Tuesday, November 14, 2006

TurfFiles Decision AIDS: What Is This Turfgrass/Weed/Disease and How Do I Manage It?.

Gail Wilkerson1, Bridget Robinson1, Joe Levine1, Jenifer Reynolds1, Emily Erickson1, Fred Yelverton1, Art Bruneau1, and Lane Tredway2. (1) North Carolina State Univ, Crop Science Dept, PO Box 7620, Raleigh, NC 27695-7620, (2) North Carolina State Univ, Dept of Plant Pathology, Raleigh, NC 27695

Given the complexity and diversity of turfgrass systems, there is a need for accurate and readily accessible information on turfgrass care. If provided in a web-based format, information is available directly to the consumer, or secondarily available to the consumer through direct use by lawn care services, lawn and garden shops, chemical distributors, Extension agents, and other turfgrass professionals. TurfFiles (http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/) is a database-driven web site dedicated to dissemination of information from turfgrass professionals at North Carolina State University. Four interactive decision aids have been developed to assist with 1) turfgrass selection, 2) turfgrass and weed identification, 3) weed management, and 4) disease identification. The Turfgrass Selection decision aid assists home owners and professional turfgrass managers in determining the most appropriate turfgrass to plant in a particular situation. Information includes adaptation to drought, shade, heat, and wear; appearance; preferred season; establishment rate; planting and maintenance requirements; seasonal images; and results of university cultivar trials. The Turf and Weed ID application includes information on 30 grass, 55 broadleaf, and six sedge species and utilizes more than 1600 plant images to aid in identification. The Weed Management decision aid displays cultural and chemical weed control options, and provides data from over 300 NCSU herbicide trials that were conducted from 1997 through 2005. The Disease ID application includes 32 turf diseases, and uses host species, time of year, stand symptoms, plant symptoms, and fungal signs to assist in diagnosis. Of the 10 million ‘hits’ experienced by TurfFiles during the April 2005 – March 2006 time period, about 17% came from within the NCSU community (including students, staff, faculty, and Extension agents). The Turf and Weed ID decision aid accounted for 20% of total site access.