December 2010



Red Imported Fire Ants Forage on Turfgrasses

The red imported fire ant is a major pest of sports fields and other turf areas across the southern United States. Scientists at Texas A&M University investigated foraging preference for bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass, buffalograss, and bluegrass hybrids. 
Click here to learn about preferred cultivars and reasons behind why the ants may prefer those cultivars.

The 2-Minute Tip for Success

Excellence: More Than TalentEwEdServices_logo web.jpg
By John C. Maxwell

"Excellence" may bring to mind unmatched performance, unusual expertise, or consistent high-quality performance. In our minds, we often associate excellence with talent. To be the best, surely you have to be gifted, right? Experience has taught me that talent, while important, in no way explains excellence. In fact, the primary pathway to excellence has three main steps, none of which depends on talent.

Click here to read the entire article.

News You Can Use

Conference Registration Discount Deadline: Dec. 15

The early bird discount to register for the annual conference expires on Dec. 15. After Dec. 15, prices will increase $75 for the full conference registration. STMA accepts purchase orders, checks, credit cards, and we can set up a payment plan if you need to defer payment. To register on line or to print out a form, go to

Ballot Deadline: Dec. 17

The STMA ballot for its 2011 Board of Directors is due to STMA headquarters by midnight on Dec. 17. Take a few minutes to review the 
biographies of the candidates.

Mail, fax or email your vote per the instructions on the ballot. If you are unable to attend STMA's Annual Meeting on Jan. 13 in Austin, you may wish to fill out a proxy (which was also included in the packet mailed to you) to give someone the authority to vote on your behalf, if any issues that require a vote come before the memberships during that meeting. Currently, there are no agenda items that require a vote. If you have misplaced the ballot that was sent via US mail, you can access one on line. Help guide STMA's future - VOTE!

Hotel Deadline: Dec. 20

The Hilton Austin Hotel, STMA's conference host hotel, will be increasing its rates from $169 per night to $249 per night after Dec. 20, so make your reservations today! 
Click here to reserve your rooms on line, or call 512-482-8000. Be sure to reference STMA, if you phone in your reservation.

Earn CEUs at the 2011 STMA Conference!

Increase your professionalism by taking advantage of the continuing education units (CEUs) being offered at the STMA Conference this year. Earn up to 2.2 CEUs through STMA. In addition to STMA, the following professional organizations have agreed to provide CEUs for attending education sessions at the conference:

Texas Turfgrass Association (TTA) - CEUs awarded are determined by TTA
American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) - All education sessions qualify
Texas Nursery and Landscape Association (TNLA) - 15 CEUs
National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) - 2.2 CEUs
American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) - 15.25 credit hours
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) - 1.0 education point
Texas Pesticide Recertification Credits - 8 credits
Irrigation Association (IA) - Tier 1 - 5; Tier 2 - 4.75
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) - 4 credit hours

See the onsite brochure for a detailed listing of education sessions that qualify for CEUs and recertification credits. Stop by Registration or see your session moderator to report earning CEUs or pick up the necessary forms. To view the conference education sessions that qualify for CEUs, click here.

STMA Student Members - Don't Forget to Register for the STMA Student Challenge

Registration for the STMA Student Challenge, presented by Founding Partner Hunter Industries and the SAFE Foundation, closes on the same date as the early bird registration, Dec. 15, 2010. Student Challenge participants receive FREE conference registration (a $100 value), are eligible to win $4,000 for the schools turf program, and winners will be recognized at the Annual STMA Awards Banquet.

STMA Student Challenge participants cannot register online, so be sure to print out a registration form for each participant on the team, fill them out individually, and mail or fax them in together before the deadline passes! If you have any questions about the STMA Student Challenge, go to or contact Patrick Allen at 800-323-3875 or

New $10,000 Hole In One Promo at the SAFE Golf Tournament!

The 11th Annual SAFE Golf Tournament, sponsored by Jacobsen, is filling up! New this year there will be a hole-in-one promotion, with prizes on all four par threes and a $10,000 prize on one of them! These will be in addition to the regular proximity and long drive prizes. Tournament sponsor Jacobsen has again helped to plan a wonderful, robust tournament experience that is always one of the highlights of conference.

Be sure to get yourself and your team registered for this great event which will be held Wed., Jan. 12, 2011 at the Golf Club at Star Ranch just northeast of Austin. The 7,107 yard, par-71 course follows the natural rolling contours of the land, using the central lake and prevailing wind to create an experience both formidable and fun, and one which rewards golfers of all skill levels.

For more information, please contact Patrick Allen at 800-323-3875 or

Highlights Reel

Send pictorial highlights from your year to Grass Stains Productions to use in the video that introduces the STMA Awards banquet in January. Send them to Steve LeGros at

Renew Your Membership for a Milestone Year

STMA celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2011! To honor that year, a commemorative membership card has been designed and will be produced for this year. The STMA Membership Committee is exploring alternative membership benefits in place of a card for 2012 and beyond. If you have ideas for an alternative benefit, or if you desire to continue to have a card produced, please contact so that the Committee can consider your preferences.

STMA 2011 dues renewal notices were mailed mid-November, and your 2010 membership officially ends Dec. 31. STMA accepts purchase orders, checks, and credit cards. You can also renew on-line at Just log in to the members only side and you will be provided a link to renew from your own personal home page.

STMA continues to add more educational content to its website. Be sure to check out the Educational Resources tab on the members only side. We are introducing two new bulletins in this issue: the Winter Athletic Field Maintenance Calendar and a resource on Thatch Management.

Twice the Opportunity

STMA is offering the certification exam two times during the conference: Tues., Jan. 11, 3:30 - 7:30 p.m. and Sat., Jan. 15, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. December 15 is the deadline to register to take the exam, so contact headquarters today to determine if you qualify. If you take the exam on Tuesday and you do not pass all of the sections, you may be able to retest on those sections on Saturday. STMA is also hosting the ASBA Certified Field Builder Exam on Sat., Jan. 15, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. To find out if you qualify to sit for this exam, call the ASBA at 866-501-2722.

Featured Speakers of the Month

Ralston - use.JPGRobert Ralston is the Second Assistant at Custer Hill Golf Course. On Thursday, January 13, he will be presenting "Synthetic Turf Baseball Fields: The Pros, Cons, and Maintenance of Next Generation Artificial." This presentation will focus on the installation and aging of a second generation synthetic turf baseball field, and companion indoor practice facility at Kansas State University. Those who take care of their own baseball fields as well as those interested in constructing a synthetic baseball field will learn about the unique care these fields require.

Vanini.JPGTim Vanini, Ph.D. is the Founder and President of New Dimensions Turf. On Thursday, January 13, he will be presenting "Doing More With What You Have (Or Less)." Due to the recent economic recession, sports field managers are facing decreasing or static budgets while expenses are increasing. The demand for sports field performance is increasing, too. This presentation will provide a cost-benefit analysis to compare different strategies for cultural practices, discuss warm and cool season sports field strategies, and aid the sports field manager with ideas to potentially reduce costs, and improve efficiency and playability of the sports field.

New STMA Educational Bulletin - Thatch Management

Thatch can be a major problem on sports fields if left unmanaged. A thick layer of thatch can increase insect and disease injury potential, promote shallow rooting, restrict water movement, and affect performance of ball roll and bounce. This bulletin explains what thatch is, discusses its advantages and disadvantages, and provides solutions on how to effectively manage thatch using cultural practices and mechanical removal. 
Click here to see how you can start managing your thatch successfully.

NEW! Winter Athletic Field Maintenance Calendars

The seasonal athletic field maintenance calendars continue with the winter series. STMA has compiled a calendar for each climatic region to outline specific maintenance practices necessary for December, January, and February. These calendars advise timing, amounts, and frequencies to keep your athletic fields in top playing condition. Explanations are also provided as to why each practice is recommended. Click below to view the cool season, warm season, or transition zone calendars.

Cool Season Athletic Field Maintenance Calendar

Transition Zone Athletic Field Maintenance Calendar

Warm Season Athletic Field Maintenance Calendar

International Resources