Feature Article - March 2004
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Grass-Roots Communication

For sports turf maintenance, there’s a lot of handy information for those in the field

By Stacy St. Clair

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Need to know how to eliminate that pesky weed once and for all? Want advice before you purchase a new mower? Just need a buddy to commiserate with about turf troubles?

The Internet has become the turf manager's best friend in recent years. There are a multitude of forums in which to post questions and offer advice. It's also a great place to meet field maintenance workers from around the world. Cyber friendship is a fabulous way for meeting like-minded colleagues who can share tricks of the trade and serve as sympathetic sounding boards.



An excellent resource for golf superintendents. Its myriad offerings include employment opportunities, an active members forum and a product rating section. In a recent forum, a course superintendent described how he had lost more bearings this year than ever before. An engineer told him if the water is constantly oxygenated to keep the bacteria alive, it could cause more rust. Registration is required to access most areas on the site.


The National Golf Foundation Web site offers extensive industry research. The site boasts important studies on declining round play in 2003 as well as advice on how to improve the bottom line. The foundation page also includes instruction on obtaining the Turf Brand Share Report, which details what equipment facilities are using now and what they plan to buy in the future.


Featuring an online plant dictionary run by Ohio State University, the site aims to provide information about various plant, pests and diseases. Registration required in certain areas.


The National Turf Evaluation program provides information and test results for all turf species. Studies can be used to determine if a cultivar is well adapted to a local area or level of turf maintenance. A new feature allows users to download information by state.


The Turfgrass Information Center, a partnership between Michigan State University and the U.S. Golf Association, touts itself as the most comprehensive collection of educational materials in the industry. Its primary database has more than 76,000 records alone. A subscriber fee is required.


Known as EXTOXNET, the site provides extensive information on pesticides. Pesticide profiles include extensive information about environmental fates, ecological effects and toxicological impacts. It also provides an index of the pesticide industry's latest news and advancements.


The Guelph Turf Grass Institute has a user-friendly bulletin board that allows grounds workers a chance to sound off. The board includes a jobs section for both available and wanted employment. There's also a buy and sell board.


As its name suggests, the site offers alerts about weeds wreaking havoc across the country. The pertinent information is broken down by geographic region. In addition to providing warnings about current pests, the site offers solutions and germination dates. To combat annual bluegrass, for example, preemergent applications should be performed in the fall and spring to prevent germination.


The Irrigation Association offers advice on the practices and products used to manage water resources. Topics include conservation, drainage, improvement and recovery of water.


Designed by Douglas Karcher, an assistant horticulture professor at the University of Arkansas, the page offers links to every turf management site available. There's a listing of professional associations, commercial pages, even weather tracking sites. Skip Google and visit this page first.