Weather affects Insect Pests



Weather affects Insect Pests
March/April 2016
A Publication of the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina
How the
Weather Affects
Insect Pests
in Turf
From 0 to 60 in 5 years:
Starting a Turfgrass
Breeding Program
from Scratch
Proper Loss Prevention
May Help Save You Money
table of contents
March/April 2016
14 tcnc member profile
Bob Bell, Recipient of TCNC’s
Lifetime Achievement Award
16 cover story
How the Weather Affects
Insect Pests in Turf
more features
upcoming event
Guy Hollar Memorial
Golf Tournament,
April 27, 2017
eye on business
Proper Loss Prevention
May Help Save You Money
recent event
TCNC Annual Meeting
& Education Conference
From the President
News from TCNC
TCNC Membership Application
New TCNC Members and NCCTPs
NC State Turf Team
Index of Advertisers
Calendar of Events
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
22 applied science
From 0 to 60 in 5 years:
Starting a Turfgrass
Breeding Program from Scratch
North Carolina Turf g r a s s
The Turfgrass Council of North Carolina (TCNC) serves its members in the industry through
education, promotion and representation. The statements and opinions expressed herein are
those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the association,
its staff, or its board of directors, North Carolina Turfgrass, or its editors. Likewise, the appearance
of advertisers, or TCNC members, does not constitute an endorsement of the products or
services featured in this, past or subsequent issues of this bimonthly publication. Copyright
© 2016 by the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina. North Carolina Turfgrass is published bimonthly. Subscriptions are complimentary to members of TCNC. Presorted standard postage
is paid at Nashville, TN. Printed in the U.S.A. Reprints and Submissions: North Carolina Turfgrass allows reprinting of material published here. Permission requests should be directed to
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the managing editor for contribution information. Advertising: For display and classified advertising rates and insertions, please contact Leading Edge Communications, LLC, 206 Bridge
Street, Franklin, TN 37064, 615-790-3718, Fax 615-794-4524.
from the president
An Exceptional
TCNC Event
January 26, TCNC held its 2016
Annual Meeting & Educational
Conference at Raleigh Country
Club in Raleigh, NC. This event was a tremendous
hit as we gathered to hear about all the great
works and happenings of TCNC, ate delicious
food and desserts prepared by the staff of Raleigh
Country and learned about the latest research during the educational conference. More than 100
people attended this event, and it was clear that
they felt excitement as they realized all that TCNC
is doing to help support the North Carolina green
industry and the amount of support that we are
giving to the turfgrass program at NC State.
First, I wanted to thank our great sponsors that
assisted us with this event. Without their help, the conference would not been as successful. Green Resource
was our biggest sponsor. I also would like to thank
Precision Laboratories, Southern Seeds and SOLitude
Lake Management for their support.
Our Educational Conference speakers were NC
State’s Dr. Grady Miller, Lee Butler, Dr. Terri Billeisen,
Dr. Travis Gannon and Matthew Jeffries. Dr. Charles
Peacock gave an address of the state of the turfgrass
program and how NC State needs TCNC’s support more
than ever with their increasing yearly budget cuts.
During our annual meeting, TCNC awarded
two $2,500 Eagle Scholarships to Matthew Jeffries
and Jennifer Kimball. We also awarded a fund proposal
of $44,688 to Dr. Travis Gannon to further explore the
“Elucidate Edaphic Factors that Affect Off–Target
Movement and Injury from Herbicide Application in
Turfgrass Systems.” We also awarded a fund request of
$26,173 to Dr. Peter Hertl for developing baseline data
on ants in North Carolina.
We recognized the current and new NC Certified
Turfgrass Professionals (NCCTPs, see page 9). We also
recognized all our past presidents and board members
who were in attendance and thanked them for all of
their hard work and service to TCNC.
One of the main highlights of the event was awarding
our Lifetime Achievement Award to Bob Bell for his
outstanding contribution and leadership to the turfgrass
industry as well as his many years of support and leadership with TCNC. He gave an outstanding and inspirational acceptance speech, thanking his lovely wife Linda
and his employer Smith Turf & Irrigation (STI) for their
support and encouragement as he served on the many
different boards and committees supporting the green
industry and TCNC. He also thanked TCNC for this
award and strongly urged all of us to continue to support
and help with the future growth of TCNC as we strive
to fulfill the mission statement of being the umbrella
association for the green industry in North Carolina.
Billy Cole
2015–2016 TCNC President
The Mission Statement of TCNC: To promote the turfgrass industry in North Carolina through continuing education,
career development, support of NC State research and extension, environmental stewardship and governmental advocacy.
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
TCNC Thanks Our Corporate Member!
In case you might have missed it, TCNC added a new membership level for companies that wish to provide more support
by adding ten or more employees to their membership. One
such organization has done that, and we’d like to acknowledge
those members. Please join us in thanking and recognizing
our Corporate Member:
NC State University – Athletics
North Carolina Turf g r a s s
The Corporate Level of membership will receive extra benefits,
such as a listing in each issue of the magazine. As we begin
offering sponsorship opportunities, they will be given first
opportunity to sponsor; additionally, you may see banner ads
for these companies on the website in the future. All ten members under the corporate membership receive full membership,
with voting rights and their own subscription to the magazine.
If you would like YOUR company to upgrade to a Corporate
Level of membership, please contact the office to see how
easy it can be! Just email [email protected]
North Carolina Turfgrass is
the official publication of the
Turfgrass Council of North Carolina
2501 Aerial Center Parkway
Suite 103
Morrisville, NC 27560
(919) 459-2070
fax (919) 459-2075
Account Executive
Lee Campbell
IMI Association Executives
[email protected]
(919) 459-6087
Published by:
Leading Edge Communications, LLC
206 Bridge Street
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 790-3718
fax (615) 794-4524
[email protected]
Billy Cole
Raleigh Country Club, Raleigh
(919) 427-0312
Vice President
Damon Dean
Keith Hills Country Club,
West End
(910) 893-1372
David Bradley, NCCTP, NCCLP
Turf Mountain Sod, Inc.
(828) 606-7186
Past President
Jonathan Richardson, NCCTP
Coastal Floratine, Dunn
(910) 892-9937
Dean Baker, CGCS
Kinston Country Club
James (Bo) Barefoot, NCCTP
Precision Labs
Michael Hrivnak, NCCTP
Harrell’s, LLC
Gene Queen
Nature’s Select Premium
Turf Services
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
Kevin Herrmann
Fairway Green, Inc.
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T u r f g r a s s C o u n c i l o f North Carolina 7
news from TCNC
Meet Your New
TCNC Leaders
for 2016
Executive Committee
Billy Cole
Raleigh Country Club
Raleigh, NC
(919) 427-0312
[email protected]
David Bradley, NCCTP, NCCLP
Turf Mountain Sod, Inc.
Hendersonville, NC
(828) 606-7186
[email protected]
Vice President
Past President
Damon Dean
Keith Hills Country Club
West End, NC
(910) 893-1372
[email protected]
Jonathan Richardson, NCCTP
NCCTP Chairman
Coastal Floratine
Dunn, NC
(910) 892-9937
[email protected]
2016 TCNC Board of Directors
(left to right): Kevin Herrmann (Director), Bo Barefoot, NCCTP (Director),
Gene Queen (Director), Damon Dean (Vice President), Michael Hrivnak, NCCTP
(Director), Billy Cole (President) and Jonathan Richardson, NCCTP (Past President).
Not shown, David Bradley, NCCTP (Treasurer) and Dean Baker, CGCS (Director).
Dean Baker, CGCS
Kinston Country Club
Kinston, NC
(252) 527-9464
[email protected]
James “Bo” Barefoot, NCCTP
Precision Labs
Raleigh, NC
(919) 901-7348
[email protected]
Kevin Herrmann
Communications Chairman
Fairway Green, Inc.
Raleigh, NC
(919) 329-0095
[email protected]
Michael Hrivnak, NCCTP
Harrell’s, LLC
Raleigh, NC
(919) 812-5808
[email protected]
Gene Queen
Nature’s Select Premium
Turf Services
Winston Salem, NC
(336) 768-7999
[email protected]
TCNC Staff
Account Executive
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
Lee Campbell
IMI Association Executives
2501 Aerial Center Pkwy., Suite 103
Morrisville, NC 27560
(919) 459-6087
FAX: (919) 459-2075
[email protected]
[email protected]
North Carolina Turf g r a s s
Turfgrass Council of North Carolina
2501 Aerial Center Parkway • Morrisville, NC 27560
Phone: 919.459.2070 • Fax: 919.459.2075 • • [email protected]
Please print clearly
First Name
Last Name
Referral Member Name
Membership Levels: (See features and benefits on the reverse side!)
_____Corporate: $1,000
_____Gold: $425
_____Silver: $175
_____Regular: $125
_____Student: **$25
Gold Members: List the 4 employees you want included in your membership here:
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Gold Members can add additional employees for only $100 each! Please attach a separate list.
Corporate Members: List the 10 employees you want included in your membership here:
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Corporate Members can add additional employees (over 10) for only $25 each! Please attach a separate list with your employees.
Payment may be made by check or credit card. To pay with a credit card please fill in the following:
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M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
Type of Card:
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T u r f g r a s s C o u n c i l o f North Carolina 9
TCNC membership categories
The Basics: Every TCNC member (1) receives a membership certificate, (2) can include the TCNC Member logo
on his or her business cards and invoices, (3) has access to the Members Only area of TCNC’s website and (4) has a
subscription to North Carolina Turfgrass magazine. Beyond that, the following membership categories are rewarded
with the following.
Student Members ($25)
Receives basic membership plus:
• Eligible for TCNC scholarships and directly
notified when applications become available.
• New graduates of turf and landscape programs
are invited to join as Regular Members upon
graduation. As a gift, enrollment fees for the
NCCTP program are waived (a $250 value). New
graduates must enroll and take the NCCTP exam
within six months of graduation.
Regular Members ($125)
ligible to participate in all TCNC programs,
like NCCTP Certification and the First Benefits
Workers’ Compensation Insurance program.
• Receives a complimentary Pest Control for
Professional Turfgrasses Managers manual,
published by NC State.
• Receives a TCNC Membership Directory.
Deluxe Gold Members ($425)
Ideal for multiple memberships in the same location!
Receives all the features of a Silver Membership, plus:
• Receives Regular Member services for three
additional individuals at the same location.
• Receives discounts on additional memberships
from the same location after the first four
individuals are enrolled.
Corporate Members ($1,000)
Ideal for corporations with multiple employees
who wish to join!
Receives all the features of a Silver Membership, plus:
• Receives Regular Member services for a total of
ten employees in any locations.
• Receives discounts on additional memberships
after the first ten individuals are enrolled.
• Receives first opportunity to sponsor events.
Starter Members ($60)
Silver Members ($175)
Receives all the features of a Regular Membership, plus:
• Eligible for complimentary registration to select
educational programs each year.
• Receives preferential seating and registration
at TCNC events.
• Receives a complimentary copy of the Turfgrass
Pest Management Manual, a 104-page color
guide to turfgrass insects, weeds, diseases and
more, published by NC State.
Receives a basic membership only.
This “information only” category was designed for
those who want only the most basic benefits of TCNC
membership. It’s valid only for first-time members or
for those returning to TCNC after at least a one-year
absence. Following one year of Starter Membership,
members must renew as Regular Members.
Every day, TCNC members just like you are working to advance the following goals:
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
Enhanced Credibility for You and All Turfgrass Professionals
Increased Influence over Legislative and Regulatory Decisions that Impact You
Developing Innovations and Work Efficiencies for Turfgrass Professionals Like You
Elevating Professional Knowledge in the Turfgrass Industry
“Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in
which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an
organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.”
President Theodore Roosevelt
North Carolina Tur f g r a s s
new TCNC members
Welcome, New TCNC Members!
Kevin Brewer
Village of Pinehurst
Pinehurst, NC
Christopher Butcher
Lawn Cure
Holly Springs, NC
Amanda Drew
Chacco, Inc.
Fayetteville, NC
Callie Freeman
Parker BioLabs, LCC
Cape Carteret, NC
Jeffrey Gaylor
Ayden Golf & C.C.
Ayden, NC
Tommy Grisham
Grisham Landscapes
& Turf, LCC
West End, NC
Phillip Hardy
Wake Forest
Boonville, NC
Jason Ketchie
Nature’s Select
Turf Services
Winston-Salem, NC
Lin Ou
NC State University
Raleigh, NC
Greg Harris
Leap Frog Landcare
Cary, NC
Aaron Rockwell
Raleigh, NC
Brian Hodshon
Nature’s Select
Turf Services
Winston-Salem, NC
Sarah Scott
NC Cooperative
Extension — NCSU
Waynesville, NC
Patrick Smith
Givens Estates
Asheville, NC
Tim Sorrell
Leap Frog Landcare
Cary, NC
Philip Stilson
New Garden Select
Greensboro, NC
Leon Warren
Warren QA and
Weed Research
Surf City, NC
Will Younger
Will’s Southern
Franklinton, NC
Wilson Sutton
Kinston Country Club
Kinston, NC
Parker Veit
Leap Frog Landcare
Cary, NC
Congratulations, New NCCTPs!
Andrew Carruthers, NCCTP
Weed Man
Clemmons, NC
David Matthews, NCCTP
Parks and Recreation
Fayetteville, NC
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Andrew Carter, NCCTP
Weed Man
Mocksville, NC
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T u r f g r a s s C o u n c i l o f N orth Carolina 11
upcoming event
CVCC Turf Alumni Organize
Benefit Golf Tournament
in Memory of Guy Hollar,
April 27, 2017
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riends of the late Guy Hollar
are striving to reinvigorate
a fundraising golf tournament in his memory. The Guy Hollar
Memorial Golf Tournament will take
place Wednesday, April 27, at Rock
Barn Golf & Spa in Conover, NC. Two
flights are scheduled to hit off at
9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in a captain’s
choice format.
Hollar was the longtime golf course
director of grounds at Rock Barn Golf &
Spa. He was a member of the first graduating class of the Turfgrass Technology
program at Catawba Valley Community
College (Hickory, NC) in 1972. He grew
up on a farm where he developed an
interest in becoming a golf course superintendent. He began working for Rock
Barn from the time the original course
was being built on land that was formerly
owned by his family.
Guy continuously stayed involved
in the Golf Course Superintendents
Association of America as well as the
Carolinas Golf Course Superintendent
Association and enjoyed his chance
to give back to those organizations. He
played a major role in teaching others
about his profession at local schools and
his alma mater, CVCC. He was well
respected within all of these organizations
and was awarded posthumously the Turf
Grass Council of North Carolina Eagle
Award in December 2008.
“The manner in which Guy performed his daily duties and the way he
treated his team demonstrated how much
he loved his job,” said classmate and
Guy Hollar Memorial Golf Tournament
Committee chair Gerry Millholen. “This
tournament will help carry on Guy’s
legacy by helping deserving students
fund their education at CVCC.”
Millholen is among a group of people
working to revive the tournament, which
North Carolina Tur f g r a s s
was first held in 2009. He is joined by
Ray Avery, golf course superintendent at
The Club at Longview in Weddington,
NC, and former superintendent at Quail
Hollow Country Harry DuBose, now
retired and living in Myrtle Beach, is
serving on the committee.
DuBose and Avery are joined by a
number of other CVCC turf alumni,
including Robert Arrington (golf course
superintendent at Catawba Country
Club), Jeff Clemmons (golf course superintendent at Lake Hickory Country
Club), Ben Dietz (managing superintendent at Rock Barn Golf & Spa),
Rick Icard (retired from the NC Dept. of
Transportation), Keith Rose (retired golf
course superintendent in Tennessee)
and Jim Merritt (owner of JRM, Inc.,
turfgrass maintenance products manufacturer in Clemmons, NC).
Team entries before April 15 cost
$350. Individual players can enter at a
cost of $100. Sponsorships are available
from $100 for a hole to $1,000 at the
platinum level, which includes a fourperson team entry.
For more information or to become a
sponsor, reach Gerry Millholen (CVCC
Turfgrass Class of ’74) at 828-455-2284
or at [email protected], or Mary
Reynolds, CVCC Alumni Director, 828327-7000 ext. 4387, [email protected]
In October 2008, Guy’s second battle
with leukemia came to an end. However,
Guy’s legacy will continue through the
Guy Hollar Memorial Scholarship. Please
join us on April 27. G
Champions Award
(Left to right:): Jay Haas (winner of the 2005 Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn),
Guy Hollar, Ned Jarrett (Dale’s father) and Dale Jarrett. The framed flag was
given to Guy by tournament staff at Rock Barn.
TCNC member profile
TCNC Spotlight on
Bob Bell,
Recipient of TCNC’s Lifetime Achievement Award
hroughout the years, the Turfgrass Council of
North Carolina’s Lifetime Achievement Award
has gone to many great leaders, and this year
is no different. The TCNC is pleased to award this most
prestigious award to someone who has demonstrated
outstanding leadership through his career of dedicated
service and commitment to improving and furthering the
betterment of the turf grass industry.
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Bob Bell (center), holding his Lifetime Achievement Award,
with his wife Linda and TCNC President Billy Cole.
Bob was also honored with special desert during
the TCNC Annual Meeting on January 26.
North Carolina Tur f g r a s s
This year’s recipient, Bob Bell, retired from Smith Turf &
Irrigation in January 2014 after a distinguished 40-year career
with the company. After being hired in 1973 as a commercial
equipment (golf) territory manager for then E.J. Smith and
Sons Co. in Charlotte, NC, Bell quickly put his talents to use,
traveling the western North Carolina area and forging lifelong
customers and friends in the golf and green industry.
After receiving multiple awards from the company,
including Salesman of the Year in 1977, 1979 and 1982, it is
no secret that Bell had a very successful career, overseeing the
growth of STI’s largest-grossing sales division. His division won
the Toro Best in Commercial award in 1999 and continues to
be one of the largest divisions in the worldwide distributor
network every year.
During Bell’s career, he helped to build and shape Smith Turf
& Irrigation with strong dedication to customers, vendors and
colleagues. His same charisma and dedication can also be seen
in Bell’s commitment to the green industry, as he is a member
and past president of the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina.
He has also been a Carolinas GCSA member since 1974, a
Carolinas GCSA Industry Advisory Committee member, a past
chairman and member of the Advisory Board for the Center
for Turfgrass Environmental Research and Education (NCSU)
and a member and board member of the South Carolina
Turfgrass Foundation.
Bell holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Clemson
University in Parks & Recreational Grounds Maintenance and
has been married to his lovely wife Linda since 1990. Together,
they have four children and six grandchildren.
Thank you, Bob, for your service to not only the green industry, but also the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina. Please
join TCNC in honoring Bob Bell as this year’s recipient of the
TCNC Lifetime Achievement Award. G
cover story
How the
Weather Affects
Insect Pests
in Turf
By Rick Brandenburg, Ph.D., Wm. Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor,
and Terri Billeisen, Post-Doctoral Researcher, North Carolina State University
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
fter a record-breaking
December in which record
high temperatures became
the norm for the whole month, many
people began talking about how the
warm December would impact plants
and pests in 2016. The weather is an
often-discussed topic, but even more
so for those of us who work outdoors. Mild winters typically cause
the concern that we will be overwhelmed with pests the following
year. There are often a lot of “facts”
North Carolina Tur f g r a s s
thrown around that in reality aren’t
facts. Throw opinions about global
climate change or global warming
into the picture, and the debate over
which new pests 2016 will bring is
off and running.
In this article we’d like to bring some
clarity to the question of how weather,
both short term (daily) and long term
(monthly), can impact the type and the
abundance of insect pests. While we are
not able to accurately predict the abundance of a pest months in advance, we
can make some specific statements about
common trends that can occur when
certain weather patterns are observed.
Effects of temperature
First, it is important to understand that
each and every insect is cold blooded. In
other words, an insect’s body temperature
fluctuates with the surrounding air (or
soil) temperature. Other than rapidly
increasing its movement or orienting itself
so its body is in direct sunlight, there’s
very little an insect can do to increase its
Effect of Temperature on the Rate of Insect Development.
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
internal temperature. This is important
because when an insect’s internal body
temperature increases with the surrounding environment, its rate of development, or growth, also increases. This is
not endless scale, however, as all insects
have an upper threshold for growth and
development, meaning that as temperatures increase indefinitely, at some point,
the rate of development will stay the
same (Figure 1).
Insects can also have a lower threshold
for development where, below a certain
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T u r f g r a s s C o u n c i l o f N orth Carolina 17
temperature, development will not occur.
Typically, most insects do not feed, grow
or develop when temperatures are approximately 50°F or less. As a result, very
little growth, development and general
insect activity takes place during much
of the winter in North Carolina. Most
of the time, insects will stay put for the
winter, just as they would in a much
colder place like Michigan or New York.
Occasionally, there may be a week or two
when unseasonably warm temperatures
(such as December of 2015) could cause
insects in the soil to become active.
Second, cold winters rarely have an
impact on insect abundance the following spring. Japanese beetle grubs have
no trouble surviving even the coldest of
North Carolina winters; keep in mind,
they survive much colder winters in
New York. Some insect pests unable to
withstand low temperatures, such as fall
armyworms, don’t overwinter in North
Carolina even in the warmest of winters.
These insects migrate back into the state
from areas where they do overwinter,
such as Florida and right along the Gulf
Coast. In this case, regardless of a warm
or cold winter, infestations the following
summer will always start over from
the beginning.
In most cases, the winter weather
rarely impacts the level of insect pest
infestations we see the following spring
and summer. One exception to this general rule in North Carolina is fire ants
(Photo 1). Fire ants can be negatively
affected by record cold temperatures,
and the subsequent summer population
may be lower as a result.
cover story | continued
Fire ant mound in Raleigh, NC.
White grubs at the soil surface.
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
Rainfall (and soil moisture) can also
impact insect populations in a number
of ways. As a general rule of thumb, dry
weather slows the development of many
insects, especially soil insects such as
fire ants, mole crickets and white grubs
(Photo 2). Dry conditions reduce the
likelihood that eggs will survive and
hatch in the soil. Newly hatched larvae
and nymphs can also have trouble surviving in dry soil due to the porous composition of the soft-bodied exoskeleton
through which water can evaporate.
A hot, dry summer, even when the
turf is irrigated, is tough on soil insects.
These conditions can also reduce the
surface activity of fire ants and may make
it more difficult to control the mound.
North Carolina Tur f g r a s s
Effects of moisture
Conversely, if it rains while eggs are
being laid and new larvae and nymphs
are present in the soil profile, the insect
population is more likely to survive.
Although wet weather conditions
can increase the likelihood of survival of
insect pests, they may also increase the
presence of predators and pathogens in
the soil. These microorganisms can
be effective against caterpillar pests like
cutworms or armyworms, but they are
so small that it is impossible to predict
whether or not they will have an impact
on a future pest population.
Some caterpillar pest (armyworm)
problems are often most severe during
droughts simply because there are fewer
lush host plants for them to feed on. For
a highly mobile insect moving into a new
area under dry conditions, irrigated turf
is especially attractive.
Hot, dry weather can also increase
the impact of insect damage by applying
additional stress to the turf, thus making
it more susceptible to insect feeding.
Anytime a host plant is stressed, its tolerance for insect feeding will be less. We
often see this with hunting billbugs in
warm-season turf such as bermudagrass or
zoysiagrass. In the spring and fall, when
day length is shorter and nighttime temperatures are cooler, adult billbug feeding
damage becomes much more obvious
simply because the plant has less capacity
to tolerate feeding.
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
So, what now?
All of this brings us around to the big
questions. Exactly what do the record
warm temperatures we observed in
December and the near-normal temperatures of January mean for insect pest populations in May, June, July and August?
The honest answer is that we don’t know,
but I would speculate that they won’t
mean too much. Yes, December was
indeed a record warm month — not by a
small amount, but rather by double digits.
No recent previous-year temperatures
have even come close. In December,
plants were blooming, skunks were out
running around, frogs were croaking, and
it felt like North Carolina had been
moved further south to Florida. Without
a doubt, some insects took advantage of
the situation and were active. However,
many turf insects were already in their
“overwintering stage,” and that meant
those insects were not going anywhere by
North Carolina Tur f g r a s s
the time December rolled around, regardless of temperature.
Specifically, I don’t think the warm
December will make any difference in the
lifecycle or timing of soil insects such as
mole crickets or white grubs. Fire ants
did take advantage of the weather and
were quite active, and I am confident the
queen was laying eggs, more ants were
hatched, and the colony was very happy.
But since these mounds are relatively
active for much of the year, I don’t see
much real impact for 2016.
Hunting billbugs, sugarcane beetles
and annual bluegrass weevils (Photo
3) overwinter as adults (mature larvae
also for billbugs), and it is possible that
they used the warmer temperatures in
December to continue to mate and lay
some additional eggs. However, I do not
believe this slight potential increase in
activity will have much of an impact on
overall populations for these pests.
Fall armyworms had already succumbed to mid-fall’s frosts and freezes,
so there was no impact on their populations. Cutworms, which can survive cold
weather, were very happy and active during December. A few golf courses actually had damage to putting greens from
cutworms in December, but the overall
impact on cutworm populations for 2016
will be minimal.
My prediction for 2016? Will it be a
record year for insects due to the record
warm weather we saw in December? No!
2016 could be a record year for some turf
insect(s), but I do not think it will be
due to the previous warm winter. December did not allow any insect that normally
doesn’t overwinter in North Carolina
to survive since January temperatures
quickly brought us back to reality. The
warm December did not allow any insects
to complete extra generations and thus
start out 2016 with larger initial populations. It was warm — it was record warm,
indeed a novel event — but I really
doubt that we’ll see anything of significance relative to insect pests in turf due
to this phenomenon.
There are times when strange weather
significantly impacts insect populations,
especially the timing of their occurrence.
My experience, however, has not been
that temperatures in the winter months
have much impact on the timing of
insect populations, but rather the spring
temperatures in late March, April and
cover story | continued
Annual bluegrass weevil adult.
May have the greatest effect. Warm temperatures in the winter, even the extreme
record warmth of December 2015, are
still relatively “cold” temperatures to
insects. Therefore, not much will happen
in December that really contributes to
the overall timing of an insect population. However, unusually warm temperatures in April CAN and DO push insect
populations forward.
So, as we move into the spring and
summer of 2016, keep that in mind. No
matter how warm it was in December,
if it is unusually cold and dry in April,
insect populations will most likely be
delayed, and the opposite will be true
if April is warm and wet. The spring
weather is a big factor in our insect
issues for the rest of the year.
That being said, December was a
warm month of epic proportions so we
all need to be vigilant and not assume
that 2016 will be a “normal” year because
it may not be. We have never seen a
winter month this warm in history, so
we can’t let our guard down.
After near normal weather in January
and February, March has chosen to be
a repeat of December, with very warm
temperatures through the middle of the
month (at the time this issue of North
Carolina Turfgrass goes to press). These
are the conditions more likely to cause an
early emergence of pest problems. But,
with that said, below-normal temperatures
in April or a late freeze or frost can reset
all of those forecasts. The only accurate
prediction is the one you develop by
being vigilant about scouting and staying on top of pest issues.
We will continue to provide regular
updates and reports throughout the
season on turf insect issues this spring
and summer on Turffiles (www.turffiles. and on Facebook “Turf, Bugs,
and Rock n Roll.” G
applied research
From 0 to 60
in 5 years:
Starting a Turfgrass Breeding Program from Scratch
By Susana Milla-Lewis, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Turfgrass
Breeding and Genetics,
NC State University
I was hired in 2009 to establish a new
turfgrass-breeding program in the College
of Agriculture and Life Science at North
Carolina State University. At the time,
NCSU had a world-renowned turfgrassmanagement program and a long and
illustrious plant-breeding history, but no
combination of the two. I had big greenhouses, but they were empty. I had almost
no breeding materials to work with.
How does one start a breeding program from scratch? The first few months
in the job, I did some travelling and
visited the main turfgrass-breeding programs in the southern U.S. and a few
private companies in Oregon, looking
for materials. After establishing collaborations and negotiating transfer of materials, it was all about making sense of
what we received. We needed to understand how much variation there was
among our new materials; in other words,
did we have any winners for traits of
commercial interest?
We spent the first couple of years
screening materials for many different
traits. Our team has made significant progress in identifying materials that have
superior performance for several important traits. For example, in bermudagrass,
a two-year study under continuous 63%
and 80% shade identified two accessions
with high levels of shade tolerance.
Likewise, in St. Augustinegrass, experiments under controlled environmental
conditions resulted in the identification
of materials with resistance to gray leaf
spot and chinch bugs. Similar work has
been done in zoysiagrass to find materials
with large patch resistance.
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
eople say that the good
thing about the transition
zone is that you can grow
any kind of grass, but the
counter side of that is that you cannot grow any of them really well. In
North Carolina, for example, summers are just a bit too hot for coolseason grasses, and winters can
be a bit too cold for warm-season
grasses. Both groups of grasses
are likely to struggle during some
part of the year. Therein lies
my challenge.
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T u r f g r a s s C o u n c i l o f N orth Carolina 23
continued | applied research
Once useful variation is found, that’s
when the fun starts. The goal is to stack
together stress-tolerance traits while
keeping turf quality in mind. To do so,
years of crossing and selection are a must.
The more lines we look at, the higher the
number of genetic combinations under
evaluation and, therefore, the higher
the chances of finding a good one. Plant
breeding is a little bit like playing the
lottery — the more tickets you buy, the
higher your chances of winning.
So, plant breeding is all about numbers
but not just numbers of lines. The longer
we evaluate a line, the more certain we
are of having a good picture of its true
performance. Also, the more environments
we put that line in, the better idea we’ll
have of how it’ll perform, no matter what
Mother Nature throws at it (drought,
cold, insects, etc.).
But the breeding process is a long one.
Probably the hardest part about my job
is dealing with people’s expectations on
how long it takes to get a new cultivar
out in the market. From the initial cross
to the release date, it might take eight
to ten years of evaluations until we are
100% sure that we have something worth
putting out there… and that’s assuming we
get lucky and hit it right on that first cross.
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
Most of the time, we have to go back to
the crossing block to add other traits.
So, what kinds of things are we working on? Because of our location in the
transition zone, the main goals of the
program are to improve cold tolerance
in warm-season grasses and to improve
heat and drought tolerance in cool-season
grasses. The program currently has projects
on tall fescue, bermudagrass, zoysiagrass,
centipedegrass and St. Augustinegrass. I
believe that the potential of warm-season
grasses has not been fully exploited in
some areas of the transition zone. With
increasing demands for water-usage
efficiency, transitioning to grasses with
lower water demands would have a
significant effect on the sustainability
of our industry.
Thanks to a strong partnership with
growers and industry professionals, the
program has identified goals to ensure
its long-term success. Ultimately, what
we want is to improve the sustainability
and economic gain of the overall turfgrass industry in our state through the
development of cultivars that require
reduced inputs and that are capable of
tolerating biotic and environmental
stresses while still maintaining good
quality and overall performance. G
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T u r f g r a s s C o u n c i l o f N orth Carolina 25
eye on business
Proper Loss
May Help Save You Money…
Develop a Loss-Prevention Plan for Your Business This Year
By Richard Suddarth, First Benefits Insurance Mutual, Inc.
Your business is also subject to
risk analysis and management, as there
are obvious financial risks that must be
considered and addressed when running a business. Hopefully, you’re not
making those decisions unconsciously or
instinctively. I would bet that you have
a financial advisor, or CPA, to help
with the details. You also probably have
a strong relationship with your insurance
agent to help manage your property and
liability exposures.
Does your risk-management plan
include your workers’ compensation
program? Do you have a loss-prevention
policy, or are you just letting nature run
its course? Are you actively engaged in
providing a safe working environment for
your employees? A proper analysis of
your exposures, or what may lead towards
potential accidents and losses — and a
plan to mitigate them — can pay dividends in the form of reduced premiums,
increased productivity and improved
employee morale.
Here are some of the reasons why
you should consider developing a loss
prevention plan for your business
this year.
Reduced premiums
One of the first returns that your
workers’ compensation loss-prevention
plan can lead to is reduced workers’ compensation premiums. Your premiums are
based on several factors. One of them is
your job classifications, or the functions
your employees perform. Some examples
include clerical office staff, carpentry,
auto-service technician and outside sales.
Your payroll is another factor in the
determination of your rate.
Finally, your experience-modification
factor is a big part of your premium
determination. Your experience modification takes into account the frequency
and severity of claims that your business
reports. The experience modification factor itself is a representation of how your
business performs, better or worse, than
businesses similar to yours. Think of it
as a percentage factor applied to your
workers’ compensation premium calculation. If the factor goes above 1.0, then
you’re paying extra. If below a 1.0, then
you’re getting a discount. A solid lossprevention program can have a positive
impact on your business’ experience
modification factor and provide for
potentially lower premiums.
Reduced lapse in
business productivity
We can also speak to the unseen costs of
workers’ compensation claims. When an
employee is injured, it is comforting to
know that the medical costs and potential lost wages that the injured employee
faces will be addressed. But what about
the additional expense that your business
faces, now that the employee is out of
work? Is productivity impacted because
you’re down one employee? What other
administrative expenses will you face?
Will you need to hire and train a new
employee to keep up with the businesses demands? These are all things
to consider, and they’re things that can
potentially be avoided if a loss-prevention
plan is put into place.
employee morale
Lastly, we can look to the business
environment itself and employee morale.
Employees who are confident in the safety
of their work environment tend to show
greater morale and greater pride in their
jobs. A proper loss-prevention program
can lift employee spirits since they know
everything that is being done is to provide them a safe working environment.
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
nalyzing and managing
risk are things you do as an
individual every day, albeit
unconsciously. You get into a car, and
you instinctively reach for the seatbelt. You stop at an ATM in a poorly
lit area. You grab a step stool to help
you reach for a box on the top shelf.
Each one of these actions comes with
potential consequences — based
on the action, or inaction, that you
choose to take.
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T u r f g r a s s C o u n c i l o f N orth Carolina 27
eye on business | continued
Many times, we take a reactive
approach to what we could have done
differently. While there is nothing wrong
with reviewing what occurred and what
can be done to prevent it in the future,
a proactive approach will assist with
identifying problems before they occur.
Take the time to develop your own lossprevention program, and then take the
time to review it at least on an annual
basis to see if adjustments should be
made. The dividends you may receive
are worth the effort.
Things that your
loss-prevention plan
should include:
About First Benefits
Insurance Mutual:
First Benefits Insurance Mutual (FBIM)
is a North Carolina-based mutual insurance
company that specializes in providing
workers’ compensation insurance. With
over 20 years of experience, FBIM prides
itself on personal service, sound underwriting and aggressive claims management.
Source: Written by Richard Suddarth, vice
president of Marketing and Administration,
First Benefits Insurance Mutual, Inc. A
membership-based workers’ compensation
insurance company created by North Carolina business owners, FBIM is NCRMA’s
most-popular member service. For more
information, contact Richard Suddarth at
[email protected] G
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
ommitment from management to
a safety culture
Proper communication of the plan
and expectations to employees
Method to evaluate employee
compliance with the plan
Safety training and instruction
Scheduled equipment, machinery
and premises inspections
ost-accident investigations
Analysis and review of each accident
to identify factors to prevent
future losses
Recordkeeping and documentation
of safety meetings and accident logs
North Carolina Tur f g r a s s
Your TCNC Membership
Allows You Access to
One of North Carolina’s
Best-Kept Secrets
Members. They are the lifeblood
of every association. Each year,
associations look for ways to enhance
the value proposition that is provided
to their members. These come from a
variety of different sources. Sometimes
they are through educational offerings,
sometimes through expos and events
and sometimes through strategic relationships. One benefit of particular
value that Turfgrass Council of North
Carolina (TCNC) offers to its members
is its strategic relationship with First
Benefits Insurance Mutual (FBIM).
More than 20 years ago, the North
Carolina Retail Merchants Association
(NCRMA) created a workers’ compensation company and made it available
exclusively to its members. Initially a
self-insured fund, the company’s reputation grew based on outstanding service
and competitive rates. Additional organizations began to make it available to
their members as a member benefit.
The relationship with TCNC and FBIM
doesn’t go back quite 20 years, but
they have partnered together through
the transformation of the self-insured
fund six years ago. In 2008, the fund
reformed as a mutual insurance company. First Benefits Insurance Mutual
emerged and is an outstanding, competitive workers’ compensation benefit
for members of TCNC.
As a current member of TCNC, you
are eligible for workers’ compensation
with no other membership requirements. Your membership allows you
access to one of North Carolina’s bestkept workers’ compensation secrets.
North Carolina law states that all businesses with three or more employees,
and farm operations with ten or more
employees, are required to purchase a
workers’ compensation policy. Although
these numbers dictate when you have
to purchase coverage, your liability to
your employees begins when you hire
the first one. Purchasing workers’ compensation insurance is the smart thing
to do, and when you purchase a policy
through FBIM, your purchase is providing an additional layer of support for
your association.
If you don’t have your workers’
compensation through First Benefits
Insurance Mutual, you should! Contact
the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina
for additional information, or contact
FBIM for an agent in your area!
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T u r f g r a s s C o u n c i l o f N orth Carolina 29
recent event
Highlights from
TCNC’s Annual Meeting
& Educational Conference
January 26, 2016 • Raleigh Country Club • Raleigh, NC
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
Bob Bell (second from the right, retired from Smith Turf & Irrigation) received TCNC’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
In the photo above, Bell is flanked by his wife, Linda, and friends from Smith Turf & Irrigation.
NC State’s Dr. Travis Gannon (left) was presented with a $44,688
check from TCNC President Billy Cole to fund a research trial on
“Elucidate Edaphic Factors that Affect Off–Target Movement and
Injury from Herbicide Application in Turfgrass Systems.”
North Carolina Tur f g r a s s
NC State’s Matthew Jeffries (right) received a TCNC $2,500
Eagle Scholarship from TCNC President Billy Cole.
Thanks To Our Event Sponsors!
New North Carolina Certified Turfgrass Professionals (NCCTPs) were honored during the Annual Meeting. Standing with Certification Chairman
Jonathan Richardson (far left) were (left to right): Bruce Spesard, NCCTP (Bayer CropScience); Scott Wilson, NCCTP (The Biltmore Company); Andrew
Carruthers, NCCTP (Weed Man); Michael Hrivnak, NCCTP (Harrell’s, LLC); Al Hunter, NCCTP; and Tom Woods, NCCTP (NC State University).
Ryan Walsh (right), outgoing TCNC board
member, received a plaque in recognition
of his service.
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
NC State’s Dr. Charles Peacock was the luncheon speaker, updating attendees on the “State
of the Turfgrass Program at NC State.” During the education segments throughout the day,
Dr. Grady Miller, Dr. Terri Billeisen, Dr. Travis Gannon, Lee Butler and Matt Jeffries also spoke.
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T u r f g r a s s C o u n c i l o f N orth Carolina 31
nc state turf team
Amick’s Superstore...............................15
Crop Science
Matthew C. Martin
Extension Associate
(910) 675-2314
[email protected]
Arthur H. Bruneau, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
(919) 515-5855
[email protected]
Susana Milla-Lewis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
(919) 515-3196
[email protected]
Richard J. Cooper, Ph.D.
Professor, Turfgrass
Management Specialist
(919) 515-7600
[email protected]
Grady Miller, Ph.D.
Professor & Ext. Specialist
(919) 515-5656
[email protected]
Emily Erickson
CENTERE Assoc. Director
(919) 513-2034
[email protected]
Charles Peacock, Ph.D.
Professor & Ext. Specialist
(919) 515-7615
[email protected]
Travis Gannon, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
(919) 513-4655
[email protected]
Rongda Qu, Ph.D.
(919) 515-7616
[email protected]
Rob Richardson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor,
Extension Specialist
(919) 515-5653
[email protected]
Thomas Rufty, Ph.D.
CENTERE Co-Director
(919) 515-3660
[email protected]
Fred H. Yelverton, Ph.D.
CENTERE Co-Director
Professor, Ext. Specialist
(919) 515-5639
[email protected]
Cardinal Chemicals...............................29
Carolina Green Corp.............................34
Carolina Turf Farms, Inc.......................25
Divots, Inc.............................................34
Ewing Irrigation......................................5
Leading Edge Communications............32
Lebanon Turf.............. Inside Front Cover
Research Station
Rick Brandenburg, Ph.D.
(919) 515-8876
[email protected]
Jim Kerns, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor &
Extension Specialist
(919) 515-4820
[email protected]
Jeremy R. Martin
Research Operations
(910) 974-4673
[email protected]
Science Dept.
Lee Butler
Extension Coordinator
Turf Diagnostic Lab
(919) 513-3878
[email protected]
John Michael Phillips II
Turfgrass Unit Manager
(910) 974-4673
[email protected]
Wei Shi
(919) 513-4641
[email protected]
Buy Sod....................... Inside Back Cover
Green Resource..................... Back Cover
Plant Pathology
Danesha Seth Carley,
Assistant Professor
(919) 513-2717
[email protected]
Brouwer Kesmac...................................28
Golf Agronomics Supply & Handling...28
Soil Sciences
Barenbrug USA.....................................13
Mid-Atlantic STIHL, Inc.........................19
Modern Turf, Inc...................................23
Morgan Sand Co.....................................7
PBI Gordon Corporation......................21
Perdue AgriRecycle, LLC......................26
Revels Tractor Co. Inc...........................29
Smith Seed Services..............................34
Southern Agricultural
Insecticides, Inc.....................................23
Southern Seeds, Inc................................7
Southern Specialty Equipment.............31
Super Sod Carolina.................................3
Turf Mountain Sod................................25
Vandemark Farms.................................11
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
Daniel C. Bowman, Ph.D.
(919) 515-2085
[email protected]
Joe Neal, Ph.D.
Professor, Ext. Specialist
(919) 805-1707
[email protected]
index of advertisers
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e T u r f g r a s s C o u n c i l o f N orth Carolina 33
calendar of events
April 27
August 22–25
Guy Hollar Memorial
Golf Tournament
StormCon — 2016 Conference
The Stormwater Pollution
Prevention Conference
Rock Barn Golf & Spa
Conover, NC
Indiana Convention Center
Indianapolis, IN
July 10–12
NALP Legislative Day on the Hill
(National Association of
Landscape Professionals,
formerly PLANET)
Washington, D.C.
October 5–8
NRPA Annual Conference
(National Rec. & Park Assn.)
America’s Convention Center
St. Louis, MO
November 14–16
Carolinas GCSA Annual
Conference & Show
Myrtle Beach Convention Ctr.
Myrtle Beach, SC
January 24–27, 2017
STMA Conference
and Exhibition
Orlando, FL
February 4–9, 2017
August 1–5
October 19–21
Perennial Plant Symposium
GIE+Expo 2016
DoubleTree by Hilton
Minneapolis, MN
Kentucky Expo Center
Louisville, KY
October 21–24
August 10
NCSU Turfgrass Field Day
and TCNC Board Meeting
Lake Wheeler Turfgrass
Research Labs
Raleigh, NC
ASLA – Annual Meeting
& Expo
(American Society of
Landscape Architects)
New Orleans, LA
M ar ch/ A pr il 20 16
Scan the QR code: Download your favorite QR reader to your
phone, and scan the code to learn more about this company.
North Carolina Tur f g r a s s
Golf Industry Show
Orange County
Convention Center
Orlando, FL
February 23, 2017
TCNC Annual Meeting &
Educational Conference
Sedgefield Country Club
Greensboro, NC

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