2022 WCTA Turfgrass Research Summary Report

Working with many of our allied groups, one of the primary mandates of the Western Canada Turfgrass Association is to foster turfgrass research for the betterment of the entire sports turf and golf course management industry. 

The scientific process has been a critical component in the evolution of our industry and continues to drive us forward, operating in the background, advancing the field and providing solutions to everyday challenges.  As the industry finds itself increasingly engaged in advocacy efforts, there is great need to detail and quantify all the good things that turf does for us.


Here's a screenshot of the Oregon State University Youtube video explaining their carbon sequestration project. 

In the last 10 years, the WCTA has directed over $231,000 toward turf research projects!  Within that period, the highest dollar figure in any one year was $32,762.  Project funding dollars come from 10% of all member dues, 30% of any net operating profit at year end, but mostly, from the contributions made by those in the industry and the hard work of many individuals over the years directed at fund-raising initiatives.  

Even without our annual Silent Auction this year, as of mid-September, $31,108 has been raised in 2022!  We can credit our success squarely to money raised at the Patrick Dooley Memorial Golf Tournament and the tireless efforts of Stan Kazymerchyk along with Kwantlen Turf Management students and an army of volunteers.  In fact, research was the beneficiary of two Dooley Tournaments held in this fiscal year due to COVID, raising $5,000 and $8,485.90 respectively. The combined total of $13,485.90 makes this the largest single contribution to research in WCTA history!  On behalf of all WCTA members, we sincerely appreciate this tremendous boost in a year where things weren't looking so hot.

FYI, money raised in 2022 will be put toward 2023 projects.  Note that many research projects are jointly funded which helps reduce the overall burden on one particular group.  For example, the Canadian Turf Research Foundation (CTRF) collects funds from several provincial groups like the WCTA, rolls it all together and distributes it on a national scale. 

Current priorities for WCTA turfgrass research funding:
A systems approach to sustainable turfgrass management.
Turf management best practices. 
Effects of climate change on turfgrass and pests. 
Improved turfgrass species and varieties.
Societal benefits of turfgrass.  
Economic impact of turf management decisions.
New instrumentation, robotics and software technologies.
Basic research (economics, environment, playability) of synthetic turf & comparison to natural turf. 
Development and evaluation of effective alternatives to conventional pesticides.
Nutrient management and nutrient sources.
Water conservation and water quality.
Emerging Pests – Improved diagnostics for new pests and turf diseases in northern climates.  
Wear tolerance, management and recovery.  

2022 Turf Research Funding Summary

Based on funds raised in 2021, cash available to the Research Committee for new projects was $12,000 with actual disbursements totalling $27,677.  The difference is due to projects already in progress and/or a conscious decision by the Board to dip into reserves.  The following projects were put forward by the Research Committee and approved by the WCTA Board for 2022 funding:

Project Title: Canadian Turf Research Foundation Cooperative Funding
The CTRF collects and distributes research monies much like the WCTA but on a National Scale.  We have contributed to this collaborative approach to research funding annually since 1992.  

PROJECT LENGTH:  multiple projects / varies
See http://www.turfresearchcanada.ca/current-research for list of current research projects.

Project Title:  Influence of Plant Growth Regulators on Putting Green Aerification Recovery, Alec Kowalewksi, Oregon State University

On golf courses, core cultivation is one of the most damaging events to occur, but no research currently exists that demonstrates the effect of PGRs on recovery from core cultivation or if plant hormones such as gibberellic acid can be used to reduce recovery time.  It may be possible to use post-inhibition growth enhancement to decrease recovery time. The first objective of this project is to determine the effect of trinexapac-ethyl (Primo) application timing on core cultivation recovery.  The second objective is to determine if ethephon (Proxy) treatments applied in the spring for annual bluegrass seedhead control influence cultivation recovery time.  The final objective is to evaluate the effect of gibberellic acid (GA3) on core cultivation recovery.

WCTA COMMITMENT: $15,000 USD for first year ($19,355 CDN fully paid out)
CLICK HERE for final year 1 report

Project Title:  Enhancing Turfgrass Carbon Sequestration to Improve Sustainability and Market Access, Alec Kowalewksi, Oregon State University

Oregon State University will evaluate the impacts of turfgrass maintenance practices (nitrogen fertilization, irrigation, mowing height, and mowing frequency) on turfgrass carbon balance and soil carbon accumulation.  This project will investigate how to enhance accumulation of soil organic carbon in order to reduce the climate footprint of turfgrass, which can provide ways of addressing regulatory burden imposed by greenhouse gas reduction programs and improve market acceptance of natural turfgrass.  Results of this research will be disseminated to turfgrass seed producers, turfgrass managers (golf course superintendents, commercial turf managers, school and park employees), and other users (home owners and master gardener programs) through extension activities including field days, presentations, and written materials.

WCTA COMMITMENT: We are partnering 50/50 on this project with QTRF, total value $15,000 USD ($19,355 CDN fully paid out)
CLICK HERE for final year 1 report


The WCTA would like to thank and recognize those individuals, groups, companies and institutions who have contributed generously to turf research project funding this year, without whom our Turf Research funding program simply would not exist. 

Portion of member dues:  $12,808
Quebec Turfgrass Research Foundation:  $4,750
Patrick Dooley Tournament: $13,485.90

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank those who tireslessly serve on our Research Committee:  

Peter Sorokovsky - City of Burnaby (Chair)
David Duncan - THP Co. (WCTA Past President)
Ladd Legeyt - Agrium Advanced Technologies (Industry Representative)
Jim Ross - Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre (retired)

Finally, on behalf of the entire WCTA membership, we'd like to recognize the efforts of Turfgrass Researchers and Educators who continually drive the turf management industry forward, largely behind the scenes, with their vision, dedication and accomplishments.       

If you wish to contribute to turf research through the WCTA, please contact Committee Chair Peter Sorokovsky

Please note that the Western Canada Turfgrass Association accepts no responsibility in respect to the opinions and data expressed in the editorial material or outcome of the research projects.  The views do not necessarily represent the views of the Association.