Tarleton State University offers a Masters of Science to Thesis and Non-Thesis graduate Students. Masters students who complete a thesis based project may go on to pursue a higher degree like a Ph.D. The thesis project investigates one or two variables under controlled, replicated conditions. The results are scrutinized and submitted for publication. Non-Thesis graduate students complete a large project which can be used for teaching or publication.
Turfgrass research can be conducted by undergraduate or graduate students and professors. The Tarleton State University Field Laboratory has ten 2500 square foot plots of tall fescue blend, Diamond zoysiagrass, Princess 77 seeded bermudagrass, TifSport hybrid bermudagrass, Raleigh St. Augustinegrass, Reveille hybrid bluegrass, and Premiere II perennial ryegrass. On these plots, Tarleton has conducted several replicated projects testing experimental glyphosate formulations, fertilizers, soil wetting agents, and biostimulants as well as compaction studies using 4 replications on 5x5 ft plots. In the greenhouse, we have conducted highly replicated research on fertilizers, biostimulants as well as products designed to remove black layer. We have also cultured and photographed mycorrhizea fungi on bermudagrass roots in pots treated with a biostimulant. On local several golf courses, we have conducted research with fertilizers and biostimulants as well as products designed to remove black layer. In collaboration with Texas Tech, 9 sulfonylurea herbicides were applied at three rates each to 5x5 ft plots replicated 4 times in pure stands of one year and two year old perennial ryegrass to test the ability of these products to remove established ryegrass.
The Tarleton Turfgrass Field Laboratory and Greenhouse has a Field Scout 1000 Chlorophyll meter, Field Scout 110 Electrical Conductivity meter, Delta T HH2 Soil Moisture meter, water meters on the irrigation system, digital camera, SigmaPro Scan for quantitative analysis of the digital images, and Agricultural Resource Manager (ARM) computer software. We have micro pipettes to perform water drop tests on dried soil cores and sieves to isolate roots from cores pulled using a standard golf cup cutter. The Toro 09120 greens aerator can be converted to a Cady traffic simulator. Through the use of the above equipment and software and through visual ratings, we are able to measure product effects of turfgrass quality, germination, rate of establishment, phytotoxicity, salt movement, and efficacy of weed control.
In addition to research, an array of fertilizers, preemergence and post emergence herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, soil wetting agents, turf colorants, turfgrass varieties, germination fabrics, and turfgrass maintenance equipment are applied side by side by students for students to evaluate the products and become familiar with them. Having students handle the products helps to develop interest in the products that we discuss in the classroom.
My graduate student Jack Rose is finishing his thesis where he evaluated the effect of a biostimulant called Vitazyme on several varieties of bermudagrass like Princess 77 and TifSport. He evaluated the effect of Vitazyme at two rates with and without a fertilizer. He evaluated speed of establishment from seed and plugs. He investigated the effect of vitazyme on root biomass development. Jack used digital imaging to help determine cover and density. In addition to visual estimates of quality, Jack also used a chlorophyll meter. Leslie Beck is my new graduate student. She has evaluated the effect of Vitazyme on TifSport bermudagrass’s tolerance to traffic simulated using a modified core aerator. Leslie has also photographed mycorrhizea fungi on turfgrass roots which grew in response to Vitazyme. Leslie has also worked extensively with soil wetting agents. Currently, she is testing the ability of a biostimulant to increase drought tolerance.
Leslie Beck using the 4 nozzle CO2 sprayer to apply experimental soil wetting agents.
Leslie Beck using to EC meter to measure salt concentrations in soil.
Jack Rose collecting soil cores.
Leslie Beck and Jack Rose conduct water drop test on dried soil cores.
Leslie Beck using a chlorophyll meter.
Jack Rose using 4 nozzle boom to apply Vitazyme biostimulant in a bermudagrass rate of establishment study conducted in the greenhouse.
Toro 09120 converted to a Cady Traffic Simulator.