) for control of grassy weeds in grass food crops in the upper midwest,

Table 1: List of preemergence and postemergence herbicides for crabgrass control in lawns in Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region. Note, many of these herbicides are available as branded and post-patent products, and many are available as a liquid or on a fertilizer carrier, and some as other formulations. Always read product label instructions. Preemergence Herbicides

Postemergence Herbicides

Product Name

Brand Name

Product Name

Brand Name


several brands


Acclaim Extra

benefin/ trifluralin

several brands






Drive, other brands

corn gluten meal

several brands

quinclorac + sulfentrazone + 2,4-D + dicamb











Drive, other brands


Pendulum Aquacap, other brands


Barricade, other brands

and Dr. John Grande (now at the Snyder Research Farm at Rutgers University) had a hunch it just might ‘takeout’ crabgrass and be safe for coolseason lawns, and he was right! Today, we have a few more choices for postemergence crabgrass control in lawns. Typically, postemergence herbicides work better when the crabgrass plant is small (i.e., less than two tillers), as larger plants may require repeat applications. The product Drive is very effective on mature crabgrass. Also, the crabgrass plant should be actively growing to “take-up” the herbicide, so irrigating a drought-stressed lawn prior to application is needed to ensure the crabgrass plant will get its lethal dose. Again, be sure to read product label instructions for proper application rates, timings, and also for safety precautions to desired lawn species. 7

Crabgrass Trial for Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania

2019 Pre- and Post-emergence Crabgrass Test at the Center for the Agricultural Sciences and a Sustainable Environment (Penn State Berks Campus; Reading, PA). For more information, contact Dr. Mike Fidanza (maf100@psu.edu).

Sources: Breeden, G.K. and J.T. Brosnan. 2015. Crabgrass Species Control in Turfgrass. University of Tennessee Fact Sheet W146. Crabgrass. http://www.greencast online.com. Crabgrass. http://wssa.net/wssa/ weed/intriguing-world-of-weeds. Fidanza M.A., P.H. Dernoeden, and M. Zhang. 1996. Degree-days for predicting smooth crabgrass emergence in cool-season turfgrasses. Crop Science 36:990-996. Fall 2018 • Pennsylvania Turfgrass 19

Between the Lines

Between the Lines Tony Leonard Relives the Path to Super Bowl 2018


ootball fans all across Pennsylvania are still talking about the Philadelphia Eagles’ stunning Super Bowl upset victory over the New England Patriots in Minneapolis on February 4th. After all, this was not only the Eagles’ first Super Bowl win, but also their first NFL title since 1960. A lot has been written about the role of Coach Doug Pederson, backup quarterback Nick Foles’s “Philly Special” touchdown catch, and the overall team spirit that carried them all to victory. But less has been said about the people who work in the background to help make that victory possible. We talked recently with Tony Leonard, Director of Grounds for the Philadelphia Eagles, for a behind-the-scenes look at the season leading up to the Super Bowl from a turf management perspective. Tony Leonard is not looking for recognition. Instead, he modestly describes himself and his grounds crew as “just one spoke in the wheel of a huge, committed operation.” His main objective is to support the team and make a win possible by keeping the Eagles’ playing fields playable, safe, and groomed for all occasions. That demands dedication, flexibility and

Keystone Athletic Field Managers Organization 1451 Peter’s Mountain Road Dauphin, PA 17018-9504 www.KAFMO.org Email: KAFMO@aol.com 20 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

sometimes, in his words, “a roll of the dice” in planning how to prepare the turf for games that may be decisive.

Natural Challenges According to Leonard, the biggest challenges of the 2017 season leading up to the Super Bowl were caused by the effects of harsh winter weather on the outdoor natural turf at Lincoln Financial Field. No matter how bad the weather is, the game will go on according to the schedule issued in April. It is up to Leonard and his crew to make sure this can happen safely, even when winter storms take a toll. For example, Leonard recalls that the Army-Navy game traditionally played at Lincoln Field in December took place in a mix of snow and rain. Both the end zones and the middle of the field were torn up and had to be resodded afterward. A freeze two days later threatened the new sod, even with the advantage of a heated field. Eagles games in late December and on New Year’s Day were also held in below freezing temperatures, compounding the damage.

Contact: Linda Kulp, Executive Secretary Phone: 717-497-4154 kulp1451@gmail.com

Contact: Dan Douglas, President Phone: 610-375-8469 x 212 KAFMO@aol.com

Because the practice fields were also frozen during these critical weeks, the Eagles often preferred to use the heated stadium to practice in the leadup to the playoff games against the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings. The Eagles wanted to take advantage of every chance to practice outdoors on the natural turf surface they would be playing on; the opposing teams were both accustomed to playing on indoor fields and on synthetic turf. This gave the Eagles an edge but presented a real turf upkeep challenge for Leonard and the grounds crew. As the playoff games approached, a decision had to be made about the safety and playability of the field in the Eagles’ home stadium. Fortunately, says Leonard, the whole Philadelphia Eagles organization agreed to support his recommendation to resod the entire surface of Lincoln Financial Field in advance of the two playoff games against Atlanta and Minnesota. He felt that the expense was justified — and the wins that resulted and took the team to the Super Bowl proved that his instincts were right.

Peak Experience: Super Bowl The Super Bowl itself was a real peak experience, according to Leonard. He and two of his crew accompanied the Eagles to Minnesota with the equipment staff. There they helped out with requests from the University of Minnesota to groom and refurbish the practice fields and acted as liaisons between the Super Bowl staff and the University staff. Leonard emphasized that everyone played an important role and that his

whole staff contributed to getting the Eagles where they needed to be during the 2017 season. When asked about factors leading to the Eagles’ ultimate victory, he said that he was very proud of the cooperation of the entire organization. He spoke especially warmly of the fans from Philadelphia who offered such loyal and enthusiastic support through the playoffs and all the way to the Super Bowl. Once the game started on Super Bowl Sunday, Leonard was cheering right along with them in the stands of the U. S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, one of the Eagles’ biggest fans!

Role of Turf Management Just how important is the role of turf management in competitive sports? In answer to this question, Tony Leonard expressed his respect for the professionals working in turf management at all levels. He knows that he is fortunate in having a supportive organization, a dedicated crew, a heated field, irrigation systems, laser paint system, etc. to make sure the Eagles have a natural turf surface that looks perfect and supports the players. However, as he put it, “whether a team is on a high school field, a parks and recreation setting, or on a professional playing field in a stadium, hardworking, committed individuals are always working behind the scenes and in all weather to ensure that players and coaches have a safe, playable surface to support them.” And just like Tony Leonard, those dedicated individuals take great pride in the appearance of their fields and in being part of the larger team effort. 7

Fall 2018 • Pennsylvania Turfgrass 21

Research Summaries

New Ph.D. Student Joins Turf Management Lab


Turf Management Lab is happy to introduce the addition of new Ph.D. student Travis Russell. Travis is from Duncanville, Texas, a suburb just south of Dallas. He received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Arkansas. Travis’ prior research focused on determining precise light requirements of creeping bentgrass putting greens and other warm-season turfgrasses utilized on golf courses in Arkansas and throughout the Transition Zone. Travis is an excellent researcher and communicator, and he won first place for his oral and poster presentations in the graduate student competition at the 2017 Crop Science Society of America meetings in the C-5 Division (turfgrass science).

Travis also brings a plethora of turfgrass industry experience with him to Penn State. He was an assistant golf course superintendent at Dallas National Golf Club where he also completed internships during undergraduate studies. Travis also gained experience at Pinehurst No. 2 when the course hosted the U.S. Open and Women’s U.S. Open and Trinity Forrest Golf Club leading up to the AT&T Byron Nelson. Travis will focus his Ph.D. research on disease management using emerging plant health detection technology for the golf course industry. Submitted by: John E. Kaminski, Ph.D., Professor of Turfgrass Science, Penn State University.

Potassium Fertilization and Stress Tolerance of Intensely-Managed Creeping Bentgrass Putting Greens


otassium (K) requirement of creeping bentgrass putting greens is a hotly-debated topic. Recent studies evaluating K fertilization requirements and/or underlying critical soil-K levels have not induced deficiency symptoms. While the influence of K-bearing topdressing sand, absence of traffic, and/or nightly irrigation for replacement of 85% PET has been implicated as valid mitigating factor(s); a wider range of sand mineralogy, use, and culture exist in practice. Thus, a 2-yr study is underway to quantify Penn A- and G-series creeping bentgrass putting green performance and stress-tolerance response to soluble K fertilizer rate and/or frequency, for the purpose of developing K fertilization guidelines and identifying a critical tissue-K deficiency threshold. Foliar applications of KCl (0-0-60) are made on 7- or 14-day 22 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

intervals to supply 0, 0.3, 0.6, or 0.9 lbs K 2O/M (1000 ft2) per growing month. While already maintained under an intense double-cutting, rolling, and limited soil moisture management regime, height of cut was lowered and management intensified to simulate tournament conditions in July 2018. Resulting influence of K fertilization and soil/ tissue level(s) on putting green quality and stress tolerance (vigor, ball roll

distance, and canopy turgor/density/ color) will be presented during the 2018 Penn State Golf Turf Conference (Nov., University Park, PA). Submitted by: Benjamin E. Brace, MS Candidate Agronomy, and Maxim J. Schlossberg Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. Turf Nutrition, Center for Turfgrass Science, The Pennsylvania State University.

Fall 2018 • Pennsylvania Turfgrass 23

Penn State News

2018 Penn State Turf

& Ornamentals Field Day Wrap Up D

espite the threat of severe thunderstorms and high winds, over 200 professional landscapers, grounds managers, golf course superintendents, sports turf managers, and others interested in management of turf and landscape plantings traveled to the University Park campus on August 8 to see the latest in management trends and research from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences during Turf and Ornamentals Field Day. The event took place at the Joseph

24 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

Valentine Turfgrass Research Center and the Arboretum at Penn State. Participants had the option of attending sessions on management and identification of ornamental plants, visiting the plant disease clinic and soil/tissue test lab, or touring turfgrass research plots. The turf portion of the program included a golf session that focused on the use of UAVs (drones) as a research and management tool; introduction of a new Penn State bentgrass cultivar; bentgrass nutrition; and disease, insect,

and earthworm management studies. A lawn care/sports turf track covered irrigation system audits, Technologies for Testing Methods for Athletic Field Safety, turfgrass cultivar trials, fertilizer evaluations, and weed control studies. At the end of the day, about 80 participants relaxed at a barbeque at the State College Spikes baseball stadium. Penn State Turfgrass and Ornamentals Field Days are held every other year, and the next event will be in August of 2020. 7

Lancaster Country Club • Lancaster, PA • Hole #3

Golf Course Desi G ners Office – (724) 438-1727 • Ron Forse – (412) 855-8130 • Jim Nagle – (717) 575-0598 1224 National Pike – Suite A • P.O. Box 154 • Hopwood, PA 15445 1900 Saxon Drive • New Smryna Beach, FL 32169 Fall 2018 • Pennsylvania Turfgrass 25

Penn State News • continued

Alumni Updates Dianne Petrunak, academic adviser for the Department of Plant Science, has received the Excellence in Academic Advising Award from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences for 2018.

Robert Adams (2-Year ‘78) has recently retired after selling his successful 27-hole golf course, which he purchased after the course went bankrupt in 1985.

Scott Braun (Master of Professional Studies ‘12) is now the Superintendent of Maplewood Country Club in Maplewood, NJ.

Hunter Keech (2-Year ‘15) is now the Assistant Superintendent at The Philadelphia Cricket Club on The Wissahickon Course.

Penn State Turf Team

Jeffrey A. Borger Senior Instructor in Turfgrass Weed Management 814-865-3005 • jborger@psu.edu

Michael A. Fidanza, Ph.D. Professor of Plant & Soil Science 610-396-6330 • maf100@psu.edu

David R. Huff, Ph.D. Professor of Turfgrass Genetics 814-863-9805 • drh15@psu.edu

Brad Jakubowski Instructor of Plant Science 814-865-7118 • brj8@psu.edu

John E. Kaminski, Ph.D. Professor of Turfgrass Science 814-865-3007 • jek156@psu.edu

Dave Louttit (‘81) is just starting year 19 with The Andersons as a Territory Manager after 11 years with Scotts ProTurf Tech Rep.

Don Maske (2-Year ‘65) has retired and is proudly exchanging the “We Are-Penn State” salute whenever and wherever he encounters someone wearing the Nittany Lion logo.

Aaron McGuill (BS ‘01) is currently working for mesur.io. Mesur.io is a precision Ag company that provides golf course superintendents, farmers, and crop growers with real time site specific micro climate data via in ground sensors.

Martin Sorensen (2-Year ‘11) is now the Head Greenkeeper at Fredericia Golf Club in Denmark.

Matthew Weaver (BS ‘94) is now Senior Technical Service Advisor at Intelligro and is a Certified Professional Agronomist.

Jason “J” Woodring (BS ‘03) is now the Senior Assistant Superintendent of The Old Course at Saucon Valley Country Club. He is also the Audubon Manager and the Hiring Manager for the Grounds Department.

Adam Zubek (2-Year ‘03) is currently the GM/COO at Point Grey Golf and Country Club. 7 26 Pennsylvania Turfgrass • Fall 2018

Peter J. Landschoot, Ph.D. Professor of Turfgrass Science 814-863-1017 • pjl1@psu.edu

Ben McGraw, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Turfgrass Entomology 814-865-1138 • bam53@psu.edu

Andrew S. McNitt, Ph.D. Professor of Soil Science 814-863-1368 • asm4@psu.edu

Max Schlossberg, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Turfgrass Nutrition / Soil Fertility
 814-863-1015 • mjs38@psu.edu

Al J. Turgeon, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Turfgrass Management aturgeon@psu.edu

Wakar Uddin, Ph.D. Professor of Plant Pathology 814-863-4498 • wxu2@psu.edu

Advertiser Index

Aer-Core, Inc............................................ 25

FM Brown’s & Sons................................... 7

Amvac Environmental Products....... 14, 15

Forse Design Incorporated..................... 25



Beam Clay................................................. 5 www.BEAMCLAY.com • www.PARTAC.com

Coombs Sod Farms.................................. 7 www.coombsfarms.com

CoverSports USA...................................... 7 www.coversports.com

East Coast Sod & Seed.......................... 27 www.eastcoastsod.com

Ernst Conservation Seeds...................... 11 www.ernstseed.com

Fisher & Sons Company Inc..................... 3 www.fisherandson.com


George E. Ley Co.................................... 27 www.gelcogolf.com

Covermaster, Inc....................................... 5 www.covermaster.com

Kesmac.................................................... 13 www.kesmac.com

Medina Sod Farms, Inc........................... 27 www.medinasodfarms.com

Mitchell Products.................................... 18 www.mitchellsand.com

Pennsylvania State University.............Inside Front Cover

Progressive Turf Equipment Inc............. 23 www.progressiveturfequip.com

Quest Products Corp............... Back Cover


Seedway.................................................. 11 www.seedway.com

Shreiner Tree Care................................... 27 www.shreinertreecare.com

Smith Seed Services................................. 5 www.smithseed.com

Tomlinson Bomberger............................. 27 www.mytombom.com

Walker Supply, Inc................................... 23 www.walkersupplyinc.com


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

www.gelcogolf.com • Irrigation Systems • Golf Course Alterations • Field Drainage

130 Devereux Road • Glenmoore, PA 19343 610-942-3809 • Fax: 610-942-9556 • Pump Stations • Vibratory Plowing • Pond Cleanout

• Trenching • Stream Bank Stabilization • Drainage on Existing Greens

For information, go to www.ShreinerTreeCare.com or call (610) 265-6004

Fall 2018 • Pennsylvania Turfgrass 27

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Pennsylvania Turfgrass - Fall 2018  

Fall 2018 issue of Pennsylvania Turfgrass - The Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council Magazine.

Pennsylvania Turfgrass - Fall 2018  

Fall 2018 issue of Pennsylvania Turfgrass - The Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council Magazine.