Research Overview

Starting spring of 2023 we will be examining the response of various turfgrass species and cultivars to nitrogen fertilizer rates across the State of Ohio. This research, “Refining best management practices for nitrogen applications to cool-season turfgrass lawns across Ohio”, is being funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) through the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) Program.

For more information on current results, plot information, and pictures from each research site please visit the plot information and data menu.

Healthy lawns impart numerous benefits for people and the environment. To have healthy lawns, nitrogen fertilizer is needed, but due to a lack of clear statewide recommendations in Ohio, there is often excessive nitrogen use. There is a need to understand how we can reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer that is applied to home lawns while still maintaining healthy turfgrass. The Ohio State University Turfgrass Science team will be providing refined best management practices for nitrogen fertilizer applications for multiple turfgrass species to help stakeholders make environmentally friendly decisions while maintaining lawns that provide ecosystem services and safe recreational surfaces.

We established research studies in Columbus, Wooster, Findlay, and Blue Ash Ohio in September of 2022 and experiments will begin in spring of 2023. We are examining new and old cultivars of perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and hard fescue to determine if new cultivars require less nitrogen by treating plots with either 0.0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, or 4.0 lbs. of N per 1,000 sq. ft. annually. Data to evaluate turfgrass health and vigor will be collected bi-weekly from April-November, and soil samples will be collected at the end of years 1 and 2 to measure organic matter. Results will tell us if 1) we can recommend lower nitrogen rates for healthy Ohio lawns, 2) if nitrogen needs vary by a large degree across the state, and 3) if new cultivars or “low-input” species require less nitrogen compared to species like Kentucky bluegrass.

This research is being led by Dr. Dominic Petrella, Dr. Ed Nangle, Dr. Dave Gardner, Masters Student Tyler VanLandingham, and Researcher Tyler Morris.

We will be posting data, results, and project updates for each research study on this blog. Check back often to learn more!

Please follow @OSU_ATI_Turf for active updates.

Funding for Project was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AGR-SCBG-2022-02. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.