Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre Update - Jul-Sep 2023

by Jason Pick

As the students return to classes, we are thankful for an excellent growing season in Alberta this year. September has brought our first single digit evening temperatures since June, so we’re preparing once again.

Our directors continue to motivate inclusivity among our Western Partners, welcoming a new Saskatchewan superintendent to the research board. Olds Turf alumni, and representative of the Sask Turf Association, we are pleased to announce Lance Wakefield superintendent of Royal Regina Golf & Country Club as your newest ATRF board member. We are grateful to have professional representation throughout the prairies!

2023 Projects Completed:

We continued several herbicide trials this summer and a thatch reduction product trial for Premier Tech, as well as the long awaited Poacure project with Brett Young. With Eastern and Western testing locations on Bentgrass at greens height and bluegrass on fairways, all the data is “in”. A solution for poa annua control could be a potential game changer for the turf industry across North America, Another trial is exploring the widely misunderstood biostimulant market, as we evaluate how to enhance & maximize thatch degradation with microbes. For Ontario and BC where organic matter accumulation is a major issue, we hope to produce some applied solutions.

This summer was our “establishment” year for the Drought tolerance trial with the City of Calgary and Sod Growers Commodity Group. As many saw during our field day, the largest project next year is prepped and ready to roll. (images: Left Sod component, Right Perennial Yard-Smart replication gardens. Watch for more quarterly updates on this unique study.


Accepting 2024: Call to proposals
Each November various granting bodies open their research bids. Leveraging moneys generated, the national association is an excellent resource for the ATRF. We/ATRF continue to be corporate members of the Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation, hoping our contribution is leveraged to more Canadian turfgrass advances.

Trends in membership at the ATRF are reflective of the gradual change from individual membership to corporate and association support. Although we will continue to send voluntary invoices to our past and current members, we have begun a positive trend. Thank you to all who have renewed their membership, individual clubs and associations. Your ATRF have begin the CEU circuit already, having delivered most recently to the BCGSA at their annual exchange tournament.  Next week to the Western Canada Cemetery Association, and October to the Alberta Superintendents Association. Your ATRF is stronger than ever, thank you all for your ongoing support.

Alberta Turfgrass Research Foundation Field Day
Despite some less than ideal weather, ATRF members and guests enjoyed a day of learning, taking in two pesticide continuing education credits, from Matt Legg @ Syngenta, and yours truly. Field project presentations included herbicide trials, thatch reduction (biostimulant), a drought avoidance experiment and an awesome Maredo demonstration including aeration, vertical mower, and fraze mowers.

Thanks to all who participated in our biennial field day, we hope next time the weather is a little nicer! We look forward to connecting on the conference circuit this winter!