Just another day in turf research paradise

By |  October 18, 2017 0 Comments

I had a great day July 12 at the University of Nebraska Turfgrass Research Field Day. You have read in my columns before of my belief that attending a field day is one of my favorite work activities, and the University of Nebraska Field Day was excellent. I attended the event with four other members of the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committee.

As we walked to the field day, we all agreed that attending someone else’s field day was a great way to spend a day, and that a field day that you sponsor is not nearly as enjoyable because of the hard work involved in organizing and executing such an event.

What is so great about a turf field day? That is, perhaps, one of the easiest questions to answer. It begins with the fact that you get to see the results in the field for yourself. Added to that is the benefit of being able to talk to the scientists doing the research one on one or in a small group and getting special insight into the research and results. Even better, you get to see a bunch of research projects in progress. We saw nine research projects on the formal tour at the University of Nebraska and several more in the afternoon during an informal walk around the turfgrass research center.

The University of Nebraska turf program is doing great things. Keenan Amundsen, Ph.D., Bill Kreuser, Ph.D., and Cole Thompson, Ph.D., are leading the turfgrass program at the University of Nebraska, and all are doing excellent work. Roch Gaussion, Ph.D., has rejoined the program after six years as department head, and he surely will strengthen an already strong program. Keep your eyes on the research coming from the University of Nebraska.

Listed in that field day program are the titles of 61 research projects currently in progress. These research projects are being conducted by professors, graduate students, staff and undergraduate students. Suffice it to say that there is a large contingent of people working hard on all these projects.

Several research projects caught my attention and deserve mentioning. They are: Use of infrared thermography to measure water use in turf; Using nurse grasses for quick cover during buffalograss establishment; Yellow nutsedge ecology — how does yellow nutsedge invade lawns (see the June 2017 Golfdom for more details on this project); Cultural and chemical control of Pythium root rot; Evaluating input-limited management of three fairway species and; Saving golf collars with precision PGR applications.

Bill Kreuser is leading research on saving golf collars with precision PGR applications. In short, Bill’s thinking is that “PGRs last longer on higher-mown turf than on putting greens. This causes the surrounds and collars to be highly susceptible to PGR over-regulation and subsequent turf decline.”

Bill’s research on putting-green collar decline is fascinating, and all superintendents who apply PGRs to putting greens and collars should follow this study.

By the time you read this column, most turf field days will be over for 2017. Put the date of your local or regional 2018 field day on your calendar and make a commitment to attend. It’s easy in the heat of the moment to push attending field day down the priority list, but in doing so you miss an outstanding opportunity to learn.

Seeing Bill Kreuser’s research on PGR impacts on collar performance alone was well worth the time and effort to attend the University of Nebraska Turfgrass Research Field Day. All those in attendance left with ideas on how to improve collar performance through improved scheduling of PGR applications. Attending a field day is too good a learning opportunity to pass up. Plus, it’s fun to see your fellow superintendents and have an opportunity to learn from them.

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