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UConn Hosts Turfgrass Management Event

Turfgrass/Seed/Sod

Attendees included landscape contractors, golf course superintendents, sports turf managers, etc.

| September 2, 2008

Different turfgrass species have dramatically different water needs in the summertime, according to turfgrass scientist Jason Henderson, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Science.

He spoke about low maintenance turfgrass species during University of Connecticut’s first Turfgrass Field Day hosted by the plant science department on in July.

Nearly 350 people attended the day-long event, including sports turf managers, golf course superintendents, sod farm owners, landscape architects and contractors, industry representatives, and lawn and garden professionals from across New England.

Gregory Weidemann, the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said the event “sends a strong signal to the landscaping industry that UConn’s turfgrass program has come of age and has no place to go but grow.”

Management of turf grasses has become a lucrative part of the economy. Nationwide, golf alone generated $76 billion in 2005 and employed more than 2 million people.

In Connecticut, the golf industry contributes an estimated $1 billion to the state’s economy. There are currently about 180 golf courses in the state, with more being planned.

About two-thirds of UConn’s turfgrass program’s graduates end up working in the golf industry; while another third take jobs in grounds keeping, recreation field maintenance, or other sport-related field management.

Turfgrass is a species of grass that is maintained as a mowed turf. It is used in home lawns, parks, cemeteries, sports fields, schoolyards and roadsides. Turfgrass originated from meadow and range grasses that thrived under close grazing by livestock.

Professional turfgrass managers blend the technical expertise of turfgrass culture and physiology with the challenges of managing insects, diseases and weed populations to keep turf areas green and healthy.

The turfgrass field day was designed to showcase current research projects in the areas of professional and residential turfgrass management, according to John Kaminski, an assistant professor of plant science, who helped organize the event. 

Afternoon workshops addressed disease control, weed identification, organic approaches to lawn maintenance, and a tour of UConn’s athletic fields to see how they are prepared for Division I level competition.

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