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Jan. 28, 2022

Investigating winter stresses on turfgrass

Led by the University of Minnesota, MSU researchers received an $8M USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant

Three Michigan State University scientists are part of a multi-institutional team studying winter stresses on turfgrass in northern climates. The group received an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, with $740,000 coming to MSU. The grant is funded by NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative.

All three MSU researchers involved in the project are in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. Kevin Frank is a professor and turf extension specialist, Joe Vargas is a professor of plant pathology and Emily Merewitz-Holm is an assistant professor and expert in plant physiology. The project is led by Eric Watkins, a professor at the University of Minnesota.

When temperatures plunge, several turfgrass species deal with a multitude of threats that can lead to injury or death, known as winterkill. These include freeze and thaw events caused by fluctuating temperatures in late fall and early spring, prolonged exposure to cold air with no snow insulation, diseases and ice encasement.

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By: Cameron Rudolph