European Turfgrass Society Conference Special Section in Agronomy Journal and Crop Science
The Fifth European Turfgrass Society (ETS) Conference was held in Portugal last June. Professor Carlos Guerrero from the University of Algarve organized this international conference with support from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, Luso-American Development Foundation, and multiple corporate sponsors.
Guerrero also helped organize the publication of a selection of papers from this conference. These papers were coordinately published in the March–April issues of Crop Science and Agronomy Journal, as a special section. An introductory paper appears in Crop Science. Guerrero shared his thoughts on the special section, and says, “The Organizing Committee is proud of the effort done to carry on with the Fifth ETS Conference, and as a member of the ETS, I am proud to share this ‘drop of knowledge’ in this [special section].”
CSA News: What was the overarching theme of the Fifth ETS Conference?
Guerrero: The theme of the ETS Conference was “Turfgrass – Towards Sustainability and Perfection for Aesthetic, Recreation and Sports.” Presentations covered many topics, including: turfgrass genetics and breeding, turfgrass for sports, water management, technology advances and turfgrass maintenance (mowing, fertilization, environment, certification), turfgrass pests (diseases, insects, weeds), and turfgrass nutrition and physiology.
CSA News: Are papers in this special section focused on a single topic, or do they reflect the conference as a whole?
Guerrero: The papers cover a wide range of topics from the conference. It is important to note that the papers in this special section reflect approximately 10% of the total work presented.
CSA News: Briefly describe the most important findings included in this special section.
Guerrero: For this growing industry, there are several important issues addressed such as water use, pesticide use, fertilizer use, and biodiversity. These topics are significantly studied, and research is widely developed all around the world under different climatic, edaphic, and technological arrangements, enhancing and improving solutions for a better use of turfgrass.
From a personal point of view, disease control or even disease suppression is one of the most ‘attractive’ research subjects covered. Dollar spot, brown patch, anthracnose, and microdochium nivale are the most important diseases studied in cool and warm-season turfgrasses. The turfgrass pathogen causing the most use of fungicides at northern latitudes is Microdochium nivale, and at warmer latitudes, Sclerotinia homoeocarpa and Rhizoctonia solani are the most commons diseases.
Researchers are investigating biological control methods to deal with these diseases. Biological control is achieved by using organic amendments or by using specific inoculants. Both strategies have the goal to increase the population of the disease suppressive organism necessary to achieve the desired level of control.
Other research focuses on fertility control. Nitrogen, iron, or iron sulfate are management practices that suppress, or control, for example, Sclerotinia homoeocarpa. And increased N fertilization, mowing height, and sand topdressing can suppress Colletotrichum cereale in cool-season turfgrass.
Another topic of interest to the turfgrass community is the control of Poa annua in bentgrass greens. There is no registered herbicide for Poa annua invading bentgrass greens. One of the articles published in this special issue shows that paclobutrazol and iron sulfate combined controlled annual bluegrass and moss on putting greens, offering acceptable surface quality.