Regional Roadside Turfgrass Performance Testing Program

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General Information
Study Number: TPF-5(346)
Lead Organization: Minnesota Department of Transportation
Solicitation Number: 1412
Partners: MI, MN, NE, NJ, WI
Status: Closed
Est. Completion Date:
Contract/Other Number:
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Contract End Date:
Financial Summary
Contract Amount:
Total Commitments Received: $260,000.00
100% SP&R Approval: Approved
Contact Information
Lead Study Contact(s): Debbie Sinclair
debbie.sinclair@state.mn.us
Phone: 651-336-3746
FHWA Technical Liaison(s): Brian Smith
brian.smith@dot.gov
Organization Year Commitments Technical Contact Name Funding Contact Name Contact Number Email Address
Michigan Department of Transportation 2016 $20,000.00 William Stonebrook Andre' Clover 517-749-9001 clovera@michigan.gov
Michigan Department of Transportation 2017 $20,000.00 William Stonebrook Andre' Clover 517-749-9001 clovera@michigan.gov
Michigan Department of Transportation 2018 $20,000.00 William Stonebrook Andre' Clover 517-749-9001 clovera@michigan.gov
Michigan Department of Transportation 2019 $20,000.00 William Stonebrook Andre' Clover 517-749-9001 clovera@michigan.gov
Minnesota Department of Transportation 2016 $20,000.00 Duane Stenlund Debbie Sinclair 651-336-3746 debbie.sinclair@state.mn.us
Minnesota Department of Transportation 2017 $20,000.00 Duane Stenlund Debbie Sinclair 651-336-3746 debbie.sinclair@state.mn.us
Nebraska Department of Transportation 2017 $20,000.00 Nicholas Soper Jodi Gibson 402-479-4337 jodi.gibson@nebraska.gov
Nebraska Department of Transportation 2018 $20,000.00 Nicholas Soper Jodi Gibson 402-479-4337 jodi.gibson@nebraska.gov
Nebraska Department of Transportation 2019 $20,000.00 Nicholas Soper Jodi Gibson 402-479-4337 jodi.gibson@nebraska.gov
New Jersey Department of Transportation 2017 $20,000.00 Paul Pospiech Giri Venkiteela 6099632239 Giri.Venkiteela@dot.NJ.gov
New Jersey Department of Transportation 2018 $20,000.00 Paul Pospiech Giri Venkiteela 6099632239 Giri.Venkiteela@dot.NJ.gov
Wisconsin Department of Transportation 2016 $20,000.00 Leif Hubbard Ethan Severson 608-266-1457 ethanp.severson@dot.wi.gov
Wisconsin Department of Transportation 2017 $20,000.00 Leif Hubbard Ethan Severson 608-266-1457 ethanp.severson@dot.wi.gov

Study Description

Survival of turf along roadsides is a challenge in many states in the central and northern U.S. Grasses growing along roadsides experience a number of stresses including high levels of salt from deicing operations, drought stress from a lack of irrigation, and heat stress. State departments of transportation recommend mixtures for various roadside environments; however, many of these mixture recommendations are either outdated or are developed without supporting research data collected by an unbiased source. Failed grass installation projects have both economic (labor and materials) and environmental (soil erosion, invasive weed establishment, etc.) impacts.

The primary stress of roadside turfgrass in the northern U.S. is often salt stress. There have been only a few recent examples of grasses being tested for salt-tolerance in a roadside environment in the northern states (Biesboer et al., 1998; Brown and Gorres, 2011; Friell et al., 2012). Turfgrass breeders, both public and private, have increasingly focused on research and development of salt-tolerant and low-input turfgrasses (Friell et al., 2012; Koch and Bonos, 2011; Koch and Bonos, 2011; Rose-Fricker and Wipff, 2001; Watkins et al., 2011). New cultivars of numerous species possessing better heat, drought, and salt tolerance are being released that likely are better adapted to the harsh roadside conditions found in the northern U.S. As these cultivars have come available, many states have not updated seed mixes with these new cultivars. This indicates that the current system is not nimble enough to utilize the newest genetic resources for these environmentally sensitive areas along roadsides.

The turfgrass industry has a national testing program that allows stakeholders to quickly identify the best and most adapted cultivars for typical home and golf turf management situations (www.ntep.org). This model can be used on a regional scale to test roadside turfgrasses. Having data from multiple sites is useful since the roadside stresses that a turf encounters from year to year can vary greatly at a single location. We propose to develop a new regional testing system for roadside grasses that would provide critical information on tolerance of cultivars to this unique environment. This program would build off the success of the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program while utilizing the relationships that exist between several DOTs and University research programs.

Objectives

1. Institute a multi-state roadside turfgrass testing program.

2. Develop a data collection and reporting system that provides the most recent research

results to state DOTs in a timely manner.

3. Increase collaboration between University research programs that work on roadside

turf.

Scope of Work

Trial design and establishment

In fall 2016, each participating state will establish two roadside trials of individual cultivars submitted by public and private breeders. Depending on interest, there may be a limit on number of entries submitted by a single sponsor; the total number of entries would not exceed 50. One of the two locations in each state will be in an urban area with a curb. The second location will be along a rural highway without a curb. Plots will be seeded in late summer in order to ensure adequate turf cover prior to winter. Soil tests will be taken at each site prior to seeding in order to determine soil texture, pH, soil nutrient status, and saturated paste extract electrical conductivity (EC). Each trial will be planted as a randomized complete block design with four replications. Individual plots will be at least 5 ft. long (parallel to the road) and at least 3 feet wide (perpendicular to the road). Seeding rate will be 2.0 pure live seeds cm-2. At seeding, a granular starter fertilizer will be applied and the plots (providing approximately 1.0 lb. phosphorus 1000 ft2) will be covered with a germination blanket (such as Futerra blankets) after seeding. If no rainfall events occur within the first 7 days after seeding, the area will be watered. Plots will be irrigated as needed to ensure establishment (up to 5 more watering events).

Plots will be assessed using the grid intersect method where desirable plant species (planted species) are counted at each intersection of a grid placed over the plot; this will provide more consistent data across locations by eliminating rater bias. Plots will be evaluated in the late fall (October), and then again just after snow melt in the spring (April), and one month after snow melt after grasses have greened up (May). A mid-summer evaluation (July) will also take place to determine which grasses are tolerant of summer stress. The same set of data will be collected in 2017 and 2018. A soil test should be taken each spring to assess soil properties including salt concentration. Data will be analyzed and reported on a project website (hosted by UMN) by March 1, 2019. Throughout the study, researchers will hold conference calls with the Technical Advisory Panel made up of representatives from each of the state DOTs.

If successful, this multi-state testing model could be repeated on a regular basis in future years so that state departments of transportation would always be provided with recent, unbiased data upon which to make recommendations. Future trials could look at mixtures based on results from the proposed trial, or examine other important management practices that are important for survival of turf in these harsh roadside environments.

Comments

Administrative support for this project will be provided by the University of Minnesota.

Outputs:

• Data from all locations will be analyzed and available for participating states

• All data will be made publically available online

• Results will be published in peer review research journals as appropriate

Documents Attached
Title File/Link Type Privacy Download
Final report Final report Regional Roadside Turfgrass testing program 2019-38.pdf Final Report Public
Approved Waiver Approval of SP&R Waiver Pooled Fund Solicitation #1412.pdf Memorandum Public
Closeout Memo TPF-5(346) Closeout Memo(signed).pdf Memorandum Public
Waiver Request 100% Waiver Request Regional Roadside.pdf Other Public
Acceptance Memo Acceptance Letter_TPF-5(346).pdf Other Public

Regional Roadside Turfgrass Performance Testing Program

General Information
Study Number: TPF-5(346)
Lead Organization: Minnesota Department of Transportation
Solicitation Number: 1412
Partners: MI, MN, NE, NJ, WI
Status: Closed
Est. Completion Date:
Contract/Other Number:
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Contract End Date:
Financial Summary
Contract Amount:
Total Commitments Received: $260,000.00
100% SP&R Approval:
Contact Information
Lead Study Contact(s): Debbie Sinclair
debbie.sinclair@state.mn.us
Phone: 651-336-3746
FHWA Technical Liaison(s): Brian Smith
brian.smith@dot.gov
Commitments by Organizations
Organization Year Commitments Technical Contact Name Funding Contact Name Contact Number Email Address
Michigan Department of Transportation 2016 $20,000.00 William Stonebrook Andre' Clover 517-749-9001 clovera@michigan.gov
Michigan Department of Transportation 2017 $20,000.00 William Stonebrook Andre' Clover 517-749-9001 clovera@michigan.gov
Michigan Department of Transportation 2018 $20,000.00 William Stonebrook Andre' Clover 517-749-9001 clovera@michigan.gov
Michigan Department of Transportation 2019 $20,000.00 William Stonebrook Andre' Clover 517-749-9001 clovera@michigan.gov
Minnesota Department of Transportation 2016 $20,000.00 Duane Stenlund Debbie Sinclair 651-336-3746 debbie.sinclair@state.mn.us
Minnesota Department of Transportation 2017 $20,000.00 Duane Stenlund Debbie Sinclair 651-336-3746 debbie.sinclair@state.mn.us
Nebraska Department of Transportation 2017 $20,000.00 Nicholas Soper Jodi Gibson 402-479-4337 jodi.gibson@nebraska.gov
Nebraska Department of Transportation 2018 $20,000.00 Nicholas Soper Jodi Gibson 402-479-4337 jodi.gibson@nebraska.gov
Nebraska Department of Transportation 2019 $20,000.00 Nicholas Soper Jodi Gibson 402-479-4337 jodi.gibson@nebraska.gov
New Jersey Department of Transportation 2017 $20,000.00 Paul Pospiech Giri Venkiteela 6099632239 Giri.Venkiteela@dot.NJ.gov
New Jersey Department of Transportation 2018 $20,000.00 Paul Pospiech Giri Venkiteela 6099632239 Giri.Venkiteela@dot.NJ.gov
Wisconsin Department of Transportation 2016 $20,000.00 Leif Hubbard Ethan Severson 608-266-1457 ethanp.severson@dot.wi.gov
Wisconsin Department of Transportation 2017 $20,000.00 Leif Hubbard Ethan Severson 608-266-1457 ethanp.severson@dot.wi.gov

Study Description

Study Description

Survival of turf along roadsides is a challenge in many states in the central and northern U.S. Grasses growing along roadsides experience a number of stresses including high levels of salt from deicing operations, drought stress from a lack of irrigation, and heat stress. State departments of transportation recommend mixtures for various roadside environments; however, many of these mixture recommendations are either outdated or are developed without supporting research data collected by an unbiased source. Failed grass installation projects have both economic (labor and materials) and environmental (soil erosion, invasive weed establishment, etc.) impacts.

The primary stress of roadside turfgrass in the northern U.S. is often salt stress. There have been only a few recent examples of grasses being tested for salt-tolerance in a roadside environment in the northern states (Biesboer et al., 1998; Brown and Gorres, 2011; Friell et al., 2012). Turfgrass breeders, both public and private, have increasingly focused on research and development of salt-tolerant and low-input turfgrasses (Friell et al., 2012; Koch and Bonos, 2011; Koch and Bonos, 2011; Rose-Fricker and Wipff, 2001; Watkins et al., 2011). New cultivars of numerous species possessing better heat, drought, and salt tolerance are being released that likely are better adapted to the harsh roadside conditions found in the northern U.S. As these cultivars have come available, many states have not updated seed mixes with these new cultivars. This indicates that the current system is not nimble enough to utilize the newest genetic resources for these environmentally sensitive areas along roadsides.

The turfgrass industry has a national testing program that allows stakeholders to quickly identify the best and most adapted cultivars for typical home and golf turf management situations (www.ntep.org). This model can be used on a regional scale to test roadside turfgrasses. Having data from multiple sites is useful since the roadside stresses that a turf encounters from year to year can vary greatly at a single location. We propose to develop a new regional testing system for roadside grasses that would provide critical information on tolerance of cultivars to this unique environment. This program would build off the success of the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program while utilizing the relationships that exist between several DOTs and University research programs.

Objectives

1. Institute a multi-state roadside turfgrass testing program.

2. Develop a data collection and reporting system that provides the most recent research

results to state DOTs in a timely manner.

3. Increase collaboration between University research programs that work on roadside

turf.

Scope of Work

Trial design and establishment

In fall 2016, each participating state will establish two roadside trials of individual cultivars submitted by public and private breeders. Depending on interest, there may be a limit on number of entries submitted by a single sponsor; the total number of entries would not exceed 50. One of the two locations in each state will be in an urban area with a curb. The second location will be along a rural highway without a curb. Plots will be seeded in late summer in order to ensure adequate turf cover prior to winter. Soil tests will be taken at each site prior to seeding in order to determine soil texture, pH, soil nutrient status, and saturated paste extract electrical conductivity (EC). Each trial will be planted as a randomized complete block design with four replications. Individual plots will be at least 5 ft. long (parallel to the road) and at least 3 feet wide (perpendicular to the road). Seeding rate will be 2.0 pure live seeds cm-2. At seeding, a granular starter fertilizer will be applied and the plots (providing approximately 1.0 lb. phosphorus 1000 ft2) will be covered with a germination blanket (such as Futerra blankets) after seeding. If no rainfall events occur within the first 7 days after seeding, the area will be watered. Plots will be irrigated as needed to ensure establishment (up to 5 more watering events).

Plots will be assessed using the grid intersect method where desirable plant species (planted species) are counted at each intersection of a grid placed over the plot; this will provide more consistent data across locations by eliminating rater bias. Plots will be evaluated in the late fall (October), and then again just after snow melt in the spring (April), and one month after snow melt after grasses have greened up (May). A mid-summer evaluation (July) will also take place to determine which grasses are tolerant of summer stress. The same set of data will be collected in 2017 and 2018. A soil test should be taken each spring to assess soil properties including salt concentration. Data will be analyzed and reported on a project website (hosted by UMN) by March 1, 2019. Throughout the study, researchers will hold conference calls with the Technical Advisory Panel made up of representatives from each of the state DOTs.

If successful, this multi-state testing model could be repeated on a regular basis in future years so that state departments of transportation would always be provided with recent, unbiased data upon which to make recommendations. Future trials could look at mixtures based on results from the proposed trial, or examine other important management practices that are important for survival of turf in these harsh roadside environments.

Comments

Administrative support for this project will be provided by the University of Minnesota.

Outputs:

• Data from all locations will be analyzed and available for participating states

• All data will be made publically available online

• Results will be published in peer review research journals as appropriate

Title File/Link Type Private
Final report Final report Regional Roadside Turfgrass testing program 2019-38.pdf Final Report Public
Approved Waiver Approval of SP&R Waiver Pooled Fund Solicitation #1412.pdf Memorandum Public
Closeout Memo TPF-5(346) Closeout Memo(signed).pdf Memorandum Public
Waiver Request 100% Waiver Request Regional Roadside.pdf Other Public
Acceptance Memo Acceptance Letter_TPF-5(346).pdf Other Public

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