October 05, 2007

27th annual turfgrass field day set for Oct. 10

by Tim Crosby


CARBONDALE, Ill. — Students and members of the community will have the chance to drive a backhoe and mini bulldozer at an event this month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The 27th Southern Illinois Turfgrass Field Day and Green Industry Education Day is set for Wednesday, Oct. 10, in the area just south of the Center for Environmental Health and Safety on the SIUC campus. The Department of Plant, Soil & Agricultural Systems and the SIUC Physical Plant are co-sponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public.

Organizers will showcase grounds equipment and their use in landscaping strategies and techniques. They also will give tours of the turf research plots on the University Farms.

The event starts with an equipment show and demonstration from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The University and several area equipment vendors will display equipment and for the first time in the event's history, participants will be able to operate some of the heavy equipment.

Bret Dougherty, coordinator of administrative services with Plant and Service Operations, said University staff members will provide training on a backhoe and a Bobcat bulldozer, and will allow participants to operate them under close supervision.

The turf research show is from 1 to 4 p.m., conducted by Kenneth Diesburg, assistant professor of plant, soil & agricultural systems. The tours will take place at the University Farms off Rowden Road and include topics such as "shade-tolerant tall fescues," "new environmentally friendly Roundup" and "a new method of breeding tall fescues," among many others.

Diesburg, who has helped organize many of the past events, said participants range from professional turf managers to equipment dealers to homeowners and golf course superintendents.

Participants can purchase lunch from a food vendor on site.