Turfgrass farm debuts grasses of tomorrow with inaugural field day

Growing tall just east of Pullman, experimental grasses have the potential to produce seed prolifically, save water, and become beautiful additions to Northwest landscapes.

Grass seed producers and members of the public get their first chance to see these trials and tour Washington State University’s (WSU’s) new Perennial Grass Breeding and Ecology Farm in a field day, 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, June 9, at Pullman.

“It’s the first time we’re going live,” said Michael Neff, head of WSU’s turfgrass research and education program. “We built this entire farm during COVID.”

The new farm replaces the program’s previous home on Fairway Road, now under commercial development. It gives scientists a place to breed and study improved varieties of Kentucky bluegrass and other promising grasses in service to seed producers in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. The best performers could wind up in lawns, sports fields, highway margins, and land reclaimed from industrial use or natural disasters, worldwide.

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By Seth Truscott, Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences