Nutsedge Control in the Transition Zone

Clumps of nutsedge on manicured fescue golf course roughs are not a pretty sight at any time of year. But they are particularly unattractive in mid-August in the Transition Zone. "The fescue plant is just trying to make it through August without any interference," says Brent Rockwell, golf course superintendent at WingHaven Country Club in St. Louis, Mo. “When nutsedge gains a foothold and becomes well established at that time of year, it’s very difficult to control.” The last thing Rockwell wants to do is make a broadcast herbicide application in the searing heat of a Missouri August. But that’s what he had to do a few years ago, before he met Jay Young, FMC Market Specialist for the Midwest. Young suggested that Rockwell make a split application of Echelon® 4SC herbicide from FMC—one in the springtime and one in early summer. “We followed that protocol the last two years and Echelon gave us excellent control of nutsedge, as well as crabgrass and goosegrass,” he notes. “A split application of Echelon works great. Since it’s a combination product, you need to go out early for the preemergence control and then later for the postemergence action.” No one pays much attention to nutsedge until it gets out of control and then it’s too late, according to Rockwell. “You need to treat it proactively to get successful results,” he continues. “Once you get those big clumps out there, they are either too established to control with traditional rates or, if you do kill them, you’re left with big dead spots on your golf course! “Growing turf in the Transition Zone means...

A Greenhouse Owner Discusses Aphid Control

Basil was big this year at Casa Verde Growers in Columbia Station, Ohio. So were parsley and cilantro. The 895,000-square foot greenhouse operation specializes in annuals, perennials and vegetable plants — but the herb business is growing fast. “We tweak production each year according to customer demands and what moved well the year before,” says Wayne Cousins, facility manager and head grower. “Herbs are picking up but we grow a little bit of everything – petunias, impatiens, Easter lilies and vegetable plants.” Casa Verde supplies nine retail stores — Petitti Garden Centers – in the Cleveland area and sells some wholesale plants to local garden centers and florists. A year-round operation, Casa Verde grows mums for the fall and poinsettias for the holidays, but gears most of its production for the spring. “You’ve got to make in the spring or it’s pretty much over for the year,” adds Cousins, who holds a master’s degree in horticulture and has been with the company for 20 years. “Our growers address each production challenge as it comes up throughout the year….mites, aphids, thrips and downy mildew are some of the issues we usually face.” Though his growers have successfully used beneficial nematodes for thrips, they tend to stick with conventional pesticides for tougher insect problems. For several years, they’ve used Aria® insecticide on crops that are particularly susceptible to aphids, such as Easter lilies, according to Cousins. “Aria is one of the main control products we use in our operation,” he notes. “It works very well for aphid control. The nice thing is that you can spot spray it where needed. “Aphids...

Blazing a Trail in the Turf Industry

As a woman working in a man’s world, Kimberly Bohn has navigated her own path through the turf industry. She earned a turf management degree from Penn State University, worked in the golf industry, and spent time as an industry distributor sales rep. In 2009, she became lawn care manager of Blades of Green, a full-service lawn care and pest management firm in Harwood, Md., just south of Annapolis. “In the last four years, I’ve done a little bit of everything,” notes Bohn. “When I started, I was out in the field a lot more. But we’ve hired five new technicians and five new office staff. Now I’m focused more on management and training.” Blades of Green’s lawn care division handles mostly residential customers, offering a five-step lawn care program, as well as tree and shrub care, flea and tick control, deer reduction service and mosquito control. Training is the Backbone of Business Bohn holds an intensive training session at the beginning of each of five rounds, in addition to weekly sessions on Tuesday mornings as a refresher for the current round and to cover any new issues. This year, those issues included major chickweed problems in Round One and Round Two, when Blades of Green applies preemergence herbicides and liquid fertilizer. Round Three issues usually include nutsedge, ground ivy and crabgrass breakthroughs. But Bohn began using Solitare® herbicide from FMC Professional Solutions about three years ago and now obtains excellent postemergence weed control. “Solitare controls nutsedge, violets, clover, dandelion and just about any weed problem we get at that time of year,” explains Bohn. “Having the ability to...

Tackling Green Kyllinga on a Texas Prairie Golf Course

Brian Johnson has seen a lot of golf course turf in his day. A Wisconsin native who holds a degree in landscape architecture from Iowa State University, he spent eight years designing golf courses throughout the country, before coming to Waller, Texas to reconstruct the Sand Hill Farm Golf Course. Brought in to take an existing nine-hole layout from a basic design to a high-end club, Johnson remained on site after completing construction in 2009. Hired as the superintendent and general manager, he also maintains the clubhouse grounds and 10 acres of landscaped areas and is the golf professional.“When I started construction on the old golf course, the fairways were covered in kyllinga,” notes Johnson. “We sprayed the course with Roundup® three times before tilling it up and beginning construction. But in a few years, it became an issue on a lot of the holes.” Where Johnson really noticed green kyllinga was on his bermudagrass fairways and tees. A perennial sedge with narrow, grass-like leaves, green kyllinga grows more rapidly than the fairway turf, presenting unattractive spots in Johnson’s otherwise pristine turfgrass. On the advice of his distributor rep, Johnson tried Blindside® herbicide on one hole last May. The dual-action herbicide from FMC Professional Solutions works through both foliar and root uptake, providing visible control of more than 70 broadleaf weeds and sedges within a week. “We had such great success with it that we came back two weeks later and sprayed the rest of the course,” adds Johnson. “Blindside eliminated our kyllinga. Before, I was making two or three applications of another herbicide to get the same control...

Getting a Grip on Green Kyllinga

It’s tough growing turf in South Texas. Aside from the high heat, the soil is a heavy clay/sandy loam mixture that defies digging. “Up North you can stick a shovel into the soil, but down here you have to jump on it – and even then it may not move,” says George Cincotta, golf course superintendent at Riverbend Country Club in Sugar Land, Tex., just south of Houston. “In Texas we call it dirt, not soil.” Built in 1957 with Press Maxwell as architect, Riverbend underwent intensive renovation in recent years. Cincotta and his crew reshaped greens, converted fairway grasses, improved irrigation and replaced drainage. Currently, Riverbend features Mini Verde greens and 419 bermudagrass fairways, tees and roughs, with bits of fescue and seashore paspalum in the shady spots. Generally, Cincotta applies two preemergent weed applications – in spring and fall for warm-season and cool-season weeds. Last year, Cincotta had a problem with green kyllinga – a perennial sedge with narrow, grass-like leaves. “I hadn’t seen it for years and all of a sudden it popped up everywhere – even on tees,” adds Cincotta. “I knew it was time to change my spring preemergent treatment.” On the advice of his distributor representative, Cincotta applied Echelon® herbicide to all fairways and roughs – approximately 135 acres. “We sprayed Echelon in early March and I haven’t seen green kyllinga since,” says Cincotta. “It definitely controlled my kyllinga. I liked Echelon and will use it again next year.” Now that he has his tough weed problems under control, Cincotta has additional plans for enhancing his golf course, such as lengthening some holes...

Guest Post: Maximize earwig control with a granular insecticide.

Here in north Florida, earwig control really started getting heavy a few years ago. In the past, our customers used to see a few dead earwigs at their door step every now and then, but they started seeing them throughout the house – sometimes all the way into the second-floor bathrooms! I even started seeing them in my own home, too. Every morning, the parade of earwigs would begin in my kitchen. In general, this starts happening in late spring when it gets a little dry outside. They follow the pipes and electric lines inside the house looking for moisture. Earwigs are easily recognized by a pair of prominent appendages resembling forceps at the tail end of their bodies. They feed most actively at night and seek out dark, cool, moist places to hide during the day. Common hiding places are under loose clods of soil, in mulched garden areas, in dense growth of vines or weeds and under the loose bark on trees. While their name indicates they seek out human ears, there is little evidence to support these stories! However, they do prefer warm dark areas. Since the products we were using didn’t seem to be working on earwigs, we decided to try a new product, Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granule technology. Our technicians began using it on call-backs for earwigs, applying it around pipes and the perimeters of houses. We discovered that it really rocks on earwigs! Our customers went from seeing numerous earwigs in the house everyday to seeing none – almost overnight. But what we didn’t expect were the super results we got on...