Turfgrass History at Ohio State
The earliest turfgrass research at The Ohio State University was reported in the 1930s. Dr. F.A. Welton who was located at the Ohio Agricultural Research Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, Ohio looked at the impact of weed populations in home lawns as influenced by mowing height and nitrogen. The study was first reported in the Handbook of Experiments in Agronomy.
Turfgrass research was sporadically conducted by Dr. R.R. Davis through the 1950s and early 1960s
In 1962 the first turfgrass class was taught at The Ohio State University on the Columbus campus by Dr. K.L. Bader in the Department of Agronomy. The following year the first turfgrass specialist, Dr. Robert Miller, was hired. His leadership along with leaders from the Ohio turfgrass industry led to the founding of the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation (OTF) in 1967. During 1967 the Turfgrass research plots were established on 10 acres at the Waterman Farm.
The turfgrass research plot area over time expanded to 30 acres and is named the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Research and Education Facility. Significant milestones at the facility include the construction of USGA lysimeter putting greens (1970) + a rhizotron (1979).
The 1970s saw an increase in the number of turfgrass faculty positions double in the Department of Agronomy from 1 to 2 with the hiring of Dr. J.P. Wilkinson. Drs Karnok and Martin were also hired.
In 1980 Dr. John Street replaced Dr. David Martin as the turfgrass extension specialist and in 1983 Dr. Karl Danneberger filled the vacant Dr. Keith Karnok position of turfgrass research and teaching.
In the middle of the 1980s the turfgrass science program consisted of 4 faculty, Drs. Danneberger and Street in the Department of Agronomy, Dr. Phil Larson, turfgrass pathologist in the Department of Plant Pathology and Dr. Harry Niemczyk, turfgrass entomologist, The Department of Entomology.
In the late 1980s through the 1990s we saw the hiring in the Department of Plant Pathology of Dr. William Shane, turfgrass pathologist, Mr. Joseph Rimelspach, turfgrass extension plant pathologist, and Dr. Michael Boehm, turfgrass pathologist. In the Department of Entomology faculty members Dr. Parwinder Grewal, turfgrass research entomologist and Dr. David Shetlar, turfgrass extension entomologist were hired. In the Department of Agronomy/School of Environment and Natural Resources Dr. Edward McCoy, turfgrass soil physics.
The Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Research and Education Facility continues to expand with the construction of the research facility building (1996).
In the 2000s Dr. David Gardner, joined the faculty in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science in the area of turfgrass research and teaching, while Pam Sherratt joined the Department as extension sports turf specialist.
Significant contributions by Adjunct Professors to the program include Dr. Joseph DiPaola and Bob Harriman.
We are one college on two campuses (CFAES Columbus + CFAES Wooster). In 2016, Dr. Edward Nangle, joined the faculty in a split appointment (75% ATI/25% HCS) specializing in turfgrass science and plant physiology.
Dr. Nangle has helped significantly transform the turfgrass educational experiences offered to CFAES students on both campuses.
In 2021, Dr. Dominic Petrella, joined the turf team as the turfgrass management program coordinator based out of OSU ATI, with responsibilities in teaching and research. Dr. Petrella has since advanced into a faculty role and helped significantly transform the turfgrass educational experiences offered to CFAES students on both campuses.
In 2023, Dr. Tyler Carr became the newest turfgrass faculty member in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science with responsibilities in turfgrass extension and research.
The Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Research and Education Facility continues to expand with the newly constructed high sand content root zone research putting green (2023).