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  Volume 1, Issue 3
July 1, 2007

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UConn Turf News    
  Read The Latest News From UConn And The Turf Industry    
  Ornamental Grass Goes From Greenhouse to Worldwide Market, by David Bauman
Mark Brand

UConn plant breeder and researcher Mark Brand is always seeking candidates for stardom.

His latest prospect, an ornamental grass he developed and propagated for more than a decade in the greenhouses and fields of the plant science department, is about to hit the big time.

Ruby Ribbons, a new variety of Panicum virgatum – or switch grass – with blue-green base foliage that turns a deep wine-red color months earlier than other red switch grasses, is being launched for wholesale production this month.

The firm launching the grass, the West Chicago-based Ball Horticultural Co., is the world’s largest breeder-producer of ornamental plants, with distribution companies in 19 countries around the globe.

In the highly competitive horticultural industry, Ball’s decision to market Ruby Ribbons to retailers such as Wal-Mart and Lowe’s is equivalent to baseball’s “grand slam.”

Every year hundreds of new plants are introduced by American breeders and growers with the hope of commercial success. Just a handful are selected.

“It’s certainly nice they came on board,” Brand, a professor of plant science, agrees, with modest understatement.

“They have a lot of influence in the horticultural world, and when they decide to pick something up and do all the marketing, they obviously expect it to perform well for them.”

This article is an exerpt from the UConn Advance Magazine, read the entire article here.

In the field    
  Get The Latest Information From UConn's Diagnostic Center    

June 30, 2007
Our first week of HOT weather departed as quickly as it arrived. Recent samples arriving into the diagnostic center varied depending on the location in New England. In Maine, brown ring patch is still active and causing minor problems for some superintendents. In the extreme southern portions of New England and parts of New York, fairy ring is beginning to appear and the hot weather diseases have made a brief appearance.

Diseases such as Pythium blight and brown patch caused by Rhizoctonia zeae are beginning to develop. No reports of the traditional brown patch have been reported in our lab, but for those of you in the warmer parts of New England, July 4th is usually the time to look out for this disease. Very few cases of summer patch have been reported, but disease incidence is increasing. Anthracnose seems to be in limbo right now as those courses dealing with the early season type of the disease are seeing recovery, while those who traditionally see damage during the summer months are still waiting for the disease to begin.

The major concern throughout the region is the apparent record number of annual bluegrass weevils. According to UMASS entomologist Pat Vittum, "We have seen the highest populations in at least 20 years on virtually every golf course in the Northeast." Click here to read Dr. Vittum's latest insect report...it sounds like it could be a long summer for these pests.

Dollar spot continues to be severe throughout the Northeast and the mild temperatures forecasted for much of early July should make collecting those dollar spot samples for UConn's Dollar Spot Resistance research a snap. If you don't have any dollar spot, please help us by putting down a small (6" x 6") board on a portion of your putting green and fairway prior to your next spray.

Visit www.turf.uconn.edu/diagnosticcenter.shtml for more information.

In the field    
  Explore The Depth of UConn's Turfgrass Website    

UConn and Turfgrass Industry News (rss or rss)
While exploring UConn's Turfgrass Science website, have you ever noticed the orange symbols above? Do you wonder why when you click on the buttons all you see is a page of random text? These "feeds" are an essential part of increasing the flexibility of access to information on our website.

Newer web browsers such as Internet explorer 7.0 and Mozilla Firefox allow you to utilize the RSS (really simple syndication) feeds from the various websites to access current information. For instance, if you subscribe to our News feed using Mozilla Firefox you can see all of our latest headlines without even visiting the site. On the other hand, if you visit our news page (http://www.turf.uconn.edu/news.shtml) and click on any of the the industry news items in the lower right hand side of the screen, you can get headlines from various sites including the PGA Tour, Golfdom, Golf Course News, and others without leaving our site. If you see something that you find interesting, click the link and it will take you to the full article.

In addition to utilizing web browsers, custimized websites such as google allow you to subscribe to the RSS feeds from a variety of sites (Click on right photo to see example). By doing this, you can get the latest headlines from your favorite sites to show up on a single page. This can save you time and aggrevation by not having to surf the web to find newly posted information on sites that you routinely visit.

In the field    
  News From The Plant Science Research and Education Facility    

Fertilizing With Your Spin Spreader, by Stephen Olsen
In the trade there are two main application patterns typically used to fertilize smaller areas using a walk behind rotary or self propelled spin spreader. Each type of application uses a half rate with overlap to prevent any skips. The first type is making the one pass over the entire area in one direction with the second time perpendicular to the first.  The second type has both passes in the same parallel direction, but applying using a 50% overlap. 

The pattern a spin spreader provides is generally considered to be bell shape.  Despite my efforts to make the bell shapes connect, the perpendicular method will not provide an even application across your turf area.  This will provide coverage everywhere with no skips, but even?  Not really.  The recommended method is to first determine the effective application width your spreader has and second to make each pass half that distance.  For example, my spreader applies a bell shaped distribution of fertilizer to about a twelve foot wide pattern.  I then make each pass six feet from the previous one.  This is measured from the center of the spreader. 

Remember, when using a push rotary spreader, it should be calibrated for each different applicator and product.  On the Research Farm, we use a small electronic metronome hung around the neck to ensure the operator’s gait is maintained throughout the application.

Stephen Olsen is the Manager of the Plant Science Research and Education Facility and can be contacted at stephen.olsen@uconn.edu

  In the field    
  Keep Current on UConn and Turfgrass Industry Events    

July 9, 2007. MetGCSA Poa Annual Meeting, The Powelton Club.
July 16, 2007. CAGCS Meeting, The Golf Club at Oxford Greens.
July 23, 2007
. GCMACC Meeting, Thorny Lea Golf Club.
July 28, 2007
. American Phytopathology Society Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.
July 31, 2007 . Rutgers Fine Turf Field Day, New Brunswick, NJ.

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