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NMSU to host 2011 Southwest Turfgrass Association conference Nov. 1-3 in Las Cruces

New Mexico State University is hosting the 2011 Southwest Turfgrass Association conference where participants will learn how to keep their turf healthy in the dry Southwest climate and will also get the chance to take field tours of area turfgrass test plots to see research in action. The event will be held Nov. 1-3 at the Las Cruces Convention Center at 680 E. University Ave.

"At this year's conference, we will show turf managers and golf course superintendents how to maintain their turf with limited resources in a desert climate," said Bernd Leinauer, NMSU professor and turfgrass specialist. "We have a really good mix of speakers scheduled who are going to show participants the various aspects on how to keep their turf healthy."

A highlight of this year's conference is a field day Nov. 2 where participants will visit the university's Turfgrass Salinity Research Center and Fabian Garcia Research Center in Las Cruces. Speakers at the turfgrass center will show their turf plots and discuss their water conservation and salinity research. There will also be a workshop to show participants how to calibrate sprayers and properly apply pesticides. Water conservation and weed research will be discussed at Fabian Garcia.

"We have not taken participants out on field tours for many years because the timing has not been right to gather turfgrass managers," Leinauer said. "This year, we can have the conference in Las Cruces and take people out to test plots that are nearby. It's one thing to hear about the research and see photos. But to see how the research is done firsthand, we as the organizers felt this was the perfect solution."

The conference will open Nov. 1 with a golf tournament at the NMSU Golf Course.

Before taking field tours Nov. 2, attendees will participate in discussions on practical solutions for managing turfgrass, led by turf experts. SWTA scholarships will be awarded and Al Kline, retired golf course superintendent at the Championship Golf Course in Albuquerque, will receive the Arden Baltensperger Lifetime Achievement Award.

On Nov. 3, attendees can attend a variety of lectures on topics such as: an update on insects; which grasses work best with saline irrigation waters; establishing and maintaining warm season turfgrasses in the transition zone; basic tree care; and cold and drought tolerant trees for New Mexico landscapes.

Jon Boren, associate dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and director of the Cooperative Extension Service and Dave Thompson, associate dean of ACES and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, will provide opening remarks on Nov. 2.

There will be a trade show Nov. 2-3 and lunch will be provided both days.

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture are offering general pesticide applicator continuing education units for the conference. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America will also offer credits.

The goal of the SWTA is to provide high-quality educational programs on turfgrass and landscape management. The association also supports the NMSU turfgrass program and provides scholarships for students and research funds for faculty to help sustain the green industry.

Registration is required to participate in the conference. There are different fees for participation, depending on how much of the conference is attended. To register for the conference, or for more information, go to www.southwestturfgrass.com or call Leinauer at 575-646-2546.

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, contact Mary Curtis at 575-646-1715.