Conference focuses on turfgrass management

(01/15/19) Baton Rouge, La. — Managing turfgrass issues was the focus of this year’s annual Louisiana Turfgrass Association meeting held at LSU on Jan. 9.

Each year the group comes together to address issues in the industry and to get updates on research and other matters of importance to those involved in the business of turf management.

LSU AgCenter weed scientist Ron Strahan said the meeting covers topics specific to the industry.

“Each year we cover topics of interest to golf course superintendents and sports turf people, but about five years ago we started bringing in more lawn care professionals,” he said.

The guest speaker this year was Auburn University turf extension specialist David Han, who discussed warm-season turf diseases, microbials and bioproducts.

“What we want to do is look at the environmental conditions that make them more severe or less severe and how the turfgrass managers can deal with them culturally by adjusting their management practices,” he said.

Han discussed microbial and other amendments. “We want to know what they can do and what they can’t do, what we know about them and what we are still trying to find out about them,” he said.

AgCenter agricultural engineer Randy Price and agent Jimmy Flanagan explained the different types of drones that can be used in the turfgrass industry.

They showed the participants how drones can be used to make their work easier by configuring them to apply chemicals and fertilizer to specific areas.

AgCenter pesticide safety education coordinator Kim Pope Brown reminded the managers about the perceptions that abound when it comes to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides.

“We want to educate our clientele about the different chemicals that we are using in the industry, and we also want to be empathetic with them,” she said.

AgCenter pesticide safety educator Bryan Gueltig discussed the importance of the proper handling of pesticides.

“We’re providing practical reminders to the managers about safety when loading, storing and transporting pesticides,” he said. “And we want them to make sure they have the proper paperwork when handling these chemicals.”

Gueltig said mixing and loading pesticides is when most of the spills occur.

AgCenter plant scientist Jeff Beasley discussed research that is being conducted on turfgrass and a new website that should be up and running by Feb. 15.

“We’re conducting a number of studies on fertilizer rates and the movement of nutrients in the soil,” he said. “The website was originally geared to the homeowner but is also applicable to the commercial group as well.”

A highlight of the program was a presentation by Greg Gautreaux, NFL referee from Lafayette, Louisiana, who discussed the life of a professional official.

“When I do my job on a Sunday afternoon in front of 80,000 people it makes me nervous,” he said. “When they boo me, it helps me to relax. So on the count of three, I want you all to boo me.”

Gautreaux said despite what people believe, there are very few bad calls in professional football because referees are negatively graded on any calls that are questionable.

Gautreaux has been an NFL official for the past 18 years. Before that, he officiated 12 years of college football and was a high school official for 16 years.

He said the quality of the fields have really improved in the past 30 to 40 years because of the work of turfgrass professionals.

David Han speaking at turfgrass conference.JPG thumbnail

Auburn University turf extension specialist David Han addresses the Louisiana Turfgrass Conference held at LSU in Baton Rouge on Jan. 9. He discussed warm season turf diseases, microbials and bioproducts. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

NFL referee Greg Gautreaux.JPG thumbnail

Greg Gautreaux, NFL referee from Lafayette, Louisiana, speaks at the Louisiana Turfgrass Conference held at LSU in Baton Rouge on Jan. 9. He discussed the life of a professional official and how intense the work of an official can be. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

1/15/2020 4:24:37 PM
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