Tennessee Turfgrass - April / May 2021

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APRIL / MAY 2021

The Official Publication of the Tennessee Turfgrass Association, the Tennessee Valley Sports Turf Managers Association and the Tennessee Golf Course Superintendents Association

Member Spotlight on



Turfgrasses for the 21st Century

Our goal is to produce the highest quality, innovative turfgrass on the market today while providing the best customer service. Our affiliation with several research and development professionals gives us access to some of the best varieties of turf available for difficult applications. We are also a grower of Tennessee Crop Improvement Association Certified Turfgrass.


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The Official Publication of the Tennessee Turfgrass Association, Tennessee Valley Sports Turf Managers Association and the Tennessee Golf Course Superintendents Association



Cover Story — Member Spotlight on John Clintsman Feature Articles —

26 32 36


New Herbicides for 2021

Dissecting Infield Playability

Updates from TN Turf Twitter

DEPARTMENTS From the TTA President


From the MAGCSA President


From the MTGCSA President


Index of Advertisers


From the ETGCSA President


The Turfgrass Team at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Upcoming Events


Find this issue, Podcasts, Events and More: THETURFZONE.COM




The World’s #1 Zoysiagrass



Doug Ward


the turfgrass industry comes to life this spring with anticipation of a little less chaos than was experienced a year ago, there always seems to be a “curveball” thrown our way!! That was certainly the case with record breaking rainfall and associated flooding most professionals dealt with last month. Catching many off-guard, including myself, the most damaging flood waters since 2010 sent several operations in to recovery mode and likely delayed normal operations for several days. While we are a resilient group and climbing out of the mess will undoubtedly get done, I sincerely hope everyone remained safe and the impact of this latest disaster was not a complete ungluing of your personal or professional life.

2022 CONFERENCE DEVELOPMENTS •O ur association’s educational committee, headed by Dr. Jim Brosnan, held its first planning meeting last month as it began gathering information and ideas for the 2022 program.

• Several new approaches have been laid on the table in an effort to promote a wide variety of offerings and engagements for a unique educational experience.

• Traditional workshops, professional development and pesticide applicators certificate program and testing are likewise being earmarked for inclusion as well.

• The possibility of a few virtual presentations is being studied which may allow us to include a keynote speaker or others that may otherwise be unavailable or too costly to include in our production.

With the above and many other ideas suggested for our programming, I’m truly excited about the direction our educational committee is moving for 2022. We will keep you posted as things develop. Referring to last issue’s message, edging back to normalcy, I am truly hopeful the corner is being turned on the COVID front. I admit, I’m no virologist and can only comment on what I feel to be the case but there seems to be a little less tension and fewer worries out there these days. I trust all of our members will continue to carry on in a safe regard to the virus and that an enjoyable and more relaxed season ahead will be experienced by all.

Doug Ward TTA President


TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org

The Official Publication of the Tennessee Turfgrass Association, the Tennessee Valley Sports Turf Managers Association and the Tennessee Golf Course Superintendents Association

Tennessee Turfgrass is the official publication of The Tennessee Turfgrass Association 400 Franklin Road Franklin, Tennessee 37069 (615) 928-7001 info@ttaonline.org www.ttaonline.org PUBLISHED BY Leading Edge Communications, LLC 206 Bridge Street Franklin, Tennessee 37064 (615) 790-3718 info@leadingedgecommunications.com EDITOR Dr. James Brosnan TTA OFFICERS President Doug Ward Belle Meade Country Club (615) 292-6752 Vice President Chris Sykes Tellico Village (865) 458-5408 Secretary/Treasurer Ryan Storey Vanderbilt University (615) 343-6694 Past President Jason Pooler Tri-Turf Sod Farms, Inc (731) 642-3092 Executive Director Melissa Martin Tennessee Turfgrass Assn. (615) 928-7001 TTA 2021 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Ryan Blair, CGCS Jason Bradley Bart Cash Ashley Gaskin Cal Hill Jeff Huber Brad Jean Jeff Kuhns Jason Sanderson Mark Stovall John Wagnon Jeff Wyatt TTA ADVISORY MEMBERS OF THE BOARD Bill Blackburn Dr. Jim Brosnan Joe Hill Dr. Brandon Horvath Lynn Ray Jeff Rumph, CGCS Dr. Tom Samples Dr. John Sorochan Dr. Wes Totten

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Andrew Foster


you are like Windyke, there is not much down time. There is always an opportunity to accomplish a project, from reorganization to getting ready for spring. For little money we put a coat of paint on our shop floor. In doing that we took everything out. Yes, it was a little overwhelming but well overdue. We got rid of the old, broken parts and tools. When putting the workbenches, grinders and toolboxes back in, we put the shop in a different configuration to be a little more efficient. It’s nice to walk in that area clean and bright like a breath of fresh air, just like spring. Like spring it is always nice to see everything budding out and new leaves on what I thought was a plant that did not make it through the cold winter. A fresh start just like the shop, prune out the old to let the new come in! It is the time of year to start new, you want your tee boxes to be different or your fairways to have new contours, get out there and do it. Golfers might like it, or they may not, it’s worth a shot.

It is a personal out of dormancy for me as well. Time to shave my beard (most of it) and cut my hair (probably next month). Seriously, for me it is time to take the winter seminars and notes compiled from the previous year and put it to work. I always try to make this year better than the last at work and at home. I know it sounds cheesy, but if you don’t set goals you won’t hit them. I also want to personally thank Melissa Martin and the Memphis Area Board (Jason Bradley, Stephen Cox, Nick Bisanz and Michael Rosamond). Without their help, a lot more of my personal time would be spent making our meetings and tournaments happen. I hope everyone has a productive spring and a better 2021!

Andrew Foster MAGCSA President



hope that everyone is doing well. Thus far the outlook for 2021 is already a great improvement from the mess that 2020 proved to be. After attending the TTA Conference in a virtual manner, it gave me hope that there will be more options to obtain the continuing education that we all need if things did not improve. However, things seem to be improving. The Middle Tennessee board of directors were able to meet via zoom just a few weeks ago. Places are finally allowing gatherings and we are planning to meet in person several times this year. We were able to set a tentative schedule that looks very similar to years past. We are starting with our first meeting at the Nashville Golf and Athletic Club on April 21 at 10 AM. We are planning on having another meeting in May at Westhaven Golf Club as well as tentative


meetings in the fall. In addition to our educational meetings, plans are underway for the annual scholarship and research tournament later this fall. We hope to have the date and location announced very soon. We will be in touch with everyone to ensure that we all follow the proper policies, guidelines and procedures that may be in place regarding COVID. Watch your email and our website for the most up-to-date details. I am very excited to be about and able to see everyone. I hope to see you at one of our upcoming events!

Justin Browning MTGCSA President

TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org

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Travis Hopkins


just wanted to start out by introducing myself as the newly elected President of the East Tennessee Golf Course Superintendents Association. My name is Travis Hopkins and I have been the Golf Course Superintendent at Dead Horse Lake Golf Course in Knoxville for the last six years. I am excited for this opportunity serve our East Tennessee area and collaborate with other golf course professionals. As we begin the spring season, it is looking to be a promising and busy year in the golf course industry. After a year of isolation, people are ready to get out and about. I have a feeling that it will be another booming year for the golf course industry. One of the challenges that comes along with everyone ready to get out is being


able to accommodate the amount of play and being able to maintain the golf course properly. I am very thankful for our thriving business and hope it continues to hand us these challenges, which are reassuring in today’s economy. I am looking forward to the speakers that we have lined up for our upcoming meetings this year. I also encourage everyone to come and bring any crew members to be a part of these learning opportunities. Hope everyone has a great year!

Travis Hopkins

Golf Course Superintendent Dead Horse Lake Golf Course

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TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org

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THE TURFGRA SS TEAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, KNOXVILLE José Javier Vargas Almodóvar Research Associate II Turf & Ornamental Weed Science The University of Tennessee 2431 Joe Johnson Drive 252 Ellington Plant Sci. Bldg. Knoxville, TN 37996 (865) 974-7379 jvargas@utk.edu tnturfgrassweeds.org @UTweedwhisperer

Jim Brosnan, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Turfgrass Weed Science The University of Tennessee 2431 Joe Johnson Drive 252 Ellington Plant Sci. Bldg. Knoxville, TN 37996-4561 (865) 974-8603 jbrosnan@utk.edu tnturfgrassweeds.org @ UTturfweeds

Frank Hale, Ph.D. Professor, Entomology and Plant Pathology The University of Tennessee 5201 Marchant Drive Nashville, TN 37211-5201 (615) 832-6802 fahale@utk.edu ag.tennessee.edu/spp

Tom Samples, Ph.D. Professor, Turfgrass Extension The University of Tennessee 2431 Joe Johnson Drive 252 Ellington Plant Sci. Bldg. Knoxville, TN 37996-4561 (865) 974-2595 tsamples@utk.edu turf.utk.edu @ tnturfman

John Stier, Ph.D. Associate Dean The University of Tennessee 2621 Morgan Circle 126 Morgan Hall Knoxville, TN 37996-4561 (865) 974-7493 jstier1@utk.edu turf.utk.edu @ Drjohnstier

Greg Breeden Extension Specialist, The University of Tennessee 2431 Center Drive 252 Ellington Plant Sci. Bldg. Knoxville, TN 37996-4561 (865) 974-7208 gbreeden@utk.edu tnturfgrassweeds.org @gbreeden1

Kyley Dickson, Ph.D. Associate Director, Center for Athletic Field Safety Turfgrass Management & Physiology (865) 974-6730 kdickso1@utk.edu @ DicksonTurf

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John Sorochan, Ph.D. Professor, Turfgrass Science The University of Tennessee 2431 Joe Johnson Drive 363 Ellington Plant Sci. Bldg. Knoxville, TN 37996-4561 (865) 974-7324 sorochan@utk.edu turf.utk.edu @ sorochan

Alan Windham, Ph.D. Professor, Entomology and Plant Pathology The University of Tennessee 5201 Marchant Drive Nashville, TN 37211-5201 (615) 832-6802 https://ag.tennessee.edu/spp/ @ UTPlantDoc

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TENNESSEE TURF TUESDAYS A D I G I T AL LE AR NING SE R IE S F OR 2 0 2 1 All sessions will be Zoom webinars hosted from 11:30am – 12:30pm EDT

AUGUST 3 rd Zoysiagrass Putting Green Roundtable Presenters: Dr. John Sorochan & Tyler Carr, Univ. of Tennessee, & Dr. Mike Richardson, Univ. of Arkansas

There is growing interest in the development of dwarf zoysiagrass cultivars for use on golf course putting greens in the southeastern United States. This presentation will provide an overview of the latest research on zoysiagrasses for putting greens. Topics covered will include cultivar performance comparisons, nutrient regimes, performance under shade, responses to plant growth regulators, weed control techniques via pre- and postemergence herbicides, and control of fungal pathogens.

JUNE 1 st


Hot, Humid, and Time for Brown Patch

What Just Happened? – A Review of Summer Diseases in the Southeast

Presenters: Dr. Brandon Horvath and David Shell, Univ. of Tennessee

Summer can be the season of disease on tall fescue lawns in the transition zone, particularly brown patch. This presentation will provide an overview of the latest tactics lawn care professionals can use to control brown patch (and other diseases) in tall fescue lawns.

Presenters: Dr. Brandon Horvath, Univ. of Tennessee, Dr. Jim Kerns, N.C. State Univ, & Dr. Joe Roberts, Clemson Univ.

Numerous diseases can affect turfgrasses during the summer and this year was no exception. This presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of diseases that were problematic in the southeastern U.S. this summer and discuss the most effective options for control.

JULY 13 th


Managing Warm Season Sports Turf in a Changing Climate

Winter is Coming! Be Prepared for Shoulder Season Foes like Poa annua and Large Patch

Presenters: Dr. Kyley Dickson & Tyler Carr, University of Tennessee

Presenters: Dr. Jim Brosnan and Dr. Brandon Horvath, University of Tennessee

Advances in both bermudagrass and zoysiagrass have made varieties more adaptable to survive in changing conditions. This presentation will cover new cultivars of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass varieties for use in sports turf. Learn management strategies of these new cultivars to help improve environmental stress tolerance while reducing invasion from weed, disease, and insect pests. Also, learn how the use of these new cultivars can help reduce inputs without lowering field performance.

Warm season turfgrasses are targeted by many pests during the shoulder seasons including weeds like Poa annua as well as diseases like large patch and spring dead spot. Research based recommendations for controlling these pests be offered during this session to prepare turfgrass managers for the road ahead.



TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org










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TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org


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TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org

Tell us about your work at Ensworth and what that includes — your fields, areas you manage and how many people are on your team. I’ve been at Ensworth for five years. I started as an assistant at our lower school campus, which is just off of West End. I’m now the Head of Grounds at the high school campus, but I oversee the lower school campus as well. We have 13 natural grass fields, about six of those are premiere, performance-style fields that we maintain at a higher level.

Between the two campuses, we sit somewhere between 150 and 200 acres of total area. I oversee the landscaping through a third party, which is Brightview. They take care of our landscape, our hardscapes and all that entails. We have a great partnership with them. They do a fantastic job of maintaining our campus grounds. My crew consists of me and four guys, and we oversee all of our sports fields and irrigation. CONTINUED



COVER STORY The Ensworth School is a well-known private school, and you’ve got some top-level athletes there. There are kids who are playing with goals of, for instance, playing Division I football, and you’ve really got some pretty high standards there. Tell us about maintaining premiere properties for those athletes. My crew takes a lot of pride in knowing that players that play on our fields go to college. We play a very small part of it, but when we see a kid signed for Minnesota, Tennessee or Ohio State, we take a lot of pride in knowing that we provided them a highlevel sports field, but at the same time a very safe sports field.


When they play at home, I’m always very nervous when we see an injury. I’m immediately messaging the trainer – what was it? Was it caused by the field, was it caused by something else? They’ve honestly gotten in the habit of texting me as soon as they know, saying ‘not field-related’ or whatever. But knowing that these players, they’re going to the next level after playing here, our ultimate goal is to make sure that this is the best field they’ve ever played on. Not only from an aesthetics point of view, but from a safety point of view.

TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org


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COVER STORY With the large scope of grounds and fields that you maintain, what’s the biggest challenge? That’s a complex question… the hardest part is being able to do what we need to do when we need to do it. You accomplish that by building relationships with your coaches, and them knowing that what we do is important, so they’re usually really flexible in allowing us to do our jobs, knowing that we’re doing it for a reason. So scheduling is probably the toughest aspect. Weather changes everything. I can be planning to go out and aerate a field today, but we might get two inches of rain the night before and I can’t accomplish my goal. So being able to be flexible, not only because of Mother Nature, but with the coaches, is probably the most important. It’s not the most challenging, because we’ve built such a good relationship with the coaches. The most challenging is accomplishing everything we need to accomplish within a certain amount of time. At the TTA awards this year, you got the 2020 high school field of the year for the football field at Ensworth, and you received a leadership award with STMA. You also presented at the TTA conference. What does that recognition mean to you? The leadership award was presented to a group of us that were on a committee for some work we did with STMA this year. That was a fantastic honor – honestly if I didn’t tell you I almost came to tears when I found out, I’d be lying to you. But you know every honor we’ve been presented from the very end of 2019, through the beginning of 2021, has been a great honor. Being presented Field of the Year was amazing because we didn’t apply for it this year, we kind of held off applying for it and somebody else did that for us and that was pretty amazing. Then, truthfully, just being asked to present at TTA in front of my peer group, guys that I look up to, was a great honor as well. You’ve obviously spent a lot of time and invested in where you are and have been recognized for that, but let’s go back and talk about how you got where you are now. What was your path to get into turfgrass management and what opportunities led you to where you are now? As a young, dumb 17-year-old, I ended up having a kid. He’ll be 21 this year. So coming out of high school, I had no clue what I wanted to do, I just knew I needed to make money. I jumped into working in warehouses and factories and things like that. I was never happy or fulfilled, I went to work to make a paycheck. I ended up, later on in life, getting divorced and trying to figure out my life at that point. I was 30 years old, where a lot of guys had already had some opportunities, I’m kind of starting over my opportunities. I started dating my high school sweetheart and she told me, “If we’re going to make a go at this, you’re going to find something you want to do.” She said she didn’t want me coming home miserable from just a crappy day at work. So I got on at the Smyrna Golf Course as a full-time employee. I was working for Monica at the Smyrna Golf Course and she was one of those people that she wanted you to know what she knew, if you wanted to know.


TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org


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COVER STORY I had no formal education at the time and I would ask questions about everything we did. I think I fell in love with the golf course on day one of being there, and just the knowledge that she was passing on at the time. I stayed at the golf course for two years until I didn’t see a clear path of, truthfully, just being able to make more money. I was making very little money working all day every day, and although I loved what I did, I needed to provide better for my family. A position came open here at Ensworth as the assistant at the lower school. I realized real quick that everything I did in high school on the baseball team was kind of coming through. I was a terrible baseball player. I loved the game, but I just wasn’t very good. So I was on the team, basically as a manager and I would get to go out during the school day to drag the baseball field or chalk the lines, whatever the baseball coach didn’t have time for because he had classes. I didn’t realize there was a career choice working on sports fields. Coming to Ensworth, I realized that being in sports turf versus golf was where I wanted to be, being able to work with these young athletes and provide them a top-level playing facility is really rewarding. And so, I was the assistant here for about two-anda-half years. During that time, I was working with the Nashville Sounds grounds crew and I ended up transitioning and working with the Tennesssee Titans grounds crew, really just the game day crew for both of those organizations, but learning more about what we do on a day-to-day basis on a professional level versus at the high school level. In June of 2018, our Head of Grounds here at Ensworth left to pursue other opportunities, and his position was available. I interviewed for it the day it became available and went through about a two-month interim period where I was running it with the crew that we had. We were short-staffed and I was trying to run the crew with them while I was still working at the Sounds and then the Titans. But in August of 2018, I took over as the Head of Grounds here and have been in this position since. The turfgrass industry is really made up of a lot of people who came to it in different ways, and with so many having those turfgrass science degrees or more formal education, and others learning it from experience on the field. So coming into the profession like you did, you had some ground to cover. I did – I had a lot of make-up time. I’ve gotta make up a lot of ground and work really hard. The best thing I ever did, and probably the best thing Ensworth ever did for me was, while I was the assistant, they provided me the opportunity to do a continuing education program, and I got my certificate through the University of Georgia, so I was able to get a little bit of the educational perspective. Ensworth providing that was really great because at that time I didn’t have the funds to go back to school, but I was able to do that program online and still be working day-to-day while they paid for it. I think it was the best thing I ever asked for. What do you do in your free time? I have a 21, 15 and 11 year old. The 11-year-old keeps me the most busy. He plays a lot of baseball. He plays not only for Ensworth, but he also plays for his travel ball team, so we travel a lot and go to a lot of baseball. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.



I’m an avid baseball fan, a little bit of a nerd of the game. I love collecting baseball cards and doing all of that stuff. Really it started out with him, but I kind of have my own enjoyment from it now. I spend a lot of time with the kids. I’m married, I’ve got two dogs and two stupid gremlin cats. I love my dogs, the cats are my wife’s. I spend a lot of time with the family, and I have a podcast of my own with BJ Parker called Keeping It Reel. If the listeners want to check that out, we sure would appreciate it. And in all honesty, 99% of my not work time is spent especially with my 11-year-old going to baseball games and hanging out with him. The 15-yearold lives with his mom, so I don’t get to see him as much as I would like, and how much do you see a 21-year-old? What would your advice be for people considering or already entering the turfgrass industry right now? I actually have been thinking about this a lot because I have a guy, he just started with us back in November and he’s done an internship with the Titans on a lower end for him. He didn’t get to do a whole lot because he joined them late. He’s worked with a construction company as well. My advice to him when he came to us was just to listen. Slow down and listen, and I think that’s number one. And I think number two is like what I just told you —always know that there’s other guys around you. Meaning whether it’s where you’re working or other guys at other places around you that are willing to help you. And just don’t be scared to ask questions. So listen and ask questions. If you do those two things, then you’re gonna be okay. Do you have any mentors in the industry? I mentioned Monica Lalinde from the Smyrna Golf Course, which she’s no longer at the golf course. And if anybody knows where she is, I would love you to pass this along to her, because I love her for everything she taught me coming up. Not only how to be the boss I want to be, but just a lot of the minor stuff that she taught me. Thomas Trotter at the Nashville Sounds has been a huge influence on my career and also teaching me to be the kind of boss that I want to work for. He’s been fantastic and we still talk daily at this point. Dr. Goatley with Virginia Tech has been a huge influence on my career and where I’m headed. To add one more, it would be Michael Brownlee. He’s a fertilizer rep with Simplot. He’s been a huge benefit adding him not only to my life but to my career. So those four people have been very instrumental in my career. To hear the full interview, visit TheTurfZone.com or subscribe to TheTurfZone podcast on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.


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New Herbicides for 2021, Part I By Scott McElroy, Ph.D. – Professor, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences Jim Harris – Research Associate, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Auburn University

The following article will discuss select new products that will be available for turfgrass industry use in 2021. The discussion of these products is not an endorsement of the products and exclusion of products that may be newly available is not opposition to those products. Products discussed have been researched in Dr. McElroy’s research group and some available data is presented. Always follow the label regardless of what any article may say about a product. The label is the law.


ew herbicide products do not necessarily mean new active ingredients. New herbicide product names may simply be repackaged active ingredients or novel mixtures of previously available active ingredients. Novel active ingredients are a rarity with respect to new herbicide products. The lack of a novel active ingredient does not necessarily mean that the products do not bring a new control angle to the turfgrass industry. Novel combinations of older active ingredients can provide additive or even synergistic herbicide effects and can broaden the spectrum of weeds controlled. But with new combinations it is important to understand the activity of individual active ingredients contained in the products.


TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org



FEATURE ARTICLE COASTAL Coastal herbicide is a new combination of older products – imazaquin, prodiamine, and simazine. Imazaquin previously labeled as Image can now be purchased as the stand alone product Scepter T&O. Prodiamine was first labeled as Barricade and simazine was first labeled as Princep (There are other product names, it is simply easier to refer to the first product name used). New herbicide mixtures primarily target new combinations of post herbicides — Trimec-type herbicides or herbicides with mixtures of sulfentrazone (Dismiss) and quinclorac (Drive). Echelon is a combination of prodiamine and sulfentrazone, pre and post, respectively, but few (if any) others exist. Coastal is another unique

FIGURE 1: Small hop clover control with Coastal.

combination because it also combines both pre and post herbicides. Prodiamine is strictly a preemergence herbicide with no postemergence activity. Simazine is used for post winter weed control, primarily Poa annua, but it can provide 14–28 days of residual. Imazaquin is a postemergence herbicide with minimal residual activity. Coastal is labeled for use on bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass. Like the name implies, it is primarily targeted at warm-season turf along the gulf coast. Being registered for weed control on the four-primary warm-season grasses is important for lawn care because it does not require the changing of products from one turfgrass lawn to the next. Research conducted in 2019–2020 evaluated Coastal in September and October for Poa annua and winter annual broadleaf control. Coastal was applied at 32 or 64 fl oz/a with or without metsulfuron (MSM) at 0.5 oz/a. A comparison treatment Specticle at 6.5 fl oz/a plus metsulfuron at 0.5 fl oz/a was included. • All treatments controlled Poa annua completely regarless of split or single applications (data not shown). The additional benefit of Coastal is that it also provided effective control of the annual broadleaf, small hop clover (Trifolium dubium; Figure 1). Coastal with and without metsulfuron reduced hop clover cover to 2–4%, while hop clover cover was > 25% in non-treated plots. The combination of residual activity from prodiamine and simazine combined with the postemergence activity of simazine and imazaquin likely lead to the effective control.

VEXIS Vexis is a new herbicide product containing the new active ingredient pyrimisulfan. It is a sedge control herbicide with excellent cool and warm-season turfgrass safety. It is also labeled for golf and residential turf. Vexis is currently only sold as a granular. A sprayable formulation is currently in the registration pipeline. There are many herbicide options for sedge control in turf. Twenty to 30 years ago, herbicides for sedge control in turfgrass were primarily limited to MSMA and Basagran (bentazon). Now, several ALS-inhibitors are available including Sedgehammer (halosulfuron), Monument (trifloxysulfuron), Certainty (sulfosulfuron), Celero (imazosulfuron), and Katana (flazasulfuron). Also, Dismiss (sulfentrazone) is a PPO-inhibitor that provides a different mode of action for sedge control in cases of herbicide resistance. Vexis is an ALS inhibiting herbicide, so it does not bring a new mode of action to the table for sedge control. The current benefits of Vexis are that it can be applied as a granular and with a high level of cool and warm-season turfgrass safety. Safety across cool and warm-season turfgrass is beneficial for the transition zone where such grasses may be directly adjacent to each other. Expect new herbicides in the future that use pyrimisulfan in a novel mixture to gain a greater spectrum of weed control.


TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org

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FEATURE ARTICLE SC E P T E R T & O Imazaquin was first used in turfgrass under the trade name of Image. Since then, the “Image” name has been re-branded for the home lawn care market and an Image branded product can contain atrazine, MSMA (in the past), or other active ingredients. Image is less of a herbicide brand name and more of a marketing strategy for herbicide products in the consumer herbicide space. Scepter T&O has replaced Image as the standalone product containing only imazaquin. There is nothing new about Scepter T&O, only the name has changed. Imazaquin is a unique, probably overlooked product. As products age, marketing budgets do not keep up and consumers are attracted to the newer, flashier products. Newer products are not necessarily better, but they can highlight some of the issues with an older active ingredient. Imazaquin is one of those active ingredients that was exposed with the introduction of new products. While it has sedge, broadleaf, and cool season grass activity, one of the needs of newer products


is broad spectrum activity and excellent turfgrass safety. Imazaquin is effective for sedge control, but it really needs a tank-mix partner like MSMA for consistent effectiveness. It is not broad spectrum for broadleaf weed control either and Poa annua control can be inconsistent. Research was conducted in 2019 to evaluate combinations of Scepter T&O for doveweed control. Treatments included Scepter 5.7 oz/a plus Dismiss 4.0 fl oz/a applied three times (24 June, 16 July, 5 August), Scepter 8.5 oz/a plus Dismiss 6.0 fl oz/a applied two times (24 June, 16 July), Scepter T&O at 8.6 oz/a plus metsulfuron at 0.5 oz/a applied two times (24 June, 16 July), and Celsius at 4.9 oz/a applied twice (24 June and 16 July). All treatments contained non-ionic surfactant and were applied at 30 gallons per acre spray volume. Doveweed plot cover was approximately 20 to 30% at the time of application on 24 June (Figure 2). Following sequential applications, all treatments reduced doveweed cover to 0 to 3% cover two weeks after the second applications. Three applications of Scepter plus Dismiss at a lower rate was not more effective when rated on 13 September than two applications at a higher rate (Figure 3). All treatments were statistically equivalent in doveweed plot cover (2–6%) as rated on 13 September while non-treated plots had approximately 80% plot cover. Based on past research and observations, all treatments provided excellent doveweed control.

FINAL THOUGHTS This article is meant to highlight a select set of new herbicides entering the turfgrass market. Expect follow up articles this year discussing other new products.

FIGURE 3: August 9, 2019 – 4 Days After C Application Non-Treated


TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org

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DISSECTING INFIELD PLAYABILITY By Evan C. Mascitti and Andrew McNitt, Ph.D.


baseball often touches two different surfaces during the same play. This sets baseball apart from other ball sports. Most ground balls take their first bounce on the turf and are fielded on the infield skin (Figure 1). The concentration of play in this small area means that infield playability consumes much of the grounds crew’s focus. Experienced managers know instinctively when the ball is reacting the way they want, and they can produce a consistent surface despite changing weather conditions. Playability can be an ambiguous term because it is easy to observe but hard to describe.

FIGURE 1: Most action occurs on the infield skin.

This article unpacks infield playability by combining practical observations with bite-size pieces of physics. We will cover the following ideas:

1. Consistency is king 2. Components of speed 3. Corkboard = plasticity + stiffness

CONSISTENCY IS KING Above all else, infielders want a consistent, predictable surface. This means no surprises about how the ball will react from one hop to the next, and that the field will play identically throughout a game and over the season. Elite athletes can field almost any ball, fast or slow — so long as the bounces are the same, each and every time. Infielders prefer ground balls to “hug” the surface: a shallow path makes the ball easier to track and collect. The grass and dirt areas should have similar speed and the transition between them should be seamless. Predictability is crucial for players to be able to do their jobs. If the final hop is deflected by just a few degrees, the ball can easily carom off the heel of a player’s glove or scoot beyond his reach.

COMPONENTS OF SPEED Players and coaches sometimes ask us to “speed up” or “slow down” the infield, usually by adjusting the cutting height of the turf. Ball response is more nuanced than fast vs. slow, and canopy height plays only a minor role. However, it has been said that perception is reality, so a perceived change may satisfy such a request – even if we fib about having lowered the reels by 1/8" or so. Ball response is divisible into three important elements: pace, bounce, and spin.

PACE Pace is the relative velocity of a ball after impact. Infield pace is mostly determined by hardness and friction. It is measured as a simple ratio, the Coefficient of Restitution (COR):

There is limited research on infield pace, but data suggest that soil properties affect COR more than cutting height or thatch. Dr. Jim Brosnan measured COR on real infields and on research plots (Brosnan and McNitt, 2008a; b; 2011). Infield COR ranged from 0.4 to 0.6, meaning a ball retained 40 to 60 % of its initial velocity after the first bounce. COR was generally higher on skinned surfaces than synthetic turf, which had a similar (but slightly higher) COR than natural grass.


TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org

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FEATURE ARTICLE In the work by Dr. Brosnan, pace was closely related to surface hardness. Hardness is easy to measure with the familiar Clegg hammer or the F-355 device (for synthetic infields). Brosnan and McNitt (2008a) found that most infield skins had Clegg values well over 100 Gmax – much higher than values recommended for turf areas (Figure 2). However, it is worth noting that some fields in this study were substantially drier than typical game moisture. In a baseball context, hardness may be more useful for managing playability than safety, as baseball players are never tackled and rarely become injured by falling on the surface. Ball-to-surface friction is determined by soil texture, presence of conditioner, and the all-important water content (Goodall et al., 2005). A thick conditioner layer reduces surface friction because

FIGURE 2: Surface hardness on baseball infields generally exceeds values recommended for American football.

the granules rotate like ball bearings as the ball shears against them. The ball will skid rather than checking up. Friction also affects the ball’s release angle, which in turn alters the bounce height (Figure 3).

BOUNCE The term bounce defines the vertical rebound of a ball after impact. Some research on cricket pitches suggests that the ball “speed” experienced by a real athlete is more related to bounce than pace. Adams et al. (2005) found that umpires’ perception of speed was more closely linked to the ball’s rebound height than its velocity. A higher bounce means the ball carries farther between bounces, leading to the perception of a faster surface. Any debate about whether a perceived faster surface really has a greater pace or a greater bounce is purely scholastic, because the players’ experience is what ultimately matters. Bounce is related to hardness, and a harder surface will appear faster, even if only due to its higher bounce.


FIGURE 3: If the ball can skid through impact, initial spin will influence the release angle. Adapted from Daish, 1972.

The influence of ball spin can be large or small, depending on the ball-to-surface friction coefficient μ (Daish, 1972). If μ is large, the ball “rolls” during impact and its new spin rate is determined by the original incoming velocity. If μ is small, the ball retains some spin as it skids through impact and its release angle is steeper (Figure 3, bottom panel). The latter is the usual case on closelymown turfgrass. You can observe this phenomenon during batting practice. It’s hard to hit accurate fungoes with full effort, so experienced coaches prefer a flatter but more controlled trajectory with some backspin. The steeper release angle helps compensate for lost velocity by increasing the ball’s carry after its first bounce. It’s unusual for a ground ball to be hit with backspin during a game. Most ground balls have forward spin and release at an angle beneath their incoming trajectory (Figure 3, top panel).

CORKBOARD = PLASTICITY + STIFFNESS FIGURE 4: (A) This “corkboard” infield will not affect ball path because of its plastic yet stiff consistency. (B) Large, ragged cleat marks may cause erratic bounces, leading to errors or injuries.


We associate the word plastic with man-made products like disposable water bottles – but the word is actually derived from plastikos, an ancient Greek term for clay. Plastikos roughly translates to “fit for shaping.” Plasticity is perhaps the most useful property of clay: it helps potters to mold clay into useful objects before firing, and it allows a groundskeeper to scarify, shave, and pack soil with proper moisture. New grounds interns are quickly taught the sacred importance of moisture management. Plasticity is important for two reasons. First, it means the soil will be smoothly remolded around players’ cleats, rather than “chunking out” or shattering into chips. This delivers the coveted corkboard surface and minimizes the number of imperfections which could cause bad bounces, as shown in Figure 4. The second reason is that if a ball does hit one of the cleat marks, the soil will readily deform again – allowing the ball to continue its initial path. Plasticity provides the “give” which makes well-watered soil so nice to play on.

TENNESSEE TURFGRASS APRIL / MAY 2021 Email TTA at: info@ttaonline.org

Plasticity alone is not enough. Most fine-grained soils are plastic at high water contents, but many lose their shear strength when so much moisture is added. Such a soil can never provide stable footing if watered to a plastic condition — the players will sink and slide, leading to injuries. Other materials retain more stiffness when wetted above the plastic limit. Stiffness is a measure of the force needed to deform the soil. An ideal infield soil retains a plastic and stiff consistency, even under hot sun or during a rain game. Designing these types of mixes is a current research topic at Penn State. We recently created a laboratory method to measure the cleat-in/cleat-out effect. We are using the method to test infield mixes containing various clay minerals, since these respond differently as the soil wets or dries. Thanks are extended to the PA Turfgrass Council, KAFMO, and the SAFE Foundation for supporting the project. On a synthetic turf infield “skin,” surface deformation happens differently. The fibers (rather than soil water) reduce the rotating and sliding of infill particles. The sand: rubber ratio and particle size distribution of the infill may also affect performance.

SUMMARY Ball response can be managed intuitively, but it helps to consider the underlying physics. Consistency is most important. What infielders experience as speed is a combined effect of pace, bounce, and spin. Conditioners reduce the effects of ball spin by lowering surface friction. The soil must be both stiff and plastic to achieve the coveted corkboard. Future research could define new playability measures and how to achieve them.

REFERENCES Adams, W.A., S.W. Baker, D.M. James, and R.J. Young. 2005. Measuring and Modelling the Bounce and Pace of County Championship Cricket Pitches. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 10(1021-1026): 1021–1026. Brosnan, J.T., and A.S. McNitt. 2008a. Surface Conditions of Highly Maintained Baseball Fields in the Northeastern United States : Part 1 , Non-Turfed Basepaths. Applied Turfgrass Science (April). doi: 10.1094/ATS-2008-0520-01-RS.

Brosnan, J.T., and A.S. McNitt. 2008b. Surface Conditions of Highly Maintained Baseball Fields in the Northeastern United States: Part 2, Synthetic versus Natural Turfgrass. Applied Turfgrass Science (April): 8. doi: 10.1094/ATS-2008-0520-02-RS. Brosnan, J.T., A.S. McNitt, and T.J. Serensits. 2011. Effects of surface conditions on baseball playing surface pace. Journal of Testing

and Evaluation 39(3). doi: 10.1520/JTE103215. Daish, C.B. 1972. The Physics of Ball Games. The English Universities Press, London. Goodall, S.A., K. Guillard, W.M. Dest, and K.R. Demars. 2005. Ball response and traction of skinned infields amended with calcined clay at varying soil moisture contents. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 10: 1085–1093.










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The Tennessee 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, Tennessee Turfgrass Magazine, or its editors. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers, or 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 © 2021 by the Tennessee Turfgrass Association. Tennessee Turfgrass is published bi-monthly. Subscriptions are complimentary to members of the Tennessee Turfgrass Association. Third-class postage is paid at Jefferson City, MO. Printed in the U.S.A. Reprints and Submissions: Tennessee Turfgrass allows reprinting of material. Permission requests should be directed to the Tennessee Turfgrass Association. 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, Suite 200, Franklin, TN 37064, (615) 790-3718, Fax (615) 794-4524.