Thursday, July 30, 2015

“Guns up” for Texas Tech turfgrass program

Many of you know how hard it is for an Aggie to compliment anything in the Lone Star State
that isn’t maroon. But, there is no denying that the turf program at Texas Tech has taken some really great strides over the past two years under the leadership of Joey Young, Ph.D. This momentum was very obvious at the recent 2nd annual Turfgrass Field Day held in Lubbock in July. More than 200 individuals attended to hear about the latest turfgrass research that is being conducted by Dr. Young and his team at the Quaker Research Farm on the Texas Tech campus. 

The group included golf course superintendents, sports turf managers, landscape maintenance contractors and even Lubbock homeowners who heard about the program through TV and radio media. The event has become well known in Lubbock. The West Texas GCSA had a very good showing of members at the event and several of them braved 95 degree and higher temperatures to play golf at the Rawls course after the field day. The West Texas GCSA was a major sponsor for the event and donated funds for the tent where the majority of education sessions were held. 

“Joey,” as many of us have affectionately come to know Dr. Young, hit the ground running since arriving in Lubbock in 2013. He built strongly on the momentum started by Dr. Gerald Henry, who headed the program prior to accepting a similar position at the University of Georgia. Student enrollment in the program has grown and Joey has done a terrific job of being available to the Texas Turfgrass Association, several local GCSA chapters and the Texas Sports Turf Managers Association. He has spoken at many events and contributed articles and information. He has even taken his message west to the Rio Grande GCSA speaking at one of their events in El Paso. He has built a very strong following on both Twitter: @bulldawg3155 / @ttuturf and his blog: All are worth checking out and following. 

Joey is a hybrid Bulldog, Razorback and Red Raider. He received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy with an emphasis in golf course and sports turf management and his master’s degree in plant pathology from Mississippi State University. His doctorate in turfgrass science is from the University of Arkansas where he studied under Dr. Mike Richardson and Dr. Doug Karcher. That’s a pretty outstanding pedigree, even by Aggie standards. His full Career Vita can be found here. If you’re wondering where his football allegiance stands, just take a look at his Twitter handle and that should let you know pretty clearly. 

Following are photos from the event and descriptions of the activities from the day. (Thanks, Dr. Young, for a great event and congratulations on doing such an outstanding job of making the Texas Tech program an important part of the Texas turfgrass scene.) 

The July field day agenda included a morning coffee reception, a small trade show and a welcome from Dr. Eric Hequet, Department Chair and Professor of the Plant and Soil Department. 

Following the welcome, attendees split into two sessions: professional and homeowners. Attendees received valuable information on turfgrass management and the latest research being conducted at Texas Tech. 
Reviews of most of the talks from the education session can be found at the Texas Tech Turf Blog.

The morning session of the Texas Tech field day included a tent to keep everyone cool in the shade. Vendors were able to promote their products and services during the coffee reception and trade show.

Li Li is from China, and he came to Texas Tech in August 2014 to pursue a master's degree in turfgrass science.  Li introduced new research that he will be conducting at Tech. His talk covered reducing salinity with cultivation practices and products on golf course fairways. A review of Li's research can be found here.

Prativa Gautam is a master's student in the turf science program and began at Texas Tech in August 2013.  She is conducting research on carbon sequestration potential from bermudagrass fairways of golf courses in Lubbock with different ages. Information from her research can be found here.

Dr. Matt Elmore with the Texas A & M AgriLife Extension service in Dallas addresses the attendees. Matt spoke about herbicide resistance and management. Information from his talk can be found here.

Dr. Casey Reynolds of Texas A&M – College Station helped attendees learn more about pesticide labels to help control weeds, insects and diseases. Dr. Reynolds also spent time talking about the new AggieTurf website which is now up and running and looks great. 

Dr. Joey Young addresses the Professional attendees on the different products being tested on the research farm. In the foreground is an apparatus to measure and analyze turfgrass color and health. The plots in the photo are different fertilizer treatments. Click here for information about one of the products being tested, Anuvia, an organic based ammonium sulfate Nitrogen.