University of Guelph Top Stories

Here are recent posts from the University of Guelph:

Successful MSc Defence:  The Effects of Biosolid Amended Soils on Turfgrass Health, Soil Quality, and Disease Development by Vighnesh L. Sukhu
Biosolids are a nutrient-rich organic material derived from the municipal wastewater treatment process and are commonly disposed of in landfills. This process is not sustainable, and alternatives exist as an end use of these products. Turfgrass systems are an excellent candidate for application of biosolids and this research evaluated their efficacy as a sole or supplementary fertilizer source for use on lawn-height turfgrass systems. 

The effects of biosolids on turfgrass health, soil quality, and dollar spot suppression were examined on both a fine fescue and a lawn seed mixture at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute. Two biosolid products, Lystek and Nutri-Pel, were compared with poultry manure and an inorganic fertilizer for their ability to maintain turfgrass growth and quality. A series of field and greenhouse studies showed that biosolids were able to maintain turfgrass growth and quality when supplemented with the inorganic product. The biosolids marginally improved organic matter content, microbial respiration, and did not reduce seedling emergence. Although no treatments suppressed dollar spot as well as the fungicide treatment, biosolids suppressed disease to levels comparable with the inorganic fertilizer and significantly lower than the negative control. 

Application of biosolids is a safe method to maintain turfgrass health, has the potential to substantially improve soil quality over time, and can be effective at reducing dollar spot development. This research was supported by the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation. 

Open House at GTI Horticulture Trial Garden
On Friday August 13th, Rodger Tschanz held an open house to showcase the horticultural trial garden site at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute. Visitors were encouraged to vote for their favourite plants using coloured flags and Rodger gave guided tours of the two large ground bed trial plots. A self-guided walking tour was available for anyone interested in checking out the turfgrass research plots. 

The trial garden has been running for over two decades at the GTI and this is the first year for the open house at the new College Ave E location. Seed companies and plant breeders from across the country send plant material to Rodger to test at his three locations: the Royal Botanical Gardens, Landscape Ontario in Milton, and the Guelph Turfgrass Institute. 

Ongoing Research at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute in 2021
• 2018 NTEP National Tall Fescue Test: This is year 3 of a 5-year cultivar trial for the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP). The GTI is one of the few Canadian partners conducting NTEP trialing. Data generated from this trial will provide Canadian-centric information on turf performance of 132 turf-type tall-fescue cultivars.

• 2018 TWCA Kentucky Bluegrass Drought Trial: The Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA) was founded in 2010 with aim to identify and certify more water efficient/drought tolerant turfgrass cultivars. This is year 3 of a multi-year cultivar trial which uses a rainout device to determine drought-tolerance of 59 varieties of Kentucky Bluegrass.

• 2020 TWCA Tall Fescue Drought Trial: Once fully established in 2022, the trial will also employ a rainout device to determine new and re-qualify existing TWCA drought tolerant varieties of tall fescue.

• Long-term Effect of Surfactants on Greens-height Creeping Bentgrass: This project includes three soil surfactants and soil enhancer lines, as compared with an industry standard wetting agent on USGA (cultivar V8) and calcareous (mixed-stand overseeded with cultivar T1) rootzones. Results over the next few years aim to provide detailed information on the function/efficacy of soil surfactants and their long-term effects on rootzone and turfgrass properties.

• Biology and Management Take-all patch in Canada: The reported causal agent of Take-all patch is Gaeumannomyces avenae, but previous research from the GTI suggested that Slopeiomyces cylindrosporus can be an additional causal agent of the disease. Further objectives of this ongoing study are to determine the most effective inoculation method for the disease and to develop recommended management practices for the disease. To date, we have been able to confirm that core inoculation is the most effective method of inoculation without causing significant damage to the turf. The study will continue in 2021 on a greens-height rootzone.

• Effect of Plant Growth Regulators on Winter Hardiness of Creeping Bentgrass and Annual Bluegrass Golf Greens: This winter hardiness/survival was previously conducted at the Victoria Road location on a USGA 80:20 rootzone. The 2021 study is being conducted on a USGA putting green seeded with cultivar 007 creeping bentgrass. Plant growth regulators were applied to the golf green prior to dormancy in 2020 and results will be published soon. 

• Comparing plant growth regulators on a USGA putting green: This study compares prohexadione-calcium, trinexapac-ethyl and an experimental growth regulator on turfgrass growth and quality parameters on a putting green height stand of turf. This research is a continuation of previous research, ongoing since 2018.

• Comparing the efficacy of different rates and formulations of Fiesta on broadleaf weed populations in lawn-height turf: Low risk herbicides are now commonly used on lawn height turfgrass in Ontario to manage weeds in place of older 3-way herbicide chemistries that are no longer available for cosmetic purposes. The trial is testing rates of Fiesta formulations to determine effectiveness for controlling broadleaf weed populations on lawn-height turfgrass.

• Crabgrass control using various formulations of Fiesta: This trial compares formulations of a low-risk herbicide, Fiesta, at different rates to reduce establishment of crabgrass in newly cultivated area. Treatments were applied at emergence of crabgrass. A study was also conducted in 2019 examining different formulations and rates of Fiesta under a similar treatment framework and showed promising results. Results will be valuable to the turfgrass industry since crabgrass remains a challenge for municipal and landscape turf areas where few low-risk controls are available.

Turf Manager’s Short Course open for Registration
The Turf Managers' Short Course will be held in person at the new Frost Centre building on Feb 7– March 4, 2022. If public health regulations change between now and then, we will shift to an online platform if needed. 

The Turf Managers' Short Course is a 4-week program offered in Guelph, ON that provides a skills upgrade for personnel in the turf industry. The course will teach agronomic principals, disease and weed identification, plus communication and management skills needed to succeed and thrive as a turfgrass manager. The course provides 120 hours of instructional time, including face-to face interaction with small class sizes, pre-course online tutorials, and registration to the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium. Registration closes on Feb 4, 2022, or when capacity is reached. 

Link to website: 

Save the Date- Ontario Turfgrass Symposium
The Ontario Turfgrass Symposium will be held in Guelph, ON on Feb 23–24, 2022. For more information about this event, please visit our website: