WCTA Supports Turf Managers by Investing In 2020 Research Projects

The WCTA Board is pleased to announce it will continue supporting important and valuable turf research in 2020.  Based on funds raised in 2019, cash available to the Research Committee for new project funding is about $20,000.

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 $20,000 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
See www.turfresearchcanada.ca/current-research.ca for list of current research projects.

Project Title: Efficacy of Trichoderma Fungal Biocontrol Agents for the Control of Snow Mold Disease in Turfgrass, Michelle Franklin and Deborah Henderson, Institute of Sustainable Horticulture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University
The cost of chemical controls for snow mold disease in Western Canada is greater than that for all other diseases of turfgrass.  Demand for alternatives to chemical controls are mounting due to concerns of the environmental impact of chemical pesticide use coupled with cosmetic pesticide bans.  Research has shown that fungal biological control agents such as Trichoderma can suppress the growth of several of the pathogens responsible for snow mold disease. Here we propose to identify the pathogens responsible for snow mold on golf courses in British Columbia using genetic tools and test the efficacy of local Trichoderma isolates in laboratory and field trials for the control of pink snow mold.  Trichoderma isolates that show pathogen suppression in research trials will be considered for registration in Canada as the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture moves forward with their first Trichoderma product registration.   


Project Title: 4th Edition of the "Compendium of Turfgrass Diseases"
The Compendium of Turfgrass Diseases is a valuable resource for many in the turfgrass industry, including turfgrass managers, researchers, diagnosticians, educators, and students. Originally written by R.W. Smiley and published in 1983, the first three editions have sold a total of 48,000 copies. The 3rd edition was published in 2005 and has sold more than 8,500 copies in 50 states and 55 countries.

The 4th edition will include extensive revisions to reflect recent advances in turfgrass pathology, including many new, high-quality images and an expanded focus on diseases of warm-season turfgrasses. Final publication is expected in mid-2021.   

PROJECT LENGTH: to be published in 2020

Previously funded projects in progress:

Project Title:  Comparing Iron Sulfate Versus Chelated Iron for the Suppression of Microdochium Patch on Annual Bluegrass Putting Greens in the Presence and Absence of Phosphorous Acid, Alec Kowalewski, Oregon State University
One negative aspect of long term applications of iron sulfate is a decrease in soil pH, therefore requiring judicious monitoring of soil test levels and likely the introduction of liming agents on a periodic basis. An area of focus yet to be explored and one that may mitigate changes to pH is the use of chelated iron sources to suppress Microdochium patch. Preliminary laboratory studies have suggested that chelated iron suppresses the growth of Microdochium nivale, although no field trial to date has assessed the use of chelated iron to mitigate Microdochium patch. Chelated iron applications may also lead to less turfgrass thinning than has been observed with iron sulfate additions as well as allay any adverse soil pH effects. Exploring chelated iron in combination or absence of phosphorous acid may further expand the options to turfgrass managers hoping to manage disease with alternative techniques.

WCTA COMMITMENT: $10,000 USD in year 1

Project Title:  Capital Cost of Natural and Synthetic Sports Fields, University of Guelph
This project is creating a comprehensive cost analysis of constructing and maintaining multitude of types of synthetic fields and compare those costs to the construction and maintenance of different types of natural grass fields. This information will aid in the decision making process when schools and municipalities undertake the construction of new facilities. The cost analysis will include a 30-year cost analysis encompassing construction, maintenance, renovations and disposal of materials.  The project will accomplish this by:

Creating a guide sheet comparing the cost of natural and synthetic fields cost fields over a 30 year cycle
Creation of a working model in which factors could be changed to estimate costs of synthetic and natural fields             

WCTA COMMITMENT: $15,000 total, $7,500 outstanding

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