The Washington State University turfgrass research program focuses on the cultural management of turfgrass species and cultivars for use in the Pacific Northwest. Applied research serves not only the turfgrass and grass seed industries but also homeowners and the general public. Basic research on turfgrass and seed production is focused on environmental stewardship and sustainable crop production. Research is conducted in laboratories and greenhouses on campus, at WSU research stations across Washington, and on golf courses, athletic fields, home lawns, and grower fields in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.
The turfgrass program’s research focus is currently on snow mold disease control, chemical (mesotrione, amicarbizone, and methiozolin) and biological (Pseudomonas fluorescens strain D7) control of Poa annua in cool-season grasses, the evaluation of grass species and cultivars for turfgrass culture in the Pacific Northwest, the use of biosolids on golf course fairways, and Kentucky bluegrass germplasm evaluation for seed yield and turfgrass quality without open-field burning of post-harvest residue.
Neff lab research focuses on understanding how seeds and seedlings respond to their external light environment and how these pathways interact with plant hormones such as brassinosteroids and auxins. The Neff lab uses a variety of plants for this research including the model systems Arabidopsis thaliana and Brachypodium distachyon. We use fundamental molecular genetics to understand how these pathways regulate plant growth and development. The Neff lab also uses molecular genetics and genomics to translate this knowledge to cereal crops such as wheat, and oilseed crops such as camelina and canola. The Neff lab also has a breeding program focusing on various turf grasses and the orphan crop teff.