Thursday, July 12, 2012
Turf trials at Illinois
Golfdom's research editor, Clark Throssell, is on the road the next couple of days, checking out research trials. He checks in with us here from Champaign-Urbana:
On Wednesday I traveled to spend time with the turfgrass scientists at the
University of Illinois and see some of their field research in progress. As
the plane was landing in Indianapolis (I drove from Indy to Champaign-Urbana,
home of the University of Illinois) I was struck by the extremely dry
conditions. The flight path took us over two golf courses. One course was only
watering greens and the other was only watering greens, tees and fairways. All
the unwatered turf was brown. And it looked like it had been brown for a long
time. For mid-July the dry conditions were severe with much more hot summer
weather to follow. It has already been a long summer for turf in the Midwest.
Like much of the rest of the country, Indiana and Illinois need rain.
At the University of Illinois I meet with Tom Fermanian, Ph.D., to review two
fertility trials on putting greens and evaluations of tall fescue and fine
fescue cultivars. The trials looked great, they were all irrigated, and
yielding useful information. I spent my time with Bruce Branham, Ph.D,
reviewing some of his annual bluegrass control experiments. He is examining
both new and old compounds in various application strategies to selectively
remove annual bluegrass from the desired turf. Bruce keeps chipping away at
controlling annual bluegrass and over the years has developed effective annual
bluegrass control programs.
My time with Tom Voigt, Ph.D., was spent looking at biofuel crops. Tom is a
turfgrass scientist but over the last few years he has gradually shifted his
efforts to biofuel production. His role in biofuel production is to examine
plants that have the potential to be used to produce ethanol. He is also
developing production systems for the most promising biofuel crops. His work
will help determine the viability of bioenergy crops.
For me there is nothing better than spending time looking at turf research
plots. ...Well, maybe fishing is better, but professionally, looking at research
plots is at the top.
I am now off to the University of Arkansas to spend time
looking at their field research.
Clark Throssell, Ph.D.