The Turfgrass Pest Management research program combines elements of basic and applied research in order to develop sound, biologically based, and sustainable insect management strategies for lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, parks, and commercial establishments.
Fundamental research efforts employ a systems-oriented approach aimed at understanding the biology and ecology of turfgrass ecosystems. This part of the turfgrass research program focuses on interactions between host-plant resistance, biological controls and cultural practices, and how these different management tools can be employed to tip the competitive balance in favor of turfgrass plants. The fundamental research program also aims to address questions relating to the evolution of acquired chemical defenses in cool-season grasses and how the evolution of these defenses influence plant competition and interactions between organisms representing different trophic levels.
Applied research focuses mainly on the biology of common turfgrass pests to determine their economic injury threshold in an effort to maximize control with reduced pesticide inputs. The goal is to develop IPM strategies to create a more cost effective and environmentally sound turfgrass insect management program. New technologies and alternative control methods are also being evaluated.