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Book: Turfgrass Science
Published by: American Society of Agronomy




  1.  p. i-xviii
    Agronomy Monograph 14.
    Turfgrass Science

    A. A. Hanson and F. V. Juska (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-209-2

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Front Matter

    1. Forage and Range Research Branch, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, Maryland

General Foreword

Agronomy — An ASA Monograph Series

“Turfgrass Science” Monograph is made available to the public at a time when turf is both a topic of household importance and a subject of interest to scientists and to consumers. The book represents the fourteenth of a series of monographs prepared by the American Society of Agronomy since 1949 to meet the needs for comprehensive treatment of specific subjects in agronomy, crop science, and soil science. The first six of these monographs were published by the Academic Press, Inc. of New York under the editorship of Dr. A. G. Norman, an eminent member of the society.

As a result of the overall growth of ASA, complete responsibility for the preparation, editing, financing, and publishing of the monograph series was undertaken by the society in 1957 with the seventh volume, Drainage of Agricultural Lands. It was followed by Oats and Oat Improvement as No.8 in 1961.

In recent years, the activity relating to publication of monographs has flourished. The colossal task of publishing Monograph No. 9 was completed in 1965. Entitled Methods of Soil Analysis, this contribution appeared in two parts: Part I: Physical and Mineralogical Properties, Including Statistics of Measurement and Sampling, and Part II: Chemical and Microbiological Properties. During the same year, Soil Nitrogen, Monograph No. 10 also appeared on the market.

The Monograph project remained very much alive in 1966, although no new number was released. In early 1967, Irrigation of Agricultural Lands, No. 11, became available. It was soon to be followed by Soil Acidity and Liming, No. 12, and Wheat and Wheat Improvement, No. 13; and then the present title two years later.

The American Society of Agronomy is closely associated with the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America. The three societies have many objectives and activities in common. They share a large percentage of their memberships and the same national headquarters and staff. This close association makes it possible for the American Society of Agronomy to publish material relating to both crop science and soil science in the “Agronomy” series.

The approximately 7,500 members of the society, organized in 19 professional divisions, including one on Turfgrass Management, provide the society with the supply of scientific knowledge to meet the needs of the public for specific information in many areas. The offering of Turfgrass Science is made with the hope that its contents will bring together for users of this commodity the most recent information on the subject and will stimulate investigators to seek answers to the “missing links” in the chain of scientific information related to the genetical development, production, and management of turfgrass irrespective of geographical boundaries or types of uses. Meanwhile, it is hoped that our country may profit from the useful and aesthetic values resulting from the application of turfgrass science.

Matthias Stelly

Executive Secretary

American Society of Agronomy

August 1969


Our growing need for turf, whether it be for home lawns, football fields, playgrounds, parks, golf courses, roadsides, or cemeteries, makes this monograph, Turfgrass Science, particularly appropriate.

The American Society of Agronomy is happy to publish this material in recognition of the continuous efforts of its members, particularly the members of Division C-5, Turfgrass Management. These men have dedicated themselves to obtaining and utilizing scientific information on turf.

Considerable attention has been given to this subject in the past few years, including research, extension, and applications. This monograph brings together the best thinking in turfgrass science. Since there is much yet to be learned, the book should be of real help in planning future activities and, hence, in speeding progress. Specifically, it should help spur research in vital areas. The concepts of research with a mission and systems analysis might well be considered.

A wide range of subjects is covered, and well qualified people have put much effort into writing the chapters. This monograph is a credit to these men as well as to the American Society of Agronomy. I wish to express appreciation to the authors, editors, and monograph committee members on behalf of the Society.

Lafayette, Indiana

May 1969

Werner L. Nelson, President

American Society of Agronomy


Turf is the most widely grown, most talked about, and least appreciated commodity in the United States. This is the best possible justification that can be advanced for the preparation of a “Turfgrass Science” monograph.

Most homeowners and many employees of public and private enterprises are concerned to a greater or lesser extent with growing turfgrasses. Armed with interest and determination, some of these turf managers gain a sound appreciation of turf production problems, and they learn, through experience, the best combination of practices for the turf that is under their immediate control. The individual may be thwarted, however, in applying his experience over a wider area, either by the limited nature of his experience or by the lack of documented research findings.

Much of the initial work on the development and management of grasses for recreation, beautification, and soil cover was conducted by agronomists who had had some training and experience in growing grasses for pasture and forage. Recognition and definition of research needs led to well organized research by agronomists and horticulturists and to the training of turfgrass specialists. The expansion in turf research, however, often conflicted with public demand for immediate answers to production problems. All too often the prospective turfgrass research specialist became an extension specialist first and a research investigator second. Although times have changed in both public and private agencies, a critical need remains for more and better turfgrass varieties, superior management practices, and improved pest control. A substantial increase in turfgrass research will be needed to develop principles that have broad application and to reduce the hazards and cost of maintaining quality turf.

The possibility of developing a turfgrass monograph has been considered for many years within the American Society of Agronomy. Debate focused on the nature of a monograph that could or should be developed on a production-and-management-oriented commodity—turf. Strong arguments were advanced to confine the presentation to basic aspects of turf production with major emphasis given to soils, physiology, water, genetics, diseases, ecology, etc. It was argued, with considerable justification, that applied turf practices could not be compiled in a manner that would be meaningful on any given site. Conversely, other specialists made an equally strong case for the need to relate available research data to accepted field practice. Many of these individuals stressed the scarcity of research information on turfgrasses which would limit the scope of a technical monograph.

The weights of these opposing arguments are apparent in the organization of the monograph. Introductory chapters on the “History of Turf Usage” and “The Turf grass Industry” are followed by a series of background chapters that stress the interrelationship of technical information and practice in growing turf. Thus, Chapters 3 through 15 include detailed information on the environment in which turfgrasses are grown, the manner in which they grow and reproduce; and various pests that reduce quality. In this section a chapter on turfgrass ecology (Chapter 8) integrates basic information from many subject matter areas. Subsequent chapters devoted to applied turfgrass production range from regional discussions on lawn care (Chapters 19, 20, and 21) through athletic fields, golf greens and fairways, to roadside turf. Chapters on the principles and practices of seedbed preparation and planting (Chapters 17 and 18) provide an introduction to applied turfgrass management. Authors responsible for applied chapters have had the unenviable task of including essential practices, methods, and techniques, while avoiding excessive duplication with either technically oriented chapters or other applied presentations. They have succeeded to the point where applied chapters stand on their own and provide a starting point for any organized effort to develop a better understanding of plant growth, soils, species, pests, climatic, and other relationships. The title “Turfgrass Science” was selected in preference to either “Turf” or “Turfgrass” to emphasize the relative importance and need for technical information in the interpretation of applied turfgrass production problems.

One finds wide differences of opinion on the merits of various materials and practices. Some of these differences can be attributed to the experience of the protagonists involved, the incorrect interpretation of observations in the absence of factual information, and to obvious deficiencies in turfgrass research. The contributing authors are experienced scientists and turfgrass specialists who have had successful careers in producing quality turf and in assisting others in solving their turfgrass problems. Thus, careful consideration should be given to the concepts included in their various presentations even though the reader may not agree with all of the views expressed. The outlook and horizons of practical turf grass managers and students will be increased by the diverse approaches that the authors selected for their presentations. In addition, it is hoped that the book will aid in stimulating meaningful research on critical turfgrass production problems.

The editors give special recognition to the many individuals who took time from their busy schedules to contribute to the monograph. Special appreciation is extended to Mrs. Doris Wray, secretary to F. V. Juska, for her valuable assistance in completing this assignment.

Trade names found in this book are used solely to identify materials or equipment and no endorsement of them is implied or intended.

A conversion table for English and metric units may be found on page xviii.

Beltsville, Maryland

April 1969

A. A. Hanson

Felix V. Juska



B. A. App, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, Md.

J. B. Beard, Department of Crop Science, Michigan State University East Lansing, Mich.

R. E. Blaser, Department of Agronomy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute Blacksburg, Va.

M. P. Britton, formerly Department of Plant Pathology, University of Illinois Urbana, Ill.

Glenn W. Burton, Research Geneticist , ARS, USDA, Georgia Coastal Plain Exp. Sta., Tifton, Ga.

J. F. Cornman, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca N.Y.

J. Ritchie Cowan, Department of Farm Crops, Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon

John L. Creech, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, Md.

R. R. Davis, Department of Agronomy, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, Ohio

R. E. Engel, Department of Soils and Crops, Rutgers—The State University New Brunswick, N.J.

Marvin H. Ferguson, President, Agri-Systems of Texas, Inc., Bryan Texas

Fred V. Grau, President, Grasslyn, Inc., College Park, Md.

A. A. Hanson, Chief, Forage and Range Res. Br., ARS, USDA, Beltsville Md.

John C. Harper II, Department of Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.

C. M. Heald, Research Plant Pathologist, Agricultural Research Service USDA, Weslaco, Texas

Ethan C. Holt, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas Agricultural Exp. Sta., College Station, Texas

W. L. Hottenstein, Bureau of Public Roads, Washington, D. C.

A. W. Hovin, Forage and Range Res. Br., ARS, USDA, Beltsville, Md.

W. W. Huffine, Department of Agronomy, Oklahoma State University Stillwater, Okla.

R. D. Ilnicki, Department of Soils and Crops, Rutgers—The State University, New Brunswick, N.J.

F. V. Juska, Forage and Range Res. Br., ARS, USDA, Beltsville, Md.

Ray A. Keen, Department of Horticulture, Kansas State University Manhattan, Kans.

S. H. Kerr, Department of Entomology, University of Florida, Gainesville Fla.

J. M. Latham, Jr., Milwaukee Sewerage Commission, Milwaukee, Wis.

Albert W. Marsh, Extension Specialist, Agricultural Extension Service University of California, Riverside, Calif.

C. Wallace Miller, Department of the Army, Washington, D. C.

H. B. Musser (deceased), Emeritus Professor of Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.

Gene C. Nutter, Turf-Grass Times and Turf-Grass Publications, Inc., Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

A. T. Perkins, Department of Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State University University Park, Pa.

V. G. Perry, Department of Entomology, University of Florida Gainesville, Fla.

Alton E. Rabbitt, National Park Service, Department of the Interior Washington, D. C.

P. E. Rieke, Department of Soil Science, Michigan State University East Lansing, Mich.

R. E. Schmidt, Department of Agronomy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute Blacksburg, Va.

Donald V. Waddington, Department of Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.

Coleman Y. Ward, Department of Agronomy, Mississippi State University State College, Miss.

James R. Watson, Jr., Toro Manufacturing Corporation, Minneapolis Minn.

C. G. Wilson, Milwaukee Sewerage Commission, Milwaukee, Wis.

V. B. Youngner, Department of Agronomy, University of California Riverside, Calif.



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