Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

December 22, 1999

Guelph Turfgrass Institute rolls out green carpet for industry

Water conservation and quality, climate change and new pest and disease problems are all issues facing the turfgrass industry, says Rob Witherspoon, director of the Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI).

Turfgrass experts will discuss these issues at the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium Jan. 4-6 Regal Constellation Hotel in Toronto.

By combining educational seminars with an industry trade show, the conference illustrates how the GTI works with the private sector, Witherspoon said. The GTI conducts research with practical applications to the industry, from the basics of dandelion biology to organic sports turf.

"Our research wouldn't be very useful to anybody if it wasn't relevant to the industry," he said. Seminar topics to be presented by University of Guelph experts include:

-- Peter Johnston-Berresford, Kemptville College, organic turf management.

-- Karen Sagan, Department of Environmental Biology, dandelion control and new developments at Canadian institutions.

-- Pieter Groenvelt and Bev Kay, Department of Land Resource Science, soil physics for the sports turf manager and the effect of water on plant growth.

-- Ken Carey and Bob Sheard, Guelph Turfgrass Institute, water budgeting research.

-- Marilyn Dykstra, Laboratory Services, turf disease diagnosis.

Topics aren't related strictly to plant science. Human resources will be discussed by Marion Howell of Shaughnessy Howell Inc. and Jim Brown of STRIVE!, two consultancies with agri-business expertise.

Gerry Brouwer of Brouwer Sod Co., will address opportunities for the turf industry in formerly Communist Eastern Europe, where once collectivized farmland is cheaply available, and is in relatively close proximity to soccer-playing Western Europe.

The GTI is a research and education institute founded in 1987 and based at the G.M. Frost Research and Information Centre at the University of Guelph. Its research focuses on environmentally sustainable turf care and management techniques such as pesticide use or irrigation planning. The institute disseminates information through Guelph's plant agriculture programs, and through interactions with industry, such as this symposium.

The annual symposium is organized by the GTI and the Office of Open Learning at the University of Guelph in partnership with the Ontario turfgrass industry and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. (OMAFRA) and industry associations including as the Professional Lawn Care Association of Ontario, the Nursery Sod Growers Association of Ontario, the Sports Turf Association, and the Ontario Golf Superintendents' Association.

For a complete symposium schedule, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3338.

Contact: Rob Witherspoon, Guelph Turfgrass Institute (519) 824-4120, Ext. 6886/5009

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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