Turfgrass managers are responsible for the beautiful playing surfaces you are accustomed to seeing for sports including football, soccer, tennis, baseball, rugby, lacrosse, golf, well you get the picture!
The smell of freshly cut grass can lead an unlucky bunch to reach for Kleenex and the allergy meds, while others get a smile on their face as they prepare for game time. Little did you know, those ‘wet-green’ smells are organic compounds to help the grasses (among many other functions) recover from decapitation and fungal infections. Minimizing fungal infections on your lawn are manageable, but what if you were in charge of keeping an entire golf course in perfect shape all year long? This week our guest is Clint Mattox who has worked in Europe and the US in pursuit of managing turfgrass to its highest potential while also being cognizant of the environmental and economic impacts of pesticides and fungicides. Clint is now a PhD student in the College of Agricultural Sciences working with Dr. Alec Kowalewski in the Department of Horticulture focusing on turfgrass management in the Pacific Northwest. You can also follow Clint on Twitter @mattoxgolf.
If growing a perfectly uniform surface wasn’t hard enough, a constant hurdle turfgrass managers are facing are the detrimental impacts of a fungal pathogen, commonly called Microdochium Patches, that can have an annual cost of approximately $20,000 for each golf course! To add insult to injury, certain areas limit the type and quantity of fungicide than can be applied forcing turfgrass managers to seek new solutions.
Clint recently finished a Masters of Science with some promising results for how we can effectively manage the infection of Annual Blue Grass (the primary grass for golf courses in this climate) from this formidable fungus while also moving towards organic methodologies. Using a combination of old and new practices he’s fine-tuning current management strategies with the hopes of being able to eliminate the use of fungicides on golf courses.
Tune in on Sunday April 3rd at 7PM on 88.7FM, or online, to hear about the pursuit of fungicide-free turfgrass management.
**All photos are credited to Steven Ward from the OSU Extension Service.