June 27, 2008

For more than 30 years, researchers in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture have been studying turf varieties and best management practices for turf professionals. Each year, the college highlights the latest turf research during a field day at its Spindletop Research Farm in Lexington. This year's event is July 10.

            One of the longest-running turf efforts is grass cultivar evaluations for home lawns. The resulting data becomes part of a national grass-cultivar research project called NTEP, an abbreviation for the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program, which collects data in 40 states and six Canadian provinces.

            "Fortunately, in Kentucky, we are in a transitional climatic zone, so we have both cool and warm season NTEP trials," said David Williams, UK College of Agriculture turfgrass specialist. "Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, Bermudagrass, creeping bentgrass, zoysia grass and fine fescue - data from these trials are submitted to a national database in Beltsville, Maryland and distributed worldwide to help folks make decisions on cultivar selections."

            Another important focus area at the farm is sport turf management. Graduate students currently are studying traffic tolerance and shear strength to create durable and safe playing field surfaces.

            "We are not so much worried about esthetics like a lot of turf managers are, but we are more concerned about the safety of athletes, especially young athletes at the high school level," Williams emphasized. "So, providing a good sound basic turf, safe turf, is our main goal."  

            The turf field day will highlight these and other projects. Registration begins at 8 a.m. followed by hourly tours from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. A free lunch will follow the tours. For more information or directions to the field day, visit the Turfgrass Science Web site at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/ukturf/index.htm or contact Williams at 859-257-2715.

News Topics: