Field Report – June 2008

Kudzu no longer king
For landscapers in the southeastern United States, kudzu has ruled as a nuisance for decades; now, it is being ousted by another noxious weed.

“Cogongrass has surpassed kudzu in its area of infestation,” says Shibu Jose, associate professor of forest ecology in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. The grass now grows from Texas to Virginia and is spreading thanks to its aggressive underground stem, called a rhizome. The mature rhizome grows tough and thick, increasing its regenerative capacity. These stems create a dense mat that restricts root growth of other plant species. In addition, the roots’ sharp ends can penetrate the roots of other plants, killing them.

Cogongrass is a bright, yellow-green perennial grass native to Southeast Asia, that can grow to 4 feet in height. Jose says it first came to the U.S. in 1912 as packing
material on a ship sailing from Japan to the Port of Mobile in Alabama. In the 1920s it was unsuccessfully tried as forage for cattle.

Jose says the U.S. Soil Conservation Service selected congongrass as a way to stabilize soil. In many states, DOTs also used it on roadsides to battle erosion. By the time it was recognized as an invasive species, it had spread to private residences. According to Jose, more than 1.5 million acres now infest the South.

Treatments for cogongrass are available, but persistence is key. All rhizomes must be killed to successfully eliminate it. Jose says mechanical and biological treatments are available, but so far, chemical means are the most successful. The two herbicides that work well are imazapyr, marketed as Arsenal, and glyphosate, marketed as Roundup.

Phillip Hisey, landscape manager for On Top of the World Communities in Ocala, Florida, says his team uses both Roundup and Arsenal in their yearly battle against cogongrass. “It’s hard to deal with,” he adds. “You can’t plow it up. You have to spray it.”

Jose says that discing can be used as a mechanical means of eradicating the weed, but it is not practical for many areas. The best solution he can offer is an integrated management approach, which would utilize herbicide application, discing, mowing, burning and revegetating.

Cogongrass infects both public and private land, so if it is to truly be abolished, Jose says all parties must be involved – state agencies, federal agencies, private landowners and anyone in land management.
~ Jennifer Mitchell

Letters to the editor

Dear Editor:

I just received my April issue of Total Landscape Care magazine and saw the article on grubs. I was terribly disappointed to see no mention of using beneficial nematodes for grub control. This is not a snake oil control and there are many legitimate companies producing nematode these days. It is proven science and already in use by many professionals. With so many people concerned about ground water contamination, pesticide resistance and applicator safety I would think having provided information on this alternative would have been very useful to your readers.

Suzanne Wainwright-Evans
Ornamental Entomologist
Buglady Consulting
Slatington, Pennsylvania

Dear Editor:

Thanks a bunch for your article on PGRs. You are right on target. I do not know what we would do without Primo on our athletic fields, in particular. We maintain and currently have the best overseeded athletic fields in our DFW marketplace, which we attribute a lot to our use of Primo. You will find that the majority of athletic field turfgrass managers are reluctant to use a PGR, as they feel that it retards the turfs injury recovery time and/or ability. Our disciplined, consistent programmed use of Primo on our overseeded perennial ryegrass athletic fields have reduced our mowing considerably, which is critical as early spring games are scheduled. The turf is always thicker and greener. If we did not utilize Primo, our mowing and scheduled use of the fields would be compromised. The aggressive growth of the perennial ryegrass in the spring can make mowing chaotic, especially if we experience regular or excessive precipitation. We know of several athletic complexes that had to cancel numerous athletic events because of tall turf that could not be mowed due to wet conditions.

Gary LaScalea
GroGreen Inc.
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

Orange County park receives ASLA honor
The American Society of Landscape Architects chose the Orange County (California) Great Park Comprehensive Master Plan as its 2008 Professional Award of Honor for Analysis and Planning. The plan, titled “A Vision for the Great Park of the 21st Century” was the work of the Great Park Design Studio that includes landscape architects Ken Smith Workshop and Mia Lehrer & Associates.

Nearly two times the size of New York’s Central Park, the Orange County Great Park was one of 29 projects to receive an award out of 500 entries.

The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., the Boston Children’s Museum and the Lost Dog Trails’ Head in Scottsdale, Arizona, also received general design category honor awards.
~ Jennifer Mitchell

Wacker Corporation changes company name

Wacker Corporation has officially been renamed Wacker Neuson Corporation. The name change comes following the 2007 merger between parent company Wacker Construction Equipment AG and Neuson Kramer Baumaschinen AG. All future products manufactured by the company will be branded Wacker Neuson with two exceptions in Europe – the Kramer all-wheel steer loaders and the Weidemann brand.

Kubota on board with National Safety Month
This year, Kubota Tractor is using National Safety Month in June as a call to action for safe tractor operation. Kubota is encouraging owners to ensure older tractors and equipment have ROPS and a seatbelt. By visiting Kubota’s Web site,, owners can enter their tractor’s model and serial number to attain retrofit pricing.

.38 Special and Lonestar to rock GIE+EXPO ’08
The 2008 GIE+EXPO will be October 23-25 in Louisville, Kentucky, and will include free, live performances Thursday and Friday nights at 4th Street Live! downtown Louisville. Thursday night’s concert will feature the Briggs Bluesbusters and .38 Special. Friday night’s show will feature country newcomer Candy Coburn and country supergroup Lonestar.

John Deere’s skid steer smackdown
Just how productive is a skid-steer loader? John Deere Construction & Forestry has launched to help you find out. The showcases competitions between Deere skid steers and other types of construction machinery to see how the two types compare in common job applications. The site features videos of the competitions as well as a discussion forum and purchasing information. Each video can be rated, commented on and shared with others.

WaterSmart Innovations registration open
The first WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition will be held October 8-10, 2008, in Las Vegas. Early bird registration is now open until July 11 for a reduced conference registration fee of $330. After July 11 the registration fee will be $390. For more information about the conference or to register, visit

Professor helps revive native species
Brian McCarthy, an Ohio University forest ecologist and professor of environmental and plant biology, is working to revive the American chestnut. Nearly eradicated by a foreign disease in the early 1900s, McCarthy and the Ohio chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, the U.S. Forest Research Lab and the U.S. Department of the Interior developed a hybrid, blight-resistant variety of the American chestnut. In honor of this year’s Arbor Day, McCarthy led a group of volunteers in planting 800 seeds and seedlings.

Sterling Truck awards Bullet to Tennessee landscaping company
Sterling Truck Corporation awarded Green Valley Landscape, Kingsport, Tennessee, with a new Sterling Bullet. Randy and Rhondia Lightner, owners of Green Valley, won the “Nothing Stops the Bullet Sweepstakes” that ran from March through October 2007. Their entry was randomly chosen from about 3,500 submissions. Green Valley is a 13-year-old company that specializes in hardscaping and also offers lawn services and landscape design.

Landscapers still busy despite real estate drop
A Business Quarterly survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects shows that the majority of landscape architects have remained busy during the first quarter despite a drop in the real estate market. Fifty-five percent of respondents said their billable hours were average or above average in the first quarter, and 53 percent said customer inquiries were average or above average. Nearly 72 percent of survey respondents said clients were “very interested” in sustainable issues.

The Attachments Idea Book
Landscapers use a variety of attachments for doing everything from snow removal to jobsite cleanup, and regardless of how often they are used, every landscaper has a favorite attachment.
Attachments Idea Book Cover