View Full Version : The Agronomy Kennel

12-25-2002, 01:31 PM
Welcome to the cage of inquiring minds. Please leave your ego at the door when you click this thread in the future.

There may be dogfights here, but think hard about lifting your leg to whiz on another poster here. You will just show everyone else how small you are.

A previous attempt at open education on this forum was frequently criticized for length. Do you know that if you would want to learn about aeration on this forum today, and do a search, you have to wade through over 750 threads? What's the sense in even starting? But if you do, you'd quickly stumble on the <a href="http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=28321&highlight=aeration">"Out the window......." thread</a>, and maybe find a few things to tickle your mind.

If your object in the green industry is to maximize your efficiency and increase your revenues in cutting grass, or to tell everyone else here how great you are, please stop here, and don't waste your time coming back in the future. There are plenty of other threads to keep you busy.

If you want to expand your mind, or help others to expand theirs, hang on and let's explore.

If anyone has a question, don't be concerned about asking it. Even if we have some here who can't understand the 2nd paragraph above, don't let small ones worry you. The only stupid question is the one that is not asked.

12-25-2002, 01:32 PM
Now how many here ever have to look over a property real good, to make sure they didn't miss anything mowing? Because while you were doing that mundane mowing job, your mind was way off somewhere else?

Does anyone ever wonder about the grass plant itself? That single plant, multiplied millions, sometimes billions of times, that you hew down every week or so? Let's take a close look. This pic has most of the main parts identified:

12-25-2002, 05:30 PM
The only part on that plant I have never heard of is the spikelet.

12-25-2002, 10:10 PM
Well, most grasses have a distinctive seedhead, made up of spikelets, so you can use that for an ID. But only for 2-4 weeks of the year. How do you ID grasses for the rest of the year?

First you learn how to identify the different types of the parts in the pic above. Are the ligules hairy, membraneous or absent? Are the auricles long and clawlike, short and stubby, or absent? Etc., Etc. See some of the variations <a href="http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/hort2/mf2031.pdf">on this page</a>

When you can recognize the variations in the parts of the plant, then you can use a KEY to identify different grasses in your lawns. <a href="http://www.everythingturf.co.uk/infoguides/grasskey.htm">Here is a KEY</a> to identify 36 different grasses in the UK. Note you start by looking at one part and make a choice of what variation of that part, to eliminate all the grasses that don't have that characteristic for that part. Sorry, couldn't find a good USA key. Was no web when I started, had to get all this from books, LOL.

There are KEYS for identification of many things in nature: grasses, shrubs, insects, and so on. But to use them, you have to look close and understand the terminology.

Oh yeah, that UK site does have bluegrass on it, but they don't call it "bluegrass" over there. Anyone able to identify what number at the bottom of the page is our Kentucky bluegrass?

12-25-2002, 10:20 PM

I was wondering if you could make me a master set of keys. This way I could keep them in the truck to unlock any grass questions while in the field.....:D


12-25-2002, 10:29 PM
Crazy G, I just use little books put out by Scotts to ID grasses and broadleaves out in the field. The grass book has a key in it, and it covers cool season and warm season grasses. Sorry, don't feel like plodding thru snow to truck right now. I'll post the names of the books tomorrow.

N Cognito
12-26-2002, 04:49 AM

But notice the location of the poster on each post. Makes a big difference what type of grass you are working with.

Maybe even precede your post with your grass type:

C3 for cool season turf
TR for transition zone
C4 for warm season turf

Then, in the future, a new member could easily scan for info pertinent to his grass type.

Tony Harrell
12-26-2002, 06:51 AM
There's a ton of info on here and I'm very thankful for any help I get. Insects are identified in the same manner as you describe. I disagree with the kennel though, more like catfights!

12-26-2002, 03:25 PM
Here ya go, crazygator. The top one isn't too clear: it's Scotts Guide to the Identification of Grasses. It has good description of turfgrass taxonomy (taxonomy = the classification of organisms in an ordered system that indicates natural relationships). Short descriptions and line drawings of 60 grasses found in North America. And it has a key to identify a grass plant as one of the 60.

The dicot turf weed book has 100 common broadleaf weeds, same format, but doesn't have a key. By the time you pluck a weed out of the lawn and thumb through to find it, you'll not forget it, LOL.

Nice little books to take in truck. Don't see them listed on scotts.com, though. Just fancy covers there; just like people and plants though, sometimes the neatest things come in plain wrappers. I got mine years ago by calling Scotts; I hope they still publish them.

12-26-2002, 07:24 PM
Hey, I'm semi-paper trained and tied to the tree of life these daze...........however, I still got some bark left in me.

What better place to woof it up, but here at the kennel.

Here's what the turfdog does when he comes upon a "weed" (which by the way, is defined as ANY plant not in its place)

A rose growing in the middle of a mono-culture of Kentucky bluegrass IS a weed.

And that beautiful, dark green, grass plant growing in the rose bed IS a weed.

With that said.

Take ONE plant of the so-called "weed"....and place it in its own "grow spot" (a 1 foot by 1 foot square)

And watch everything that sucker does for a complete season.

Watch HOW it grows....why it grows....how it reproduces....roots....shoots......flowers....seeds......markings.....what kind of bugs n fungus come around......does it tiller.....etc.

If it's a grass plant you're watching.................keep an eye out for how that one plant fills in that 1 by 1 area.

Or by how big and complex that ONE plant got.

They're not weeds until someone calls them one.

Each and every one of em are a product of the plant kingdom.............and are no more special than the next.

Sure, I agree......................that giant crabgrass plant sittin right by your accounts driveway may be "ugly" in your oppinion....................But, some sick s.o.b. somewhere thinks it's beautiful.

Sure, impress me with the name of the plant, but what really makes the turfdog's fur fly is when you tell me why it's there and what it's doing and what it's going to do next.

Now there's something to think about.

12-27-2002, 06:32 AM
Number 7 . (Poa pratensis L.) Smooth - stalked meadow grass.

12-27-2002, 07:42 AM
Right on, Chester. Only prize is a salute from me. Hope you don't consider it a booby prize.

If you really want to communicate about plants, you need to know the scientific names of your plants. Real communication and understanding can be difficult, impossible at some times, if you exist only on common names. Some plants, just in the USA, can have 4-8 different local common names. You can even get a communication started with a Chinese turf manager, when neither of you speak the other's language very well, by using the scientific names of grasses. And if you think turf is a big business here, you ought to see what's going on in China today.

You don't just sit down and take a course in scientific names. But as you read and communicate, you can gradually learn the Lineaen names for the plants you work with. And some of these Latin names are quite harmonious.

Just to finish off on taxonomy, or ID of organisms, the true taxonomist is never absolutely certain of an ID until he can view the reproductive part of the plant. He'll probably need a seed under a microscope. Most all the time, we would be served by knowing that our turf is bluegrass, but the taxonomist would need the full answer, down to what variety or sub-variety.

Speaking of seeds, anyone know where seedless oranges come from? Well, in case you didn't know, they come from seedless orange trees. But where do seedless orange trees come from? OK, they come from cuttings from existing seedless orange trees. But durn it, where did the first seedless orange tree come from???? Seedless oranges don't have seeds to grow trees from!!

12-27-2002, 08:58 AM
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)....European during its evolution, found its way to America in feed for horses for French missionaries that had established trading posts along the Ohio river valley.

You mean it's not from Kentucky?........................Hmmmmmm.

Chester, if you're from Mass, you gotta know everything you can about this plant.

Jim, be very careful when saying the word BILLION.

Man, that's one thousand million..................that's alot!

At aprox. two million seeds per lb (Kentucky bluegrass)....................you would need almost 500 lbs germenating at 100% to get your first billion.

Ahhhh, maybe you got some big lawns........................if that's the case, I apologize.

I personally use as a guide that I establish aprox. 1500 plants per square foot. However, this usually doesn't take into account the mortality ratio between seeds that just don't germinate and those killed off by the environment.

I still have that arrogance/confidence that every seed I plant will live long and prosper.

Sooooooooooooo, take all your lawns and add them up.................Now we're talking billions.

Hmmmmm, perhaps that's what you meant.

12-27-2002, 10:41 AM
(Right, turfdog, some guys here cut multiple billions of grass plants a week.)

Ahh, weeds. A multimillion dollar subject, no? Actually probably billions of dollars a year spent worldwide on weeds. And weeds in a lawn? Ugh!

But why? I have a good friend who used to mow his lawn at least 4 times a year. (Maybe he has a soulmate on this forum, LOL.) Frequently didn't mow until he got the notice from code enforcement. Then he spent all day mowing about 3ooo ft² of lawn. All day, because he looked at everything growing, and mowed around anything that was interesting to him, to let it grow and see what it did. His yard has always had plenty of dandelions, he liked the blaze of color in the spring, instead of boring green. And was he ever pleased when the mulberries got up to 10-12 feet. You see, P is from the UK, and in the British Isles, because of climatic conditions, a mulberry is difficult to keep alive, so it is considered a prize plant. And his visitors from the UK were always impressed with his mulberries.

Now P is pretty old, so I mow for him. But I know how he likes it, and I mow around the patches of Queen Anne's Lace, the English daisies, and that crazy blue flowered (weed) that I haven't identified yet. The blue flowers last for two months. Even found an unusual looking dandelion type. Had two dainty dandelion flowers on each stem, and flowers for a month or more. That one I did ID; it's a coast dandelion, Hypochoeris radicata, and we've got a nice patch of them now.

(Just an observation: I mowed P's 4 times this year. We had a hot dry summer, and of course his lawn has no irrigation, and didn't have a drop of sprinkler water. Lots of damage on lawns that were (properly) mowed, but P's lawn stayed green all summer.)

Weeds didn't exist before man decided to manage nature. And each person must define his own weeds. I could call an oak tree a weed, if it was growing in my cornfield.

And keeping your eyes open doesn't just apply to plants. One night this summer, as I stepped outside for my last ciggy before bed, I almost stepped on a cicada shell. As I tried to push it aside, I realized it was inhabited, and took a closer look. Shell was just starting to split, so I ran into the house and got Carol. We sat watching while the insect burst the shell and started to crawl out. Finally Carol reminded me about the camera, and here's what we saw then:

12-27-2002, 10:43 AM
At the beginning of this, most people would have stepped on it on purpose. Bugs, ugh!

But Carol and I stayed up and watched our cicada. In the pic above, he was a slimy looking creature, and we wondered how he'd get wings to grow. But in about an hour, he dried out, still a beautiful turquoise color, and had wings like below. And about an hour later, he was dry enough to fly off. Wonder if he was pissed about the audience.

So we got to bed two hours late, but we saw something most others will never see.

12-27-2002, 04:51 PM
Originally posted by GroundKprs
Weeds didn't exist before man decided to manage nature. And each person must define his own weeds. I could call an oak tree a weed, if it was growing in my cornfield.

Right and the only thing that makes it a weed is that it is growing where man does not want it.

All weeds are plants.

Grass growing in a mulch bed is a weed. (Unless ornimential)

12-27-2002, 06:12 PM
Then again, it matters none what WE describe as a weed.......................the more correct assumption would be what our clients describe as weeds.

Ever had someone (while standing on the lawn with them) tell you "The lawn's full of weeds!".......................Uh, yeah....there's a couple (okay a few, maybe)

I want the truckload of 2-4,D......................son, I want a chemical death so vile to them "weeds" that word goes out across the land to stay very clear from MY lawn.

And I want it done under $29.99.............4x yearly.

Hmmmmmmm, I may not be the man for this job.

Jim, nice shot! That "sample" would look good floatin in a small bottle of alcohol heaven.

I've seen enough "buggy porn" to last a lifetime.............so, it was great to see the end result........................Cooooooool!

There's gonna be a plant somewhere, someday, that's gonna hate you for not steppin on his butt. (you are a true man of science)

12-27-2002, 07:56 PM
Now, turfdog, you know the "him" cicadas don't harm the plants. It's the "her" cicadas that do the damage, when they split the young branches on woody plants to lay their eggs. (But I honestly don't know if this was a him or her. Remember, no functional microscope yet. Plus, it's so neat to watch nature without interfering.)

Seems the females cause the problems on all levels of nature. But wouldn't life be dull without flowers? (Flowers = the female parts of most plants' reproductive systems.)

On cicada damages, check with your state extension office for the peak years of cicada populations. There are 13- and 17-years varieties, but at certain years there are peak populations. Our entomolgists will determine in a heavy year if the population is 13 or 17 year, then they can predict the next heavy year for this population. So if you are doing a new landscape in a year of heavy population, you know to protect the woody plants attractive to the cicada during the time they are laying eggs.

For IN, Cliff has a good document on cicadas here:
This tracks cicada broods through year 2017 in different areas of IN.

12-27-2002, 11:53 PM
Did you go to Purdue?
I graduate in May with a Turf Science major. I had Cliff as my instructor one year. Nice guy!!

12-28-2002, 07:52 AM
Hmmmmmm,..... thought I saw only one "ecto-bulge".

Yeah,.... but,....HE is going to do some bug-love.

And all his chick-kids are gonna eat. So when that day comes, and it may very well be down the road, you had your chance.

As dead bugs don't have children.

12-28-2002, 10:21 AM
Yes, LLB, I have gone to Purdue. At least once a year for the last 14-15 years. I need that break the last Tuesday of July for the MRTF field day. Some years go more times; like the 2-3 day turf & ornamental seminar in mid-Nov is such a meaty session. Haven't made that one since early 90s, been going to GIE instead.

But real education happens wherever you have your eyes and ears open. I have been to dozens of trade events in the last 15 years, from half day to 5 day events. The speakers at these seminars, and the dozens of people I have met in the trade through these events, have given me more education than any classroom could. Of the two people I deal with mostly on the local level (right here in South Bend), I met one thru a seminar 90 miles away, and the other at a trade show 120 miles away.

My best teacher was Tim, a ******ed man of 23 years. He worked for me for over a year, and showed me how to walk in nature, instead of over nature. If you want to ever really learn about plants, go out into a woods or meadow with ******ed person, and let him tell you what (s)he sees; for extra effect, you should be gagged, so you can't verbally interfere. For maximum effect, you should be gagged AND blindfolded, LOL.

Right after Jan 1 is a busy time in IN if you want to expand your perspectives:

Jan 6-8, 2003, Indianapolis - <a href="http://www.mrtf.org/userdocs/news/8_expo2003.pdf">MRTF's Expo 2003</a>
Notice how the agenda is broken up into sports turf, parks and recreation turf, landscape turf, and northern & southern golf turf. 12 years ago there was just one thing on agenda - turf.

Jan 8-10, 2003, Indpls also - <a href="http://www.inla1.org/plants03broch2.pdf">INLA's P.L.A.N.T.S.2003</a>
When you get to look beyond grass, plant world gets boundlessly interesting. But then I haven't been able to learn all about turf yet, either.

Jan 15-17, Chicago Navy Pier - <a href="http://www.midam.org/">Mid-Am 2003</a>
Mid-Am used to run out of Hyatt ballroom, got too big so it moved to Navy Pier. This is last year at Navy Pier, because it won't fit there any more. Not many educational sessions here. Mid-Am started as basically a nursery show, but has grown over the years to cater to the whole green industry; still the best place for anyone in the Midwest to get contact with plant growers across the nation.

And Cliff is a lot more than a nice guy. He's a real innovator in the world of IPM and understanding insects. And as high as his mind soars, he'll take the time to answer someone's simple questions. Cliff Sadoff is a true teacher, for he shares all his knowledge, and even learns from questions asked of him.

12-28-2002, 09:20 PM
Can someone please tell me what the "out the window with the 3rd rule" was all about? I didn't even understand it!

12-28-2002, 10:07 PM
Simply that when you mow you should removel 1/3 of the plant or less while mowing.

The thread was saying it aint going to happen.

12-28-2002, 11:33 PM
Can someone please tell me what the "out the window with the 3rd rule" was all about? I didn't even understand it!

That my brother..................... would be the best damn post I've seen so far.............. and this is heading to the same direction.

Indeed I hope no moderator finds this offensive........................ like they did with the one before.

(sorry turfdog couldn't help it)

I'd recomend you find that post and read it from top to bottom, when you finish (I'd give you two days or a long night) come back to this one, sit back relax open your mind and learn.

Those who do not listen will die without knowing.

12-29-2002, 03:10 AM
Hey, I will be working at the MRTF. I would like to meet people from this forum who will be attending the show. I really think the turf industry needs to be heading to a more proffessional level to seperate the good from the scrubs... So whe can get the accounts that care about quality service from a proffessional. Well im not hard to miss, I have spiky hair and probally will have on a Purdue wind breaker. Hope to meet you.

Josh Cage

12-29-2002, 05:50 AM
I think i'll make the MRTF Expo and the INLA P.L.A.N.T. Expo both this year. Funny, the more I learn, the more I know that I don't know anything so maybe I need to learn one more thing. Good thread guys.

12-29-2002, 08:09 AM
The first thing you need do is to learn it for yourself. For only then can you explain it to others. Some things come to me right away, but the explanation takes years (that's if it ever comes at all)

Crazy business we got here. There's how I see it..............there's how the book explains it........................then (and probably most important) there's how the client perceives it.

Sooooooooooo, who's right?

What works in theory doesn't always work in principal.

BUT, not the other way around!

Sometimes it's best to look outside the bounds of science on anything pertaining to sucess in this business.

Knowledge is power?.................................there was a time I'd have bought into that.

Hey, let's get something straight, a huge portion of that power lies in the ability to recall things.

Or at the very least, the WANT to find out.

If you at least got that................................well then, you're well on your way.

12-29-2002, 09:40 AM
What makes a grass a warm season vs cool vs transition?

What makes that 1 grass seed not only grow but want to continue to grow because it likes where it is? I am assuming that I am standing in a newly prepared seedbed in Wisconsin. Why will seeds like Kentucky Blue, Red Fescue and various rye blends thrive here?
What would happen if I took those seeds down to a newly prepared bed in Orlando, would they grow and want to keep growing?
How about the reverse, bring up some bermuda and plant it in my field. What will happen? Can I grow warm season grasses up here?
What is it that makes a single seed right for the environment that it is planted in?

12-29-2002, 10:24 AM
"What makes a grass a warm season vs cool vs transition?"

In a word, evolution. The scientists here will explain it better, but all climatic regions of the globe have plants that do well in that region, but will often quickly die if moved to a different climate.

The difference between a warm season (C4) grass and a cool season (C3) grass is in their metabolism. C3 makes food most efficiently in cool temps, C4 does well in hot temps. C3 grasses can actually die if temps get too hot (113°F for 12 hours will kill all your KBG), and some C4's will die if it gets too cold.

In a transition zone, the turf manager makes his selection based on the particular temperature extremes in his exact location. He may elect to grow C3 grasses, and overseed every year to replace attrition to summer heat (but in FL, that idea would probably mean completely dead lawn in Aug). Transition manager may also elect to go with C4 grasses, but overseed with C3 types in fall to retain green through the winter. Some southern golf courses overseed with Poa trivialis in the winter, to keep up a good playing surface, and when next summer's heat comes, the Poa triv dies out completely, but the bermuda is doing good.

Using a grass type, or any plant, outside its hardiness zone will lead to failure in the long term. But if one wants to be an intensive manager, you could do anything with your plants. Classmate of a friend kept grass growing on floor of rear seat of car all through college. A SuperBowl in the early 80s(?) was played on a turf seeded 28 days before the game. (Seed was pregerminated, already growing when applied to soil, and intensive management in the 28 days was equal to more than a year's growth in a normal setting.)

You could have a nice bluegrass lawn Florida, but you would have to really watch the temperature swings, learn the stress cycles on your KBG varieties, and be ready to seed 4-8 times a year to replace the plants being lost to heat stress. And then if you ever got to the 113° limit, your whole lawn could be brown until a new seeding took effect. LOL.

And Josh, my attendance at the Jan events is controlled by Ms. Lake Effect. If weather looks clear, Bob and I can run down there. But then we have to call home every 4 hours to see if it's snowing, and be ready to run back home if it is, even if the conference is only started on the first day. Ahh, the joy of working solo. LOL.

12-29-2002, 12:13 PM
Where does the "white" go when the snow melts?

12-29-2002, 12:15 PM
Suppose we were talking about bears. Why does the polar bear have fur on his feet and is white in color?

Yet, during the month of July (around here, anyway) if you head down to the zoo.................he spends most of his day holed up in the air-conditioned "cave"..............beggin for fishcicles (ice/fish).

Nature gives you your start............but, it's up to you to change with your needs and prosper.

Jim, you got it, my brother.............it's all about evolution.

There's just not much more to it.

12-29-2002, 08:16 PM
Man, I gotta stop trying to write before/during Patriot's games.

Sorry about that last response.................kinda ambiguous.

According to the limited fossil records the grass plant is aprox. 70 million years old. Dinosaurs trod upon the earliest prototypes of this ubiquitous plant species. When the big rock slammed earth some 65 million years ago, thus wiping out the great lizards, the evolution of the grazing mammals began in earnest.

We're talking about a 40 million year span (epoch=chronological division)...................sloooooooooow.

Uhhhhhhhhhhh, the micone epoch (I think?)

Little by little the plant developed the ability to withstand the constant defoliation and even prosper because of it.

Oh man, I gotta go...........................more to come.

12-29-2002, 08:58 PM
Cool season grass species are also referred to as C-3 plants because they begin carbohydrate production with a three-carbon compound.

Warm season grasses are called C-4 plants because they begin with a four-carbon compound. What about Photosynthesis, and respiration? This might be important to learn the process of what is happing.

How often is it true that we do things with out never asking the reason why?

12-29-2002, 09:00 PM
Is it true that a single grass plant can have over 300 miles of roots?

12-30-2002, 07:40 AM
Yes, a single perennial ryegrass plant can collectively produce over 300 miles of root system.

This is exactly what I meant when I said "watch how complex" one single plant can get.

Remember, that does NOT mean those roots travel 300 miles (nor 300 feet)......................probably not even 300 inches.

But, when you cover such a great "distance" in such a small area............even on the atomic level, not much hides from you.

David Shaw
12-30-2002, 07:41 AM
In case anyone is interested I got a line on the two books Groundkprs was talking about. Scott's says you have to go through www.ortho.com and they're $20.00 apiece. David

12-30-2002, 08:32 AM
Well, thanks, David. Mine are still in good shape, after riding in truck for 15-20 years. But at that cost, I'm gonna really take care of them. LOL. Mine were around $7 a piece back then.

And everyone sees what I say about the scientists now. Ask them a question, and they're still answering it a year later. .......In more and more detail. The engineer just wants to know how (this one likes to know the basic why).

And the scientist always looks deeper into "why??"..... The engineer patiently waits and learns so he can do it better..... While all the rest cruise on, with "How much does it cost?" being the deciding factor in their journeys. $$ signs close a lot of roads.

No takers yet on the origin of seedless oranges? Hint: they were not manmade, LOL.

12-30-2002, 10:03 AM
Seedless oranges are from fruit which develop without fertilization. The oranges fail to produce seed due to pollination failure, or nonfunctional eggs or sperm. So the tree was planted by seed but the fruit that grows produces no seed. Orange farmers exploit the by plant seedless oranges in crops of identical seedless oranges (clones).

12-30-2002, 10:40 AM
Well, this story sounds better to a romantic engineer:

In South America in later part of 18th century, a small orchard owner found that some of his fruit had no seeds. Back then they even ate the profits, LOL. In future years, he narrowed it down to one branch of one tree consistently yielding seedless fruit. This branch had naturally mutated to produce that way.

Most woody plants can be propogated by cuttings (cloned). Only by reproduction by cuttings can you gaurantee exact genetic makeup of a plant can be passed on. So the first seedless orange tree was a cutting from this branch, and all seedless orange trees today are exact genetic replicas of that first branch. Because they have been from cuttings, not seed.

Neat part: one little guy, probably with no college degree and definitely without any fancy multimillion dollar laboratory. This one guy with his eyes open, and an inquiring mind, finds the single branch of the single tree that can bring a whole new idea to the world.

So now do we believe Ray's scientific perspective, Jim's fairy tale, argue about it, or search for the right answer? Hey, it's just information, believe what you wish.

Just keep your eyes and ears open, and think about what you see and hear. And Happy New Year.

12-30-2002, 02:48 PM
Jim I would have to say we were both right. I gave the answer to why it happens and you gave the answer to the history of it. I like your answer best, more interesting as usual. Happy New Year!

12-31-2002, 08:49 AM
Yet the duality of both responses made for some compelling reading.

01-05-2003, 06:26 PM
What about just a practical question or two?

Most of us have seen the first attempts at robotic lawn mowers. Really looked funny at the show I saw them at 3-4 years ago.

And some are aware of the infrared sensing technology being studied to detect weeds in a lawn. I've even read about the aerial temperature sensing testing to determine stress areas on an expanse of turf.

And a few are aware that by 2019, the $1000 computer you buy will be equal in power to the human brain. And some insiders in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics claim that human physical labor will be unnecessary by the mid 20s.

So where will this labor intensive industry be in 2025? Will you be competing with the robots, or owning them?

Will all possible knowledge of plants be known by then? Will we have the perfect lawn then?

01-06-2003, 12:00 AM
Uh Jim, is't that what they were saying about 2000 twenty years ago? I just noticed you are from South Bend, has this infro always been available? I use to live there. Use to ski in Bendix and Madaline Bertrand Parks. Back in the Lou Holtz days. Latter. In 2020 lawns will be maintained by people laid off from the crashing robotic industry. Or when your lawn is installed the perimiter of the lot line will have mirrors pop up every four days(1/3rd rule) and a pop-up lazer will come out of a modified sprinkler head and zap. You mulching folks will be offered the more expensive 3 level lazer. Of course by then only Alaska will suport growth of C3 grasses.


01-06-2003, 08:57 AM
Ok heres another one, we know that earthworms are beneficial to lawns but why do they come to the surface and commit suicide in the spring?
Why don't they do that in the summer? What is the reason that this happens? Where do they go in the winter?

David Shaw
01-06-2003, 09:12 AM
I always thought it had to do with heavy rains. Which we usually get in the spring. As far as winter, don't know maybe they hibernate? Or they die off and you get a new crop each year, more likely.

01-06-2003, 10:39 AM
All industry is ever changing. Just as the teamster and the ditch digger no longer use horses or shovels, the truck driver and hoe operator survive. Very few people could make a living watering lawns, yet irrigation companies thrive. Our role in grounds keeping will certainly change, however as the value of nature increases with its decrease of quanity, I doubt our industry will go the way of the dinosaur.
As for pest, I wish the best of luck to Dow, Microsoft & anyone else who may wish to take on Mother Nature. She is a proven winner. She continues to develop resistance to our best efforts at controlling her plants viruses and insects.
All possible knowlege about Plants? I dont think so. That would mean that knowlege is finite. Evolution doesn't allow that.
A.I. is not only a threat to our professsion, without limits, it is a threat to humanity.

01-06-2003, 10:51 AM
Now, bout them night crallers. Regardless what anyone on here tell ya bout life cycles, ground moisture, or copulation, They come up in the spring cause it's time to go fishin. Ya can't find em in the summer or winter cos it's too hot or cold to fish.

01-06-2003, 12:01 PM
Like most of nature, soil life is cyclical. Not many of us have seen the abundance of life underground like turfdog with his microscope. Some soil life forms have a suspended animation during cold and/or hot times of the year. Microbal activity is at a virtual standstill in northern winters, but blazes in the summer months.

But most animals in the soil will be at a temperature level that is functional to their physiology. Moles are active all year, but we usually just see their damage in spring and fall. This is because their food (other soil creatures, including earthworms) moves up and down in the soil profile in response to temperature changes and/or moisture content of the soil. If you go down to 5'-6' and deeper underground, you will find temperature is a constant 56°F.

Earthworms are there in the summer, MowEd. You just don't get up or look early enough to see them. They forage nocturnally. Run out of worms at 2:00 am, gotta keep fishin', and no bait stores open? Just walk a lawn area with a flashlight pointed upward, focus your eyes to see in diffused light, and you'll get all the worms you need. But as soon as you shine the light on the ground, they will disappear underground.

And it's never too hot or cold to fish. Although it is kind of a PITA to break ice out of the tiptop every third cast so tiptip won't freeze shut and lock the line, LOL. Hmmm, I'll bet someone somewhere makes heated tiptops. I'm off to Googleville.

01-06-2003, 12:31 PM
25 years ago, "mobile communications" was a radio telephone, basically a two way radio with a phone connected to the one end. Anyone could get one for $10-$15K. 20 years ago, you could buy a novel "cell phone" for $2-$3K, then roam around and try to find a tower so you could try it.

Twenty years ago, a few researchers were learning that "fusarium blight", which was considered the cause of summer dead patches in C3 turf, was in fact basically two other organisms. Today we deal with "summer patch" and "necrotic ring spot" and fusarium is hardly heard of.

Little over twenty years ago, thousands of grasscutters across the country agonized about spending all that money for a mower that cut up to 4' wide, and turned on a dime. Their other big worry was, "What will the clients think of this huge machine on their lawns?" OMG, 8 to 14 horses on a lawn mower?

One big example right in front of you now: 20 years ago, most computers filled rooms or buildings. You had to punch a stack of "IBM cards" (bet some of you never heard that term), then wait in line to feed your stack into the computer to communicate with it. Nine times out of 10, you were told by the computer that you made a mistake on the keypunch machine, LOL. But what's this Commodore 64, or this IBM Personal Computer, or PC-DOS (BIll Gates and his partner supplied PC-DOS to IBM for that first real PC, and they worked out of Gates' parents' garage)?

20 years? What a short long time.

01-06-2003, 01:05 PM
Ah yes, hindsight, she's a wonderful tool. Invest now in those robotic lawn mowers and you sir will have proved your point. As far as the cell phone and PC well those people are geniuses at milking every last dollar out of us they can. The cell phone, what a worthless piece of ($@! that is. Nothin better than to go to dinner and get to listen to somebody talking loudly for half hour. And I love to have to buy the new soft/hardware because these geniuses don't support something they made 5 years ago. As far as turf dieseases go , man its just grass and most people couldn't give a crap. Only GC treat for fungi around here. Cultural practices for the rest. Ever here of North Liberty?


01-06-2003, 02:31 PM
Gad, Mark is feisty today. You on a diet for the New Year, Mark? LOL. North Liberty - some little town down near Potato Creek SP. I remember when Potato Creek was just farms. Was neat to watch it change when converted to a park. Spent lots of time with my son trying to get a keeper largemouth there. He never did, but we had a ball watching the woods fill in and the animals return. Then he goes and gets a 6# largemouth out of Pinhook!

I'm not going to worry too much about 20 years from now. I'll just be workin' a little to enjoy the outdoors, and be doing a lot more fishing. Just wanted to see where the younger fellows and gals would picture themselves in 20 years. Or ten years?

01-06-2003, 04:21 PM
Ehh! Christmas is over and its time to get LS fired up you know WHAT I'M TALKIN ABOUT..... YEA! Tough to find something to talk about, seems like it's all been done. I lived in Crumbstown and was member of Crumbstown conservation club. (only place in town that sold liquor) Really liked my job up there, we golfed at bowlers CC. Ha HA. If you ever been there you would laugh at the CC part. Sorry for disrupting the kennel. Bite ya later!


01-08-2003, 06:39 PM
Field experience is invaluable, but,,, I'm just back from 2 days at the MRTF Expo and boys I gotta tell ya there is some guys out there that really know there fras. In years gone by I'll trap 50-70 moles a year and sometimes I think I know what I'm doing--WRONG. If you ever get the chance to listen to Tom Schmidt AKA the "MOLE MAN" don't pass it up. In 25 minutes he sumerized what it took me 10 years to learn and tought me more. Plus he is a very entertining speeker. It was great to " think green" again in the winter and those are some pretty cheep CCH's. Tomorrow starts the I.N.L.A. PLANTS Conference and I'm wound up (Can ya tell?) Now, bout that Field experience, it is invaluable, but when you have the ability to draw on the experience of others--Take IT.

I know I'll never know enough, but I wonder how much ya got ta know before learning stops gettin exciting.

01-08-2003, 07:49 PM
Wanna share some of that mole catching secrets? Only way I have ever got them is with ye ole 6 spike trap.


01-08-2003, 08:20 PM
Lucky dang stiffs living in Indy. I had snow Monday and again tomorrow. Missing both shows.

Did Tom bring his stuffed moles and toss them around the room? Really gets the group going when he does that. LOL. Only one (possibly) more entertaining is Fred Whitford, talking about safety in chemical apps. If you've heard Fred 50 times, you still need to hear him some more.

Get a good start on moles at http://www.entm.purdue.edu/entomology/ext/targets/ADM/ADMPDF/ADM-10.pdf

Ain't learning fun? And the more you get, the more fun it is.

01-09-2003, 02:38 AM
Originally posted by turfdog21
Suppose we were talking about bears. Why does the polar bear have fur on his feet and is white in color?

Yet, during the month of July (around here, anyway) if you head down to the zoo.................he spends most of his day holed up in the air-conditioned "cave"..............beggin for fishcicles (ice/fish).

Nature gives you your start............but, it's up to you to change with your needs and prosper.

Jim, you got it, my brother.............it's all about evolution.

There's just not much more to it.

Evolution, no I'm sorry. There is much more to it.
Adaptation, yes.

I really don't think the monkey's in Africa will some day become human, or will my fescue lawn turn into a jungle of banna trees. But, they may change overtime to Adapt to the changing world. But that's if all these things can adapt to the changes, and how fast the changes occur.

Sure the new kbg lawn is doing fabulous today, but 15 yrs. from now when those 20 pin oaks and pines start to mature other plants will start to take over the lawn(weeds). Sure those weeds will do much better there, but it's up to us to introduce new plants to that environment to better suit the situation.

01-09-2003, 08:41 AM
Hmmmmm, good point...................uh, very good in fact.

But, the turfdog got beat really bad AGAIN by the large stick we call divorse.

He's been tied to the tree with a chain so heavy he only hopes he can make it to his water dish.

And he has fleas soooooooooo bad............they're eating him alive.

I really do believe I'm done this time.

I wish everyone who pursues this field the very best of luck.

And I thank all of you for your time (the 1/3 rule thread was fun)

It's been real......................it's been nice.........................Hey, It's been real nice!

01-09-2003, 09:45 AM
evolution - a gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form

Adaptation can be a synonym for evolution, or it can be used to describe any change. The adaptation of living things in nature is forged by their environment. If the environment changes gradually, life forms in that environment will change, or be overtaken by other life forms more suitable to that new environment.

The lawn being diminished by growing trees is just a fact of nature. Some grasses have evolved (adapted) to survive better in shady environments, but if you want turfgrass in the woods, your only recourse is to seed 2-4 times a year. Because grasses used as turf need a good degree of direct sunlight to function and stay alive. The trees overcoming the grass on a given site is not evolution or adaptation, it is progression. The progression of nature will result in a climax situation in different regions of the world. In my area, that climax is oak/hickory forest. Some areas it is prairie, some it is pine forest, etc. That doesn't mean the only plants growing are oaks and hickories; a drive through the forest in late Apr-early May to see the dogwood display will confirm that. In a hundred thousand years, the climax oak/hickory forest here may not be true, because of environmental changes or evolution of a hardier species.

Now if you throw in the interference of Homo sapiens, evolution and progression get thrown out the window. In one day, man can demolish the results of evolution and progression on a given site. He cannot change evolution - genetic engineering is not evolution, it is interference or interruption. Man does something because he has the capability and/or money to do it, often without any knowledge of the life he is affecting on the site or region. Or the whole globe for that matter.

It is estimated that less than 1/3 of the insect species in the world has been identified by man. Wow, how much we know.........and how little.

01-12-2003, 11:30 AM
Anyone out there looking for real information on turfgrasses in your own area, a good place to start is <a href="http://www.reeusda.gov/1700/statepartners/usa.htm">State Partners of CSREES</a>. This page has links to all state extension services. Also we have extension service on most US territories. You can search for extension info in your state and other states with similar environmental conditions. Some take a while to navigate to the meaty parts, but to me it was a good investment of time.

Some states and regions are now cooperating in placing info for the geographic area on one state site, to save duplication of effort and storage space. Here's a neat example: <a href="http://www.turf.uiuc.edu/NCR-192/turf_midwest/default.htm">Turfgrasses for the Midwest</a>, on the University of Illinois site.

01-12-2003, 01:18 PM
I looked up reel info last year. I found that I am cutting too high to utilize a reel. Oh well!


01-23-2003, 09:52 AM
Looks like the kennel will be closed for a while.

Maybe, just maybe, turfdog21 will come out of hibernation and open the doors again.

01-23-2003, 10:32 AM
1. If you can't run with the BIG dogs, then stay on the porch.

2. Before you can run with the BIG dogs, you need to learn to pee in the tall weeds.

GRRRR wolf

01-23-2003, 10:51 AM
GroundKprs, I have a question for you. Many people around here pay good money to have there bermuda and zoysia grass "scalped" shortly before growing season. Is there any benefit to this or is this just a way to move money from their hand to mine?


01-23-2003, 10:57 AM
Before you lock the gate, I too have a question. What is the difference in Agronomy and Horticulture?

01-23-2003, 04:41 PM
Agronomy - Application of the various soil and plant sciences to soil management and crop production; scientific agriculture.

Horticulture - The science or art of cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants.

The science of agronomy helped the family farms in the country begin to manage their production better. Originally, turfgrasses were just the stepsister to agricultural grasses, thus turf is usually still in agronomy departments of universities today. (See more details at beginning of my first post here: http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20178)

Horticulture historically dealt with ornamental plants - trees, shrubs, flowers, perennials, etc. Work with these plants in human culture goes back many thousands of years. But use of turf as ornamental ground cover is relatively new in the history of man.

And I don't care for how most of it is done today in this country. The turf and the ornamentals are treated the same way - shorn regularly to show control and precision. But the original reason for ornamental plants around a structure was to soften the harsh architectural lines of the building. When you shear those plants, you just introduce more harsh lines, and the singularity of a landscape is lost. The special textures and individuality of each plant is also lost. Does it really take any knowledge or insight to shear plants into balls, boxes, pyramids?

I manage my properties as two different regimes, lawn and ornamentals. And I have two ways of thinking about it. First, you can consider the lawn as the formal (precise) garden, and the shrubs around the building as the informal (soft) garden. But sometimes, it's better to look at it like the lawn is the frame, and the building and ornamentals are the picture.

01-23-2003, 05:10 PM
Matt, I cannot help you with bermuda, we have it here only as an occasional weed. Maybe 65hoss or one of the other southern guys can slip in on that.

But it could be the similar to zoysia management. Zoysia is a very tough grass, because it has a much higher percentage of lignin in it. Lignin takes a very long time to decay, and is the main component of thatch. Zoysia blades are so tough, and the stand usually so dense, that dead brown (blonde, tan) blades of zoysia can stand in the lawn for a long time - my guess is not just months, but years. So you have this zoysia lawn, with maybe over half the blades being a dead brown, thus the color of the lawn is dulled every time you mow it, because the brown leaves show right after mowing.

The solution (NOTE: I'm working with northern zoysia, may be different further south): as soon as you have 25% greenup of your zoysia, mow it as short as you possibly can, without scalping to dirt. This could take up to 4-5 times as long as a normal mowing, and you may have to mow repeatedly, dropping ½" or so each pass. You will definitely want to start with a VERY sharp blade, and will probably want to change blades if mowing more than an hour. ZOYSIA IS REALLY TOUGH STUFF!!!

In doing this, you are cutting the dead brown blades much lower than your normal cut. When you mow at your normal height, none of the brown shows, and in July and August here you will have the most fabulous looking zoysia lawn. Of course, if it's a new client, and this has never been done, you have to prep them about this short mowing. So you don't give them a heart attack, LOL. This "scalping" actually stimulates the grass into a quicker greenup also. (As it does to most of our cool season grasses. The zoysia scalping is just more drastic.)

If you want to see the difference, tell a client with some zoysia that you want to try an experiment, and would like his criticism. Explain the theory, and that you want to do half his zoysia (for no charge, even though it's a ton of work). Then you would like his criticism of the contrasted sections during the season. If he likes a good looking lawn, he will be asking you within 2 months to be sure to do that next year, LOL. On the whole lawn!

Note: don't run out and do this a month or two after zoysia is actively growing. You will open up the soil to light and stress the zoysia for a while, allowing a lot of weeds to get started.

And Matt's guess about this being just a way to make money is probably why most providers do it, LOL. And for the homeowners who ask for it, they just want to do what the neighbors are doing, LOL.

01-23-2003, 10:18 PM
Can someone please tell me what The Agronomy Kennel is? I haven't seen one thing here about a kennel.:confused:

01-23-2003, 10:32 PM
Originally posted by lawncare3
Can someone please tell me what The Agronomy Kennel is? I haven't seen one thing here about a kennel.:confused:

My thoughts exactly! Jim, please keep this discussion on topic. I'm still waiting to learn about the kennel too. ;)

01-23-2003, 10:33 PM
The first post in the thread explains it. Also it helps to know a little history of LawnSite. If you don't understand the first post, you shouldn't waste your time reading any more of this thread.

And I guess I was wrong in that first post. Small minds can develop stupid questions.

01-23-2003, 10:38 PM
Hmmmm??? 1MajorTom is morphing???

To lawncare3.5?? ;)

01-23-2003, 10:42 PM
Owch! somebody please tie a pork chop around Jims neck so the dogs will play with him.

Ok. They still have not offered a night soils class here, So what is the cation exchange rate and why is it important?

01-24-2003, 02:11 PM
The cec, or cation exchange capacity, of a soil is a measurement of electrical relationships on the molecular level. The better (higher) the cec of your soil, the better it is at holding nutrient for plants growing in that soil. cec is high in clay soils, but clay has negative effects in growing turfgrass. cec is also high in soils containing high organic matter.

At the risk of offending Mark (I won't mention the name of the land grant university in my state, LOL), a quick search found this understandable description of cec: http://www.agcom.purdue.edu/AgCom/Pubs/AY/AY-238.html

A Google for "cation exchange capacity" will get you thousands of pages of reference. Some will be grossly simple, and some can be very technical. Wish you could format a search to just get results on .edu sites.

A standard soil test usually gives cec, because you need to know how well your soil holds nutrient, not just the amount of nutrients it needs to have added.

Now I do have to go for a while. Anyone looking for some useful learning this winter, take a look at my <a href="http://hometown.aol.com/groundkprs/Entry/Education.html">CSREES links and state turf association links</a>. Most all of my learning about turf care has come through those sources, my state extension service and my state turf foundation.

03-04-2005, 09:28 PM
BUMP Please note discussions above are over two years old.

Is anyone else tired of "scrub" threads, "how much is.." threads, "what mower" threads?

Winter has us locked up for next week here. Anyone have any real questions about plants and turf?

Fareway Lawncare
03-04-2005, 09:53 PM
I Cut Grass to Make Money...Unless you can Show how this Will Directly Result in More Lawns Being Cut per Day & More $$$ in My Pocket than It's all Just Mumbo Jumbo.

03-05-2005, 08:35 AM

great information here!

03-07-2005, 09:01 AM
What are the benefits of verticutting? In the SHORT TERM would it 'stress' the turf?

Would overseeding turf after it was verti-cut be more effective than overseeding after plug aeration?

How about verticutting followed by plug aeration? Would that be beneficial over the LONG TERM. Or would it cause too much stress to the turf?

The turf in question is 'well established' colonial highland bent grass.


Would topdressing spring and fall(no aeration) with a mix of 70%sand 30% compost be more beneficial over the LONG TERM?

Assume other proper cultural practices are being followed.


Williams Services
03-10-2005, 11:13 PM
Jim, I did a search on CEC and pulled this up. When I saw that you had brought it back six days ago, I had a chuckle. Could you go a little more in depth about CEC, what it does, why, etc.?