Research facility has supported the turfgrass industry for 35 years
October 28, 2022 By GTI staff
The Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI) has been a resource for the Canadian turfgrass industry for more than three decades. Founded in 1987, the GTI began as a partnership among the University of Guelph, the Government of Ontario, and the turfgrass industry. The GTI operates as a centre of research, education, and service.
The University of Guelph and the GTI facilities continue to support and foster a strong suite of turfgrass science programs, including the turf managers’ short course, the associate diploma in turf management, and graduate studies.
After a long and slow process, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Guelph Turfgrass Institute research facility has officially moved to a new location. The original property was leased on a 25-year term, which expired in 2015. The new GTI location is 364 College Ave E. – just down the road from the previous location on Victoria Road.
This move allowed for the construction of a new state-of-the-art research and teaching facility. The new G. M. Frost Centre building includes a classroom, a large lecture hall, a spacious boardroom, and a scientific laboratory to facilitate collaborative learning experiences, innovative research, and specialized services. The new GTI grounds are approximately 17 acres with 14 research plots, featuring different turfgrass cultivars, mowing heights and soil types.
The new G.M. Frost Research and Information Centre is also headquarters for the Ontario Golf Superintendents Association, Sports Turf Canada, and the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation.
These new research plots feature a variety of turfgrass species and several rootzone specifications to ensure studies benefit golf course superintendents, sod farmers, sports field managers, and lawn care providers.
Research conducted at the GTI can test or advance new technologies for use in the turf industry. For example, Dr. Eric Lyons is developing a new device called the Turf Canopy Scanner which uses lasers to detect height changes in a turf stand. Arthur Rosenfield, a school of engineering graduate student, is using machine learning and real-time kinematic GPS to teach the device to detect gaps and measure fill-in over time under three different fertilizer regimes.
Data from research at the GTI can also be used to provide effective and realistic management recommendations for the Canadian turf industry. At the new research facility, GTI researchers conducted a trial on the winter survival of turf-type tall fescue through the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), and the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance partnered with the GTI to evaluate drought tolerance of Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue. Other projects have evaluated products for weed suppression, disease management, and fertilization.
The public was invited to a public opening field day on Sept. 16 to celebrate the grand opening of the new G.M. Frost Research and Information Centre. Turfgrass professionals and interested homeowners toured the research plots and connected with turfgrass researchers and experts on-site.
“It was invigorating to have the turfgrass industry at our new site,” Dr. Eric Lyons, director of the GTI, says. “This event marked the 35th anniversary of the Guelph Turfgrass Institute, so we were happy to re-connect with the hundreds of turfgrass alumni who studied in our previous facilities.”
Stay tuned to Turf & Rec for a new series which will keep readers up to date on the current research projects at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute.
GTI’s Frost Centre officially opens
The newly relocated Guelph Turfgrass Institute, including the brand new G.M. Frost Research and Information Centre, celebrated its official opening in September with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by University of Guelph Alumni, turfgrass professionals and members of the general public.
The GTI has played a key role for the past 35 years with research and instruction to support Canada’s multi-billion-dollar sports field, golf and residential turf industries.
A public field day was held to commemorate the opening of the state-of-the-art Frost Centre and mark the GTI’s milestone anniversary. Attendees were provided tours of the building and research plots.
“We’re excited to continue our work in this new state-of-the-art research and teaching facility,” GTI director Dr. Eric Lyons said. “We are tremendously grateful for the support from the provincial government, individual donors, organizations and the industry who made our new location possible.”
“The University of Guelph is committed to delivering world class turf research that advances the sector, fosters sustainability and delivers vibrant green spaces for our communities,” Dr. Malcolm Campbell, vice-president of research said.
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