Turf trials at Arkansas

By |  July 16, 2012
Golfdom’s research editor, Clark Throssell, is on the road the next couple of days, checking out research trials. He checks in with us here from Fayetteville:

Drought is the common theme on this trip. Just like in Illinois and Indiana,
it is extremely dry in Arkansas. As the plane was landing in Arkansas it was
easy to tell the turf sites that were irrigated and those that weren’t. And in
a quick unscientific survey made through the airplane window, most turf sites
including home lawns, are not irrigated in northwest Arkansas. I didn’t see
any golf courses as the plane was landing so I can’t say much on how they are
faring with the drought.

Mike Richardson, Ph.D., and Doug Karcher, Ph.D., turfgrass scientists at the
University of Arkansas have a great turf program in place. Both Mike and Doug
have active research programs that cover many important issues facing the golf
industry. Fayetteville, Ark., home of the University of Arkansas, is one
of the places in the country where both cool and warm season grasses can be
grown so I saw all the major turfgrass species in the field.

The time I spent with Mike was devoted to looking at field experiments
designed to improve cool season turfgrass performance during heat and drought
stress, cultivar evaluations and several management studies. One of the
management studies focused on bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and Kentucky bluegrass
performance on sand capped native soil managed like a golf course tee. The
results were interesting and Mike and his graduate students will have
great practical recommendations to share based on this research.

Among many other projects, Doug devotes a portion of his time to understanding
the performance of wetting agents. Doug has several experiments with wetting
agents that are evaluating their efficacy to reduce the severity of localized
dry spots on a creeping bentgrass green. Over the years Doug has done soil
moisture mapping following wetting agent application which has greatly
increased our understanding of the impact wetting agents have after they are

Be sure to attend the University of Arkansas Field Day. It will be time well

Clark Throssell, Ph.D.
Research Editor

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