Turfgrass research to be highlighted during field days

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Professional turf grounds managers and others interested in turfgrass management will have the opportunity to see the latest trends and research from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences during Turfgrass Field Days.

The field days will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 9 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Aug. 10 at the Joseph Valentine Turfgrass Research Center on the University Park campus. Held every other year, the event highlights research on topics such as pest control, herbicides, fertilizers and synthetic sports turf.

Peter Landschoot, professor of turfgrass science, said that the field days typically attract around 200 participants who are interested in learning about the latest opportunities in turfgrass management.

"If you're looking for what's going on, the new things that are coming on the market -- or maybe haven't even reached the market and are just in the experimental stage -- this is the place to come and actually see it," Landschoot said.

The field days will highlight several areas of the Valentine Turfgrass Research Center, which consists of 30 acres of turf under various management practices. Research plots range from low-maintenance naturalized areas, which are mown only twice a year, to high-maintenance putting greens, which are mown every day.

"It encompasses the whole spectrum: sports turf, lawns, golf, low maintenance, everything," Landschoot said.

Speakers will include Penn State faculty and graduate students, as well as a turfgrass expert from outside of Penn State. The speakers will guide participants to the turfgrass plots to explain their research projects. Participants also may take special tours of Beaver Stadium, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park (home of Penn State's varsity baseball team and the State College Spikes minor league team) and the Penn State soccer facility, Jeffrey Field.

Turfgrass Field Days also will show research on soil improvements. Landschoot said one of his projects, sponsored by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, examines ways to improve the soil so that water and nutrients soak into the ground instead of washing down to the nearest stream and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay.

"One of the ways we're doing that is by incorporating large amounts of compost into the soil to try to increase the organic-matter content, which increases infiltration so that you don't get as much runoff," Landschoot said. "If you can reduce runoff, you can reduce the pollutants it carries."

Landschoot said the event is held in August so that participants can see the impact of stresses such as disease and drought on turfgrass and how fertilizers and other management practices can affect the turf.

For more information, visit the field days website, or contact Peter Landschoot at 814-863-1017 or by e-mail at pjl1@psu.edu.

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Last Updated June 29, 2012