Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center serves
By Bud Gavitt
Golf course superintendents, sports and recreational
field managers, and commercial lawn care operators
can now submit turf samples showing signs of pest damage
and physiological disorders for analysis at the Department
of Plant Science’s Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic
Center. Established last year by John Kaminski, assistant
professor of pathology in turfgrass science in the
Department of Plant Science, the center is housed in
room 110 of the W.B. Young Building.
A substantial grant to purchase equipment and supplies,
including microscopes, for the center was given by
the New England Regional Turfgrass Foundation. This
private foundation funds to research and advancement
of the region’s turf industry.
The center is open daily year round but most of the
diagnostic work is done during the turfgrass growing
season. Kaminski makes every effort to diagnose the
disorder and give recommendations on what to do to
address the problem within 24 hours.
In most cases golf course superintendents and others
are able to identify the problem but want it to be
confirmed by Kaminski. Once the problem is identified,
recommendations may include changing a cultural practice,
such as increasing turf mowing height or using plant
protectants to control a turf pest.
Sometimes Kaminski visits the site to see what’s
going on with a difficult problem. He says problems
may occur that aren’t related to disease but
still may cause turf to decline. For example, there
may be too much shade, too much water, or not enough
nitrogen fertilizer in the soil.
Samples can be sent to: Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic
Center, Department of Plant Science, UConn, 1376 Storrs
Road, U-4067, Storrs, CT 06269-4067. Samples must be
submitted Monday through Thursday in order to provide
diagnostic services the following day. If you like,
you can also contact Kaminski at (860) 486-0162 or
email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To cover costs, there is a fee of $50.00 for Connecticut
samples and $100.00 for out-of-state samples.
Kaminski expects to have a Web site by the end of the
year that will include updates on the department’s
turfgrass programs and new and ongoing pest control
“My goal,” Kaminski says, “is to assist turfgrass managers
throughout the region with whatever agronomic problems they may have.” “An
additional benefit of the Center is that learning about the problems in the
field provides ideas for future turfgrass research projects.”
Homeowners can get answers to their turf and lawn
care questions from the Home and Garden Education
Center at (877)486-6271, email@example.com,