Fall Updates from The MSU Turf Team

Posted on September 16th, 2019

Thanks for your continued support of the MSU Turf Team and the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation. As the summer winds down and fall begins in earnest I’ve posted several articles regarding current conditions and especially for those in the north that suffered winterkill on golf courses, a winterkill preparation refresher article. Coming up this December 16-19, is our 4-day ‘Turf School’ event hosted at the Kellogg Center. Online registration is available at any questions can be directed to me at The program for the Michigan Turfgrass Conference, Jan. 7-9, 2020 is almost finished so look for registration information shortly.


Preparing Golf Course Turf for Winter

Every year since the record shattering winter of 2013-2014 killed turfgrass across the mid-west and northeast, somewhere in the north turfgrass has suffered winterkill. In some years it’s been ice cover that has caused death and in other years it’s been crown hydration freeze injury or even desiccation injury on exposed sites causing damage. With winter on the horizon, there is plenty of discussion on what to do now and what to do during winter to minimize the risk of winterkill.


Winterkill preys on weak turf. In many instances, winterkill patterns mirror shade patterns on greens. Turfgrass growing in the shade is simply not as healthy as turfgrass growing in full sunlight. To compound the problem, trying to reestablish damaged greens in the shade results in longer recovery time than greens recovering in full sunlight. Improving sunlight penetration to greens by removing or thinning tree canopies will improve turfgrass health and ultimately may improve the odds of turfgrass surviving winterkill events.


Covers are not widely used throughout Michigan. There are probably several reasons including cost, storage, lifespan and unpredictable winter weather. To continue reading the entire article please visit:——————————————————————————————————————

September Fertilization and Rust on Turf

As summer quickly fades into the rearview mirror, late August or early September is a perfect time for a fertilizer application. Lawns throughout Michigan were stressed at different times this summer due to sporadic rainfall and high temperatures. The recent stretch of dry conditions has slowed turfgrass growth in some areas.

Almost on cue, as growth slows in late summer, rust sightings become common. Rust is the disease homeowners notice when their white tennis shoes and white poodles traverse through the lawn and come back in looking less than white. There are several types of rust: stem rust, crown rust, leaf rust and stripe rust. As a general rule in almost all cases, rust is considered a cosmetic turfgrass disease that, although it may discolor the turf, will not result in turfgrass death.

To continue reading this article please visit:


Tips for Seeding Lawns in September

Reduced weed competition from summer annuals such as crabgrass, cooler temperatures and shorter day length that results in less time for soil drying all facilitate turf establishment. In many cases, home lawns don’t need complete reestablishment, but only reseeding of small areas or interseeding into a thin lawn to increase density. The following are five tips from Michigan State University Extension for fall seeding success.

  1. Is seeding necessary?

The first question to answer is if seeding is even necessary. If the turf is thin or there are small patches of dead grass about the size of baseballs, a fertilizer application and cool temperatures should help the existing turfgrass to recover and spread into the bare spots. If the bare areas are the size of soccer balls or larger, or if the area only has sporadic green patches of turf, then interseeding is necessary to restore the area to turf.

Another consideration is to assess weed pressure. If the turf is covered in crabgrass, it’s going to be difficult to have new seedlings compete with crabgrass. If weed competition is severe, make sure to kill the weeds before seeding.

To continue reading this article please visit:

These articles were published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

The mission of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation is to support the research, teaching, and extension programs at Michigan State University. Join Us to become a member.

Follow on Twitter | Find us on Facebook
Copyright © 2012 Michigan Turfgrass Foundation. All rights reserved.
Contact email:
Member of GCSAA