Turf News

Razorbacks recognized at national turf conference

January 22, 2016

Tyler Carr and Blake Anderson are making a splash this week at the national Sports Turf Managers Association meeting in San Diego. Tyler is a senior turfgrass student at the U of A and is receiving a SAFE Foundation scholarship as well as the Gary Vanden Berg Internship Grant. These awards are in recognition of Tyler’s academic achievements as well as his efforts in conducting a meaningful internship. Tyler interned at Boston’s Fenway Park last summer.

Blake Anderson is the assistant director of sports turf operations for the Razorbacks and was recognized for winning STMA’s 2015 Mowing Patterns Content for his work at Baum Stadium. Blake’s eye-popping design was featured recently in Athletic Turf, where you can see the winning pattern for yourself. It is noteworthy that the aforementioned Tyler Carr happened to be working for Blake and played a role in designing the pattern. Congratulations Blake and Tyler. We are proud of you.

Tyler Carr, 2016 SAFE Scholarship and Gary Vanden Berg Internship Grant winner.

Anderson with signage featuring his winning design at the 2016 STMA Conference in San Diego.
Blake Anderson, 2015 Mowing Pattern Contest winner.

Nick White selected to participate in Future Turf Managers program

May 16, 2014

Congratulations go to Nick White, a graduating U of A turfgrass management student who was recently selected to attend the 2014 Jacobsen Future Turf Managers' Seminar. Nick was flown to Charlotte, NC this week for the three day seminar where he will network with other top graduating turfgrass students and leading golf course superintendents and tour top-level golf courses in the Charlotte area. Nick was selected along with approximately 30 other students from turf management programs throughout the United States. Nick is the 2nd Arkansas student selected to participate in this program - Nathan Tompkins (currently employed at The Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, NY) took part in the 2013 FTM Seminar. 

Nick hails from Leawood, KS and graduated from the University of Arkansas this May with a B.S. degree in Horticulture, Landscape, and Turfgrass Sciences. Following the Future Turf Managers' Seminar, Nick will begin work at The Alotian Club (Roland, AR), which is currently ranked #15 on Golf Digest's "Americas 100 Greatest Golf Courses" list.

Nick White
Nick White is a recent graduate from the UofA Horticulture, Landscape, and Turfgrass Science program.

Turfgrass Field Day Now on Alternate Year Schedule

July 11, 2013

We will not be holding a field day this year in Fayetteville but do plan to have a field day in 2014. While we know this will affect many of you, especially if you were planning to use this event for pesticide recertification, we remain committed to helping you be successful in your businesses by providing new research and information that can help you solve problems and be sustainable. We will keep you posted and thanks to all of you for your continued support of the turfgrass program at the University of Arkansas.

2nd Place Finish for Turfgrass Science Team in National Turf Bowl

February 12, 2013

University of Arkansas students excelled at the 19th annual Collegiate Turf Bowl competition this month in San Diego. Arkansas teams finished in 2nd and 19th place in the competition, which included 68 teams representing 35 universities. The competition consisted of a 4 hour exam that covered all areas of turfgrass science, business management, communication, environmental management and leadership. The University of Massachusetts team won the the competition while two teams from Maryland and Iowa State rounded out the top five. The 2nd place finish was the best ever for an Arkansas team and earned them a cash award of $2,000. The large check (see photo) is currently on display on the 3rd floor of the Plant Sciences building on campus. The 2nd place team members were Ethan Charles, Grant Harrison, Will Mears, and Nathan Tompkins and the 19th place team consisted of Makynna Jorgensen, Travis Russell, Seth Smith, and Nick White.

The success at this year’s Turf Bowl is likely due to many hours of study and a veteran team consisting of students who had competed previously. Students prepared for the Turf Bowl by enrolling in a one-hour special topics class, which was instructed by Drs. Karcher and Richardson. In addition, graduate students and local golf course superintendents worked with the students on various topics.

This year’s event had a total purse of $10,000 and was sponsored by John Deere Golf and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Next year’s Turf Bowl will be held at the Golf Industry Show in Orlando, FL.

The UA Turf Bowl teams finished 2nd and 19th out of 68 teams at the 2013 national competition. Pictured (left to right) are Dr. Joey Young, Travis Russell, Will Mears, Grant Harrison, Nick White, Ethan Charles, Seth Smith, Nathan Tompkins, Dr. Doug Karcher, and Makynna Jorgensen.

UofA PhD Student Takes Faculty Position at Texas Tech

January 7, 2013

The University of Arkansas, Department of Horticulture is proud to announce that Dr. Joseph Young has recently completed all of the requirements for his Ph.D. degree in turfgrass science under the direction of Dr. Mike Richardson. Joey’s dissertation project was titled “Physiological effects of low mowing heights, rolling and foot traffic on creeping bentgrass putting greens”. During his time in the department, Joey was an active participant in all aspects of the turf program, from conducting high-quality research, to speaking at local and national events, and teaching in the program. We are also extremely happy that Dr. Young has secured a faculty position at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where he will continue to teach and conduct research in turfgrass science. He will begin his duties at Texas Tech in January 2013.

Dr. Richardson gave high praise for the work Joey accomplished while at Arkansas. “Joey has been an absolute pleasure to have in our program. Not only has be carried out a creative dissertation project, he has been a key member of our overall turfgrass research, teaching, and extension team for the past 3+ years. One of the things that has really impressed me about Joey is that he is willing to take on whatever tasks are asked of him and is always the first to volunteer with various activities, from helping teach classes, to speaking at field days or turf conferences, or just jumping in to help other students or staff with their research projects. Joey has been a great team player.”

Richardson also noted that “one of the most important things that Joey did in our program was take over the undergraduate Turf Bowl team that competed at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America meeting. This is taught as a special problems course and Joey worked with those students each week for over a semester. The students all loved Joey’s demeanor and his interest in their success and they responded by placing 5th out of almost 90 teams from around the nation at last year’s event. That success is directly attributable to Joey’s passion for students and his thoroughness in presenting the topics.”

When asked about his time at the UofA, Dr. Young stated “I thoroughly enjoyed all of my time in Fayetteville while pursuing my PhD. I also appreciated all those in the turf industry throughout AR supporting me. It was great to form relationships with many golf course superintendents, turf professionals, alumni and current students from the UofA Turf Program. I will always take the experiences I gained as a Razorback with me throughout my career.”

Looking forward, Joey was optimistic about the days ahead, saying that “I am very thankful and honored to have this opportunity to begin my career at Texas Tech. I look forward to the opportunity to mold my own students into turfgrass professionals that can benefit the industry and perform research to better manage turfgrasses in some tough environmental conditions.” We are confident that Joey will be a great success as he moves forward in his career and wish him all the best in the years ahead.

Dr. Young discussing his research at the 2012 UA Turfgrass Field Day.

The UA Turf Bowl team finished 5th out of 90 teams at the 2012 national competition. Dr. Young dedicated much effort towards preparing the students to compete.

UofA Graduate Recogonized For Excellent Football Field

December 19, 2012

Congratulations to Michael Moyer, a graduate from our turfgrass science program, for his efforts in conditioning the Lamar H.S (Missouri) football field to be the envy of the region! In fact, the field was in such good shape that it was featured on a local television news broadcast. Michael worked under Pat Berger at UA Athletics and interned for the Springfield Cardinals as a student, and was employed by the Kansas City Wizards following graduation. Recently, Michael and his wife Kara (also a Horticulture, Landscape, and Turf Science graduate) moved to their hometown of Lamar and each started up a business there – “GreenLife Turf Contracting” and “Lamar Greenhouse and Florist”. We are proud of both their accomplishments.

View the news broadcast featuring Michael’s work on the Lamar H.S. football field here.

Registration Open for the 2013 ATA Conference and Tradeshow

December 19, 2012

The 2013 Arkansas Turfgrass Association Conference and Tradeshow will be held January 23 and 24 at the Hot Springs Convention Center. The 2013 educational program will feature:

- Specialists in turf pathology, weed science, and irrigation from Mississippi State University (Dr. Tomaso-Peterson), the University of Tennessee (Dr. Jim Brosnan), and the Oklahmo State University (Dr. David Gerken).

- A variety of speakers from industry and university turfgrass science programs presenting on a wide array of topics.

- Golf, Sports Turf, and Lawn Care educational programs. - Workshops on growing a successful business, weed identification, and training for the Arkansas State Plant Board Pesticide Certification Exam.

- Pesticide recertification.

You can save some money by pre-registering for the conference. To register for the conference, or for more information, please visit the ATA website.

Show Your Arkansas Turf Pride and Support the Student Turf Club

December 19, 2012

Several of our turf students have been working hard this semester preparing for the 2013 national Turf Bowl competition with plans of improving upon their top 5 finish last year (see story below). The 2013 competition is at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego next February. To raise funds for their travel to this event, the Turf Club is selling Nike Dry-Fit golf hats (red or black) for $25 and Arkansas Turfgrass lapel pins for $10. The students will be at the 2013 ATA Conference Trade Show with these items. If you would like a hat or pin, be sure to reserve yours by contacting the club (turfclub@uark.edu) as there is a limited supply. Provide your name, contact info and descrption of the items you intend to purchase.

Thank you for supporting our students!

These Arkansas Turf items are for sale from the UofA Turf Club. To order, contact turfclub@uark.edu.

Turfgrass Science Team in Top Five in National Turf Bowl

February 29, 2012

A team of four undergraduate turfgrass science students from the Department of Horticulture finished in the top five at the 18th annual Collegiate Turf Bowl Competition in Las Vegas, which was the best ever for a U of A team. A second U of A team of two students placed 35th out of the 87 teams from 44 universities in the competition. The fifth place team earned a cash award of $700 for the U of A Turf Club.

The fifth place team members were Scott Hendrickson, Nathan Tompkins, Will Mears and Josh Flowers. The other team members were Jeff Caperton and Ethan Charles. The students were enrolled in a one-hour special topics class to prepare for the Turf Bowl exam. The instructors and team coaches were Ph.D. candidates Joey Young and Dan Strunk. In addition to a written exam, students also were required to identify turfgrasses, seeds, weeds, insects and soil texturing.

Young said the first place and fifth place teams were separated by only 33 points on a 522 point exam. "This high score maintained our dominance over other Southeastern Conference universities." Young said.

"This was an impressive accomplishment for these students, and the national recognition for our turf program will be beneficial," Young said. "Three students will graduate in May. Luckily, we will have three strong team members returning."

Any horticulture students who would be interested in participating should register for Turf Bowl Class in the Fall 2012 semester.

Next year's competition will be in San Diego. Sponsors of this year's event included John Deere, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and Golf Course Management magazine.

TURF TEAM -- The U of A Turf Team that placed fifth in the national Turf Bowl included, from left, Jeff Caperton of Fort Smith; Nathan Tompkins of Edmond, Ok.; Will Mears of Shawnee, Kan.; Scott Hendrickson of Nixa, Mo.; Josh Flowers of Arlington, Texas; and Ethan Charles of Garfield.

University of Arkansas Turf Science Team Member Presents in Thailand

March 12, 2012

The University of Arkansas Turfgrass Science program was on stage last week in Thailand at the Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2012 conference. University of Arkansas Associate Professor, Doug Karcher, was invited to provide instruction on managing moisture in putting green root zones, selecting the best adapted turfgrass cultivars, and diagnosing and communicating shade problems. Over 200 delegates attended the conference representing over 20 countries throughout Asia and the South Pacific. The three-day conference, which was hosted by the R&A and Dr. Micah Woods of the Asian Turfgrass Center, included two days of seminar instruction, a field day, and social events featuring the best of Thai cuisine.

During the field day, delegates toured three area golf courses (Pheonix Golf and Country Club, Siam Country Club, and Laem Chabang International Country Club) where Dr. Karcher demonstrated the effective use of soil moisture meters, the correlation between playability and soil moisture, and how light meters and phone apps can be used to evaluate shade problems.

This was a great opportunity to learn about turfgrass management issues on the other side of the globe for Dr. Karcher. The two most discussed management problems were: 1) controlling bermudagrass encroachment in areas established to seashore Paspalum, and 2) persistent cloudy conditions resulting in poor turf quality on ultradwarf bermudagrass putting greens.

More information on the Sustainable Turf Management Conference in Asia is available here.

Dr. Karcher demonstrating the use of light measuring devices during a field day stop at Laem Chabang International Country Club.

Dr. Richardson named Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy

August 23, 2011

The American Society of Agronomy recently announced that it has named University of Arkansas horticulture professor Michael Richardson a Fellow of the society, which is one of its highest honors. Read the complete story here.

2011 UofA Field Day Wrap-Up

August 8, 2011

We had a great turnout (over 200!) for our Field Day last week, which is pretty remarkable considering the 100 degree plus temperatures that arrived before lunchtime.  Our turfgrass science team truly appreciates the support of the Arkansas turfgrass industry and the large number of folks who made the trip to Fayetteville to attend Field Day.  Below are links to a summary article and a slide show recapping the big day.  Also below is survey information for anyone who attended the 2011 Field Day but did not submit a survey.  If you did not attend Field Day, but would like more information on what was presented, click the Field Day program icon to view or download a copy of the entire 2011 Turfgrass Field Day Program.  We have our fingers crossed that the weather is about to “break” in NW AR and that cooler/wetter weather is coming.  Hopefully, we will all get some relief from this unprecedented heat wave soon.  Hang in there everyone!

Field Day Survey
If you did not fill out a survey on-site the other day, we would like to ask you to give us some feedback. An electronic survey is located at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XWYXLDH and only has 6 questions, so it will take less than a minute to complete:  We really try to improve our field day each year, so we value your input in this process.

Field Day Summary
A complete summary of the 2011 University of Arkansas Turfgrass Field Day is available at: http://arkansasagnews.uark.edu/6245.htm

Field Day Slide Show
A slide show presentation of the 2011 UofA Turfgrass Field Day may be viewed at: http://turf.uark.edu/FieldDay2011/

Field Day Program
You may view or download a pdf copy of the 2011 UofA Field program by clicking here.

Chris Stiegler Turfgrass Science Graduate Student Travel Award

March 3, 2011

On Dec. 24, 2010, the turfgrass academic community lost one of its brightest young scholars, when James Christopher (Chris) Stiegler and his wife, Jenny, were killed in an automobile accident in Texas while travelling to be with their family for the holidays. Chris received his B.S.and M.S. degrees in turfgrass management at Oklahoma State University and worked for a period of time as an assistant golf course superintendent in Wichita, KS and as a Cooperative Extension Agent in Oklahoma. Chris completed a PhD in turfgrass science at the University of Arkansas in May of 2010 and was an assistant professor of turfgrass ecology and physiology at Texas A&M University in College Station TX in August, 2010.

The C5 (Turfgrass Science) Division of the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) has long recognized the importance of graduate students to the health and vitality of our organization and we have many programs in place to support and encourage graduate student participation in the meetings. Chris Stiegler actively took part in CSSA as a graduate student as he was readying himself for a promising career. Although the Long Beach meeting in 2010 was his first as a faculty member, his contributions, and those of other graduate students, to the C5 division and turfgrass science should never be underestimated.

As a way to honor Chris's major contributions to the C5 Division of CSSA as a graduate student and to further encourage future scholars to participate in our meetings, a fund has been established that will be used to award travel grants each year to deserving graduate students in the C5 Division of CSSA.

This will be an endowed fund and awards will be made to a minimum of two students each year (initially proposing $500 per student) to offset travel expenses to the meeting. Additional awards will be made pursuant to appropriate funding.

The Next Step: Funding the Endowment
In order to make this award a reality, a minimum of $25,000 is needed in support to fully endow this fund. All members and supporters of the tri-societies are encouraged to support efforts to reach this milestone in a timely fashion. Although Chris was primarily affiliated with CSSA, Chris's father, Jim Stiegler, has been a long-standing member of ASA and SSSA and has many friends and supporters within our communities. If you would like to support this activity, donations can be submitted either by check or through a secure, online form.

To submit a check:
- Make checks out to ASF
- Note Chris Stiegler Fund on the memo line
- Send to:

5585 Guilford Rd
Madison, WI 53711

To submit a secure, online donation, select the Chris Stiegler Graduate Student Travel Fund from the dropdown list on the CSSA foundation website at: https://www.crops.org/foundation/donate.

There are likely many sources of funding within our academic community that might want to contribute to this fund. It would also be appropriate to approach turf industry associations, corporate entities, and private individuals, among others, to donate to this fund. If desired, portions of gifts can be earmarked as "available for immediate award", such that awards can be made prior to the fund reaching an endowed level.

If you need any assistance in discussing this program with potential donors, please contact Dr. Mike Richardson (mricha@uark.edu), Dr. Richard White (rh-white@tamu.edu), or Dr. Greg Bell(greg.bell@okstate.edu).




Turfgrass Science Students Shine in National Competition

March 3, 2011

The University of Arkansas Turfgrass Science Team placed in the top 20 of 87 teams at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's 17th Annual Collegiate Turf Bowl competition Feb. 10 in Orlando.

Team members are Nic Brouwer, Scott Hendrickson, Nathan Tompkins, Kory Crews, Lee Gatlin and Conor Cummings. Coaches are doctoral students Joey Young and Dan Strunk.

The competition consists of an exam on the science and business of managing turfgrass for lawns, sports fields, golf courses, parks and other landscapes.

Coach Joey Young, a Ph.D. student, said, "The team maintained the University of Arkansas' dominance among schools in the Southeastern Conference." The team was within 14 points of the top 10 teams, which divided $10,000 in prize money provided by John Deere.

Young said, "Our students were scheduled to travel to Orlando on Wednesday, Feb. 9, the day of the monster blizzard that dropped 18+ inches of snow on Fayetteville. Our flights were cancelled, and after reluctantly releasing a couple of our students, five of us loaded into a Honda Accord and drove to Orlando. We left Fayetteville at 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and 18 hours later we arrived at our destination in time to get some rest before the students took the test the next morning. I would be remised not to mention our two students who did not make the trip. Both Lee Gatlin and Conor Cummings proverbially "took one for the team" by staying back and allowing the rest of the students to participate in the test. These guys all worked incredibly hard throughout the fall semester and the first few weeks of the spring semester preparing and studying for this competition."

"The majority of these students will be graduating in May or December 2011, so this was their last opportunity to compete. We will have Nathan Tompkins back on the team next year for sure, and we hope to add a few more sharp individuals to build on the success the University of Arkansas has had in this great competition. I look forward to working with some new students next year, and hope to take a strong group of contenders to Las Vegas, NV for the GCSAA's annual conference in 2012."

Members of the University of Arkansas Turfgrass Science Team study samples of grass in preparation for the Collegiate Turf Bowl in Orlando. Team members, all undergraduate students, are, from left, Scott Hendrickson of Nixa, Mo.; Nathan Tompkins of Edmonton, Okla.; Lee Gatlin of Springdale; Nic Brouwer of Fayetteville; Conor Cummings of Tulsa; and Kory Crews of Farmington.

Turfgrass Graduate Students Compete Well (Again) at Crop Science Meetings

November 5, 2010

Long Beach, Cal. — Several current and former University of Arkansas graduate students presented their research in the Turfgrass Science division at the Crop Science Society of America 2010 International Annual Meeting this week in Long Beach, CA. Over 150 presentations on recent turfgrass research projects were made at these meetings by faculty and graduate students. Graduate students participated in presentation competitions and were judged based on the quality of the science, clarity of presentation, and skill with which the presenters answered questions posed by the judges.
Joey Young (PhD student with Dr. Richardson) won first place in his session with a poster titled, "Evaluating Ball Mark Severity and Recovery Using Digital Imaging Analysis". Josh Anderson (MS student with Dr. Karcher) also won first place in his session with a poster titled, "Planting Method Affects the Establishment Quality of Sports Turf". Former graduate student Jon Trappe (recent MS graduate with Dr. Patton; now both at Purdue) won second place in his session with an oral presentation titled, "Divot Resistance Varies Among Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass Cultivars".
In addition, Dan Strunk (PhD student with Dr. Karcher) gave an oral presentation titled, "Golf Shot Quality Is Affected by Ball Lie", which generated a lot of interest from the audience. Finally, Dr. Chris Stiegler, a recent PhD graduate (with Dr. Richardson) who is now on the faculty at Texas A&M presented a poster on a portion of his PhD research titled, "Influence of Leaf Cuticular Wax Amount and Composition On Foliar-Applied Nitrogen Absorption by Creeping Bentgrass".
This is the fourth consecutive year in which graduate students from the University of Arkansas have given award-winning presentations.

From left: Joey Young, Josh Anderson, and Dan Strunk.



Recent Graduate Takes Faculty Position at Texas A&M

August 27, 2010

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. —Dr. Chris Stiegler, a Ph.D. graduate from the turfgrass program at the University of Arkansas, recently began a new position as an assistant professor at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. Chris’s responsibilities at Texas A&M will include both conducting research and teaching classes in their turfgrass management program as well as providing support to the turfgrass industry in Texas.

Chris completed his Ph.D. in May 2010 under the direction of Dr. Mike Richardson. His research at Arkansas was focused on the uptake and volatilization of foliar-applied nitrogen to creeping bentgrass and bermudagrass putting greens. While at Arkansas, Chris was an active member of the turfgrass program and gave many presentations to industry groups such as the Arkansas Turfgrass Association and the annual turfgrass field day. “Chris will be missed by our program as he really brought a high level of professionalism and a strong work ethic” said Dr. Richardson. “He was a very bright student, a meticulous researcher, and a good teacher. I am confident he will be successful at Texas A&M”.

Commenting on his program at Arkansas, Stiegler said “I will always look back fondly on the time I spent at the University of Arkansas. These positive feelings are directly attributable to the quality faculty, staff, students, and turf industry folks I was able to interact with during my Ph.D. program.  I cannot thank Dr. Mike Richardson enough for his excellent advisement and mentorship along the way and am very grateful for the opportunity to begin my career at a research-intensive institution as highly regarded as Texas A&M University.”

Chris was raised in Stillwater OK, where his father was a soil science faculty member and department head at Oklahoma State. Chris received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in turfgrass management from OSU and worked as an assistant golf course superintendent at Wichita Country Club. Prior to beginning his studies at Arkansas, Chris also worked as a horticultural agent for the OSU extension service. In addition to his recent academic and work successes, Chris and his wife, Jenny, are the proud new parents of their first daughter, Emily Grace, who joined the world on April 27, 2010. The entire UofA turfgrass program extends their best wishes to the Stiegler family!

Dr. Stiegler and Dr. Richardson

From left: Dr. Chris Stiegler and Dr. Mike Richardson.


Horticulture Students Represent the University of Arkansas at GCSAA

March 9, 2010

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. —Five University of Arkansas Horticulture students participated in the 16th annual Turf Bowl Competition at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s (GCSAA) annual conference in San Diego, CA on February 11, 2010.  The students were divided into two teams, a team of four and an individual who took the exam alone.  Our team of four finished 11th and the individual student finished 26th out of 67 teams from universities throughout the country.  The Turf Bowl competition is a written test that assesses the students’ knowledge on a comprehensive range of turfgrass management subjects including:  plant physiology, soils, mathematics, business, weeds, entomology, plant pathology, and turfgrass identification.  Students also are required to write an essay response to one of four real world scenarios.  The students’ responses are then graded by superintendents from around the country that have knowledge on the selected subject area.  In addition to taking the exam, the students also create contacts in the industry through a student-superintendent networking reception. 

These students prepared for the Turf Bowl competition by enrolling in HORT 402V.  This one-hour credit course requires students to meet once a week beginning in September to learn about each of the general subject areas tested on the exam.  These students worked diligently each week completing numerous assignments and learning materials up until the point of participating in the exam.

The five students who represented the University of Arkansas are all Horticulture, Landscape, and Turf Science students in the Department of Horticulture.  The students competing for the University of Arkansas were Nic Brouwer, Lee Gatlin, Scott Hendrickson, Nathan Tompkins, and Scott Wasser.  The students were coached by graduate students Jon Trappe and Joey Young.
The competition builds camaraderie among those competing, strengthens their knowledge of their career field, and builds industry contacts and networking skills.  As this was a young team of competitors, the students are looking forward to next year’s Turf Bowl Competition in Orlando, FL., where they plan on bringing continued recognition to the University of Arkansas Department Of Horticulture.

Turf Bowl Squad 2010

From left: Nathan Tompkins, Scott Wasser, Nic Brouwer, Scott Hendrickson, and Lee Gatlin.


Arkansas Student Wins Watson Fellowship

December 16, 2009

Ronald Calhoun, Paul Koch and James Stiegler each have been awarded $5,000 postgraduate grants by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) as winners of the 2009 Watson Fellowship Program.
The Watson Fellowship is funded by a partnership between The Toro Co. and The Environmental Institute for Golf. It is named after James R. Watson, Ph.D., a retired vice president for Toro who pioneered turfgrass research. The winners, students working toward postgraduate degrees, have been identified as promising future teachers and researchers in the field of golf course management. They also receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2010 GCSAA Education Conference <http://www.gcsaa.org/conference/>  (Feb. 8-12) and Golf Industry Show <http://www.golfindustryshow.com/>  (Feb. 10-11) in San Diego.

Calhoun is working toward a doctoral degree in weed ecology at Michigan State University. He holds dual bachelor's degrees in horticulture and crop and soil sciences, and a master's degree in crop and soil sciences from Michigan State. His dissertation aims to develop an understanding of annual bluegrass germination, flower induction and flower suppression in Michigan. Calhoun also will present in three different seminars at the 2010 GCSAA Education Conference as an instructor.

Koch is pursuing a doctorate in plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin. He earned a bachelor's degree in production systems and a master's degree in plant pathology from Wisconsin. His dissertation is about integrated strategies for disease control on Wisconsin turfgrass.

Stiegler is working toward a doctoral degree in plant science at the University of Arkansas. He has a bachelor's degree in horticulture and agronomy and a master's degree in horticulture from Oklahoma State University. His dissertation is an assessment of foliar nitrogen uptake by two turfgrass species – creeping bentgrass and ultradwarf bermudagrass.

Watson is a leading authority on turfgrasses and was vice president for customer relations and chief agronomist for Toro. The winner of the USGA Green Section Award in 1976 and the 1977 Agronomic Service Award by the American Society of Agronomy, Watson was named a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America in 1979. He also won the 1991 Harry Gill Memorial Award of the Sports Turf Managers Association and GCSAA's highest honor in 1995, the Old Tom Morris Award. Over the course of five decades at Toro, Watson conducted research on adaptability of species and strains of turfgrasses, fertilization practices, snow mold prevention techniques for the winter protection of turfgrasses, etc. He has authored more than 400 popular articles on turfgrass cultural practices and water conservation.

GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 20,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org <http://www.gcsaa.org> .

The Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA, is a collaborative effort of the environmental and golf communities, dedicated to strengthening the compatibility of golf with the natural environment. The Institute concentrates on delivering programs and services involving research, education and outreach that communicate the best management practices of environmental stewardship on the golf course. For more on The Institute, visit www.eifg.org <http://www.eifg.org> .

The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) is a leading worldwide provider of turf and landscape maintenance equipment, and precision irrigation systems. With sales of nearly $1.9 billion in fiscal 2008, Toro's global presence extends to more than 140 countries through its reputation of world-class service, innovation and turf expertise. Since 1914, the company has built a tradition of excellence around a number of strong brands to help customers care for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, and agricultural fields. More information is available at www.thetorocompany.com <http://www.thetorocompany.com> .

Turfgrass graduate students claim prizes at National conference

November 30, 2009

A turf student in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Arkansas won an award for his research presentation at the Crop Science Society of America meetings in Pittsburg. Chris Stiegler won third place in the graduate student poster competition with a poster on "Foliar absorption of N by creeping bentgrass putting green turf utilizing select 15-N-labeled inorganic and organic sources." His adviser is Mike Richardson.

August 30, 2009

GCSAA awards 12 collegiate scholarships

GCSAA has awarded scholarships to 12 college students as part of the GCSAA Scholars Program administered by GCSAA's philanthropic organization, The Environmental Institute for Golf.

Sean Elverd is the first place winner in the competition. He receives a $6,000 scholarship and is honored as the Mendenhall Award Winner. Elverd, a senior from Chattanooga, Tenn., is a turfgrass science and management major at the University of Tennessee.

The second place winner, Thomas Ham, receives a $5,000 award and is designated as the recipient of the Allan MacCurrach Award. The MacCurrach Award is funded by the PGA Tour. Ham is from Jenison, Mich., and is in his final year of a golf course turfgrass management certificate at Michigan State University.

Both Elverd and Ham also will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 2010 GCSAA Education Conference (Feb. 8-12) and Golf Industry Show (Feb. 10-11) in San Diego.

Niels Dokkuma, an international student at Penn State University, was awarded a $2,500 Ambassador Award. The following students were awarded stipends ranging from $2,500 to $500:

The GCSAA Scholars Program, funded by the Robert Trent Jones Endowment, was developed to recognize outstanding students planning careers in golf course management. Winners were selected to receive scholarship awards based on the final ranking in a competition judged by GCSAA's Scholarship Committee. Factors considered were academic achievement, potential to become a leading professional, employment history, extracurricular activities, and recommendations from a superintendent with whom the student has worked and a current academic advisor.

Applicants must be enrolled in a recognized undergraduate program in a major field related to golf/turf management and be a GCSAA member. Undergraduate applicants must have successfully completed at least 24 credit hours or the equivalent of one year of full-time study in an appropriate major.

Turf crowd turns out for field day at Division of Agriculture center

August 7 , 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — It’s a turf crowd that scientists and their graduate students perform for at the Turfgrass Field Day, but attendance has grown each year of the annual event at the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center 2.5 miles north of the University of Arkansas campus on Hwy. 112.

The turfgrass research area includes the largest putting green in Arkansas. It’s used for bentgrass research and is part of a horticultural research, extension and teaching complex provided by the University of Arkansas System’s statewide Division of Agriculture.

Assistant Professor Aaron Patton, who coordinates the event, said most of the approximately 260 field day visitors work in the lawn care, golf course, athletic field and sod farm industries. The field day was held every other year until 2007 when it became a yearly event.

“I think we are meeting a real need by providing updates on research, demonstrations of recommended practices and new technology, and a trade show, which had 20 vendors this year,” Patton said. “It’s also good for networking with other turf people, vendors and university people.”

The field day includes pesticide recertification training for turf managers in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

A tour of research projects and demonstrations included a range of topics, such as grass variety trials, variety selection for various purposes including drought tolerance, managing putting greens, fertilization, and control of plant diseases, insect pests and weeds.

Reports on turf research and extension projects are provided in the “Arkansas Turfgrass Report” published annually by the division’s Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. To see the report online and event announcements, visit the Turfgrass Science Web site at turf.uark.edu.

Results of turfgrass variety trials in Arkansas and other states in the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program are online at www.ntep.org.

Bachelor’s and graduate degree programs in “horticulture, landscape and turf science” are offered by the horticulture department (hort.uark.edu) in Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

White grub Managment presentation

Gadget presentation

Putting green fertility presentation

Drought research presentation


Horticulture Students Continue to Build on Early Success

February 16, 2009

Last week, a group of University of Arkansas students placed 7th out of 83 teams at the 15th annual Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Turfbowl competition in New Orleans, LA. The competition is a written exam created by university professors and industry professionals and is designed to challenge the students’ knowledge of turf science and golf course management. Students are responsible for information about turf science across the nation, not just issues pertaining to the Southern United States.

The three-hour turf bowl competition included material such as: identification of soils, seed, grasses, diseases, insects and weeds. The competition also covers mathematics, plant physiology, growth and development, soil fertility, business, and an essay response to a case study of real-life scenarios that golf course superintendents experience. In order to prepare for the Turfbowl competition, students were enrolled in HORT 402V, a one credit hour class that met once a week beginning in September.

All four students representing the university were students majoring in Horticulture, Landscape, and Turf Sciences within the Department of Horticulture. The Turfbowl team was comprised of Miles Carlson, Brian Cornett, Scott Wasser and Emma White. In addition to competing in the exam the students also had opportunities to advance their academic and professional careers.

The turfbowl competition is put forth by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the leading turfgrass management organization within the golf course industry. Students had the opportunity to network with professionals in the turfgrass industry and build contacts for future job opportunities. This is just the second time that the University of Arkansas has been represented by students at the Turfbowl competition. Last year’s team was able to place 17th, a feat within itself. Following up with a top ten performance in just the second year has brought great respect within the turfgrass industry for the Horticulture Department here at the University of Arkansas. The students are already looking forward to next year’s competition in San Diego, CA. and are excited about improving on this years finish. The team’s goal for next year is to place in the top five. Based on the early success of this program, the team is confident that next year they will bring continued recognition to the program and establish it as a serious contender for the Turfbowl competition title. Please commend these students on their performance and hard work the next time you see them.

Turfgrass graduate students claim prizes at National conference

October 15, 2008

Three turf students in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Arkansas won awards for research presentations at the Crop Science Society of America meetings in Houston. Jay Richards won first place in the graduate student oral competition with a paper on "Putting green mowing frequency and height and rolling effects on ball roll distance." His adviser is Doug Karcher. Jon Trappe won first place in the graduate student poster competition with a poster on "Successful bermudagrass overseeding is dependent on species selection and pre-plant cultivation technique." His adviser is Aaron Patton. Will Jellicorse won a tie for second place in the graduate student poster competition with a poster on "Dormant seeding bermudagrass into an overseeded ryegrass turf." His adviser is Mike Richardson.

Turfgrass scientists focus on drought tolerance

August 12 , 2008

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Some grass varieties can go without water in the summer for up to 60 days with no damage and even retain some green color, says turfgrass scientist Mike Richardson, a horticulture professor with the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture.

Drought tolerance was one of many topics at the Turfgrass Field Day Aug. 6 at the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville. Most of the 190 visitors were turf industry professionals from throughout Arkansas and adjoining states, said Aaron Patton, assistant professor and extension specialist.

Richardson said turf scientists conducting drought tolerance research nationwide hope to provide the basis for a “water star” seal that the public can rely on to signify superior drought tolerance. “It’s the same idea as the ‘energy star’ for appliances,” Richardson said. “We haven’t worked out all the details, but I think we’ll get there.”

Drought tolerance research is conducted in a new 35 x 130 ft. “rainout shelter” at the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Plastic sheeting over a 17-foot-tall frame and open sides allow sunshine in but keep rain off the test plots.

The first year of rainout shelter tests revealed significant genetic differences in drought tolerance, but additional data are needed before publicizing results, Richardson said. Results will help plant breeders develop varieties with superior drought tolerance.

Richardson sees several other big reasons for documenting drought tolerance in turfgrass varieties. One is that most people tend to over-water, which sets turf up for disease and pest problems.

A second reason is that when water is in short supply, the first restrictions are often on watering lawns, golf courses and athletic fields.

A third reason is to reinforce the idea that turfgrass is “green,” meaning environmentally friendly. The balance of environment benefits versus the water and other inputs required, when properly managed, add up to a positive impact, Richardson said.

Rain Out Shelter

Rain Out Shelter

Rain Out Shelter

Read the full article.

August 7, 2008

Field day features tips for golf course care

Even if a professional in the landscaping, sports field or golf course business came away from the Turfgrass Research Field Day on Wednesday with just one thing to help with his or her business, it was a success, said Mike Richardson, horticulture professor at the University of Arkansas.

“ It’s a day to really show off what we’re doing, ” Richardson said of the field day, which is sponsored by the Department of Horticulture of the UA System’s Division of Agriculture.

The event, which featured turf research and educational demonstrations, was conducted at the Horticulture Field Lab at the research and extension center north of Agri Park in Fayetteville. It attracted 190 participants, mostly lawn care and landscaping professionals as well as golf course superintendents and people involved in sales related to the turf industry.

The field day was conducted every other year for 10 years. It now is an annual event.

New features this year included a trade show that featured 14 exhibitors, said Aaron Patton, turfgrass specialist for the UA Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.

“ That seems to be very popular, ” Patton said.

There was also a putting contest this year, he said, and “ everything’s just bigger this year. ”

Last year, there were two tours. This year, there were five, he said.

“ Every year, we try to vary the topics, ” he said as he prepared to give a presentation titled “ Primo in Paint, ” detailing the different aspects of painting sports fields.

Other sessions covered golf issues such as controlling weeds around putting greens and green speed, lawn and landscaping topics such as tree and shrub selection, and sports turf subjects such as painting logos and seeding Bermuda grass on athletic fields.

Amy Matthews of Springdale attended the event as an exhibitor and to learn more about different seeds. She was representing Pennington Seed Inc., which is based in Greenfield, Mo., and sells all types of grass seed.

She said she likes the relaxed atmosphere of the field day, which she said was full of practical information that people “ can really use on the golf course. ”

Richardson has been involved with the turfgrass science program since its beginnings in the mid-1990 s. He said most major land-grant universities in the nation have turfgrass programs.

He said some of the East Coast universities have had programs in place for several years, including the University of Rhode Island, which has a program dating to the 1920 s, The Pennsylvania State University and the University of Massachusetts.

Turfgrass science programs have expanded in the past 15-20 years because of growth in the golf course, landscape and sports field areas, Richardson said.

He said the recent housing market issues have affected the landscaping industry in terms of new landscape installation, while landscaping maintenance has not been affected.

Golf is seen as a luxury, he said, and some people may stop playing it during weak economic times.

But he said the sports field side of the industry “ has just been growing like crazy. ”

He said most cities and school districts want to have safe playing fields both for children and to help attract tournaments that can stimulate local economies.

Read the full article.

July 28, 2008

Field day to feature turfgrass research, tips, exhibits

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Anyone who grows grass for fun or profit, or just because it came with the house, will find something of interest at the Turfgrass Field Day Wednesday, Aug. 6, at the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

The field day will include tours of research projects, educational sessions and commercial exhibits. It is sponsored by the horticulture department of the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture and Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the U of A in Fayetteville.

The location is the Horticulture Field Lab at the research and extension center on Cassatt Street north of Agri Park on Garland Avenue (Hwy. 112). Directions and a registration form are online at http://turf.uark.edu/education/field.html.

Registration fee is $30 in advance or $35 on-site and includes lunch, a “Turf Science” cap and handouts. A morning session begins at 8 a.m. Lunch will be provided for those who register by July 30 and others as long as it lasts. An afternoon session will be from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Aaron Patton, assistant professor in the horticulture department of the Division of Agriculture and Bumpers College, said exhibits will feature equipment, chemicals, services and professional associations.

“The field day is mainly for professionals, but homeowners could also learn something about managing their lawn or landscape,” Patton said. Three tour options will focus on golf course management, lawns and landscapes, or athletic fields.

Turfgrass research on display will include evaluation of grass varieties for drought tolerance. Other topics of general interest will include tips on irrigation, weed control, plants for home landscaping and pesticide safety.

The horticulture department conducts statewide Division of Agriculture research and extension programs and provides the B.S. degree curriculum for the “Horticulture, Landscape and Turf Sciences” major, an M.S. degree in horticulture and a Ph.D. degree in plant science.

Read the full article.

July 1 , 2008

Graduate student captures 2nd place in 2008 GCSAA Essay Contest

Mark Brotherton, Jon Trappe and Patrick McCullough are winners of the 2008 Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Student Essay Contest.

Brotherton, from Oak Ridge, N.J., and a fourth-year undergraduate student at Penn State University, won the first place scholarship of $2,000 for his essay: “How Well Do You Know Your Topdressing Sand?"

Trappe, from Fayetteville, Ark., is a first-year graduate student at the University of Arkansas. He earned the second place grant of $1,500 for his paper: “Implications of Genetically Modified Turfgrasses."

McCullough, from Hoboken, N.J., and a graduate student at Rutgers University, claimed the third place award of $1,000 for his writing: “Roughstalk Bluegrass Control: Do New Herbicides Offer Long-Term Management Solutions in Cool-Season Turf?"

Open to GCSAA members who are undergraduate or graduate students pursuing degrees in turfgrass science, agronomy or any field related to golf course management, the GCSAA Essay Contest accepts entries with a focus on golf course management. The scholarship funding is provided by The Environmental Institute for Golf through the Robert Trent Jones Endowment.

Judges from the GCSAA scholarship committee select winners to receive scholarships and the first place entry may be published or excerpted in the association's official publication, GCM.

The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of GCSAA and is a collaborative effort of the environmental and golf communities, dedicated to strengthening the compatibility of golf with the natural environment. The Institute concentrates on delivering programs and services involving research, education and outreach that communicate the best management practices of environmental stewardship on the golf course. For more on The Institute, visit www.eifg.org.

GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 21,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org.

For more information contact:
Mischia Wright, GCSAA senior manager, development, at 785-832-4445 or mwright@gcsaa.org

April 15 , 2008

The 10th annual U of A Turf Classic raises money for scholarships, research

Read more: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/Sports/64185/print/

Pictured: From left are head football coach Bobby Petrino, women's head golf coach Shauna Estes, extension turf specialist Aaron Patton, women's assistant coach Mike Adams, associate professor Doug Karcher and professor Mike Richardson.

Mike Richardson

February 21, 2008

At the 2008 Galaxy Extension conference in Little Rock, Dr. Mike Richardson was recognized as the 2007 researcher of the year by the Arkansas Association of Cooperative Extension Specialists.

Dr. Mike Richardson was nominated for his work on seeded bermudagrass establishment and for the service to extension that he has provided since arriving in Arkansas.

Mike Richardson

September, 2007

Aaron Patton, Turfgrass Extension Specialist, receives national turfgrass award. Read the full article .

August 3 , 2007

Sowing Green: Field day highlights turfgrass research, extension programs. Read the full article .

June 23, 2007

Turf farms growing business in state: Arkansas' 58 sod growers cultivate nearly 9,000 acres, up to $30 million. Read the full article from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

April 24, 2007

UA Turf Classic raises money for scholarships, research

Funds for turfgrass research and five partially funded scholarships for students studying horticulture at the University of Arkansas were raised Monday afternoon on the firm-and-fast track at Stonebridge Meadows Golf Club.

In its eighth year, the University of Arkansas Golf and Sports Turf Classic golf tournament raised close to $ 10, 000 for research and undergraduate scholarships, said Marilyn McCord of the UA Department of Horticulture.

The turf-grass industry — including seed and equipment companies, golfcourse superintendents and turf-grass and agriculture advocacy groups — was the primary patron of the event. Fifteen alumni of the horticulture department also participated in the tournament, McCord said.

Close to 30 students are part of the turf-grass management program in the department of horticulture, said Aaron Patton, and assistant professor and extension turfgrass specialist. The horticulture department is under the umbrella of the Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food & Life Sciences.

Students with a horticulture degree can pursue myriad careers. Some aspire to be golf-course superintendents, charged with maintaining and improving playing conditions while minimizing the absorption of fertilizers and other forms of nutrients into the surface and ground water. Others will go into sports field management or landscaping. Working in sales for a turf management related business is also an option.

Patton, who earned his doctorate from Purdue University in December, is the newest addition to the horticulture department. Rather than teaching in the classroom, Patton said he spends most of his time working with county-extension agents and writing publications that help those agents answer the public’s questions about how to best cultivate their yards.

He’s also a resource for golf-course superintendents to reference. When a problem crops up on the course, such as the deterioration of bent-grass greens in the summer, superintendents can avail themselves of Patton’s extensive knowledge and expertise. In addition to his work with county-extension agents and golf-course superintendents, he conducts applied research such as evaluating what fertilizers work best on certain grasses and plants. Patton said questions about lawns can be answered by accessing the turf.uark.edu website.

Read the full article at http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/Sports/52421

December 20, 2006

Patton joins Department of Horticulture as Turfgrass Extension Specialist

Aaron Patton recently joined the Department of Horticulture as Turfgrass Extension Specialist. Patton is originally from Bloomington, Indiana. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. at Purdue University and B.S. at Iowa State University. His research experience is in the area of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass establishment and the physiological aspects of zoysiagrass cold hardiness.

Patton will work in concert with extension, research, and teaching faculty to provide leadership in development of an interdisciplinary program to support the turfgrass industry and county extension agents. He will also be designing and developing innovative training programs and materials for the turfgrass and landscape industries, county extension agents, and home audiences, and interact with industry associations.

“This new position offers many great opportunities,” Patton said. “I work with a strong team and I am looking forward serving the turfgrass industry in Arkansas.”

Fall/Winter, 2006

Turfgrass Science a Growing Industry

Land & Life Fall/Winter 2006

September 18, 2006

Pat Berger featured on Houston Nutt show.


April 6, 2006


The University of Arkansas Turfgrass Program provides cutting edge research and extends new technology to turfgrass professionals. The team also has developed one of the finest undergraduate and graduate education programs in the nation. Graduates are recruited by prestigious golf courses and other turfgrass operations nationally. Work in weed control, pathology, nutrition and other cultural techniques are the basis for best management practices used in Arkansas and the region. Team members are Dr. Michael Richardson and Dr. Douglas Karcher, Horticulture; Dr. Eugene Milus, Plant Pathology; and Dr. John Boyd and Dr. James A. Robbins, Cooperative Extension Service.