Low Input Turf Using Fine Fescues

Evaluating fine fescues for golf greens in cold climates

By Gary Deters and Eric Watkins, University of Minnesota

A roller with tines attached to a golf cart

For a golf course superintendent, managing creeping bentgrass/annual bluegrass putting greens on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis is always a challenge. The goal, regardless of turfgrass species, is to manage the turf to be as healthy as possible while the greens are subjected to daily play from golfers. Cultural practices, nutrition, and water management are important to the success of the golf course playability and overall health of the turf.

Friday, February 11, 2022 - 11:16

A reference genome library

By Shaun Bushman, USDA-ARS

Grass plants evenly spaced in research plots

Much like a library contains books of different types and tons of information, a ‘reference genome’ is a library of all the sequences in that genome.  In plant genomes, there are tens of thousands of expressed genes, sequence motifs that pinpoint telomeres and centromeres, large swaths of repeat regions, and other pieces of DNA that do not code proteins but tend to affect gene function.  The recent improvements in DNA sequencing have allowed us to sequence the genome of hard fescue (Festuca brevipila).

Wednesday, December 22, 2021 - 09:12

Optimum seed date for fine fescue: Part 2

By Ross Braun and Aaron Patton, Purdue University

A closeup of soil with germinating grass seedlings

In the blog post last month (November 2021), Emily Braithwaite and Dr. Alec Kowalewski, Oregon State University summarized the findings and how a recent experiment was conducted to investigate optimal seeding dates for fine fescues across four U.S. locations. In summary, seeding a fine fescue mixture in August and September provided the best establishment with the lowest weed pressure across all four locations. However, the Mediterranean climate of Oregon allowed for more flexibility in fine fescue seeding timing with more success for all the months of May through September.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 09:08

Optimum seed date for fine fescue

By Emily Braithwaite and Alec Kowalewski, Oregon State University

Turfgrass research plots with a few of the plots having sparse growth

Part of the multi-state USDA-SCRI fine fescue initiative was to identify ways that people can incorporate these low-input grasses into existing landscapes. We know that the fine fescue species persist in shade, with low water requirements, and low fertility requirements, but overcoming the social barrier for adopting more sites with these grasses was a primary focus of this initiative.

Monday, November 8, 2021 - 08:46

Optimum mulching material for fine fescue establishment

By Emily Braithwaite and Alec Kowalewski, Oregon State University

Six types of mulching materials side by side

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to begin using commercial “patch and repair” products on their lawns to seed bare or damaged areas from the previous seasons. These products contain about 85 to 90% inert matter (i.e. wood or paper based-mulch) to help retain moisture, and the other 10 to 15% is fertilizer and grass seed.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 14:28

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