WCTA Supports Turf Managers by Investing In 2024 Research Projects

The WCTA Board is pleased to announce it will continue supporting important and valuable turf research in 2024.  Based on funds raised in 2023, cash available to the Research Committee for new project funding is $23,377.

Current priorities for WCTA turfgrass research funding are as follows: 
• Nutrient and fertility management, best management practices
• Soil and root-zone management, best management practices
• Evaluation of alternatives to pesticides
• Irrigation and water use issues (water quality and reducing water usage)
• Investigations into the biology, ecology and management of current and emerging pests
• Alternative cultivar and species for new turf construction, integration and conversion into existing turf areas
• Species/cultivar evaluation and improved management practices for areas of heavy traffic and wear tolerance

As recommended by the Research Committee, the Board has approved approximately $23,000 in project funding.  Any difference between total funding and available cash is made up from reserves.

Project Title:  Canadian Turf Research Foundation Cooperative Funding
The CTRF collects and distributes research monies much like the WCTA but on a national scale.  Along with other regional groups, we have contributed to this collaborative approach to research funding annually since 1992.

PROJECT LENGTH: multiple projects /varies
CLICK HERE for list of current research projects.

Project Title:  Influence of Nitrogen Rate on Growing Degree Day Models for Plant Growth Regulator Reapplication Interval on Annual Bluegrass Putting Greens, Chas Schmid Ph.D., Oregon State University

Plant growth regulators are an effective tool that can use to reduce vertical shoot growth, increase shoot density, and improve putting green playability. Traditionally, PGRs have been applied on a calendar based schedule, but growing degree-day models for reapplication intervals have been developed recently for trinexapac-ethyl, paclobutrazol, and prohexadione-Ca on creeping bentgrass and ultradwarf bermudagrass putting greens. There is, however, a lack of data available to develop similar models for annual bluegrass putting greens. Moreover, it is unclear what effect nitrogen rate will have on GDD models for PGR reapplication interval. Therefore, the objectives of this project are to develop a growing degree day model for PGR (trinexapac-ethyl and prohexadione-Ca) reapplication interval on annual bluegrass putting greens and determine if nitrogen rate has an influence on a growing degree day model for annual bluegrass putting greens.

STATUS: project starts June 1, 2024

Project Title:  Pure Urea Granular (46-0-0) as a Fungicide Alternative for Dollar Spot Control, Geunhwa Jung, Full Professor, UMass Amherst

This project aims to determine the optimal timing and concentration for pure nitrogen fertilizer 46-0-0 granular application, potentially achieving a level of longer residual effectiveness comparable to commonly used fungicides in the control of dollar spot disease while avoiding foliar burn. The outcomes of this research will offer valuable insights, benefiting not only golf course superintendents facing multiple fungicide resistance but also homeowners with lawns. Many homeowners lack fungicide application licenses and must rely on lawn care services, making these findings especially relevant to them. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness and environmentally friendly nature of nitrogen fertilizer make it an ideal choice for sustainable turfgrass management.

STATUS: project starts May, 2024

Previously funded projects in progress:

Project Title:  Effects of Equipment Traffic on Turfgrass During Frost Conditions, Alec Kowalewksi, Oregon State University

Frost is a concern on northern golf courses in the fall, winter and spring. This concern has become more of an issue recently with the surge in golf over the past couple years, and the high demand for tee times. The United States Golf Association (USGA) currently has conservative recommendations with respect to frost delays, suggesting significant delays on mornings with frost due to the fact that it is not well understood what causes turfgrass injury, and the environmental conditions necessary for damage.  Current recommendations are to delay the start of golf until after the frost has melted.  However, there has been significant pushback from golfers who are skeptical as to whether these delays are truly necessary.  It is also poorly understood how turfgrass species, mowing height and source of traffic (foot traffic, cart traffic or maintenance equipment) affect injury during frost.  Frost delays translate to significant reductions in revenue and valuable maintenance time which is often early in the morning prior to golfer arrival.

In response to these questions a series of preliminary studies were conducted at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR in February of 2022 at the request of USGA Agronomy and Research staff.  Results from these initial explorations determined that foot traffic, equivalent to 16 golfers on an annual bluegrass putting green, applied during eight frost events in February did not produce visual annual bluegrass damage, or reductions in turf health.  Findings from this initial work determined that as little as one cart pass on a creeping bentgrass fairway during a frost event produced noticeable damage. Considering these initial results, further exploration into the effects of golf cart, and golf maintenance equipment traffic, during frost is warranted.

WCTA COMMITMENT: $11,500 USD for year one
STATUS: Interim report received and approved, final report due April 30, 2024

 Thank you to all those who have contributed to our turf research program!