Summer 2022 Research has Begun!

Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2022

Written by GTIadmin

A grassy field- stripes of different shades of green are evident in the grass. A riding lawnmower is parked on the left hand side.

The Guelph Turfgrass Institute is shifting into HIGH GEAR for the 2022 field season

In addition to our research projects, we will be getting ready for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to officially open the new G. M. Frost Centre in September 2022. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed that we don't encounter any unforeseen roadblocks or changing restrictions! Stay tuned to our newsletter for updates. 

These projects will be continued from the 2021 season:

  • NTEP National Tall Fescue Test  
  • Long-term surfactant study conducted on greens-height creeping bentgrass and on an annual bluegrass-creeping bentgrass mixed-stand
  • Incorporating the Use of Machine Learning in the Turf Canopy Scanner by grad student Arthur Rosenfield led by Dr. Eric Lyons 
  • Ongoing data collection and performance assessment of ornamental flowers and plants through GTI Trial Gardens with Rodger Tschanz
  • Field testing of a DMI-resistance kit developed by grad student Ed McNab led by Dr. Tom. Hsiang
  • Evaluation of iron-based herbicide for weed management on lawns
  • Ongoing product evaluation trials on greens-height turf by Dr. Tom Hsiang

New Projects in 2022

Drought resistance of Tall Fescue: We will be constructing a rain-out device over a turf-type tall fescue cultivar trial to test drought resistance of several varieties. In general, tall fescue is considered a very durable species and can withstand heat, drought, and high traffic. Recent varieties have increased rhizomes allowing for better fill and recovery but survival in Canada has been suspect with past varieties This trial will assist with selection better varieties for Canada. This project is part of a larger initiative from the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA). The TWCA conducts trials on several grass species (tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, Bermudagrass, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass) across the USA and Canada. This allows for a broad geographic range to assess the water-saving capabilities of these varieties. 

Turfgrass Probiotics for Biofertilization and Stress Tolerance: Beneficial bacteria which were isolated in the lab will be applied in the field to a creeping bentgrass fairway. Endophytic (endo=inside, phyte=plant) bacteria can be found in nearly every plant on this planet, where they colonize the internal tissues of their host plant and form a beneficial relationship with their host. Previous research on corn and wheat have demonstrated increased yield and improved disease resistance. Now, this project is applying the same principals to turfgrass. Graduate student Ben McFayden is working with Dr. Manish Raizada on a project sponsored by the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation (OTRF) to boot nitrogen use efficiency and stimulate root growth for better water uptake. 

Perennial Ryegrass Variety Evaluation: Perennial ryegrass is one of the most widely-used species of grass in the world. This species is commonly overseeded in the fall on golf courses in southern USA and is inter-seeded with Kentucky bluegrass for lawns and sports fields in Canada. Perennial ryegrass typically stays greener longer in the fall and has remarkably fast germination, but it can have poor winter survival in colder climates. The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) coordinates evaluation trials in the United States and Canada to assess the performance of turfgrass varieties across a broad spectrum of environmental conditions. The GTI has previously submitted data for the NTEP Tall Fescue report (2021 preliminary report) and this season we will be establishing a NEW trial of perennial ryegrass. Depending on the establishment over the fall, we will be able to collect performance data in 2023 or 2024. 

Annual Bluegrass Suppression Trial: Annual bluegrass (Poa annua) is usually considered a weed. Its lime-green colour and lack of tolerance to diseases and abiotic stress make it an unwanted invader of creeping bentgrass putting greens and fairways. Most herbicides are formulated to target broadleaf OR grassy weeds, and they are not able to be selective for annual bluegrass in creeping bentgrass stands meaning an herbicide to manage annual bluegrass will typically also damage the creeping bentgrass as well. The trial will test different methods for suppressing annual bluegrass in creeping bentgrass.

Overseeding Sports Fields: What is the best grass species to use for overseeding sports fields in Ontario? That's the question that Dr. Eric Lyons seeks to answer. In a new project supported by OTRF, we will be evaluating several species which will be overseeded into a simulated sports field under wear.

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