Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alternative turfgrasses show potential for use on golf course fairways

Date:
April 21, 2010
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Burgeoning restrictions on water use, fertilization, and pesticide application are becoming important considerations in golf course design and management. Other factors, including increasing energy costs, human health concerns, and environmental awareness are also prompting turfgrass managers to consider the use of alternative turfgrasses as a lower input, sustainable maintenance practice. Researchers identified four alternative turfgrass species -- two bentgrasses and two fescues -- as promising for use as low-input fairways.

Differences in spring green-up for low-input fairway species shown in turfgrass experimental plots.
Credit: Photo by Andrew Hollman

Burgeoning restrictions on water use, fertilization, and pesticide application are becoming important considerations in golf course design and management. In response, scientists are searching for sustainable methods to lessen the environmental impact of golf courses. Other factors, including increasing energy costs, human health concerns, and environmental awareness are also prompting turfgrass managers to consider the use of alternative turfgrasses as a lower input, sustainable maintenance practice. A new study published in HortScience identified four alternative turfgrass species -- two bentgrasses and two fescues -- as promising for use as low-input fairways.

In the cool-season region of the United States, golf course managers traditionally grow creeping bentgrass on putting greens and favor Kentucky bluegrass, creeping bentgrass, or perennial ryegrass for fairways. When used on fairways, however, these species require significant amounts of inputs such as nitrogen fertilization, irrigation, and pesticides. A sustainable, effective strategy to deal with potential risks associated with these inputs may be the use of alternative turfgrass species. The challenge is finding low-input turf that can survive and perform adequately under conditions of little or no supplemental irrigation, high traffic, no pesticides, and reduced fertility.

Eric Watkins, Andrew B. Hollman, and Brian P. Horgan of the Department of Horticultural Science at the University of Minnesota designed a research study that tested alternative turfgrass species not currently used for golf course fairways in the northern U.S. In 2005, 17 species of turfgrass were established on native soil in St. Paul. Each species was evaluated at three levels of traffic (zero, three, or six passes per week using a drum-type traffic simulator) and two mowing heights (1.90 and 2.54 cm).

In 2006, velvet bentgrass (Agrostis canina L.), colonial bentgrass (Agrostis capillaris L.), and creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) maintained acceptable quality in all treatment combinations. In 2007, Chewings fescue (Festuca rubra L. ssp. fallax) and sheep fescue (Festuca ovina L.) were the top-performing species regardless of treatment. Hard fescue (Festuca brevipila Tracey) performed poorly the first year of the study, but performed well in the second year. The other species evaluated in the study did not perform at acceptable levels.

The test results indicated that sheep fescue, Chewings fescue, colonial bentgrass, and velvet bentgrass should be studied further for use on low-input golf course fairways in the northern U.S. "In this study, the fine fescue species showed the greatest potential for use on low-input golf course fairways. To our knowledge, this is the first report of sheep fescue being a successful fairway turf in the United States," noted Watkins. The research demonstrates that alternative cool-season turfgrass species may be able to perform adequately on golf course fairways under low-input conditions in Minnesota and similar areas.

The study findings may hold great promise for turfgrass professionals, but will the new grasses prove popular with golfers? According to Watkins, researchers in the United Kingdom acknowledged high levels of support for increased biodiversity among golf course superintendents, but found that there were conflicts between the golfers' preferences and the needs of conservation plans that promote biodiversity. "Similarly, we expect that resistance from golfers to new grass species may limit the use of low-input species on golf course fairways."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eric Watkins, Andrew B. Hollman and Brian P. Horgan. Evaluation of Alternative Turfgrass Species for Low-input Golf Course Fairways. HortScience, 45: 113-118 (2010) [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Alternative turfgrasses show potential for use on golf course fairways." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420114233.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2010, April 21). Alternative turfgrasses show potential for use on golf course fairways. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420114233.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Alternative turfgrasses show potential for use on golf course fairways." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420114233.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins