HORT*2450 Introduction to Turfgrass Science

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2021 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

The biology, ecology, adaptation, and uses of cool-season and warm-season turfgrass species and cultivars will be introduced. Topics will include the identification and life strategies of different turfgrass species, principles of reproduction and techniques for establishment of turfgrass by seeding, sprigging and sodding. The ecology of management including mowing, irrigation, cultivation, mineral nutrition, repair and renovation, and management of stresses (thatch, weeds, insects, disease) will be covered. The turfgrass industry will be introduced, including application of ecological principles to athletic field management, sod production, golf course management, and professional lawn care.

Pre-Requisite(s): BIOL*1040 or [BIOL*1090, (1 of BIOL*1050, BIOL*1070, BIOL*1080)]

Restriction(s): HORT*3220


Teaching Assistant:

Michael Kooy kooym@uoguelph.ca

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to Web Advisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

1. Understand how plants, root zones, and management impact ecology and use of managed turfgrass ecosystems.
2. Synthesize knowledge from previous courses about biology, soils, and management into an understanding of turfgrass management.
3. Critically analyze new information in the field of turfgrass science within the context of scientific knowledge.
4. Identify the mechanisms of release of different fertilizer technologies and incorporate them into a fertility management program for turfgrass systems.
5. Communicate clearly and concisely regarding management and use of turfgrass ecosystems.

Lecture Content:

The lectures will be divided into 3 major sections
1. Turfgrasses, soils and basic management
  • Turfgrass anatomy and species selection
  • Soils knowledge specific to turfgrass management
  • General practices performed to manage turfgrasses
2. Soil testing and fertilizers
  • Goals of fertilization
  • Determining nutrient needs
  • Understanding fertilizer technologies and strategies
3. Management plans and renovations
  • Choosing rootzones and water management
  • Establishment techniques
  • Sports field management
  • Fine turf management
Labs & Seminars:
The labs will consist of 2 major lab projects and a number of learning activities during the lab period:
1. Lab projects with reports
  • Seed germination and thermal time
  • Plant growth regulator trials
2. Lab Activities
  • Turfgrass Walkabout
  • Synthetic turf maintenance and safety testing
  • Fertilize types
  • Turf ID

Course Assignments and Tests:

Article Reviews
  • Reviews will be assessed based on instructions
  • Each review should be approximately 1-1.5 pages in length not including references
  • In addition to content basic grammar and spelling will be part of the grading scheme
Home Lawn Renovation Plan
  • The student will be required to research proper formatting for proposing a renovation
  • The Renovation Plan will be graded on content, formality and grammar.
  • The lab assessment will include 2 lab reports that comprise 10% of the total grade (5% each)
  • The remaining 15% will be comprised of activities that will be completed during the lab period or online following the lab period
  • Midterms will be during the lab period and will be combination of multiple choice, short answer and essay
  • Final exam will be during finals week and will cover materials from the entire course and will be the same format as the midterms


Assignment or Test
Contribution to Final Mark

Article Reviews

  • Review 1: Week 2
  • Review 2: Week 4
  • Review 3: Week 6
  • Review 4: Week 10



Home Lawn Renovation Plan

        Date:  Week 8



Labs Reports

        Date: Week 11


Lab Activity Sheets

        Throughout semester completed during the lab period


Midterm Exam 1

        Date: Week 5 during lab period


Midterm Exam 2

        Date: Week 9 during lab period


Final Exam

      please consult WebAdvisor for exam details



Final examination:

Please refer to Web Advisor for exam schedule and location.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:


Recommended Texts:

It is highly recommended that the student acquire one of many available textbooks for turfgrass management to use as a resource throughout the course

Other Resources:

Throughout the semester links to industry articles and online resources will be provided to supplement lecture and lab content. These readings will be accessible through CourseLink.

Field Trips:

Occasionally the lab section may meet at the GTI or at a local golf course.  All of these places are accessible by walking from campus and have parking available.

Additional Costs:

Students may wish to use a personal hand lens for turfgrass identification.

Course Policies:

Turning In Assignments:

Assignments are to be turned in electronically through CourseLink. Assignments sent to the instructor's @uoguelph.ca account will not be graded unless specifically authorized! All assignments should be PDF documents (others will be accepted with pre-authorization) and the document will follow the following form for titling: lastname_firstinitial-review1.doc (Lyons_E-review-1), without opening the document the instructor should be able to identify the student and assignment.                

Policy on Late Assignments:

All assignments are due at 5pm on Friday in the week that they are listed as due in the Course Outline.  For each business day they are late, 20% will be subtracted from the mark earned on the assignment. The deadline of each day is 5pm.

Missed exams and Activities

All exams that must be missed for professional development, religious or personal reasons must be scheduled and taken BEFORE the exam time scheduled in the syllabus.  If emergencies or medical reasons arise please contact the instructor BEFORE the exam and the exam may be made up after the exam time with proper documentation

Course Policy on Group Work:

Students will be asked to work together in the lab section of the course and share data with others in their group and the class.  While collaboration on lab assignments is encouraged students are reminded to turn in their own work.  Each member of the group will turn in a different final product.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

In order to facilitate free and open dialog during the course electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

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The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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