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Dr. Frank Rossi: Frankly Speaking

TurfNet RADIO: Another session with Dr. Micah Woods

Posted in Frank Talk, Tech Turf Talk 19 June 2015 · 1,750 views

Today we are Speaking Frankly again with Dr. Micah Woods, Chief Scientist at the Asian Turfgrass Center in Bangkok, Thailand, on increasing the precision of nutrient management programs and understanding the value of light for high performance golf turf management.



To download this podcast as an .mp3 file, right click or tap here and select "Save Link (or Target) As".

TurfNet RADIO: Norm Hummel on green firmness and other "soil" issues

Posted in Tech Turf Talk 25 May 2015 · 8,247 views

In this episode of Frankly Speaking, I chat with my old buddy Norm Hummel, Ph.D., recently semi-retired after selling his soil physical testing lab to Turf and Soil Diagnostics.  Norm and I chat about what superintendents can do "from the bottom up" to manage putting surface firmness given the new tools available to put actual numbers to firmness and moisture levels.


Norm gives guidance regarding "knowing what you're putting down" when topdressing, layering different texture sands on one another, getting sand down through dense turf canopies, and a whole bunch of other good stuff.  Check it out below, or download the podcast here (right click and select "save target as").



Many thanks to our sponsors, DryJect/Maximus by DryJect and TrueSurface by Turfline.

TurfNet RADIO: Chat with Greg Wojick, about the Playbooks for Golf Coverage System

Posted in Tech Turf Talk 17 February 2015 · 1,849 views

Check out this TurfNet Radio episode where I chat with Greg Wojick, former superintendent and founder of Playbooks for Golf. Greg and I talk about the new Coverage System from Playbooks. The Coverage System is the latest hand-held technology for the golf course superintendent, tracking fertilizer and pesticide use in a unique app format.  It even alerts you when the product efficacy window starts to close!


Presented by DryJect and TrueSurface.


Check Out Science Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with TurfNet RADIO on BlogTalkRadio

More Questions than Answers

Posted in Tech Turf Talk 12 July 2014 · 3,823 views

Got a chance this week for a chat (AKA banter, debate, even argument) with my old pal Dan Dinelli. Anyone in this business with even the slightest interest in a broader environmental perspective on golf turf management knows Dan. I know him as a thoughtful, passionate steward of a piece of land (and exceptionally fine turf) that happens to be a great old country club on the north shore of Chicago. As usual our chat left me with more questions than answers.


The topic this time was Bacterial Etiolation (AKA mad tiller disease, etiolated tiller syndrome, etc.). Dan was in a lather! Concerned by the assertion that many have classified this issue as a secondary pathogen, Dan (and I) are old enough to remember when the last bacterial problem came through Chicago and virtually eliminated vegetatively propagated bentgrass greens, i.e., C-15 bentgrass decline. No one thought that problem was a secondary pathogen.


So here we are on a beautiful early summer morning with fresh dew still on the course actively being whipped and mowed, two Italian-Americans in a passionate discussion. Hoping an answer emerges, but as is often the case in my chats with Dan, the more I learn the less I know.


The ambiguity of the BE problem is vast. It strikes creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass depending on the climate. It often strikes when humidity is high, but can be observed when temperatures are cool. There are at least two organisms, Acidovorax and Xanthomonas known to be involved, but others have been isolated. Dr. Paul Giordano conducted excellent and award winning research at Michigan State producing field symptoms and fulfilling Koch's Postulates (a series of four requirements that includes re-inoculating plants in the field and reproducing the symptoms).


Interestingly, some suggested the etiolation on bentgrass was worse when plugs or sod was brought in to a damaged area. Dr. Giordano used sodded bentgrass to produce his results, further supporting the notion that juvenility or hormonal issues might be involved since new plugs and sod often require significant hormone stimulus (cytokinins and auxins) to regenerate roots severed during the transplanting process.


Several band-wagons have started regarding what might cause predisposition to the problem. Often it is found on areas with a history of injury (anthracnose, winter kill). Often associated with juvenile plants attempting to recolonize an area. Some have suggested a hormonal association leading to a broad discussion about plant growth regulators and biostimulants. In fact, North Carolina State Ph.D. Candidate Joe Roberts has been involved in research investigating these claims (read more at: http://usgatero.msu.edu/v13/n2-19.pdf).


Sometimes Primo (trinexapac-ethyl) use increases the problem, sometimes it decreases. A few years ago there was some strong suspicion that biostimulants that might have hormonal properties such as humates and seaweed extracts could be involved. However in the preliminary work to date there was no association with these products and bacterial etiolation. Amid the cry to simply our management programs we should be careful, especially when allowing plants to release from growth regulation in the middle of summer!


A closer look at the PGR association reveals not all Gibberillic Acid (GA) Synthesis Blockers are created equal. Most agree that trinexapac a late-GA blocker, seems more involved than early GA-blockers flurprimidol and paclobutrazol. One could speculate that mode of action might be involved, but what about cytokinins and auxins?


Management of the problem has some confusion as well. Most agree oxytetracyclene (not currently labeled for use in turf) does halt the problem, but we want to be careful how far we wade into this approach, not just for legal issues but broader anti-biotic issues. Daconil Action and Signature have been touted as control options, yet others suggest a role for phosphites in exacerbating the problem.


As Dan and I wrapped up our two-hour banter, I'm not sure I assuaged his concern, but it certainly got us both thinking. More questions than answers once again and it seems the more I find out about this bacterial etiolation, the less I know.


The Mystery of Mowing

Posted in Tech Turf Talk 13 December 2013 · 2,963 views

In addition to being a "science blogger guy" for TurfNet, I am also a TurfNet Member. I'm a TurfNet member because I learn a ton of stuff from the webinars, the forums, and of course my fellow bloggers as well as Randy's Vlog!


I am personally psyched about the upcoming "Quality of Cut"week. I can't wait to hear the scheduled industry leaders try and explain the mystery of reel mowing. I researched and read about the history, development, and latest innovations of the reel mower in the mid-2000's when we were conducting our mower evaluations here at Cornell.



At that time we had epidemic levels of anthracnose breaking out on annual bluegrass putting surfaces in the north and bentgrass surfaces in the south. Mowing height was implicated as a primary stress by the Rutgers University team lead by Clarke and Murphy. My question was simply is there something other than mowing height that might be causing the stress?


We investigated head design (flex, float, fixed), frequency of clip, and bedknife position at various bench heights and mowing frequencies. All this to identify potential unintended stressors associated with reel mowing of putting surfaces.


As I look back on our research I continue to wonder about grinding strategies, roller types, number of blades on the reel, as well as the relationship between frequency of clip and mowing height at heights below 0.120"? I am also wondering "how superintendents actually choose a mower or grinding strategy? What makes you decide to purchase after you demo a unit, is it stripes on the turf, comfort level of your equipment manager, local service, and/or a close look at the turf under the prism?


As a TurfNet member I personally am looking forward to getting some help unravelling the mystery of mowing to me. I'll look for a good discussion in the forum this coming week!

Frankly Speaking is presented by DryJect/Maximus by DryJect and Civitas Turf Defense from Intelligro.
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