Evening event Sept. 20 will focus on low water use turf and flower and vegetable trials
Tuesday evening, Sept. 20 is set for the annual Horticulture Night at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center in Hays. This year the emphasis is on low water use turfgrass demonstration plots, tomato and pepper varietal trials, and the Prairie Star flower performance trials. The event is scheduled later in the summer this year than usual so attendees can better view the results of the complete season.
Jared Hoyle, K-State Research and Extension turfgrass specialist will lead a discussion on low-water use turfgrass varieties, which feature buffalo grass. The plots are well established in their second year since planting for visual comparisons. Jared has experience with multiple turfgrass issues throughout the state. The demonstration plot is in conjunction with the Turf Conversion Program promoted by the City of Hays. The program encourages Hays homeowners to convert their full-sun exposure lawns currently planted to a cool-season turf to a low-water-use turfgrass. The advantages of established warm-season grass are water conservation and less maintenance.
The Ellis County Extension Master Gardeners will present the results for the 11 tomato, 24 pepper and 3 zucchini varieties trials and will offer samples so participants can taste the varietal variations. The Master Gardeners will also announce plans for their 2017 garden projects.
The evening will end with a walk along the Prairie Star Flower Performance Trials. More than 130 cultivars are being grown and rated for vigor, appearance and season-long performance. Holly Dickman, Ellis County extension horticulture agent will provide her comments on each general group or series.
The Prairie Star bedding plant trial program, with four locations in Kansas, is one of only a few across the United States and the only one in the Great Plains region. Cultivars selected for the Prairie Star list must perform well for two years in Kansas before being added to the recommended plant list. The weather this summer has certainly thrown a challenge for some of them, so participants on Sept. 20 can see for themselves how they have performed and will know the best bedding plant cultivars for the Hays area coming on the market.
Property and homeowners are encouraged to attend. Questions about flowers, vegetable gardening and turfgrass will be addressed but discussion is not limited to those topics. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. with the program starting at 6 p.m. The research center is located south of Hays at 1232 240th Ave. For more information phone: 785-625-3425 or check Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WKARC/?fref=ts or Twitter.