SERA25: Turf (IEG-16)

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Active

SERA25: Turf (IEG-16)

Duration: 10/01/2013 to 09/30/2018

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Statement of Issues and Justification

Presently, turfgrasses cover nearly 50 million acres in the U.S. and have an estimated annual value of more than $40 billion. Although the level of management provided ranges from very little to very intense, each turf serves a function or meets a need, is located in a watershed, and is sustainable. Here in the Southern Region, turfgrass industry professionals and homeowners rely on Universities with turf programs for information and recommendations regarding turfgrass varieties, fertilizers, plant growth stimulants and regulators, and turf and pest management practices. There is public concern that turfgrasses require too much irrigation, and that nutrients and pesticides may move from turfs and contaminate water, soil or air. Research is being conducted and educational resources are being developed to provide suppliers and consumers with pertinent research-based information regarding the performance of several new or existing turf care products and technologies. Best Management Programs (BMPs) are being developed which ensure an appropriate level of turfgrass quality while protecting the environment and preserving natural resources. Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the regions turfgrass programs are learning about or directly contributing to novel research.

In 2010, University breeding programs in the Region (FL, GA, NC, OK and TX) received USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) funding in support of a five-year project to develop warm-season turfgrasses with greater drought and salinity tolerance:

. Chandra, A., G. Miller, L. Nelson, K. Kenworthy, B. Schwartz, P. Raymer, S. Milla-Lewis, Y. Wu, J. McAfee, B. Wherley, B. Unruh, J. Moss, D. Martin, C. Waltz, R. Carrow, M. Palma, T. Boyer and C. Chung. 2010-2015. Plant Genetics and Genomics to Improve Drought and Salinity Tolerance for Sustainable Turfgrass Production in the Southern United States. USDA-NIFA-SCRI. Total amount awarded: $3,802,678.

In 2008, scientists from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, The University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech University were awarded USDA-SCRI funding to investigate the value of applying biosolids in turfgrass-sod production systems:

. Soldat, D., E. Ervin and J. Stier. 2008-2013. increasing the economic and environmental sustainability of sod production using biosolids. Total amount awarded: $450,000.

Two examples of cooperative effort seeking and/or receiving funding support from the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the USDA-NIFA-Pest Management Alternatives Program (PMAP) within the Region include:

. Brosnan, J.T, T.W. Gannon, and G.M. Henry. 2013. Herbicide resistance training for southern turf managers. USDA-NIFA Southern Regional IPM Center. Two years: 2013-2014. $49,305. (under review)

. Smith, D.L., N.R. Walker, J.T. Brosnan, B.J. Horvath, and Z. Hailin. 2011. The effect of fertilization and low-risk fungicide/herbicide programs on diseases and weeds common in amenity bermudagrass. USDA-PMAP. Two years. 2011-2013. $186,000


  1. Foster the exchange of information concerning current research, teaching and extension activities and discuss future directions and needs for turf programs throughout the Region.
  2. Encourage information exchange regarding research/teaching/extension methodologies and technologies.
  3. Promote cooperative effort among researchers, teachers and extension professionals in the Region.

Procedures and Activities

Objectives will be accomplished by meeting three of every four years at one of the institutions with a turf program in the Region. There are no annual meetings every fourth year, when many faculty attend the meeting of the International Turfgrass Society. Participants exchange information regarding selected and timely research, extension, and academic topics. In addition to touring the host institution facility and active research sites, scientists critically review, summarize, and often lead discussions on topics of interest to the group during the two day meeting.

Research, teaching and extension activities in the Region often involve the common issue of turfgrass sustainability or, how to manage turfgrasses using cultural, chemical and biological inputs judiciously while making efficient use of non-renewable natural resources and improving quality of life without harming the environment.

Anticipated procedures and activities of SERA025 members in each focus area for the proposed project period include:

1. Drought/Turfgrass Water Use/ Water Conservation.

a) Provide the turfgrass irrigation industry with weather-based irrigation values for cool- and warm-season turfgrasses. Turf irrigation can be scheduled using near-real-time ET (evapotranspiration) along with target irrigation soil moisture replacement values derived from species specific Kc (crop co-efficient) adjustment factors. This will reduce the amount of water applied to turfs.

b) Select and breed warm- and cool-season varieties for drought avoidance based on their chronic drought response and subsequent recovery from drought. Such experiments are underway at multiple locations within the Region via funding from the SCRI initiative and the United States Golf Association (USGA) Green Section.

c) Develop water conservation practices by 1) Measuring plant responses to mowing height, fertility, applied PGRs, and suitable soil amendments; 2) Educating clientele and promoting the use of near- real-time ET for irrigation scheduling, and the use of sensory, soil moisture based irrigation components designed to interact with standard irrigation system control devices (satellites and or PC based controllers); and 3) The release and use of low maintenance turfgrasses which have a growth habit that responds favorably to standard homeowner maintenance (mow 1x weekly at higher rotary heights).

d) Provide extension- and outreach programs for all of the aforementioned areas.

2. Turfgrass Fertility, Disease, Insect and Weed Management.

a) Monitoring nutrient runoff and leaching from turfs to determine the proper fertilizer application rates and schedules while minimizing detrimental environmental effects, especially pollution of ground- and surface-water supplies.

b) Documenting, publishing and investigating herbicide resistance occurrence, mechanisms and distribution, while testing and developing new herbicide chemistry.

c) Conducting basic research regarding insect pest and pathogen biology leading to more effective cultural and biological controls, and a wiser, more targeted use of chemical pesticides. d) Developing and conducting educational, extension and outreach programs summarizing research results and promoting technology transfer in this focus area.

3. Turfgrass Species and Varieties for the Southern Region.

a) University turfgrass breeders in the Region continue to develop turfgrass varieties with improved pest resistance, a limited water and nutrient requirement, and greater heat, cold, salt and/or shade tolerance. Examples of recent warm-season varietal releases include Latitude 36, NorthBridge and Tifgrand bermudagrasses, and Pristine and Ultimate zoysiagrasses.

b) Researchers at many Universities within the Region receive funding from the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) which is designed to develop and coordinate uniform evaluation trials of turfgrass varieties and promising selections in the U.S. and Canada. Each NTEP Test is usually conducted for at least five years, and results are published online every year. Examples include the 2008 Bentgrass Fairway-Tee Test, the 2008 Bentgrass Putting Green Test, the 2008 Fineleaf Fescue Test, the 2011 Kentucky Bluegrass High-input and Low-input Tests, the 2010 Perennial Ryegrass Test, the 2007 Seashore Paspalum Test, the 2007 St. Augustinegrass Test, and the 2007 Zoysiagrass Test.

c) Research results reported during each annual SERA025 meeting assist in the recognition and promotion of the best-performing varieties throughout the Region. The Executive Director of NTEP receives an invitation to attend each annual SERA025 meeting and to present a review/preview of this national program.

Expected Outcomes and Impacts

  • Outcomes include more multi-state, cooperative efforts in developing grant proposals, publications and educational programs regarding turfgrass water conservation and water quality protection. Institutions will also continue ongoing collaborative efforts to determine the impact the management of turfs has on the environment. Breeders will continue the cooperative development of new germplasm, a process formalized with the award of the SCRI grant.
  • Impacts include a reduction in the overall reliance on water resources, and the improved water use efficiency of turfgrasses. Sustainability projects will result in the application of less fertilizers and amendments to turfs, minimizing the potential for nutrient runoff into local surface waters, and leaching through the turfgrass root zone into ground water. BMPs will serve as science-based resources for turfgrass industry professionals, and will help guide legislators and state regulators when formulating laws and regulations governing turf irrigation and fertilization. Collaborative, turfgrass disease, insect and weed management projects will address specific, existing and emerging regional problems; For example: 1) Avoiding pesticide resistance; 2) Developing alternatives to methyl bromide and MSMA; and 3) Controlling/managing both existing and new turfgrass pests.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Educational Plan

Research results will be published in appropriate journals, trade magazines and electronically to continue to inform and educate interested peers, clientele and other stakeholders. In addition to the classroom, information will also be presented during national and regional professional meetings, outreach/extension programs, and industry association conferences.


In addition to our Administrative Advisors, leadership is provided by the President, Vice-president and Secretary Treasurer, who are elected for a one-year term (except during the two-year period when the meeting is not held). One representative from each University presents a state update report during the Business Meeting. Additionally, committee chairs provide a summary of committee issues and activities. One designee from each University faculty has voting privilege.

Literature Cited


Beasley, J.S., G.C. Munshaw, R.E. Strahan and K. Fontenot. 2013. Influence of sand topdressing on thatch decomposition of two bermudagrass species. ITRJ. Vol 12:1-8.

Brosnan, J.T., G.K. Breeden, G.M Henry, T. Cooper, and T.J. Serensits. 2013. Methiozolin efficacy for annual bluegrass control on sand- and soil-based creeping bentgrass putting greens. Weed Technol (In press).

Brosnan, J. T., S. Calvache, G. K. Breeden, and J. C. Sorochan. 2013. Rooting depth, soil type, and application rate effects on creeping bentgrass injury and amicarbazone and methiozolin. Crop Sci. 53(2):p. 655-659.

Henry, G.M., T. Cooper, J.T. Brosnan, and G.K. Breeden. 2013. Cyperus spp. control in bermudagrass turf with SP25052. Int. Turf. Soc. Res. J. (In press).

Kimball, J.A., Zuleta, M.C., Kenworthy, K.E., Lu, H.J., Milla-Lewis, S.R. 2013. Molecular markers enable the identification of contaminants in production fields of Captiva St. Augustinegrass. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 12 (In review).

Milla-Lewis, S.R., Kimball, J.A., Tuong, T.D., Claure, T.E., and Livingston, D.P. 2013. Freezing tolerance and the histology of recovering nodes in St Augustinegrass. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 12 (In review).

Mulkey, S.E., Zuleta, M.C., Van Esbroeck, G.A., Lu, H.J., Kenworthy, K.E., Milla-Lewis, S.R. 2013. Genetic analysis of a St. Augustinegrass germplasm collection using AFLP markers and flow cytometry. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 12 (In review).

Munshaw, G.C., H. W. Philley, J.S. Beasley, B.R. Stewart, E.W. Wells. 2013. Bermudagrass surface hardness varies with cultivar. ITRJ. Vol 12.

Schwartz, B.M., Harris-Shultz, K.R., Contreras, R.N., Hans, C.S., Hanna, W.W., and Milla-Lewis, S.R. 2013. Creation of artificial triploid and tetraploid centipedegrass using colchicine and breeding. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 12 (In review).

Book / Book Chapter

Karcher, D. E., and M. D. Richardson. 2013. Digital image analysis in turfgrass research. In Stier, J.C., B.P. Horgan and S.A. Bonos (eds.) Turfgrass: Biology, Use, and Management. Madison, Wisconsin: American Society of Agronomy.

Serensits, T. J., A. S. McNitt, and J. C. Sorochan. 2013. Synthetic turf. In Stier, J.C., B.P. Horgan and S.A. Bonos (eds.) Turfgrass: Biology, Use, and Management. Madison, Wisconsin: American Society of Agronomy.

Sinclair T.R. and T.W. Rufty. 2013. Genetic improvement of water and nitrogen use to increase crop yields. In Heffer, P. ed, Links Between Fertilizer Use and Nitrogen Management. International Plant Nutrition Institute (in press).

Watkins, E., L. Brilman, and D. Kopec. 2013. Development of native grasses for turf. In Stier, J.C., B.P. Horgan and S.A. Bonos (eds.) Turfgrass: Biology, Use, and Management. Madison, Wisconsin: American Society of Agronomy.

Williamson, R. C., D. W. Held, R. Brandenburg, and F. Baxendale. 2013. Turfgrass insect pests. In Stier, J.C., B.P. Horgan and S.A. Bonos (eds.) Turfgrass: Biology, Use, and Management. Madison, Wisconsin: American Society of Agronomy.

Conference Proceedings

Hughes, S., C. Thornton, B. Scholl, N. Youngblood, J. Beasley, R. Tucker, and J. van der Meer. 2013. Wave Overtopping resiliency of grass and turf reinforcement mats on sandy soils. ICE Breakwater Conf. Proceedings.

Flikweert, J., C. Thornton, J. Beasley, R. Rowlette, R. Kluskens, and S. Hughes. 2013. Resiliency against overtopping - determining the need for armouring on the levees of New Orleans. ICE Breakwater Conf. Proceedings.



Cherry, R., H. Lu, A. Wright, P. Roberts, and Y. Luo. 2012. Effect of Silicon on Resistance of St. Augustinegrass to Southern Chinch Bugs (Hemiptera: Blissidae) and Plant Disease. J. Entomol. Sci. 47:17-26.

Dell E.A., D.S. Carley, T.W. Rufty and W. Shi. 2012. Heat Stress Influences on Bentgrass (Agrostis Stolonifera) Rhizosphere Microbial community and their extracellular enzymes: Implications on turf rhizosphere carbon dynamics. Applied Soil Ecology 56. Pp. 19-26.

Doskocil, J. P., C. E. Sorenson, R. N. Royalty, and R. L. Brandenburg. 2012. Evaluation of insecticides for lethal dose, lethal concentration, and field activity on hunting billbug in warm-season turfgrass.. Online. Applied Turfgrass Science doi:10.1094/ATS-2012-0227-01-RV.

Doskocil, J. P. and R. L. Brandenburg. 2012. Determination of billbug (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) species composition, life cycle, and damaging life stage in North Carolina Turfgrass. J. Econ. Entomol. Dec. 105(6). Pp. 2045-56.

Espinosa, A., G.L. Miller, and L.E. Datnoff. 2012. Accumulation of silicon in Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis and Poa trivialis used as an overseed grass. Plant Nutrition. (in press).

Harris-Shultz, K.R., Milla-Lewis, S.R., Brady, J.A. 2012. Transferability of SSR and RGA markers developed in Cynodon spp. to Zoysia spp. Plant Mol. Biol. Rep. (DOI) 10.1007/s11105-012-0417-7.

Harris-Shultz, K.R., Milla-Lewis, S.R., Zuleta, M.C., Schwartz, B.M., Hanna, W.W., Brady, J.A. 2012. Development of SSR markers and the analysis of genetic diversity and ploidy level in a centipedegrass collection. Crop Sci. 52(1): 360-370.

Hinton, J.D., D.P. Livingston III, G.L. Miller, C.H. Peacock and T. Tuong. 2012. Freeze tolerance of nine zoysiagrass cultivars using natural cold acclimation and freeze chambers. HortScience 47(1). Pp. 112-115..

Jellicorse, W.R., M.D. Richardson, J.H. McCalla, D.E. Karcher, A.J. Patton, and J.W. Boyd. 2012. Seeded bermudagrass establishment in an overseeded perennial ryegrass stand as affected by transition herbicide and seeding date. Online. Applied Turfgrass Science doi:10.1094/ATS-2012-0721-01-RS.

Kimball, J.A., Zuleta, M.C., Harris-Shultz, K.R., Kenworthy, K.E., Lehman, V.G., Milla-Lewis, S.R. 2012. Genetic relationships in Zoysia and the identification of putative interspecific hybrids using simple sequence repeat markers and inflorescence traits. Crop Sci. January. 53(1) Pp. 285-295.

Kimball, J.A., Zuleta, M.C., Kenworthy, K.E., Lehman, V.G., Milla-Lewis, S.R. 2012. Assessment of Genetic Diversity in Zoysiagrass Germplasm Using AFLP Markers. Crop Sci. 52(1): 383-392.

Kimball J.A., M.C. Zuleta, K.E. Kenworthy, V.G. Lehman, S. Milla-Lewis. 2012. Assessment of genetic diversity in Zoysia species using amplified fragment length polymorphism markers. Crop Sci. 52:360-370.

Kimball, J.A., Zuleta, M.C., Martin, M., Kenworthy, K.E., Chandra, A., Milla-Lewis, S.R. 2012. Assessment of Molecular Variation within Raleigh St. Augustinegrass using AFLP markers. HortScience. July 1. 47(7). Pp. 839-844.

Kowalewski, A. R., B. M. Schwartz, M. D. Richardson, D. E. Karcher, J. H. McCalla, and W. W. Hanna. 2012. Effects of nitrogen, growth regulators, and mowing height on ball lie in TifSport bermudagrass. [Online]Appl. Turfgrass Sci. p. [1-10].

Milla-Lewis, S.R., Zuleta, M.C., Van Esbroeck, G.A., Quesenberry, K.H., Kenworthy, K.E. 2012. Cytological and molecular characterization of genetic diversity in Stenotaphrum. Crop Sci. January. 53(1). Pp. 296-308.

Milla-Lewis, S.R., Harris-Shultz, K.R., Zuleta, M.C., Kimball, J.A., Schwartz, B.M., Hanna, W.W. ND. 2012. Use of sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) markers for comparing levels of genetic diversity in centipedegrass germplasm. Genet. Resour. Crop Ev. (DOI) 10.1007/s10722-011-9780-8.

Moss, J.Q., X. Xiong, K. Su, B.P. Poudel, and J.B. Haguewood. 2012. Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) golf green tolerance to bispyribac-sodium tank mixed with paclobutrazol. Weed Technology. 26. Pp.145-150.

Richardson, M. D., D. E. Karcher, K. Hignight, and D. Hignight. 2012. Irrigation requirements of tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass cultivars selected under acute drought stress. [Online]Appl. Turfgrass Sci. Pp. 1-13.

Schroeder-Moreno, M. S. Tara L. Greaver, Shuxin Wang, Shujin Hu, T. Rufty.2012. Mycorrhizal-mediated nitrogen acquisition in switchgrass under elevated temperatures and N enrichment. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 4. Pp. 266-276.

Scully B.T., R.T. Nagata, R.H. Cherry, G.S. Nuessly, L.E. Trenholm, K.E. Kenworthy, B.M. Schwartz, J.B. Unruh. (2012) Registration of 'Ultimate' zoysiagrass. J. Plant Regist. 6:71-74.

Scully B.T., R.T. Nagata, R.H. Cherry, G.S. Nuessly, L.E. Trenholm, K.E. Kenworthy, B.M. Schwartz, J.B. Unruh. (2012) Registration of 'Ultimate' zoysiagrass. J. Plant Regist. 6:71-74.

Silcox, D.E. and R.L. Brandenburg. 2012. Quantifying efficacy and avoidance behavior by tawny mole crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae: Scapertiscus) to three synthetic insecticides. Fla Entomol. 95 (1): 63-74.

Tan, C.C., Y.Q. Wu, C.M. Taliaferro, M.P. Anderson, C. Tauer, and T. Samuels. 2012. Development of simple sequence repeat markers for bermudagrass from its EST sequences and preexisting sorghum SSR markers. Molecular Breeding. 29. Pp. 23-30.

Book / Book Chapter

Brandenburg, R. L. and C. Freeman (eds.). 2012. ESA Handbook of Turfgrass Insects. 2nd ed. Entomological Society of America, Lanham, MD.


Martin, D.L. J.Q. Moss, D.H. Hillock and G.E. Bell. 2012. Commercial Sources of Buffalograss Seed, Sod and Plugs. Current Report 6609. Oklahoma State University. Revised version available on-line at:

Richardson, M.D., J.H. McCalla, D.E. Karcher, and T.N. Spurlock. 2012. Fungicidal control of large patch on Cavalier zoysiagrass in Arkansas, 2010 to 2011. Plant Disease Management Reports 6:T040.

Richardson, M.D., J.H. McCalla, D.E. Karcher, and T.N. Spurlock. 2012. Fungicidal control of large patch on El Toro zoysiagrass in Arkansas, 2010 to 2011. Plant Disease Management Reports 6:T041.


Gilley, M. and M. Tomaso-Peterson. 2012. Foliar diseases identified on switchgrass in Mississippi. Phytopathology Abstract. P. 101:S61.
Extension Publication/PSA

Askew, S.D., McCall, D.S., and Youngman, R. R. 2012. Contributing authors for annual update of Turf section (Horticultural and Forestry Crops, VCE 456-017) and Lawns section (Home Grounds and Animals, VCE 456-018) in the Virginia Coop. Ext. Pest Management Guide

McCarty, L.B. (ed.). 2012 Pest Control Recommendations for Professional Turfgrass Managers. EC 699. Clemson University Extension. This publication is available at:

Montgomery, D.P., D.L. Martin, and C.C. Evans. 2012. Suggested practices for roadside weed and brush problems. Publication E-959. Oklahoma State University. Available on-line at:

Moss, J.Q., J. E. Haase, D.L.Martin, J.R. Vogel and T.A. Boyer. 2012. Simple irrigation audit for home lawns in Oklahoma. Fact Sheet HLA 6610. Oklahoma State University Available on-line at:

White, R. and Bert McCarty. 2012. Diagnosing Turfgrass Problems: A Practical Guide. Clemson University PSA. This publication is available at: 353 pp.

Trade Article

Soldat, D., S. Griffith, E. Ervin, G. Evanylo, D. Cataldi, and J. Stier. 2012. Biosolids-based sod production. TurfNews. 36(3):p. 26-28.

Youngman, R. R., Laub, C., Wu, S. 2012. Efficacy of selected soil insecticides against white grubs in turf. Virginia Turfgrass Journal (J. VA Turfgrass Council, circ. 2,800). 2 pp.


Land Grant Participating States/Institutions


Non Land Grant Participating States/Institutions

Texas Tech University, University of Tennessee at Martin, USDA-ARS/Georgia
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