Current Research Projects
Some of the major projects currently underway include the following:
1 – Development of management tools for nematodes in ryegrass pitches
This project is a collaboration between the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and the Turf Disease Centre. Dr Colin Fleming (AFBI) and Dr Kate Entwistle (TDC) will manage the project.
Aim of the Project
The aim of the project is to deliver novel nematode management tools to the UK turfgrass industry by addressing 6 key objectives:
• Survey of UK pitches – this will help identify the main nematode species causing damage and determine if there are geographic differences in the nematodes currently attacking UK pitches.
• Population of biology – plant parasitic nematodes have complex life cycles and effective management of these pests requires a detailed knowledge of hatching times, number of life cycles etc. The project will gather this information for the key pest species identified in UK pitches.
• Routes of entry – nematode outbreaks may often be linked to the use of nematode infected construction/maintenance materials and turf. Sampling at production sites will identify possible sources of nematodes and will highlight methods that suppliers can use to minimise bio-security problems.
• Stress reduction in nematode-infested turf – biostimulants have been proven to reduce the severity of nematode damage symptoms in fine turfgrass. The project will assess the effects of range of biostimulants on nematode damage symptoms in ryegrass turf.
• Nematode control in ryegrass turf – currently there are no approved nematicides for nematode control in turf. The project will evaluate a range of novel organic environmentally-friendly materials which may suppress nematode levels in pitches.
• Technology transfer – project results will be disseminated to the industry via project reports, presentations to the IOG Conference and industry publications.
The project will be conducted over a 2 – 3 year period, the results will be reported on by final reports and presentations to IOG audiences at future events.
2 – Future rainwater management for sustainable outdoor sport surfaces
The project will be carried out by an academic team from the University of Loughborough, including Dr Paul Fleming, Dr Matthew Frost and Professor Andrew Wheatley.
Aim of the Project
To produce design guidance for sustainable drainage solutions of natural and synthetic turf pitches in accordance with the latest requirements of sustainable drainage and the future impact of climate change. The steps involved are:
• Review of related current guidance and research findings.
• Assembly of steering committee of key stakeholders.
• Evalutation of existing systems for drainage behaviour, with a focus on the potential attenuation of systems with differing surface types (i.e.sport specific), baseworks, subgrade and collection systems.
• Evaluate water quality and environmental impact of pitch irrigation/drainage.
• Make recommendations for specific design guidance for natural and synthetic turf surfacing systems for future installations.
• Disseminate the outcomes widely to architects, designers, planning control officers, local authorities and the sports construction industry in general.
The project, started at the end of 2009, is to be conducted over a 3-year period.
3 – Sports turf aeration – ECB/IOG joint research project
This project is being carried out by Cranfield University’s Centre for Sports Surfaces. It is being led by Dr Iain James, he will be assisted by Dr Mark Bartlett, Professor Dick Godwin & Professor Karl Ritz.
Aim of the Project
• To develop a comprehensive review of past and current research into aeration of sports surfaces, aeration of soil systems in wider plant production systems, mechanical systems for aeration and current best-practice aeration/decompaction strategies.
• To investigate using a combination of laboratory and field scale experimentation how mechanical aeration of cricket pitches affects soil mechanical parameters, soil structure and physical properties, soil microbiology andsurface performance.
• To determine using soil bin studies and field experiments, optimised design and operating parameters for the mechanical equipment used for decompaction and aeration.
• To develop and effectively disseminate management strategies and optimised guidelines for the effective decompaction and aeration of a range of soil conditions for groundstaff and contractors.
This project has a four year timeframe;, to keep up to date on the progress please visit the Cranfield website.