Guelph Turfgrass Institute Celebrates 35 Years With New State-of-the-Art Facility

From sports and recreational fields to home lawns, a new turfgrass centre opening this week at the University of Guelph will foster research and teaching to support Canada’s multi-billion-dollar sports, golf and residential turf industry.

The new G.M. Frost Research and Information Centre will be the centrepiece of the recently relocated Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI), which marks its 35th anniversary as a national leader in research, extension work and professional development for the study of turf.  

The new facility opens September 16 with a public field day. U of G alumni, turfgrass professionals, and homeowners are invited to tour the centre and research plots and discuss GTI studies and industry needs.  

The new centre will serve as a research, education and resource hub for the Canadian turfgrass industry as well as the headquarters of the Ontario Golf Superintendents Association, Sports Turf Canada and the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation. 

Its development was funded largely by the Government of Ontario through the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO).

“We’re excited to continue our work in this new state-of-the-art research and teaching facility,” said Dr. Eric Lyons, director of the GTI. “We are tremendously grateful for the support from the provincial government, individual donors, organizations and the industry who made our new location possible.” The GTI’s new location covers about 17 acres at the east end of the U of G campus. Fourteen research plots provide different combinations of turfgrass cultivars, mowing heights, and soil types. 

Researchers will build on the previous research on environmental aspects of pesticide use, evaluation of grass species, varieties and seeding methods, sports field construction, fertility and management programs, and the biological and cultural control of diseases and weeds.

The research grounds, laboratories, diagnostics clinic and study space will continue to support and foster a strong Canadian turfgrass science program and attract new generations of academics, said Lyons. 

“The University of Guelph is committed to delivering world-class turf research that advances the sector, fosters sustainability and delivers vibrant green spaces for our communities,” said Dr. Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research).  

The GTI was founded 35 years ago through a collaboration among U of G, the Ontario government and the turfgrass industry, he said. “We are immensely proud to join our partners again and reiterate our commitment to advancing turfgrass research with the opening of the new G.M. Frost Research and Information Centre.” 

Lorne Hepworth, ARIO chair, said, “Ontario is building on the strong foundation of research infrastructure by supporting the new Guelph Turfgrass Institute. Through research facilities like these, the provincial government is supporting the advancement of innovative research, creating the potential for scientific discoveries and opening the door for future technological advances in agricultural research for Ontario farmers.”

Funding opportunities are still available for the GTI’s new maintenance and teaching building, where students will learn irrigation installation, machine maintenance and landscape design.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Ontario government through ARIO, companies, individuals and organizations who supported the fundraising effort to establish the new facility of the Guelph Turfgrass Institute and the donors who helped establish the GTI in 1987.