Hello again!

The local K-State Research Center has served the horticultural industries and consumers of south central Kansas since it opened. It was named for Dr. John Pair, who was their woody ornamental and turfgrass scientist. I have fond memories of attending many outings at the center over the decades, like open houses where research was shared with the industry, and fried chicken dinners at the center where supporters outside of the industry attended.  

I remember when Dr. Pair constructed his ‘Holly Hilton' structures which were small buildings constructed in an X pattern. The purpose of the project was to plant hollies around the structures so identical plants would receive every sun/shade exposure possible to see what exposure would best suit the plants.

The center’s turfgrass research was valuable to not only south central Kansas, but it was part of the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP). NTEP designs and coordinates turfgrass research across the country for evaluation of turf var ieties for plant breeders and turf producers. 

The turfgrass trials consisted of repeated patterns of grass in plots about 3’x3’. They were seeded at low, medium and optimum seed rates and fed at low, medium and optimum rates of fertilizer, or Nitrogen. What was determined was that any seed rate, when fertilized at the optimum rate, provided a good turf for our lawns. Here is a link to the KSU research bulletin created from research done in our back yard.

KSU recommends applying 3-4 lbs. of Nitrogen fertilizer per year per 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn here in south central Kansas. Thanks to ferti-lome, we are able to apply the recommended dose of Nitrogen to our lawns with ferti-lome Winterizer. With an analysis of 25-0-6, a 20 lb. bag of Winterizer applies 5 lbs. of Nitrogen to 5,000 sq. ft. for $20. By applying 2-3 applications of Winterizer in the fall, each 30 days apart, you are following Dr. Pair’s recommendation.   

Today’s research at the center has expanded beyond what was started in 1970. Research emphasis is on evaluating new plant var ieties and production practices. They look at both food crops and ornamental plants, which add to the quality of life in home landscapes, parks, golf courses and other recreational areas. Ornamental plant tests include shade, ornamental and flowering trees and flowers. They even study turfgrass for our transition zone. Recent additions to their trials include studies of medicinal plants.

Don't hesitate to reach out for help getting your lawn ready for the cooler fall and winter months. We're here to help!

Your friend in the garden,
Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center