Author: UConn Extension

Chilling Injury Affects Turf Across Region

patches of blighted turf
Chilling injury appears as tan patches of blighted turf uniformly distributed across athletic field.

John Inguagiato, Ph.D. and Vickie Wallace, UConn

Michelle DaCosta, Ph.D. UMass

Turf managers and homeowners have been puzzled by the sudden appearance of unusual tan, blighted patches that showed up last week between Tuesday and Friday (Nov. 3 – 6). Reports have been widespread throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

The symptoms appear as round to irregular-shaped patches of light-tan blighted turf (Figure 1 & 5). Patches are often uniformly distributed across affected turf areas. Density of patches may vary from one every 2 feet to as little as a few inches, with some patches coalescing into larger, irregular shapes (Figure 5). Early onset of symptoms appeared silver-gray to dark purple before turning tan (Figure 2). Symptoms appear to be limited to the upper portion of the turf canopy (Figure 3). Foliage lower in the canopy, stems and crowns do not appear to be injured in most cases.

All cool-season turfgrasses have been reported to be affected. Injury seems to be most severe on exposed, well-fertilized, irrigated lawns and fields. Symptoms on turf maintained at lower mowing heights (e.g., putting greens, fairways, some athletic fields), and newly established areas appears to be less severe.

Chilling injury is rare in New England on cool-season turfgrasses. Many experienced New England turf managers have commented in the past few days that they have never seen anything like this. Symptoms similar to these are more common in the south, on warm-season bermudagrass when exposed to sudden cold weather. However, chilling injury has also been reported in the desert southwest on overseeded perennial ryegrass (Moon et al, 1990).

The recent injury to turfgrasses throughout the region is likely due to a unique combination of environmental conditions impacting the physiological activity of turfgrasses. Cold tolerance of cool-season turfgrasses generally develops during November and December over an acclimation period of slowly decreasing temperatures. This acclimation period prepares turf to tolerate cold winter temperatures. However, turf has been actively growing, green, and photosynthesizing in many areas throughout the region this fall, indicating it has not yet acclimated to cold temperatures.

A Perfect Storm

Throughout much of October daily low temperatures were rarely below 40°F. However, a sustained period of cold to freezing daily low temperatures occurred from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. (Figure 4). These cold temperatures also coincided with a very dry air mass (dew points approximately 15 to 20°F), and moderate sustained winds with gusts over 30 mph on Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 2 & 3). Moreover, Nov. 2 & 3 were particularly sunny days with high light intensity (solar radiation ~675 to 750 W/m2 ).

• Sudden onset of cold temperatures

• Dry air and wind (excessive transpiration)

• High light intensity

Similar chilling conditions have been demonstrated to impair the photosynthetic machinery of perennial ryegrass (Moon et al, 1990). When normal photosynthetic processes are interrupted under high light, damaging free radicals can be produced that can destroy important membranes within cells. Ultimately, the integrity of the cells is affected, foliage becomes desiccated, and blight symptoms occur.

Unique Patterns

The unique patterns associated with the chilling injury are more difficult to explain. It is not entirely clear why areas of the same turf are differentially affected. It is likely due in part, to how turbulent air moves across the surface, affecting where cold pockets of air settle to injure turf

Recovery Outlook

Fortunately, in most cases the symptoms associated with this chilling injury appear to be superficial. Only the upper canopy has generally been affected. Crowns remain healthy, and therefore blighted foliage will grow out. It is possible that with continued warm weather, actively growing turf may fully recover this fall. However, in many cases it is more likely that symptoms will persist through the winter until spring when growth resumes, and blighted tissue is mowed off.

Fertilizing to encourage growth and recovery of the symptoms this fall is not recommended. Since a late fall fertilization can promote succulent turf growth, delaying acclimation and increasing potential for snow mold and other forms of winter injury.

Click here to view the pdf.

What has changed on your trails as a result of COVID-19?

survey that shows sad, neutral, and happy face with an arrow pointing to the happy face
Our Connecticut Trail Census has launched a survey to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on trails and trail management. The survey is intended for trail managers of non-motorized trails in Connecticut takes about 10 minutes to complete. Please take a few moments to respond to the survey. The survey will remain open until Wednesday, November 25.

Job Opening: Director of Communications

food, health, and sustainability are three of CAHNR's focus areas

Job Opening: The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) at the University of Connecticut is seeking a full-time Director of Communications. Reporting to the Dean, the incumbent in this position will provide vision, leadership, and direction to support CAHNR’s communication and marketing strategies and promote its brand and reputation. The Communications Director must be an energetic, creative and dedicated leader who is accessible and responsive to faculty, staff and students and fosters collaboration and an organizational culture that promotes diversity and inclusion.

Full information is available at https://bit.ly/CAHNR_Comm_Dir.

Cleaning and Disinfecting High Touch Surfaces

cleaning high touch surfaces picture of the fact sheet

Many surfaces inside your home are frequently touched by household members throughout the day. These are called ‘High Touch Surfaces.” You can limit the transmission of dirt, bacteria, and viruses by following a daily routine. COVID-19, which is caused by a virus, requires cleaning and disinfecting practices to make your home a healthier place. High touch surfaces in your home can vary depending on the items in your home and the daily routines of household members. Download the fact sheet.

Watch out for Spotted Lanternflies

spotted lanternfly on a piece of wood
Photo: An adult spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) by Walthery via Creative Commons.
Watch out for Spotted Lanternflies in your yard! Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive and destructive insect that has been found in Connecticut over the past three years. It was reported in West Haven and Greenwich. The insect has the potential to severely impact Connecticut’s farm crops, particularly apples, grapes, and hops, as well as a number of tree species such as maple. In Connecticut, approximately 47% of the forest trees are considered as potentially susceptible to Spotted Lanternflies.

Common Q&As:

Q: What should I do if I find one in my yard?
A: First, do not attempt to move any wood or other potentially infested material from the site. Instead, you should follow the instructions on the SLF sample submission form and send a dead specimen sample to The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station or take pictures and send it to ReportSLF@ct.gov. For more information: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Forestry/Forest-Protection/Spotted-Lanternfly#What1
 
Q: Do spotted lanternflies impact human health?
A: According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, it is no threat to humans or animals, only plants.
 
Q: How do spotted lanternflies destroy my trees?
A: Both nymphs and adults of the SLF feed by sucking sap from the stems and leaves of host plants, this can weaken and damage the plant.
 
Content Reviewed by Mary Concklin, UConn Extension Educator; and curated by Ben Xu, UConn.

Extension Team Developing Game to Help Consumers Understand Food Labels

man shopping in a grocery store aisle
(Stock photo via Anthony Albright, Flickr/Creative Commons)

The eXtension Foundation selected a team from UConn Extension in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources for the New Technologies in Agricultural Extension catalyst program. Team members are working with wrap-around services from eXtension to develop an interactive learning experience for consumers on navigating food labels in grocery store aisles.

Conflicting information causes 80% of consumers surveyed to be confused and doubt their food choices (International Food Information Council Foundation, 2018). Food labels often confuse consumers. There are different types of labels; those required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), those administered by organizations, and optional labels from manufacturers and distributors. Non-FDA labels cause the most confusion.

Label components required by FDA include: the product name; the total amount in the package; the nutrition facts; a list of ingredients and any allergen statements; and the manufacturer or distributor information (ESHA Research, 2019). Non-GMO, natural, and organic are examples of labels administered by other organizations that can confuse consumers.

Game design will provide consumers with a shopping list and they will browse the store for products and earn points while playing that lead to badge levels. Choices within the game dictate the products participants see. The game will be available in English and Spanish.

The expected release date for Navigating the Grocery Store: Understanding Food Labels is August 2021. Extension professionals nationwide will have access to the game. Team members are: Joseph Bonelli, Cristina Connolly, Jennifer Cushman, Sharon Gray, Michael Puglisi, Robert Ricard, Stacey Stearns, and Cindy Tian. The educators represent the Extension, Animal Science, Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Nutritional Sciences departments in the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. Contact Stacey.Stearns@uconn.edu for more information.

CEDAS Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council

city street in Connecticut
Photo: CEDAS

Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) won a Bronze Rank for its Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development Certification Program, a project in the category of Innovation Programs and Initiatives of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).  The honor was presented at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference.

 CEDAS is Connecticut’s economic development professional association, and it is led by a volunteer board of directors.  The best practices program was put together as a response to slow economic growth in Connecticut.  Garrett Sheehan, CEDAS President said, “I want to thank IEDC for this recognition and all of our CEDAS members who helped build this program from the ground up.  It was a truly collaborative process, working with planners and economic developers from many towns to create the criteria.” 

 In 2019, 24 communities were accredited through the program.  Certification in 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic, but is scheduled to resume in 2021.  CEDAS partnered with other organizations for the 2019 launch including:  Advance CT, Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the University of Connecticut-Department of Extension. The support from sponsors Eversource, UI, Pullman & Comley, and STV/DPM.

 “The primary goal of this program has always been to raise the standard for economic development in Connecticut,” Sheehan said.  “Our municipalities are very different, but the basic principles of good economic development are applicable across all of our communities. By being great economic developers at the local level we can drive growth that is inclusive for our entire state.”

 IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. 35 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.

In 2019, The Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS), the state’s professional association of economic developers, created a unique certification program to encourage best practices in municipal economic development and land use in collaboration with the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association (CCAPA) and the University of Connecticut Department of Extension. The program encourages municipalities to make continuous improvements to land use and economic development practices, ultimately improving economic opportunities and quality of life for residents. The program requires an application to be completed documenting various economic development and land use practices, policies, and programs taking place at the municipal level. In its first year, 24 municipalities statewide were certified under the program as demonstrating these best practices.

 The program is intended to drive communities to pursue excellence in land use and economic development practices and to recognize the communities that have established best practices. In pursuit of these best practices, planners and economic developers use this program to engage community stakeholders in discussions about how to achieve higher standards and develop creative, community-specific ways to implement them.

 “The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day”, said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”

 About the International Economic Development Council

 The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at iedconline.org.

 

Best Practices in Economic Development & Land Use Planning Education Tool Library

CEDAS

Job Opening: UConn Extension Master Gardener Coordinator-Lower Fairfield County

Master Gardener logoThe UConn Extension Master Gardener Program is seeking applications for the position of Master Gardener Program Coordinator for Lower Fairfield County, based at the Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens in Stamford, CT. This is a 16-hour-per-week position and is a temporary, six-month appointment. Renewal is optional pending coordinator review and availability of program funding.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to: provide leadership for the Master Gardener Program in southern Fairfield County. Successful candidate will coordinate staffing of program mentors, volunteers and interns; work with UConn Extension center/county based faculty and staff, as well as university-based faculty and staff as needed. Will also need to work with allied community groups and Extension partners such as the CT Master Gardener Association; train and supervise interns when classroom teaching is completed; arrange for and conduct Advanced Master Gardener classes each year; develop and coordinate outreach programs and projects with community organizations in southern Fairfield County, including the Bartlett Arboretum. They will prepare annual reports on program activities, impacts, incomes, outcomes (number of clientele contacts); and communicate effectively with the state coordinator, other county coordinators, and the Bartlett Arboretum staff. Monthly reports shall be communicated to the state coordinator and topical information may be shared with others as requested.

Preference will be given to candidates who are Certified Master Gardeners, or with a degree in horticulture, botany, biology or equivalent experience. Interested applicants should possess strong organizational, communication and interpersonal skills and be able to show initiative. They should be able to demonstrate experience in working collaboratively as well as independently, and be willing to work flexible hours including some evenings and weekends. Must be familiar with Microsoft Office and must be comfortable with on-line communications and programming. Volunteer experience is desired.

Submit letter of application, resume and names of three references to:
Sarah Bailey, State Extension Master Gardener Coordinator at sarah.bailey@uconn.edu
Please put Master Gardener Coordinator Position in the subject line.

If you are unable to use email, you may send it to:
Sarah Bailey
State Extension Master Gardener Coordinator
UConn Extension
270 Farmington Avenue, Suite 262
Farmington, CT 0632

Screening will begin immediately.