WCTA 2011 Turfgrass Research Report

12.02.07-peter sorokovskyHSPeter Sorokovsky gave the WCTA's Research Committee Report at the 2012 Annual General Meeting held duing the Show and Conference held in Victoria January 21st. Topics covered included the projects to be funded in the coming year (edited for TLN)...

WCTA Research Committee:
David Davidson, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Dave Duncan, WCTA Past President
Dave Woodske, BC Ministry of Agriculture,
Dr. Brian Holl, Technical/Industry representative
Keith Lyall, WCTA board member
Steve Kerbrat, BCGSA representative (new position for 2011)
John Anderson, NTA representative (new position for 2011)
Ladd Legeyt, Industry representative (new position for 2011)
Dr. Michelle Gorman, Special consultant
Elizabeth Hudgins, Special consultant

As most WCTA members may be aware, major changes to research funding protocols have taken place over the past two years. In 2009, during an internal audit of the research department financials, the WCTA Board voted to hold all funding and a full review of the research program was launched. The resulting set of protocols, which did not exist previously, was designed to guide the committee make-up and more importantly, determine how funding decisions by the board are made.

In the past, the WCTA would raise and distribute funds in the same year. This approach made it very difficult to commit funding as decisions needed to be made before we knew how much money was raised. This is no longer the case as funds raised in a given year are distributed in the following year.

In 2011, five funding applications were received with three approved by the Board.  Total funds awarded for 2011 was $18,224.00 to:

Institute of Sustainable Horticulture, Kwantlen Polytechnic Univeristy, Dr. Deborah Henderson

- Surveying for microbial entomopathogens for the three major turfgrass pests: European Chafer, European Cranefly and Cutworm and a literature and knowledge review to better understand management of Cranefly damage.


Canadian Turf Research Foundation (CTRF)

- 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
TOTAL PROJECT VALUE: $75,000 approx

The projects funded by the CTRF include research on:
ii)Real-Time Alarm System an IPM initiative
iii)Organic control of snow molds iv)Biocontrol of Dandelion
v)Field trials of various winter covers
vi)Elicitors impact on dollar spot

Evaluation of performance and safety factors of artificial turf surfaces in the south coastal region, Lamorna Enterprises
- The objectives of this project are to develop a database on the condition and performance of synthetic turf surfaces of different types and ages. This assessment will include measurement of the following field characteristics (selected primarily from the FIFA Quality Concept Handbook):
Hardness (Clegg Impact tester) Ball rebound Ball roll Surface regularity


*this project was originally put forward in 2006 and had been approved for funding but was put on hold, but is now close to complete.

Work on these projects is currently in progress and reports will be generated for the 2012 research summary now published in the August “Research” edition of the TLN.

For 2012, we are currently reviewing research funding applications. Based on the priorities of the WCTA membership, funding will be awarded by the board after the conference in time for spring and summer projects to start. Approximately 23K is budgeted for awards to appropriate submissions.

Our current priorities for turfgrass research 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

Future for Turf Research in Western Canada

We are being told that researchers are not always aware of real world issues and what is concerning turf managers. As well, there is a definite desire for more solution oriented research with outcomes turf managers can implement easily and inexpensively. Moving forward our goals include:
• Continue to improve communication with local researchers so they know our priorities.
• Proactively seek out researchers working on our “hot topics”.
• Direct funding to projects that have the best chance to provide solutions to our current problems.
• Proactively seek out funding from all sectors of the turfgrass industry.

To accomplish our turfgrass research goals, annual funding (currently $30,000 per year average) needs to be on par with Alberta and Ontario ($150-250k annually). To help achieve this lofty number we need all sectors of the turfgrass industry to get on board in donating to turfgrass research. We will also need non traditional avenues of funding that will benefit golf courses and also our other turfgrass sectors now and into the future.

If you wish to contribute and/or have any ideas, please contact me at peter.sorokovsky@burnaby.ca.