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UConn Students Earn Pesticide License 

By Steve Rackliffe

A collaborative effort between the Connecticut DEP and the UConn Turfgrass Science program was established to provide students the opportunity to take the Connecticut Pesticide Operators exam on the Storrs campus. Students taking and passing the exam will be issued a Connecticut Operators license. Graduating students, and students preparing for field internships that have obtained their operators certification will be qualified to apply pesticides under the direction of a licensed supervisor. The Operators Certification focuses on pesticide safety, reading pesticide labels, and Connecticut pesticide law. UConn graduates holding a pesticide operators license will be much more competitive in the job market. Licensed interns would be able to apply pesticides on their internships. The collaborative effort between DEP and the University of Connecticut Turfgrass Science Program benefits both the student and the field supervisor. It is our goal to have UConn graduates and interns enter the workforce with the education and credentials that will allow them to be competitive and successful.
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UConn Turfgrass Research Featured on TurfNetTV 

The University of Connecticut's Turfgrass Science Program is featured this month on TurfNetTV. Filmed in February, TurfNetTV visited UConn's Turfgrass Research Facility and discussed current nozzle research with John Kaminski, Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Pathology.

Highlights of the interview include an overview of the Turfgrass and Soil Science Program initiated by Dr. Karl Guillard back in 1998 and its rapid growth in recent years. Dr. Kaminski discusses the growth of the University's Turf Program over the last few years incuding the hiring of three new faculty members, the construction of a new Turfgrass Resource Unit, and the expansion of field and research plots at the Plant Science Research and Education Facility.

Results of an ongoing study conducted in a collaborative research effort with Dr. Michael Fidanza, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Penn State Berks and Dr. Kaminski are also featured. Ongoing research has focused on the proper selection of nozzle types in an effort to improve fungicide efficacy for controlling dollar spot of golf courses. Dollar spot, a foliar disease caused by the pathogen Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, is one of the most common and chronic diseases found on golf courses in the United States. Results from this ongoing study found that disease suppression can be improved with proper nozzle selection. Although more research is needed, potential benefits include a reduction the overall quanitity of pesticides used to suppress dollar spot and a reduction in application interval.

It is clearly an exciting time of growth and expansion in Storrs. To find out more about the UConn Turfgrass and Soil Science Program, please visit our www.turf.uconn.edu.

Click here to view the video.
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Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center Now Open 

By Bud Gavitt

Golf course superintendents, sports and recreational field managers, and commercial lawn care operators can now submit turf samples showing signs of pest damage and physiological disorders for analysis at the Department of Plant Science’s Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center. Established last year by John Kaminski, assistant professor of pathology in turfgrass science in the Department of Plant Science, the center is housed in room 110 of the W.B. Young Building.

A substantial grant to purchase equipment and supplies, including microscopes, for the center was given by the New England Regional Turfgrass Foundation. This private foundation funds to research and advancement of the region’s turf industry.

The center is open daily year round but most of the diagnostic work is done during the turfgrass growing season. Kaminski makes every effort to diagnose the disorder and give recommendations on what to do to address the problem within 24 hours.

In most cases golf course superintendents and others are able to identify the problem but want it to be confirmed by Kaminski. Once the problem is identified, recommendations may include changing a cultural practice, such as increasing turf mowing height or using plant protectants to control a turf pest.

Sometimes Kaminski visits the site to see what’s going on with a difficult problem. He says problems may occur that aren’t related to disease but still may cause turf to decline. For example, there may be too much shade, too much water, or not enough nitrogen fertilizer in the soil.

Samples can be sent to: Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center, Department of Plant Science, UConn, 1376 Storrs Road, U-4067, Storrs, CT 06269-4067. Samples must be submitted Monday through Thursday in order to provide diagnostic services the following day. If you like, you can also contact Kaminski at (860) 486-0162 or email him at john.kaminski@uconn.edu. To cover costs, there is a fee of $50.00 for Connecticut samples and $100.00 for out-of-state samples.

Kaminski expects to have a Web site by the end of the year that will include updates on the department’s turfgrass programs and new and ongoing pest control problems.

“My goal,” Kaminski says, “is to assist turfgrass managers throughout the region with whatever agronomic problems they may have.” “An additional benefit of the Center is that learning about the problems in the field provides ideas for future turfgrass research projects.”

Homeowners can get answers to their turf and lawn care questions from the Home and Garden Education Center at (877)486-6271 or by email.
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