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.
Dr. William J. Johnston (Professor Emeritus of Turfgrass Science) Dr. Johnston retired in 2016 having been a faculty member at WSU for 36 years. He taught two courses in Turfgrass Management, Forage Crops, and coordinated the Crops Internship and Special Problems courses. He also served as the academic advisor to all turfgrass majors in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. Dr. Johnston received his B.S. from Penn State University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Auburn University. His current research, as an emeritus professor, focuses on snow mold control and selective control of annual bluegrass in golf course fairways with mesotrione, methiozolin, and Pseudomonas fluorescens strain D7.
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.