Cutting Edge: Perennial ryegrass, precision turfgrass management survey

A study examines freezing damage in ryegrass, and a research center seeks survey participants


Aerial view of Ghost Creek golf course

Assessing freezing damage in perennial ryegrass

After a long and snowy winter, it is time to assess winter damage and recovery of my perennial ryegrass nursery. As part of the WinterTurf project, this population of 100 accessions is being screened to identify traits that enable winter hardiness. Assessment began in the fall of 2022 and will continue through the summer of 2023. Fall data collection included monitoring photosynthetic stress and environmental conditions during fall acclimation. During winter, information on the plant microclimate was collected through weather data and sensors installed throughout the plot. In April, the snow finished melting off the plot. This spring, temperatures quickly rose, and it didn’t take long for many of the perennial ryegrass accessions to green up.

Our preliminary findings show that some accessions have not fully recovered from winter damage. After the snow melted, measurements were taken to determine if the perennial ryegrass accessions were experiencing any photosynthetic stress during the spring regrowth period; we took the same types of data as were taken in during fall acclimation. The accessions will be monitored throughout the summer to evaluate developmental stages of the plants. In addition to field data, microscopic imaging of the vascular tissues (e.g., xylem) of freeze-susceptible and freeze-tolerant genotypes will give us an insight into the anatomical features that enable winter hardiness.

The data gathered in this project will be analyzed to find traits that are related to winter survival in perennial ryegrass. These traits will be utilized to develop a high-throughput vascular phenotyping method, which will be used to evaluate freeze tolerance of turfgrass. Ultimately, we hope results from this work will aid in developing improved perennial ryegrass cultivars that can perform well in cold climates.

— Maicy Vossen (, University of Minnesota, St. Paul

Aerial view of Ghost Creek golf course

Superintendents asked to participate in precision turfgrass management survey

A survey conducted by the Virginia Tech Turfgrass Research Center is focused on identifying barriers to adoption of precision turfgrass management (PTM) techniques. Precision turfgrass management refers to using advanced technologies and data-driven approaches to take care of the grassy areas on courses and fields. Many superintendents are using GPS sprayers for blanket, full-coverage applications, but there are additional capabilities for them to individually target areas that need to be sprayed that are not widely adopted. The goal is to identify why golf course superintendents are hesitant to adopt newer PTM methods and the best way to overcome these barriers, which ultimately will benefit the industry as a whole.

The survey will also look for relationships between different characteristics of golf courses and their willingness to adopt. Responses will help guide PTM developers to create a product that best fits the user’s needs. Respondents’ identity as a participant in the survey will remain anonymous, and the survey will close at midnight on Sept. 1. Access the survey at

— Katie Price (, Virginia Tech Turfgrass Research Center, Blacksburg

Darrell J. Pehr ( is GCM’s science editor.