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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Research Project #414764


Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

2010 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objectives of the National Evaluation Program (NTEP) are to develop and coordinate uniform evaluation trials of turfgrass varieties and experimental selections in the United States and Canada.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Cooperate with university and private industry personnel in establishing, maintaining and collecting data from turfgrass trials. The NTEP will be responsible for the summarization and distribution of data collected

3. Progress Report
National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) tests were initiated, established, maintained and evaluated using standardized testing protocols. Data was collected across the U.S. and Canada by university researchers using standard procedures and formats. Data was submitted to NTEP, computer formatted, and statistically analyzed. Cultivars with superior disease, drought, heat and cold tolerance have been identified as well as cultivars with improved traffic tolerance. This information will be useful to turf managers in reducing pesticide and water and fertilizer use, thereby reducing environmental impact while maintaining the quality desired by users.

4. Accomplishments
1. Testing turfgrass for tolerance to traffic. In the cool-humid cool-arid portions of the U.S., perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass are the major species currently established on athletic fields, parks, and other heavily-worn areas. In addition, millions of pounds of these two species are seeded each year on new or renovated athletic fields, parks, etc. Trials of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass at multiple locations in the cooler, northern regions have yielded considerable data on establishment, traffic tolerance, disease resistance, and overall hardiness of new experimental selections and commercially available cultivars. Data collected and compiled over several years will allow turf managers to make more informed choices on traffic tolerant grasses, resulting in significantly improved parks and athletic fields.

2. Low input use on bentgrass. Data collected from the first year of our new bentgrass trial at a location in Farmingdale, NY showed some entries with very good disease, insect and weed resistance. Established at one of the golf courses in Bethpage State Park, trials managed as a putting green or fairway were allowed to germinate and develop with very low pesticide and fertilizer use. Initial data indicated significant differences among the grasses in their ability to resist weed invasion during establishment. Winter and spring performance showed excellent disease and weed resistance among some entries. These results will be useful in selecting new varieties of bentgrass that can lead to lower-input and more sustainable putting greens and fairways.