The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) is continuing its plans to enhance its testing system by conducting Trait Specific Trials. The first Trait Specific Trials for NTEP are cool-season drought and traffic trials, to be established in fall 2009.

The drought trial will be established at three locations in the Midwest or East and three locations in the Western U.S.  Locations in the higher rainfall Midwestern/Eastern states will use rainout shelters to restrict moisture during 60-75 day periods in summer of 2010 and 2011.  Measuring ‘acute’ drought stress, the rainout shelters will allow simulation of severe drought periods that occur frequently during summer in those regions. 

Locations in the lower rainfall Western states will use deficit irrigation strategies to mimic ‘chronic’ stress, thereby inducing drought stress over two entire growing seasons.  ‘Chronic’ stress is more typical of the drought situations that turf managers in the West are facing due to restricted irrigation water availability. 

The traffic trial, a cooperative effort between NTEP and the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA),  will be established at six to eight locations (depending on the number of entries submitted) across the U.S. Traffic will be imposed to simulate fall football traffic, over an 8-10 week period in fall 2010, 2011 and 2012.  In addition, one-half of each plot will be overseeded in spring 2011 and 2012 to simulate the overseeding process that sports turf managers often utilize.  Data will be collected on percent ground cover weekly during traffic, rate of recovery after traffic and turfgrass quality. The traffic trial will include cool-season blends and mixtures, as well as single cultivars.

More information on the new drought and traffic tolerance trials can be found in the NTEP News Room at , click on Policy Committee meeting highlights link.

NTEP, established in 1981, coordinates evaluation trials and publishes objective data on turfgrass performance.  For additional information on NTEP or the trials, visit  or contact Kevin Morris, NTEP Executive Director, at (301) 504-5125. 

SportsField Management