Conserv FS News
STROBE® PRO G
Strobe Pro G fungicide provides the same long-lasting, broad- spectrum disease control as Strobe Pro fungicide, only now in granular form. Strobe Pro G is a combination of two broad spectrum, preventative, and curative fungicides with systemic properties for the control of many important turfgrass diseases. Strobe Pro G may be applied by drop or rotary broadcast granular spreaders.
Granular herbicide, AI: 0.31% Azoxystrobin, 0.75% Propiconazole
Features & Benefits
- All markets can easily use Strobe Pro G without making a complete tank mix.
- LCO’s can treat localized portions of a home lawn.
- Smaller sport turf facilities that do not have large spray equipment, now have an affordable means to treat most common turf diseases.
- Golf courses can treat individual greens when the spray equipment is being used for other applications.
Foliar, stem and root diseases such as leaf and stem blights, dollar spot, leaf spots, patch diseases, anthracnose, fairy rings, mildews, molds, and rusts of turfgrass.
- Packaging: 30 Pound Bag— Item# 480411
Contact your Conserv FS Turf specialist for more information.
SOIL TESTING FOR LAWNS
Soil testing provides an estimate of the plant-available nutrients in the soil and is an essential tool for a sound fertilization program. Periodic soil testing will help to correct nutrient deficiencies, avoid excess fertilizer applications, and maintain a healthy lawn.
A routine soil fertility test (pH, neutralized acidity, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, organic matter, and cation exchange capacity) is recommended under the following circumstances:
- Before establishing a new lawn, whether from seed, sod, or sprigs.
- Every three years on established lawns.
- Annually when attempting to correct a nutrient deficiency or change the soil pH.
- When fertilizers containing phosphate or potash have been used on a regular basis for several years.
Contact your Conserv FS Turf specialist for more information.
GRASS SEED GERMINATION
Grass seed will germinate at a wide variety of temperatures; the optimum temperatures for germination are in the table below. The temperatures listed are air temperatures which would be almost identical to that in on the surface of the soil barring radiation effects.
Realize though that optimum temperature for seed germination can vary depending on seed age, cultivar, etc. Also, the optimum germination temperature of certain species may not involve a specific temperature but a rhythmic alternation of temperatures. Additionally, the maximum and minimum temperatures for seed germination are poorly defined because of the extreme slowness of germination, especially for the minimums.
Most of our cool season grasses can germinate almost throughout the summer, so there are many other factors control the success of seeding. Poor irrigation, diseases like damping off, and weed pressure are the most common causes of seeding failures.
Optimum Temperatures for Seed Germination
|Turfgrass Species||Optimum temperatures for seed germination
|Intermediate Ryegrass||45° +|
GLYPHOSATE (ROUNDUP®) SHORTAGE LOOMS LARGE
Prices have tripled, and we don’t expect much new product by this spring.
Prices for glyphosate and glufosinate have gone through the roof as supplies have been low and are forecast to be low going into this spring.
Multiple factors are to blame, says Dwight Lingenfelter, Extension weed specialist with Penn State. They include lingering supply chain issues from the COVID-19 pandemic, getting enough phosphorus mined to make glyphosate, container and transportation storages, and the shutdown and reopening of a major Bayer Crop Sciences plant in Louisiana because of Hurricane Ida.
“It’s just a whole combination of factors going on right now,” Lingenfelter says. Generic glyphosate that went for $12.50 per gallon in 2020, he says, is now going for between $35 and $40 per gallon. Glufosinate, which could be bought for between $33 and $34 per gallon, is now going for upward of $80 per gallon. If you’re lucky enough to get some herbicide ordered, be prepared to wait.
WHAT IS GOING ON WITH FERTILIZER, GRASS SEED & CHEMICAL PRICING?
Many factors influence fertilizer availability and price.
- Global fertilizer prices have reached record highs this year, in part due to soaring prices for the natural gas used to produce them and the severe storms in the U.S. that have disrupted production.
- Pricing on all inputs, not just fertilizer, including grass seed, weed & feeds and pre-emergence chemicals are at record highs as well, climbing a historical average of at least 12% across commodities.
- This bay of fertilizer cost $18,000 in 2021. Today it is just over $40,000.
- A tote of Roundup last year was $4,900, today it is just over $14,000.
- From September 2020 to September 2021, prices in the U.S. for ammonia increased 210%, liquid nitrogen rose 159%, urea increased 155%, potash was up 134%, MAP increased 125%, and DAP rose 100%, according to an ABF report.
- Between 75% and 90% of the costs to produce nitrogen are related to natural gas, AFBF economists say.
- As the pandemic cut use of natural gas, plants cut back on the volume of the fuel. Meanwhile, as 2022 gets underway and the economy is recovering from the pandemic, demand for natural gas is going higher.
LANDSCAPE INDUSTRY STATISTICS
The landscape industry encompasses a wide range of service lines, areas of expertise and job positions. Here are some statistics and reports on the size and scope of the industry.
Size of the Industry
Statistics from the IBIS World Landscaping Services Industry Report shows that the landscape services industry has a market size of $105.1 billion in 2021. The industry employs more than 1 million people and represents 604,163 landscaping service businesses, an increase of 4.9 percent from 2020.
The market size of the industry in the U.S. has been growing 2.5 percent on average between 2016 and 2021.
Florida (8,758 businesses), California (8,288 businesses) and New York (6,958 businesses) are the states with the greatest number of landscaping businesses in the U.S.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks industry employment and wages and employment in the following categories:
- Landscaping Services
- Supervisors of Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Groundskeeping Workers
- Landscaping Groundskeeping Workers
- Tree Trimmers Pruners
State of the Industry
In mid-2020, landscape companies were mostly optimistic about things and lawn care companies were experiencing significant revenue gains.
Find data about the landscape industry in the following reports:
PROTECT YOUR CUSTOMERS' EVERGREENS THIS WINTER
Anti-desiccant spray applied in the fall coats the foliage of your plants with this layer of organic "sealant" to help the plants resist the drying power of winter winds and conserve the moisture vital to their good health. Properly applied, a winter protection spray will safeguard your valuable plants through the cold months and gradually break down as warm weather approaches and your trees and shrubs begin spring growth.
FALL ARMYWORMS: WHAT NEXT?
By: Doug Richmond
A fall armyworm caterpillar with characteristic stripes and inverted, light-colored Y-shape on the head (John Obermeyer Photo).
The entire Midwest just experienced one the worst fall armyworm outbreaks in decades, but for turfgrass professionals and enthusiasts, it’s not over yet. These seasonal, but sporadic insects made their appearance at the end of August, decimating lawns and other managed turfgrass. But, now that the damage is done, our focus shifts from crisis to recovery, with an eye open to the next generation.
Fall armyworms, as their name implies, usually show up in the late summer and fall in this part of the country. These insects remain in subtropical climates for most of the year, but hurricanes and tropical storms that sweep northward during hurricane season can carry enormous numbers of adults into the interior of the continent, sometimes raining fall armyworms over the entire Midwest and Northeast. Once they fall out of the sky, those adult lay eggs in masses on vertical objects including the sides of structures and even the flags marking golf holes. When enough egg masses are laid near one another, the resulting larvae can be so numerous that they eventually overwhelm surrounding turf, chewing it to the ground. The larvae that consumed your turf over the last few weeks have now pupated and are beginning to emerge as adults, so our efforts should shift accordingly.
A stand of turfgrass damaged by fall armyworm larvae at the end of August in West Lafayette, IN (Jim Scott Photo).Giving turfgrass the best opportunity to recover should be the top priority. While soil temperatures remain high, disturbing plant crowns should be avoided, so raking out dead material, core cultivating and slit seeding should be put on hold if possible. Instead, consider irrigating the turf if the soil is dry. Irrigation can help reduce soil temperatures and stimulate plant re-growth. If the turf is not fertilized, a very light fertilization (<0.5 lbs. of N per 1000 ft2) may be in order, but keep in mind that well-maintained turf will generally not require additional nitrogen. If the turf isn’t growing, don’t mow it. In other words, do everything you can to protect the plant crowns as these will produce the new tillers and leaves that mark recovery.
Keep an eye out for the next generation of fall armyworm larvae. Almost all of the previous larvae have pupated and a few adults have begun to emerge. The adults resulting from the previous larval generation will soon busy themselves mating and laying eggs that will produce another, potentially destructive, larval generation. It’s still early in September and there is likely plenty of warm weather left this season to move larval development along. However, the next generation is not likely to reinfest the same stands of turf. Adults will disperse and find “greener pastures” that are more suitable for their offspring. That means scouting for egg clusters and soap flushing for larvae are the best ways to identify potential infestations before they cause serious damage. If we get lucky, temperatures will moderate and put the brakes on fall armyworm development, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The last half of September and first half of October could be interesting.
Fall armyworms are easy to manage and there are a number of insecticide active ingredients that will keep them in check (Table 1). Liquid applications are almost always preferable to granules since liquids provide better coverage and work more quickly. Granules also require rainfall or irrigation to release the active ingredient. Mowing just prior to application can increase penetration of the insecticide through the canopy and into the spaces where fall armyworms are active and feeding.
|Insecticide Active Ingredient||Insecticide Class|
That’s it 3/4 focus on turfgrass recovery and regrowth, and be alert to egg masses and developing larval infestations. If another generation of fall armyworms unfolds, its potential impact on turfgrass winter-hardiness and spring green-up could be a significant concern.
SEASONAL NEEDLE DROP
Every year, evergreens experience a seasonal needle drop that is a normal part of the plant's cycle. Needles of conifers have varying life spans and do not remain attached indefinitely to the tree. Many evergreen needles, as they age, will turn yellow, then brown, and drop off after one to several years. The change can be gradual or, with some species, quite rapid. Seasonal needle drop can cause concern to homeowners who are not familiar with this natural occurrence. In times of drought, needle browning may be particularly noticeable because more needles are shed in response to environmental stress. White pines show the most dramatic needle drop change.
Their annual loss of needles can be especially alarming on mature white pines, as the number of yellow needles outnumbers the current season's green growth. Typically, white pines will retain needles for three years, but in autumn, 2-or-3-year-old needles will change color and drop, leaving only the current season's growth still attached. Austrian and Scots pines usually retain their needles for three years. Red pine drops its needles in the fourth year. Spruce and fir needles also turn yellow and drop, but the change is usually less noticeable because their older needles are thinned progressively, making the process more gradual than in pines.
Control There is no control required. As long as needle drop is restricted to older growth and is not excessive, the "problem" is simply seasonal needle drop, a normal and natural process. Always follow good cultural practices to keep trees healthy.
Magnolia scale is our largest soft scale insect, reaching ½ inch in length. This scale spends the winter on small twigs as tiny, dark-colored nymphs. In the spring, the scales begin to feed, mature, and change color. The males, which turn white, are smaller than the females, about 1/8 inch in length, and emerge as tiny, gnat-like insects. The males mate with the females and then die. The females turn white to brownish-purple in color and continue to enlarge through July.
Magnolia scale adults Magnolia scale eggs hatch internally and the crawlers emerge from the mother insect. Crawler emergence occurs late summer into early fall. Insect life cycles are dictated by heat so emergence of crawlers will vary from year to year. On average crawler emergence occurs from late August through the end of September. This would also be the best time to treat with insecticides (see chemical management below). The crawlers move around until they find a suitable feeding site, usually on branches, where they settle down and remain through the winter. The adult female dies after reproducing, but may remain attached to the stem for many weeks, making the population seem larger than it really is.
Damage Scale insects have sucking mouth parts and feed on sap from the tree. They can remove large quantities of sap and can stress the host tree. Trees can usually tolerate small populations of scale. The extensive feeding by a larger population will stress the trees and often leads to yellowing of leaves and twig dieback. Over time, an untreated population of magnolia scale may lead to decline of the tree. Excess sap is excreted by the insects as honeydew. Honeydew is sticky and will coat plant parts and often drip onto surfaces under the tree. A black fungus called sooty mold will grow on the honeydew, but does little actual damage to the plant. The sticky honeydew and black sooty mold are often noticed before the insects are seen. The honeydew may also draw other insects like ants and wasps to the tree.
Chemical Scale insects are very vulnerable in the crawler stage when the young are looking for a place to feed. Adult scales are usually protected from chemicals because of their protective coating. Registered sprays applied before the crawlers are present will have little effect on population control. Timing of application is critical. Chemical sprays would be used at the time of crawler emergence (on average from late August through the end of September).
Source: Morton Arboretum
GRASS SEED CROP UPDATE
As the 2021 grass seed harvest gets underway, the initial indications are that the yields will be down significantly this year. Low precipitation combined with record heat in the western united states will likely reduce yields by 25%-50%, depending on the species. Additionally, demand has been abnormally high the last 15 months due to previous COVID restrictions, which has virtually eliminated any carryover seed from the 2020 harvest.
Whereas we are confident that we will secure enough seed for your Fall needs, pricing will be up significantly in the near future. Firm numbers are still a couple of weeks away, but an increase of 30%-40% is certainly a possibility, depending on the mixture.
One possible solution is to add or increase the amount of turf-type annual ryegrass in your seed mix. Our turf-type annual ryegrass blends in well with other grasses and germinates quickly, helping to reduce erosion and thus protect the other seed. Another possibility is trying to maximize the germination by using a nutrient-coated mix. The coating helps protect & nourish the seed until it germinates and the increased germination percentage helps to offset the reduced seed count in the bag. For questions or more detailed information, please contact your sales representative.
Cytospora canker, caused by the fungus Cytospora kunzei (also known as Valsa kunzei var. piceae), is the most prevalent and destructive fungal disease of Norway and Colorado blue spruce. Occasionally, Cytospora canker is found on Douglas-fir, hemlock, and larch. Susceptibility varies widely among species, but generally trees under stress or growing outside their natural range are more prone to the disease. Cytospora canker rarely affects trees less than 15 to 20 years old. Infected trees are weakened substantially, but are rarely killed.
The disease normally starts on the lowest branches of the tree and, over a period of several years, progresses upward. At first, needles have a purplish hue, eventually turning brown and dropping, leaving dry, brittle twigs and branches. On severely infected trees, the fungus will enter the trunk through wounds (usually where the branch meets the trunk of the tree), killing the cambium layer and leaving dead bark. This dead tissue is called a "canker." A conspicuous white resin or "pitch" covers the cankered portion of the branch or trunk, sometimes flowing several feet down the trunk of the tree. This is an important means of diagnosing Cytospora canker; however, resin flow can also be associated with other tree injuries and is not exclusively symptomatic of Cytospora canker. Within the cankered area, black, pinhead-size fruiting structures (pycnidia) of the fungus can be seen with a microscope or hand lens and are a positive sign of the disease.
The fungus survives long-term as mycelium and spores in diseased stems. The canker grows slowly, eventually circling and killing a twig or branch. The fungal spores (conidia) are the principal means by which the disease spreads to other branches, entering through bark wounds and injuries. Infections occur in cool, wet weather. Spores are dispersed by splashing rain, wind, sprinklers, pruning tools, and possibly by movement of insects and birds. Canker development is most severe in trees under stress from drought, insect damage, crowding, nutrient imbalance, and mechanical damage to branches, trunks, or roots. Symptom development becomes more common one or two years following a severe summer drought.
How do I save a tree or shrub with Cytospora canker?
Immediately remove and destroy any diseased branches. Prune only in dry weather. Between cuts, be sure to clean your pruning shears by dipping them for at least 30 seconds in a 10% bleach solution or 70% alcohol (spray disinfectants that contain at least 70% alcohol can be used). This will prevent movement of the fungus from branch to branch, or from tree to tree during pruning.
RHIZOSPHAERA NEEDLE CAST
Rhizosphaera needle cast is a common foliar disease of spruces and other conifers caused by the fungus Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii. Colorado blue spruce is particularly susceptible and can be severely damaged by this disease. Other hosts include white, black, Engelmann, Sitka, and Serbian spruce; Austrian, mugo, Eastern white, and Japanese red and black pine, as well as Douglas-fir and Siberian fir. Norway spruce is relatively resistant.
During late summer, this disease causes first year needles to appear mottled or speckled with dull yellow or reddish blotches. Later, (often the next year) infected needles on the interior of a branch turn purplish-brown (from the tips downward) and drop prematurely. Infection generally begins in spring on the needles of the lower branches soon after the needles have elongated. Symptoms spread upward and around the tree. Sometimes infection will start on branches in the middle of a tree, creating defoliation "holes" among healthy branches. Heavily infected trees can suffer severe needle loss and branches may die as they become defoliated. Trees are rarely killed by Rhizosphaera needle cast, but several years of attack will take its toll and only the current season needles may remain. In moist conditions, the fungus inside older needles produces black fruiting structures (pycnidia) that appear as distinct rows of black, pinhead-size dots. These fruiting structures emerge through needle pores (stomata), either before or after the needles have dropped. This can be seen with a hand lens or by the unaided eye. Healthy stomata appear white. The rows of black stomata are a diagnostic feature of Rhizosphaera needle cast. This disease can be frustrating because severe defoliation can occur quite rapidly and without indication that the disease is even present.
Cultural: As with most fungal diseases, infection occurs in warm, wet weather. The spores of Rhizosphaera needle cast are released from spring until fall; thus, working near trees in wet weather should be avoided throughout the growing season. For all trees showing symptoms, remove (when feasible) dead branches, fallen needles, and cones under the tree to prevent further infections. Prune surrounding plants to promote better air circulation and keep plants well watered, especially in periods of drought, to alleviate stress. Water all evergreens before winter to avoid root desiccation and winter injury.
How do I save a tree or shrub with Rhizosphaera needle cast?
You can treat infected trees with fungicides containing copper (e.g., Bordeaux mixture) or chlorothalonil. These treatments will not cure existing infections, but can prevent additional infections. Apply treatments every three to four weeks during periods of wet weather. DO NOT use the same active ingredient for all treatments. Instead, alternate the use of copper and chlorothalonil to help minimize problems with fungicide-resistant strains of Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii. For fungicide treatments to be effective, you must thoroughly cover all susceptible needles. This is often difficult in large trees. Be sure to read and follow all label instructions of the fungicide(s) that you select to ensure that you use the fungicide(s) in the safest and most effective manner possible.