Dollar spot on seashore paspalum © Willis T. Spratling

Turfgrass Greenhouse

Wheat field © John W. Bagwell

Turfgrass Research and Education Center © Srijana Thapa Magar

Turfgrasses, forage, switchgrass, and wheat, have been the foundation of livestock agriculture from its beginning. In the contemporary world, turfgrass science has transformed into a dynamic and multibillion-dollar industry. The major contributions of turfgrass in the physical environment include prevention from soil erosion; maintaining visibility when planted on a roadside; reducing dust, glare, and surface temperatures; beautifying the surroundings in the form of a lawn or park, and providing a surface for sports and recreation (golf courses and athletic field). Similarly, switchgrass, a perennial C4 grass species native to North America, has traditionally been used as a forage crop and for soil conservation but, over the past two decades, breeding efforts have focused on utilizing switchgrass as a bioenergy crop. Despite being economically important for the United States, there are various challenges faced by these grasses industries. One of the major challenges includes the management of these plants in the changing environmental conditions. Environmental stresses, biotic and abiotic, have impacted the growth and productivity of many types of grass and forage crops, and have become the cornerstone of the research in various plant pathology and plant breeding programs across the country.

Turfgrass researchers at UGA are working towards the development and evaluation of new cultivars resistant to biotic and abiotic stress factors. With an aim to contribute to this goal, the Bahri Lab, a research laboratory located at the Turfgrass Education and Research Center, University of Georgia Griffin campus, is also working on various aspects of turfgrass and forage pathology, with special emphasis on studying pathogen population dynamics, identifying disease resistance genes and developing disease-resistant varieties.