By any other name, grass – spinach, cabbage, grunkel, graminoid – is still grass.
But do you appreciate grasses for the extremely diverse and versatile organisms that they are? After all, we don’t just use grasses for sports turf, we make beer, whisky, paper, clothing, flooring and insulation from them. Bamboo and cereals are actually closely related to the sports turf you’ll be playing on this weekend.
I sat down the other day with NMSU Associate Professor Dr. Ryan Goss at his Skeen Hall office to see what’s been happening in turfgrass research.
While there is no official designation, Dr. Goss and his colleague Dr. Bernd Leinauer carry the NMSU load when it comes to the golf course maintenance industry. The two are known to many former students and their colleagues across the country as the NMSU “Turfgrass Department.”
Both devote half their time to research, while Dr. Goss teaches and Leinauer does extension work for the other half of their positions. Dr. Leinauer’s work takes him to golf courses, playfields, parks and even private homes across the State. As one might expect, both Goss and Leinauer’s research focus is on water use, or rather finding ways to reduce it.
Dr. Goss has been testing and tinkering with various non-pesticide management (often called cultural) practices to minimize water use. The use of wetting agents, plant growth regulators and maintaining optimal fertility levels are ways to reduce water requirements of various turfgrass types.