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Fundamentals of Turfgrass Management / Edition 4

Fundamentals of Turfgrass Management / Edition 4

by Nick E. Christians


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470587317
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 07/12/2011
Pages: 424
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

NICK E. CHRISTIANS, PhD, is professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University. He is the author of numerous books, including The Mathematics of Turfgrass Maintenance, Fourth Edition, and Mathematics for the Green Industry.

AARON J. PATTON, PhD, is associate professor of Horticulture at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. He also serves as the executive director of the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation.

QUINCY D. LAW, MS, is a doctoral student in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and the Ecological Science and Engineering Interdisciplinary Graduate Program at Purdue University.

Read an Excerpt

Fundamentals of Turfgrass Management

By Nick Christians

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2003

Nick Christians
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-471-45478-8

Chapter One

Careers in the Turfgrass Industry

Professional careers in the turfgrass industry go back to the early days of
golf course management. Men like Tom Morris-who worked as the greens
keeper at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, before the turn of the
century-and the early greens keepers in the United States were the pioneers
of the field long before formal training in turfgrass management
became available.

Today, formal training to prepare students for careers in the turfgrass
industry is available from a wide variety of schools and universities in the
United States, Canada, Scotland, and Wales (Anonymous, 2002a). There are
also advanced degrees at the Masters of Science (M.S.) and/or Doctor of Philosophy
(Ph.D.) levels in turfgrass science and related fields available from
more than 40 of the major agricultural universities.


The golf industry has traditionally been the career choice of most students
in turfgrass management programs. This is still true today, and the majority of
students entering programs in the United States generally declare golf as their
primary interest (Figure 1.1).

The golfindustry has undergone dramatic growth in the last few years,
and there are presently more than 16,000 golf courses in the United States
(Anonymous, 2002b). In 2000 alone, 524 new course projects opened, and it
is projected that 325 new courses will open in 2002 (Joyner, 2002).

The golf industry is highly organized at both local and national levels. The
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), located in
Lawrence, Kansas, presently has more than 21,000 members. There are also
affiliated chapters available to individuals in every state except Alaska. The
national organization has a well-organized certification program and an educational
division that provides more than 160 national and regional seminars
each year. Their web site is located at


Sports field management is a profession that has undergone a rapid increase
in interest among students in recent years. This field did not receive much attention
in the 1960s and 1970s, because of the use of artificial turf on most college
and professional athletic fields during that time. In the last 15 years, many of
these artificial fields have been converted to natural turf. These are generally
fields that have modified rootzones, special drainage systems, and complex irrigation
systems that require a well-trained manager. This has opened many jobs
for turf professionals, and sports turf management is likely to be one of the
fastest growing areas of the turf industry in the next few years (Figure 1.2).

There is now a national Sports Turf Managers Association, located in Council
Bluffs, Iowa, which has over 2200 national and international members.
There are also 23 affiliated chapters that provide education and services to
sports field managers. Their current web site is sportsturfmanager


Professional lawn care is another important field that employs students
trained in turfgrass management (Figure 1.3). Golf course and sports field
management appear to be more exciting to many students, and few declare
lawn care as their career goal when they enter the program. However, the ready
availability of jobs in every region of the country and the competitive starting
salaries that the lawn care industry offers attract many students following
graduation. Lawn care also provides good opportunities for advancement in
larger companies that have division supervisors and regional managers.

Professional lawn care also offers the chance for entrepreneurs to start
their own business. While the boom period of lawn care that occurred in the
1970s and 1980s has leveled off, there are still many opportunities for those
with a good work ethic and the management skills required to run a business.

Lawn care is a highly organized profession, with both national and
local organizations serving thousands of member companies. The Professional
Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA), located in Marietta,
Georgia, has an active education program for its 1200 member companies
and holds a national conference each year that is attended by lawn care
professionals from every region of the country. Their current web site is


Sod production has traditionally not employed large numbers of turfgrass
management students following graduation. However, there are regions,
such as Florida, California, the Midwest, and parts of the Northeast,
where a thriving sod industry does provide a significant number of professional

Like lawn care, the sod industry is a field that appeals to the entrepreneur
(Figure 1.4). Many of the students with an expressed interest in sod production
are those who plan to start their own business or who plan to add sod
production to an already existing nursery or landscape operation. The sod
market is highly dependent on the construction industry, which varies with
the economy. Sod production can be very profitable in regions where there is
consistent expansion.

The sod producers, like the professionals in the other areas of turf management,
are very well organized. The Turfgrass Producers International
(TPI), located in Rolling Meadow, Illinois, presently has around 1200 members
in 36 countries. Their current web site is


General grounds maintenance of turf areas around industrial areas, large
apartment complexes, corporate headquarters, and similar businesses is often
overlooked by turfgrass management students (Figure 1.5). There are, however,
some excellent opportunities in this field. Benefit and pay packages are
often consistent with other professional positions offered by these companies,
and these jobs are generally very competitive with those available in other segments
of the turf industry.


Sales of chemicals, equipment, and other products used in the turf industry
is a professional area that requires individuals with technical training in
the field. These jobs also require good communication skills and a knowledge
of the business world. These positions offer the opportunity for relatively high
income to the right person.

In past years, it has been rare to find a turfgrass management student with
a specific goal of pursuing a career in sales. This seems to be changing, however,
and it is now common to find students who plan their curriculum to
meet the requirements of a sales job.


There are also a few areas related to the turf industry that provide careers
for those with the right technical background combined with other talents
and training. One of these is the field of technical writing for the publications
that serve the industry. There are several magazines and newsletters directed
at the turf industry that have positions for those with good technical knowledge
of the field.

The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), located in
New Prague, Minnesota, is the professional organization for the editors, writers,
photographers, public relations practitioners, and others involved in publishing
information for the industry. This group has a competitive scholarship
program that is open to all students interested in writing for the green industry.
For more information on TOCA, see


For those who wish to pursue their education beyond the Bachelor of Science
(B.S.) degree, there are Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy
(Ph.D.) degrees available at many of the major agricultural universities
(Figure 1.6). The M.S. degree generally takes two years beyond the four-year
B.S. degree, and the Ph.D. generally takes another three to four years beyond
the M.S. degree.

The M.S. degree provides expanded job opportunities in the research and
development field (Figure 1.7). Fertilizer and pesticide companies often hire
individuals with M.S. degrees for product development and regional sales
positions. Community colleges and other two-year institutions provide teaching
jobs for students with M.S. degrees, and many high-quality two-year
turfgrass management programs in the United States are handled by teachers
with an MS degree.

The Ph.D. degree can lead to a career in university teaching, research, or
extension. There are also a variety of research and development positions in
the turf industry that employ individuals with Ph.D. degrees. Employment
prospects for students completing Ph.D. degrees with a specialization in turfgrass
science have been excellent in recent years, and the outlook for the
future appears to be excellent as well.


Excerpted from Fundamentals of Turfgrass Management
by Nick Christians
Copyright © 2003 by Nick Christians.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Careers in the Turfgrass Industry.
Introduction to the Grasses.
Cool-Season Grasses.
Warm-Season Grasses.
Soil Testing and Soil Modification.
Thatch, Cultivation, and Topdressing.
Weed Control.
Turf Insects.
Turfgrass Diseases.
Sports Field Management.
Sod Production.
Professional Lawn Care.
Golf Course Maintenance.

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