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  • 31 Mar 2020 12:55 PM | Anonymous

    Reduced maintenance on athletic fields and lawns due to novel coronavirus

    Turfgrass management considerations for athletic fields and home lawns during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

    Kevin FrankMichigan State University Extension, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences - March 30, 2020

    At Governor Whitmer’s news conference on March 26, 2020, she stated that landscape services are not included as a business necessary to sustain or protect life. I’m honestly not sure if athletic field maintenance also falls under this prevue, but my best guess would be that it does. Proceeding under the premise that both athletic field and lawn care maintenance are to cease through the April 13 “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, the following is important to consider when maintenance does resume.

    Although it’s been an early spring to this point, Mother Nature is still somewhat on our side. My only turf observations now are limited to my lawn, lawns on my daily walk and pictures on social media. At least in mid-Michigan, lawns and athletic fields have not required mowing yet. My expectation would be that although top-growth will certainly begin to accelerate, growth will not spiral out of control in the next couple weeks. When mowing does resume, consideration may need to be given to mowing at a higher than standard mowing height and slowly decreasing it over time to prevent any scalping injury that would set the turf back. Obviously, homeowners may still mow their lawns, so these comments are directed at professional management of lawns and athletic fields.

    Many might have questions about crabgrass preemergence herbicide applications at this time. Using GDD Tracker, most mid- to southern portions Michigan are quickly approaching the optimum application window for preventative herbicides. The optimum application window stretches from 250 to 500 growing degree days (GDD) using a base 32 temperature. East Lansing, Michigan, for example has accumulated 190 GDD through March 26 and is forecast to reach the optimum application window on March 30. Although we’ll hit the optimum application window next week, it’s likely we’ll stay there for at least two weeks if not longer.

    Even if we’re outside of the optimum timing when business resumes, you still have options. Herbicides that contain the active ingredient dithiopyr (Dimension) are effective up to the two-leaf stage of crabgrass, which even this year probably wouldn’t occur until early May. I discussed this issue with Dave Gardner from the Ohio State University. He indicated that in the numerous trials he’s conducted over the years, as long as crabgrass is not visible in the stand, all the typical preemergence herbicides are still generally effective and possibly a better option than relying solely on postemergence control.

    For athletic fields that may not typically apply a preemergence herbicide due to spring seeding, keep in mind the herbicides Mesotrione (Tenacity) and topramezone (Pylex) can be good choices in certain situations. Both of these products can be applied on the same day of seeding Kentucky bluegrass for crabgrass control during establishment, but be careful and read the label about applications on other cool-season turf species.

    We are all clearly in unprecedented times as this is the time of year when turf management is usually busy with activity preparing turf for the coming season. Stay safe, we’ll get through this and I’m confident we’ll be able to get the turf back in top condition sooner rather than later.  

    This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

  • 27 Mar 2020 10:04 AM | Anonymous

    Dear {Contact_First_Name} {Contact_Last_Name},

    Yesterday evening, March 26th, the Michigan Golf Alliance was informed of the new stance regarding golf on the Q&A page regarding Executive Order 2020-21 by the Governors Deputy Director of Public Affairs.

    Q: Are golf courses allowed to stay open?

    A: No. While EO 2020-21 contemplates outdoor activity, opening a golf course to the public does not fall under the designation of critical infrastructure. Consequently, a golf course may not designate employees as critical infrastructure employees and authorize them come to work

    However please still refer to section 4b.

    For purposes of this order, workers who are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations are those whose in-person presence is strictly necessary to allow the business or operation to maintain the value of inventory and equipment, care for animals, ensure security, process transactions (including payroll and employee benefits), or facilitate the ability of other workers to work remotely.

    Businesses and operations must determine which of their workers are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations and inform such workers of that designation. Businesses and operations must make such designations in writing, whether by electronic message, public website, or other appropriate means. Such designations, however, may be made orally until March 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm.

    The Alliance has submitted this letter regarding maintenance to the Governors office. It is still up to each facility to interpret Executive Order 2020-21 as it applies to their business and to consult with local authorities. 



  • 24 Mar 2020 9:42 AM | Anonymous

    The Michigan Golf Alliance has been in frequent direct contact over the last 24 hours with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Press Secretary Tiffany Brown & Sarah Triplett her Deputy Chief of Staff to gain clarification on golf for play & the important maintenance needed in the spring. As soon as we get direct information from the Governor's office on this we will share across all Golf Alliance platforms immediately. This is the top priority for every member of the MGA and we are doing all we can to get answers as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

  • 20 Dec 2019 12:37 PM | Anonymous

    The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation would like to congratulate our 2020 Scholarship Awardees. Award Presentations will be held during the 2020 Michigan Turfgrass Conference. Early registration for the conference ends on December 27th https://michiganturfgrassfoundation.wildapricot.org/Michiga…

    Norman W. Kramer Outstanding Student Award $2500

    Michael Rabe

    Robert Hancock Memorial Service Award $2000

    Jerod Pell IV

    Kenyon T. Payne Outstanding Student Award $2000

    Alex Scott

  • 09 Dec 2019 10:18 AM | Anonymous


    2020 Michigan Turfgrass
    Conference Guide - 90th Anniversary




    The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation is proud to present the Conference Guide for this year's Michigan Turfgrass Conference.  Please click the photo above to read about this years event.  Early Registration for the Conference ends on December 27th, so Sign Up today!


    Sign Up

  • 11 Nov 2019 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    You won't want to miss the 2020 MTF Michigan Turfgrass Conference. 
    MSU Kellogg Center, East Lansing Michigan

    Michigan Turfgrass Conference

    January 7-9 2020, MSU Kellogg Center

    The dates are set for the 2020 MTF Michigan Turfgrass Conference.  We hope you can join us for this 90th year of continuing turfgrass education!

    Register for this year's Conference

    January  7-9, 2020
    3 Day, 1 Day and Equipment Technicians sessions available.  Click here for a full schedule and more information.

    Donate to the Graduate Student Silent Auction

    All proceeds from the Silent Auction support Graduate Assistantship for ongoing graduate student positions at MSU.  Click here for the donation form.

    Sponsorship Opportunities

    Available Sponsorship's:
    Coffee Sponsor
    Founders Society Reception Sponsor
    Speaker Sponsor
    Vendor Halftime Food Sponsor
    Click here for more information

    Thank you to our latest Graduate Student Silent Auction Donor. A. John Harvey Golf Course Design is offering a 1/2 day visit to your club!

  • 06 Nov 2019 9:41 AM | Anonymous

    Congratulations to Fritz McMullen 

    Recipient of the 2020 Meritorious Service Award

    To register as a sponsor for the 2020 MTF Turfgrass Conference click on Fritz.

    Sponsorships available - register below:

    Donate to the 2020 Silent Auction        

          for Graduate Students

  • 31 Oct 2019 1:28 PM | Anonymous

    Registration for the 2020 MTF Turfgrass Conference is now Open!

    Join us in our 90th year of education.


    Donate to the 2020 Silent Auction for Graduate Students:

  • 02 Oct 2019 11:49 AM | Anonymous

    Jim Kells joins MSU AgBioResearch, MSU Extension

    We are pleased to announce that Jim Kells, most recently chair of the MSU Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences (PSM), will begin working for MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension in the coming weeks. Please join us in welcoming him to our organizations.


    Dr. Kells will provide leadership and oversight of the day-to-day operations of Project GREEEN, a partnership between both organizations and the State of Michigan.


    Within MSU AgBioResearch, Dr. Kells will serve as a member of our leadership team and contribute to the oversight and operations of the field research center network. He will also represent MSU AgBioResearch at various stakeholder gatherings and events.


    Within MSU Extension, he will work to help further develop MSU’s hemp program and provide leadership on international programs and activities. He will also work on professional development and work team dynamics, faculty engagement and defining faculty expectations.


    We’d like to thank Dr. Kells for his long-time service as department chair and for his commitment to supporting both MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension. We appreciate his hard work and dedication and look forward to working more closely with him in the near future.


    Doug Buhler, director of MSU AgBioResearch

    Jeff Dwyer, director of MSU Extension

  • 11 Feb 2019 2:18 PM | Kevin Frank (Administrator)

    Here in mid-Michigan winter was late to arrive but has certainly made its presence felt in the last several weeks. However, from Minnesota to Ontario I’ve been fielding questions since mid-December on ice cover on putting greens and what should or should not be done. This winter has been characterized by drastic swings in temperatures that have resulted in numerous melting and refreezing events and there have been ice storms mixed in for good measure that greeted some superintendents upon returning from the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. 

    As we approach the middle of February there is both good and bad to be recognized with this date. The key question for anyone dealing with ice is when did you start your ice clock? Many superintendents vividly remember the winter of 2013-2014 that resulted in thick ice sheets remaining in place for up to 80 days in some locations (http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/what_lies_beneath_ice). That winter produced ice on putting greens the first week of January and it never melted until March, which resulted in death from anoxia (suffocation). Remember, estimates of days of ice cover causing death for annual bluegrass range from 45-90 days and 120 days for creeping bentgrass. Just last year some locations in northern Minnesota suffered over 150 days of ice cover that killed not only annual bluegrass but also creeping bentgrass. So when did your clock start? If your ice clock only recently started I would have minimal concern in most areas as it is likely Mother Nature will “help the melt” before you reach 30-45 days of ice cover. If your ice clock started in early December and cover has been constant, then the turf is in the danger zone of life/death and it’s probably time to consider removal strategies. 

    Removing Ice

    Whether or not to attempt ice removal is a difficult decision for golf course superintendents.  The decision to remove ice can be based on several factors including: turf sampling, duration of ice cover, current and future temperatures, ability to remove water following melting from the green, and labor. 

    1. Sampling – there’s a great YouTube video from Bob Vavrek of the USGA http://tinyurl.com/k9mbfjc on how to sample greens under ice to assess survival.  An important point that Bob makes is that there is variability in sampling and just because your sample comes out alive doesn’t mean all areas on the green will survive – same can be said if your sample is dead.   

    2. Duration of ice cover – as discussed in the previous section, estimates of days of ice cover causing death vary from 45-90 for Poa annua and 120 days for creeping bentgrass.  Check your ice clock and proceed accordingly.

    3. Temperatures and sunshine – Check your local forecast for temperatures and hopefully sunshine that will facilitate ice removal and melt. Part of the concern with removing ice is exposing the turf to cold air temperatures after being insulated with snow and ice for long periods of time. In the past some superintendents have removed ice and then recovered the greens with snow to provide insulation against cold temperatures.  

    4. Physical ice removal – physical ice removal includes practices to fracture the ice with impact (hammers, chisels, aerifiers, slicers) and then remove the fractured ice sheet with shovels, tractors, or skid steers.  Avoid direct impact with tools such as hammers, I’ve seen superintendents use a vibratory tamp with good results as it minimizes direct impact when shattering the ice. There’s always some risk associated with impact related ice removal but the alternative of leaving ice in place and rolling the dice on survival is also risky. 

    5. Melting ice – there are many different products that have been used to melt ice including black sand, dark colored natural organic fertilizers, sunflower seeds, and fertilizers. The key to any melting strategy is to be able to remove the water from the green following melting so it doesn’t refreeze and form another ice sheet. Hollman et al. (2017) published an article on the ‘Effects of De-Icing Products on Putting Green Turf’. The results indicated that urea-based chemicals have the potential to severely damage turfgrass when applied to snow/ice free turf in early March. We applied these same treatments at MSU in 2014 to an ice covered putting green but were unable to assess turfgrass injury as all the turfgrass was dead by the time the ice receded. A YouTube vide of this trial is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKK0QYUCIks. My simple message to selection of melt materials is keep in mind that whatever you apply will ultimately end up on the turf. If you don’t feel comfortable applying it to turf that should tell you something about applying it to ice. 

    6. Labor – if you’re going to remove ice you need help.  Ice removal is not a 1-person job. If your golf course has 18 greens covered in ice even with several employees helping this is not going to be finished in 1 day.  

    There are Few Guarantees in Life or Ice Cover

    There are no guarantees with respect to winterkill and whether or not ice is removed will save the turf. The days under ice cover for survival are estimates from research and conditions from course to course and even within the same course vary thereby effecting how long turf can survive under ice. For further winterkill information or if you simply want to view some great winterkill death photos, there’s a complete winterkill presentation on YouTube from the Great Lakes School of Turfgrass Science at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IfIAvZllyo

Michigan Turfgrass Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 27156, Lansing, MI 48909

The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation exists to promote safe, healthy turf surfaces for all Michigan residents.

Call or E mail Us

Office: +1 517 392 5003

E Mail miturfgrass@gmail.com


PO BOX 27156


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