HORT*4450 Advanced Turfgrass Science

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NOTE: This course is cancelled for W23.
The following description is for the course offering in Winter 2022 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.

This course emphasizes on plant stressors and physiological responses of plants to stress. Interactions between the soil system, the plant and the environment are considered, with focus on how soil physical, chemical and biological properties as well as environmental factors affect turfgrass plant health and physiology. Principles and strategies of biological control, cultural practices that affect plant health, pest life cycles and pest population levels are addressed in order to develop integrated management plans for turf aimed at reducing pest levels in an environmentally benign manner.

This course is meant to introduce students to sustainable turfgrass management through the concepts of integrated pest management and how soil properties and turfgrass culture affect plant health and pest presence. Students will be expected to integrate the concepts of plant pathology, weed science, entomology, soil science, and various control strategies in order to develop sustainable methods for the culture and maintenance of turfgrass for a variety of uses.


Teaching Assistant:

Griffin Bailey gbailey@uoguelph.ca By appointment

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Winter

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to WebAdvisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:
  1. Explain plant physiological responses to abiotic and biotic stressors
  2. Display an understanding of the role of the soil system in turfgrass growth and culture
  3. Recognize common turfgrass problems based on plant response and incorporation of environmental factors
  4. Illustrate a thorough understanding of plant disease epidemiology, including infection cycles and predictive modeling
  5. Explain how plant growth, pest and pathogen invasion and host plant response to pest presence is affected by irrigation, fertility cultivation and pesticide use
  6. Display an understanding of the principles of integrated pest management with emphasis on the following:
    • Biological control – life cycles, competitive ability, favoring natural predators
    • Developing thresholds for pest invasion based on damage potential and environmental conditions
    • IPM plan implementation based on understanding of the turfgrass system and its interactions with the environment
  7. Interpret current scientific literature regarding host response to stressors, pest invasion and adaptation and integrated management of pests through biological and cultural control practices

Lecture Content:

Topics to be covered in lectures include:

The following lectures will be taught concurrently with the DTM*4000 students:

  • Review of weeds, insects and diseases
  • Nematodes and epidemiology
  • Abiotic stressors
  • Winterizing turf
  • Introduction to IPM
  • IPM of weeds, insects and diseases
  • Developing technologies and IPM plan implementation
  • Southern grasses

Friday sessions will be a combination of independent study and synchronous lectures focused on the following topics:

  • Introduction to turfgrass management (as needed, depending on previous coursework)
  • Writing a literature review
  • Writing a proper research proposal
Labs & Seminars:
Topics to be covered in labs include:
  • Build-a-green
  • Math review
  • Nematodes and nematode extractions
  • Fungicide lab 
  • Diagnostic case study
  • Water movement in soil
  • IPM project presentations 
  • Build-a-green presentations and judging 

* Topics for both lecture and labs may change as the semester progresses

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Mark Learning Outcomes Assessed
1, 2, 3, 4
Diagnostic lab 2.5% 1, 6
Fungicide Lab Report 5% 1
Water Movement Lab 2.5% 6
IPM project 12.5 % 2, 3, 5, 6
Build-a-Green Lab 15% 6
Research proposal 10% 6, 7
Final Take-Home Exam 25% 1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Final examination:

Exam for this course is a take-home one.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

There are no required texts for this course

Recommended Texts:

OMAFRA Publication 845: Integrated Pest Management for Turf

Lab Manual:

There are no manuals for the lab

Other Resources:

CourseLink (Website) https://courselink.uoguelph.ca

Lectures presented in Power Point as well as quiz keys and additional material can all be found on CourseLink.

Field Trips:


Course Policies:

Grading Policies:

Make Ups, Missed Deadlines: 

All work is expected on the date due.  Late work will be accepted up to five days late with a 5% grade reduction per business day.

If any exams must be missed for professional development, religious or personal reasons, arrangements must be made with the instructor BEFORE the scheduled date of the exam.  Any exams missed due to emergencies or illness may be made up only if appropriate documentation is provided.

Any quizzes that are to be missed due to previous commitments or registration with SAS can be taken at an alternative time, as long as arrangements are made with the instructor BEFORE each quiz date. Any quizzes missed as a result of a documented illness can be made up with approval of the instructor.

Course Policy on Group Work:

Most of the labs will be conducted in groups. The fungicide lab, IPM project and Build-a-green lab report will be submitted as group reports. However, the diagnostic lab and water movement lab reports will be turned in as individual reports.

For the group projects, in order to ensure that each member is involved, you will be asked to grade your group members on their involvement as part of the assignment. Each individual group member’s grade will be based on the group grade as well as the results of the assessments from other group members. The assessment sheet can be found on CourseLink.

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

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

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

Academic Misconduct

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University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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