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My Take on the "Dandelion King"

May 6, 2010

I urge you to read Marcus’ blog posting from Wednesday, April 28th. The post refers to an article from the NY Times and a person self dubbed the ‘Dandelion King.’ I find his statement that the war on weeds isn’t “winnable at a morally acceptable cost” is based on his opinion rather than any actual knowledge of turfgrasses or turfgrass management. See the complete article by clicking here.

I believe everyone in our industry should heed Marcus’ advice, “Equip yourself with this knowledge so you can provide an insightful answer next time you are challenged about the benefits of turfgrass.” The Wednesday April 28th blog article from Marcus contains excellent ‘equipment’ for that answer.

Again and again I observe the most ‘interesting’ writers getting their blather printed as fact because they are able to editorialize with word choices and interesting adjectives. For example, the so called ‘Dandelion King’ states; “I soon learned that the carpets of green in suburbia are the product of assiduously applied chemicals…” The word assiduous sounds very sinister here but the definition is benign:

I am certain the author meant ‘constant in application’ but the truth we know is that diligent is a better definition.

What the author obviously does not understand is that good management can lead to good turfgrass quality without an abundance of inputs. He just ‘doesn’t have time to figure this stuff out,’ so he has developed an ‘environmental excuse’ for his poor skills. Take a look at Marcus’ scientific response and help this author and others like him realize that there is nothing insidious about proper turfgrass management. It does take a little work and knowledge, but the environment will benefit from that knowledge and effort.

I won’t go on bashing this author about the other misrepresentations in his article, except to say that his ‘multiple’ applications of pre emergent are senseless and the subsequent post emergent applications he so despises have little to do with the success or failure of the preemerge. So it goes.

Suffice it to say the author has done just enough ‘Googling’ to be dangerously misinformed. Atrazine is a grass killer, let’s not lump it in as a ‘lawn chemical.’ Please.

Bottom line is simple, we either educate those that think like the ‘Dandelion King’ or we let the self proclaimed ‘environmentalists’ screw up things beyond belief.

Jeff Wendel
Executive Director
Iowa Turfgrass Institute


More on Mole crickets at Pella

October 20, 2009

Here are a couple more pictures of the mole cricket damage at Bos Landen in Pella.

The text below is from the original post on Oct. 5. There are also some additional pictures of the mole crickets that caused the damage on that post.



Do we get mole crickets in Iowa? The answer is clearly yes, although they are rare. The pictures above come from Kevin Vos and Alex Olsen at Bos Landen in Pella. They were taken on Sept. 28, 2009 on the 18th green. They were actually doing some damage to the green.

Damage is rare. I have seen it at Ankeney country club and a few other places around Iowa over the past 30 years. Finding mole crickets is not as rare. We sometimes see them at the research station and many superintendents have reported them over the years.


Usually chemical is not necessary. If it is a few, you can step on them or collect in a bottle. They are very difficult to treat in Florida and other areas of the South, because they occur in very high populations and are protected from chemicals by being under ground much of the time. Pretty much any of our standard insecticides will kill them, if you get them on the insect.

Marcus tells me that when he was at Augusta, they would mix up soapy water and pore it in the holes. They mole crickets would come to the surface and they could then remove them.

If any one else is seeing them, let me know.