Eight Hundred Attend 2016 Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Field Day, Turf Research North Carolina Kickoff

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

2016 Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Field Day August 10: Eight hundred participants watched as Sod Solutions presented a check to the NC State University turfgrass breeding program, kicking off the Turf Research North Carolina partnership of NC State, Sod Solutions and the NC Sod Producers Association.

NC State University has signed a long-term agreement with turfgrass research, development and marketing company Sod Solutions to research and create a line of turfgrass varieties that will balance global environmental challenges while aiming for the “curb appeal” of attractive landscapes. The Turf Research North Carolina partnership (TRNC) is in conjunction with the North Carolina Sod Producers Association (NCSPA) and is supported by a select group of NCSPA turfgrass grower members. Grasses currently under development include St. Augustine Grass, zoysia grass, bermudagrass, and centipede grass, with potential for other varieties. The improved lawn grasses are being developed by NC State turfgrass breeder Dr. Susana Milla-Lewis, with release dates to follow over the next several years. 

“We are very excited about this joint venture that will help us transition breeding efforts at NC State into commercial varieties for the southeastern United States,” said Dr. Milla-Lewis. “We look forward to this mutually beneficial relationship among North Carolina State University, Sod Solutions and the NC Sod Producers Association."  

After the kickoff, Field Day participants spread out over the sun-drenched turf acreage, choosing from eleven half-hour presentations over the course of the morning. 
(Dr. Milla-Lewis and her crew presented a special one-hour tour of turf breeding plots.)  A breeze was stirring by the time barbecue lunch was served under the tents, and everyone helped themselves to NC State Howling Cow ice cream before heading home. One departing participant summed up this year's Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Field Day perfectly: "Loved it!"