Writer: D'Lyn Ford
RUIDOSO - Environmentally friendly methods for using turfgrasses as rooftop insulation and toxic chemical removers will be featured at a special conference and trade show Sept. 23-26 at the Ruidoso Convention and Civic Events Center.
The three-day meeting will also provide information about turfgrass management in New Mexico's challenging climate. More than 300 municipal turf specialists, golf course supervisors, greenhouse owners and homeowners from a three-state region are expected to attend the event, which is sponsored by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service and the Southwest Turfgrass Association.
"Turfgrasses often don't come to mind in terms of positive environmental impacts, but there are numerous beneficial uses for these grasses," said Bernhard Leinauer, an Extension turfgrass specialist. "We need to start looking at these grasses beyond their use on the golf course."
In many American and European cities, grasses are used to reduce heat buildup on building rooftops, providing insulation and moderating the area's microclimate, Leinauer said. To reduce weight on the roof, grass is grown in low-density soil alternatives.
Using grasses for soil remediation applications is also on the upswing, Leinauer said. Specially designed grasses are increasingly used to clean up contaminated industrial and commercial sites, he said.
The conference will feature more than a dozen presentations on a wide range of turf topics. Speakers will include Extension specialists and guest presenters from Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan and Texas.
Registration costs $150 and includes two lunches, trade show admission and membership in the turfgrass association. A golf tournament and barbecue will be held Sept. 23 for association members.
Presenters include Clayton Rugh, head of Michigan State University's Phytoremediation Research Laboratory, who will discuss landscaping your roof, and Greg Lyman, coordinator of Michigan State's Turfgrass Environmental Education Outreach program, who will discuss environmental assessments of golf courses.
Douglas Karcher and John Boyd of the University of Arkansas will speak about plant growth regulators and weed control, respectively. Dave Chalmers with Texas A&M University will review Bermuda grass overseeding options.
Tony Koski from Colorado State University will discuss the politics surrounding water issues, and conduct a workshop on minimum requirements for athletic field maintenance Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. Koski's workshop is limited to 20 people and the fee is $50.
NMSU presenters are Carol Sutherland, who will give a talk about insect pests on trees, and Mike English, who will present an entomology update. John Mexal will discuss effective pruning, and Dan Smeal with NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Farmington will conduct a workshop on Internet-based resources for irrigation scheduling Sept. 24. at 3 p.m. The workshop is limited to 20 people and the fee is $50.
The turfgrass event will also include about 80 product exhibits for sand and gravel, irrigation and chemical products, seed, turf, compost and aquatic supplies.
If you want additional information or are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, please call (505) 646-5280 in advance.
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