Dr. Jason Henderson, Associate Professor of Turfgrass and Soil Sciences at University of Connecticut, is the lead investigator of an ongoing, multiple year research project that has been evaluating conventional, organic, and pesticide-free management systems for athletic fields and home lawns. Other investigators involved with the project include Vickie Wallace, John Inguagiato, Karl Guillard, Steve Rackliffe, and Tom Morris. To date, two graduate students have completed research studies while collecting data on this project.
Dr. Henderson has been a champion of research that supports environmentally sound turf care practices. Besides collecting data on the various management regimes, Dr. Henderson and his team of collaborators set out to develop a smartphone app, FertAdvisor, that assists users in calculating the amount of lawn fertilizer required to properly fertilize turfgrass areas.
FertAdvisor is designed to provide users with a comprehensive tool that will help ensure accurate applications of fertilizer and reduce misapplications that can potentially damage turfgrass, waste fertilizer and/or pose environmental risk. The app has recommendations about application techniques, accurate calibration, fertilizer timing, and nitrogen source selection. Built-in calculators within the app help determine how much fertilizer will be needed to properly fertilize turfgrass areas, streamlining calibration calculations and calculating the amount of nitrogen, phosphate and potash that will be applied to the area based on the fertilizer selected.
Animations and videos guide turfgrass enthusiasts on how to take a soil sample, properly apply fertilizer using both drop and rotary spreaders, calibrate a fertilizer spreader, and calculate lawn surface area. Ten tips and tricks for managing cool-season lawns are also provided, in order to help homeowners make the right decisions for a healthy lawn.
FertAdvisor is available for both iPhone and android users. It’s easy to use and takes the guesswork out of lawn fertilizer applications.
Vickie Wallace is an Extension Educator and Program Director of UConn’s Sustainable Turf and Landscape Program. Ms. Wallace is part of a team of Extension specialists that provides Integrated Pest Management (IPM) education for CT landscape professionals and homeowners. One focus of Ms. Wallace’s program is the training of municipal and school grounds managers who maintain safe athletic fields and grounds without the use of pesticides, which are banned on school grounds in CT. In June, 75 turf managers and landscaping professionals took part in a 2-day Municipal Turf and School Grounds Managers Academy.
Ms. Wallace has also co-organized several other Extension programs, including both a School IPM and a Native Plants & Pollinators workshop. She has written and disseminated numerous educational articles on many topics, including Water Conservation in CT Landscapes, Deer Resistant Plants, Sustainable Landscaping, Designing and Maintaining Meadows, and Using Weather Stations for Athletic Field Maintenance. She has spoken at multiple regional and national conferences, including at this month’s New England Grows conference in Boston, MA. Additionally, she is developing a new UConn Extension website focused on Sustainable Landscaping.
Ms. Wallace is also co-leader on a research project, funded by the Northeast Regional Turfgrass Foundation and Northeast Sports Turf Managers Association, evaluating turfgrass species and overseeding rates as part of an athletic turf care program.
The 2016 Turfgrass Field Day at the University of Connecticut offers exciting educational opportunities for turfgrass professionals of all levels.
The date of the Field Day has been selected in order to provide the best opportunity to view the research plots when they are under the greatest summer stress. Cutting edge research in the areas of lawn care, sports and golf turf management will be presented. Attendees will have an opportunity to discuss ongoing research and management concerns with the UConn turf team.
In addition to seeing the latest research results, turfgrass professionals have the opportunity to interact with exhibitors and discuss the latest developments and challenges in the industry.