Climate Change and Turfgrass Diseases among the Many Topics to be Discussed at this Year’s Ontario Turfgrass Symposium

Posted on Friday January 27, 2023

The Ontario Turfgrass Symposium (OTS) is designed for turfgrass professionals and is hosted by the Guelph Turfgrass Institute at the University of Guelph, an international leader in the turf sciences. 

This popular two-day event brings together industry professionals from across Canada and the United States to participate in a selection of more than 30 sessions that explore the latest research and innovation in turf management. 

To get a taste of what’s offered at this year's OTS, we reached out to Dr. Jim Kerns, professor and extension specialist at North Carolina State University, who will be joining OTS as presenter for two sessions. 

What can participants take away from the session, 'Real Issues or Fake News: An Overview of Nematodes and Bacterial Pathogens in Turfgrass Systems'? 

My hope is they take away how complicated bacteria and nematode populations can be. Each golf course has pathogenic bacteria and nematodes, but the conditions that favor disease may not be present. Thus, the attendees should see the conditions based on our experience that influence disease. 

What can participants take away from the session, 'Influence of Climate Change on Turfgrass Diseases and How Tools Such as the Turfgrass Compendium Can Help'? 

Participants should see that indeed the climate is changing and therefore pest population and pressure will also change. This presentation is designed to educate on the reality of climate change and that pest management—especially diseases—may change as well. 

Why did you decide to participate in OTS? 

It has been some time since I have participated at OTS, but I remember thoroughly enjoying my visit and wanted to come back to share my unique presentations and experience what OTS has to offer. 

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s symposium? 

I always enjoy interacting with the faculty and staff at the University of Guelph, meeting new people, and chatting with folks I’ve met before. There’s always something new to learn at OTS. 

Dr. Jim Kerns focuses on etiology, epidemiology and management of diseases of both warm- and cool-season grasses. His research program focuses on understanding the biology of ultradwarf bermudagrass diseases, large patch of zoysiagrass, plant parasitic nematodes in turf, and diseases of creeping bentgrass. The mission of the program is to provide efficacious and cost-effective management strategies to turfgrass managers in NC and beyond. His program also houses the Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab, which is managed by Lee Butler. 

You can check out Dr. kern's presentations along with many others at this year’s Ontario Turfgrass Symposium, happening February 22 and 23 at the University of Guelph.