Monday, June 22, 2009

There are wilder events than a turfgrass field day, but go anyway

There are more exciting ways to spend a summer day than to walk around under a hot summer sun and check out the differences among small rectangles of turfgrass at a research farm or university facility. A turfgrass field day is, well, basically a day devoted to looking at grass — and, of course, learning the best ways to keep it healthy and attractive.

OK we've established a field day won't be remembered as one of the more lively events in your life, although every field day generally serves up some other enticement – usually a barbeque or pig roast or something along those lines. Add that to the equation and a field day is always a day well spent and you'll learn more than you imagined, things that will make you a better turfgrass manager.

In the end, that's what it's all about, right?

Consider this: Your customers see you as the expert who can deliver the goods when it comes to green, healthy grass. It's a good thing that you can. Few of them know squat about turfgrass. They may understand that there are different species of turfgrass (Kentucky bluegrass, fescue and ryegrass, for example) but not much more. Because they’re essentially turfgrass illiterate they’re prone to buy seed based on price.

(This is probably true for many contractors as well. How else do we explain the quantities of seed sold in “contractor’s mixes”? These are usually mixtures of several species of less-expensive, common varieties that don’t perform to the level of newer varieties that have been bred for characteristics such as pest resistance or drought tolerance.)

Remember this: With turfgrass seed you get what you pay for.

A lot goes into today's improved turfgrasses. Developing, producing and marketing high-performance varieties is lengthy, expensive and often frustrating. It typically takes 14 years to go from initial variety concept to bulk seed production.

Plan on attending or sending some of your best technicians to the next turf field day in your region or state. Most universities with turf programs offer them. Most take place in mid-summer when the turfgrass is taking a nap and lawn care activities have slowed. — The LM Staff

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