AmericanFarm.com

lOO-plus attend turf field day in Virginia Beach

By TOM TRACY
Executive Director
Virginia Turfgrass Council

"I had no idea this much turf research was being done here," said one attendee at the June 22nd Virginia Tech Turfgrass Field Day. The event was held in Virginia Beach at the Hampton Roads AREC. For the first time ever, the Virginia Turfgrass Council and Virginia Tech partnered to produce an event designed for turfgrass professionals in the eastern part of the state. A similar field day has a long-history of being held in Blacksburg on the Virginia Tech campus but few persons who live east of Richmond ever attend it. After a hard look at who did and did not attend the Blacksburg event, the decision was made to offer a separate event in Virginia Beach. Last summer Dr. Jeff Derr of Virginia Tech prepared turfgrass plots at the Hampton Roads AREC for the June event.
Derr's efforts paid off! More than 100 persons came from three states to see results of the latest research. They were not disappointed. Research topics included Bermudagrass variety trials, Zoysiagrass installation with cool-season grasses, Zoysiagrass variety trial, organic fertilizer trials, controlling crabgrass with preemergent and postemergent products, shade trials, and many more. Many of attendees also got their pesticide licenses renewed at the recertification class that was tied into the field day
The Virginia Beach Field Day had its origin about eight years ago when local golf course superintendents recognized the need for research in the warm part of the state. Many superintendents donated their time and spent many hours constructing a research fairway for the Hampton Roads AREC. Local suppliers donated supplies and equipment.
Efforts of the industry paid off when Virginia Tech chose to locate the turfgrass plant pathologist in Virginia Beach instead of Blacksburg. That pathologist has since moved to another university out of state, but everyone is hoping that his position will soon be filled so that cutting-edge research vital to the turfgrass industry will continue.
Meanwhile, research at the Virginia Beach location is proceeding under the direction of Jeff Derr, Mike Goatley, Adam Nichols, and many others who are taking time to travel from Blacksburg to Virginia Beach.
Mark your calendars for the next Virginia Beach Turfgrass Field Day scheduled for June 28, 2011.