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Round 2 set for UF's evidence-based turf school


Jason Kruse, Ph.D., of the University of Florida discusses the movement of water through soil in the first edition of Evidence-Based Turf Management in August.

 
New diseases, increased pest pressure, erratic weather patterns and a growing uncertainty swirling around water. Those are just a few of the issues facing professional turf managers, and researchers at the University of Florida want to provide as many tools as possible in their increasingly difficult quest to manage turf.
 
Travis Shaddox, Ph.D., of the University of Florida explains a test measuring the effects of soil surfanctants. Photos by John ReitmanThose are just a few of the reasons why UF has begun offering a series of short courses entitled Evidence-Based Turf Management, the second of which is scheduled for Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at the UF-Institute of Food and Agriculture Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center.
 
The two-day program, which compliments the inaugural short course held in August, will offer research-based solutions to managing a variety of pests, including weeds, insects, disease and nematodes.
 
The first session provided information on plant anatomy and physiology, as well as the role of fertility, water, light and temperature in plant management. 
 
The program is open to turf managers of all levels, including golf course superintendents, athletic field managers and lawn care professionals.
 
The concept of an in-depth, onsite training program is the result of customer feedback and has been in the works for the better part of two decades, according to UF professor J. Bryan Unruh, Ph.D. 
 
"We had polled the industry at different times, and they really indicated they wanted to have more of an in-depth type training opportunity," Unruh said. "And so with Dr. Shaddox on board here in Fort Lauderdale, the time was just right, and so we advanced forward and launched this evidence-based turf school for those attendees to come in and spend two days with us really kind of digging into the nuts and bolts of turfgrass management and really looking at the science behind the practices that they currently are doing."
 
Round 2 of the Evidence-Based Turf Management program will include lectures and labs on weeds by UF weed scientist Ramon Leon, Ph.D., insects, by UF entomologist Adam Dale, Ph.D., diseases by UF plant pathologist Phil Harmon, Ph.D., and nematology by UF nematologist Billy Crow, Ph.D. That group also will lead a session on managing resistance.
 
The overriding theme of both sessions is to remove the guesswork in turf management by providing science-based solutions to commonly occurring problems as well as everyday turf management that can help superintendents and other turf managers make the best use of their time and resources.
 
"What is the evidence saying? What is the overriding evidence in the scientific literature indicating? And how can we use that evidence to guide our management practices?" said Shaddox. "If there is one objective in a nutshell of the program, it's that. How can use the current evidence that exists in science to guide our management practices?"





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