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NMSU-sponsored turfgrass conference offers tips for sustainable landscape in Southwest

RUIDOSO, N.M. - The Southwest may be known for its miles of desert landscape dotted with cactus and tumbleweeds. But, that does not mean people cannot enjoy large, shady trees or lush grasses in their yards. It merely takes a bit more savvy planning, and a conference Oct. 19-21 in Ruidoso aims to give people the tools they need to maintain a healthy landscape, whether it is a homeowner or a golf course manager.

The event is being sponsored by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, the Southwest Turfgrass Association and vendors who will be at the conference for a trade show.

"I want people to learn at this conference that it is possible to maintain and sustain landscape at a variety of levels, that we don't just have to all grow rocks in our front or backyards," said Bernd Leinauer, an Extension turfgrass specialist and professor in NMSU's Department of Extension Plant Sciences. "We can have plants and it is possible to also have turf in our environment. We just have to maintain it properly."

Topics during the conference range from selecting, planting and staking trees and developing stress-tolerant perennial ryegrasses, to turfgrass irrigation water quality and converting lawns from cool to warm season turf for water conservation.

During the conference, Leinauer, along with Ryan Goss, an assistant professor in Plant and Environmental Sciences, will give updates on what researchers have been doing in the past year with Extension, teaching and research at NMSU.

Rossana Sallenave, an assistant professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences, will discuss how to manage ponds. Carol Sutherland, an entomologist with NMSU, will talk about the different insects that can damage trees and shrubs.
Speakers also include specialists from the University of California-Davis, the University of California-Riverside, the University of Arizona and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. A certified golf course superintendent will also be at the conference.

During the conference, graduate students will offer presentations of their research work, and will talk about how they came to be interested in turfgrass and landscape issues.

Goss will give a presentation on correcting the yellows; Mathew Alcala will discuss killing khakiweed; Elena Sevostianova will talk about using sensor technology to measure soil salinity; Matteo Serena will give a presentation on fertilizing warm season grasses; Marco Schiavon will talk about establishment projects; and Natalie Goldberg will give an update on rapid blight.

A total of $3,000 in scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students during the conference.

The conference starts off on Oct. 19 with a fundraiser golf tournament at 1 p.m. at Rainmakers Golf Community in Ruidoso. All proceeds will support research projects and students in NMSU's turfgrass program.

Discussions and classes start Oct. 20 at 8:30 a.m. at the Ruidoso Convention Center.

The cost to attend the conference is $160. Attendees are encouraged to preregister as the cost increases to $200 at the door. The cost includes coffee and snacks in the morning, and lunch Oct. 20-21.

Continuing Education Units are available for those who participate in the conference.

To register for the conference, go to http://southwestturfgrass.com. A complete schedule of events can be accessed at this website. It includes information on hotels in the area that will offer attendees a discount.

For more information on the conference, contact Leinauer at 575-646-1715 or leinauer@nmsu.edu.