Check out our team’s latest efforts in educating the public about turfgrass at the Minnesota State Fair!
By Eric Watkins
My grandfather was born in 1922 near Warroad, Minnesota on a farm his father had settled shortly before. As a turfgrass researcher, I am also a regular visitor to Roseau County, Minnesota, the same county where my grandfather was born. The cold, unforgiving winters combine with just the right amount of daylight and rainfall during the summer to provide an excellent environment in which turfgrass seed can be produced, and grass seed fields now cover vast acreages near Roseau and Warroad.
By Dominic Christensen
Turfgrass species are often planted to revegetate roadsides after construction, especially in cities and urban areas. This article highlights the rationale for use of individual species along roadsides, their advantages, and disadvantages in Minnesota or in regions with a similar climate.
By Nicole Mihelich
Rhizomes are an important physiological feature for many turfgrasses, and thus may be a trait deserving of more focus to cool-season turfgrass breeding and improvement. These specialized stems can store sugars, water, and nutrients, allowing for resilience and competitiveness when filing in a lawn, and also when facing seasonal temperature and moisture variation and environmental stresses. Additionally, formation and interlocking of rhizomes is thought to be helpful when harvesting and transplanting thick mats of vegetation in sod production.
By Dominic Petrella
Most golf course putting greens in Minnesota are comprised of creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass, but other turfgrass species may be suitable alternatives. The University of Minnesota turf research program has investigated the use of fine fescue grasses on putting greens, as these are seen as a low-input option compared to creeping bentgrass putting greens. However, under certain circumstances, a greater amount of inputs may be required, such as herbicide to control weeds that may diminish the low-input attribute.
By David R. Herrera
The University of Minnesota Turfgrass Science program has been developing and testing fine fescue varieties for low-maintenance turfgrass use in the Midwestern United States. Because of the relative underuse of fine fescue turfgrass due to costly seed and limited availability, we are currently investigating fine fescue turfgrass species seed yield performance to determine how growers might begin producing this valuable commodity right here in Minnesota.
by Nicole Mihelich
Here at the University of Minnesota Turfgrass Science Program, one of our areas of research is developing low-input turfgrasses that can better suit the consumer and the environment with less need for water, fertilizer, mowing, and other inputs. Fine fescue turfgrass species have been shown to perform well under these low-input conditions. However, there is little to no availability of fine fescue sod despite high demand from consumers.
By Andrew Hollman
A nice-looking turf that doesn’t need to be mowed and takes very little maintenance is the dream of some homeowners and landscape managers. The sale of “No-Mow” seed mixtures has increased the interest of many people to establish or transition to lower maintenance turfgrass areas. The idea that these areas are “maintenance free” is a misnomer and without the proper grass selection and seeding rate, these areas can require a great deal of care. For that reason, research trials were established in August of 2015 and 2017 at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus to examine the effect of species and seeding rate on turf maintained as a “No-Mow”.
by Yinjie Qiu
Fine fescues are often planted in mixtures, rather than as a single species, because the different species have complementary characteristics that work together to form a good quality turf stand. Yet when fine fescues are planted in mixtures, it is difficult to establish final community composition because the species are so similar morphologically. We are working on a technique to quickly determine fine fescue mixture species composition, which will benefit turfgrass researchers across the country.