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Supporting Athletics While Protecting the Environment

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Tifton, GA, located about 181 miles south of Atlanta, has a long and storied history of breeding some of the world’s finest turfgrass varieties. TifEagle, TifGrand, Tifway, and TifSport are just a few success stories whose roots can be traced to a decades-old turfgrass breeding program run jointly in Tifton by ARS and University of Georgia (UGA) researchers.

These tough, top-performing Bermuda-type grasses are highly sought after and can be found underfoot (or undercleat) on everything from home lawns and recreational fields to golf greens and professional sports stadiums, including Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, and on soccer pitches at 6 of 12 sites at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. But ARS’s turfgrass contributions don’t stop with breeding new varieties.

Findings by an ARS–university team in St. Paul, MN, provided the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) with key insight into turf management practices that can minimize pesticide runoff into nearby ponds, streams, and lakes.

In another USGA-supported project, ARS researchers in Peoria, IL, evaluated the potential of beneficial fungi to biologically control turf pests like white grubs—reducing our dependency on pesticides and keeping our courses and fields primed for peak athletic performance.

Related Information

Article: Bermudagrass for Turf