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Turf Bowl A Success For UConn 

The University of Connecticut's Turfgrass Science Program was well represented at the 13th Annual GCSAA Turf Bowl in Anaheim, CA. UConn's top team finished in 14th place out of the 81 total teams entered. The top team was made up of Turf Club members Chris Orlich, Marc Dubour, Brian Tencza, and Nate Miller. A second, two-man team of David McIntyre and David Golembeski also had a strong showing in the competition. In addition to the undergraduates, graduate student Alex Putman (advised by Assistant Professor John Kaminski) took the top spot among all graduate students.

Student travel to Anaheim was supported by the Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and UConn's Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center. This experience would not be possible without their generous contributions.
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Turf Club Heading to Anaheim 

By Nate Miller

The 2007 GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Anaheim, CA is rapidly approaching and Turf Club is gearing up to make the trip out to the west coast. This yearly conference provides an invaluable opportunity to learn more about the industry and network with the numerous companies and individuals that attend. Members going this year include Chris Orlich, Marc Dubour, Brian Tencza, Nate Miller, David McIntyre, Alex Putman, and David Golembeski, who will be recognized for receiving a GCSAA Scholarship. These members received financial support from the Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and UConn's Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center. This experience would not be possible without their generous contributions.

Members will be representing the Turf Club in the 13th Annual Collegiate Turf Bowl. Preparation for the competition began last semester, and the club is hoping for a strong showing this year. Representing the club in another facet is Brian Tencza, who will be sitting in on this years Student Advisory Board. Also, attendees will be working at the UConn Turfgrass Science Program booth during the trade show. The conference will be a very beneficial and rewarding experience for all, and hopefully for UConn's Turfgrass Science Program as a whole.
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Syngenta Endows Fund for Turfgrass Program 

by Jennifer Huber

The turfgrass program at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) has received welcome support from Syngenta Professional Products of Greensboro, North Carolina. The Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund was established with a $25,000 endowment in August. Syngenta Professional Products is a subsidiary of Syngenta, a leading global agribusiness headquartered in Switzerland that develops and markets sustainable agriculture products and technology.

The Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund supports education, extension and research activities at the Department of Plant Science and the UConn Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center. The diagnostic center provides service to commercial clients throughout the Northeast. It’s an essential resource for managers of athletic fields, high-maintenance commercial land and golf courses. Assistant Professor John Kaminski was recruited in 2005 to create the turfgrass pathology program and lead research into turfgrass diseases, fungicide resistance and disease management.

“[John Kaminski] is very energetic. He’s taken an active step to fill the need in the Northeast,” says Dave Ross, Technical Manager, Lawn and Garden at Syngenta Professional Products.

“When there are relatively new researchers in our field, we want to help them to be successful,” Ross adds. “We saw that he’s doing very good work, and we wanted to help his research program and the University.”

UConn is quickly becoming a leader in turfgrass education, research and development. Faculty and graduate students are applying discoveries made through research in the lab to develop innovative solutions and provide them to clients through the diagnostic center. Most significantly, cutting-edge research and development at UConn is leading to a reduction in the use of pesticides, says Kaminski.

“It really benefits everyone,” says Kaminski. “What we’re trying to do is marry the two programs, the research and the diagnostic services, to really benefit the end users.”

Kaminski notes that the Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund provides a needed foundation on which to build support in order to grow UConn’s program.

“The goal is to build up the endowment to a level that will continue to provide support to the turfgrass pathology program at UConn,” says Kaminski. “I’m looking at longevity. When I retire, the next person will hopefully have a nest egg to fund graduate and research assistantships.”

Kaminski also emphasizes that strong private support from individuals and industry leaders like Syngenta will enable UConn to raise the profile of the turfgrass program. “It’s really to set the stage to build the program to where we want it to be, and that’s a nationally recognized research and education program,” he says.


Standing atop a turfgrass plot at UConn, Assistant Professor John Kaminski (center) accepts a $25,000 check from Syngenta Professional Products for the Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund on October 18. From left: John K. Martin, president of the UConn Foundation, Kirklyn M. Kerr, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mary Musgrave, head of the Department of Plant Science, Kaminski, and Michael Agnew, Renee Keese, Dave Ross, and Robert Goglia of Syngenta Professional Products.

Copyright 2006 by The University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.

www.foundation.uconn.edu
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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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Phoenix Environmental Care LLC Makes Donation to Turfgrass Research at the University of Connecticut 

Valdosta, GA – Phoenix Environmental Care LLC has made a donation to the turfgrass pathology research program headed by Dr. John Kaminski at the University of Connecticut.

“We have a board of advisors called ‘Friends of Phoenix’ which consist of several golf course superintendents,” says Owen Towne, Phoenix Environmental Care LLC President. “The donation is based on the recommendation of that board. We are happy to do this, because Dr. Kaminski’s work on anthracnose and other turf diseases is benefiting golf course superintendents far beyond the state of Connecticut.”

Towne says the contribution is a part of Phoenix Environmental Care’s ongoing commitment to giving back a portion of the company’s sales to organizations and universities that support the Green Industry. “We’ve done this with groups like the Wee One foundation and others, and we will continue our company policy of giving back to the Green Industry.”

“It’s great to have Phoenix supporting our efforts,” says Kaminski. “The money will be used to hire a summer technician to assist in all aspects of our turf pathology program. We continue to grow at a rapid pace, and our goal is to make a positive impact throughout New England. The funding they’ve provided will play a large role in accomplishing this.”

Dr. Kaminski was recently chosen to receive the Musser International Turfgrass Foundation Award of Excellence for 2005. A native of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Kaminski earned a B.S degree from Penn State University in 1998. He earned his M.S. and PhD at the University of Maryland where his work involved the investigation of the biology of Ophiosphaerella agrostis and epidemiology of bentgrass dead spot.

Phoenix Environmental Care specializes in turf, nursery, ornamental and aquatic products, marketing a variety of materials to meet the needs of the Green and Aquatic Industries through unique, quality formulations and industry support.
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