October 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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www.spor 35 October 2017 // grants, when available, requires considerable time. Budget cuts have steadily reduced support staff and operating budgets, which increasingly constrains my time that has to absorb that workload. Thankfully, technology (computers, email, smartphones, etc.) has helped to offset this, but the offset is only partial. "Cuts" have also come in the form of greater personnel costs (fringe benefi ts), which means that increased costs for graduate students and staff positions reduces what is available to spend on laboratory and field plot maintenance, materials, supplies and equipment. KREUSER: Turf research and extension programs depend on grants and donations to fl ourish. There is little federal grant support for turfgrass research. Our program is very thankful to have received grant support from USGA, the Nebraska Turfgrass Association, and various industry partners to sustain a strong program. Nationally, the reduction in turf students possesses a real threat to turfgrass research and extension programs. It is difficult to justify hiring a turfgrass professor in a program with a handful of students. This reduces or eliminates research and extension programs within a state or region. DELVALLE: Here in Pennsylvania, we have been very fortunate to have the support of our local and state governments for extension funding. Turf research at the University level continues to grow, and our extension programming allows the information from research to be disseminated to industry professionals. There are not many educators who focus on turf management, so the lack of personnel keeps us very busy on turf-related issues. MCCALL: Virginia has faced a series of budget cuts in recent years, but I think that we have fared well compared with some of my peers in other states. Like everyone, we are asked to do more with less. Immediate contact through emails, text, and social media allows us to stay connected with many people, but I defi nitely don't have the opportunity for as many site visits as I once had. I feel like there is an unspoken expectation for us to focus on events where we can communicate with more people at once, rather than individual visits. This is understandable but it does diminish our ability to see many problems in person and get our hands dirty with the turf mangers. I always learn something new from each site visit. I typically try to tie in a few site visits when I am already traveling through an area for Extension talks or fi eld research. HOYLE: Like many turfgrass managers across the nation I have been affected with reduction in resources. This has created a sense of how can we do "more with less." It is easy to fall into a negative spiral every time you hear that resources are not going to be available in the future but it has created an opportunity to become more innovative. Instead of trying to fi gure out how to survive by doing more with less, I constantly look 5, 10 years down the road and fi gure out how can we not only remain sustainable but also grow. Many times this is thinking outside of the box and trying new things. In the short term, reductions in resources do require more time, more dedication, sacrifi ce and change. In the long term, hopefully it will lead to new ways of thinking and development and growth of the turfgrass industry. Is there any specific advice you share with turf managers more often than any other? MURPHY: Soil quality/health and seed recommendations are the two most common subject matters that I address with turf managers. The quality of a soil (whether it be compaction, fertility, biology, etc.) is something that is not easily recognized by property owners and managers. Yet it has tremendous impact on the ability to produce a persistent, high quality turf. Poor soil means that more fertilization, irrigation, and pesticide use are needed than typically would be expected. The ultimate solution is to "fi x" the soil but this isn't always seen as feasible. I often refer to these greater inputs as "Band-Aid" practices, because these only mask the underlying problem. Additionally, there is a reluctance to use enough turfgrass seed (or sod) to repair turf. I am often surprised by the willingness to spend considerable resources on pesticides yet there is essentially little to no budget for overseeding and sodding repairs. There have been numerous site visits were the recommendation is to essentially fl ip the focus from spending money on pesticide applications to overseeding and/or sod repair work. DELVALLE: For the most part, every situation is different. Most of the questions I get asked are fairly complex, and aren't something that can be easily found on Google. Though one thing that I do discuss in conversations weekly is proper mowing practices. I fi nd that many folks either don't use sharp mower blades, mow too low in the summer, or don't mow often enough. MCCALL: My best advice to any turf manager is to be involved and connected as often as possible; talk with us, talk with your peers and/or mentors, go to meetings, attend the STMA or state chapter conferences, attend fi eld days. Take a few minutes each day to scroll through social media posts directly related to your industry. I learn a lot from Twitter, even if I am not chiming in with my thoughts. HOYLE: Do what is going to make you sleep better at night. MCCURDY: One, pay a fair wage! The price to get an undergraduate degree has more than doubled since the late 90's. For this reason, undergrads have taken on more debt. As an industry, we've got to provide a pay incentive if we want to attract top talent. Two, put out a preemergence herbicide! /ST/ TURF RESEARCH AND EXTENSION PROGRAMS DEPEND ON GRANTS AND DONATIONS TO FLOURISH. THERE IS LITTLE FEDERAL GRANT SUPPORT FOR TURFGRASS RESEARCH. — Bill Kreuser, PhD

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