Turfgrasses -- Ecosystem Services & Environmental Impacts
Speaker: Dr. Ben Wherley, Texas A&M - Soil & Crop Sciences

Session:  The Latest & Greatest Turfgrasses for the Texas Landscape

Friday, August 6  9:50 AM - 10:50 AM .... CEU: TNLA 1

This presentation will highlight the importance of proper turf selection for long-term landscape success. Although we experience some of the hottest/driest summers in the country, other factors including shade, wear, freeze, salinity, and pest resistance are also important considerations that should not be overlooked. Attendees will also be brought up to speed on the latest warm-season turf cultivars on the market, and how these stack up against the old industry standards.

Session: NEW RESEARCH ALERT! Ecosystem Services & Environmental Impacts of Lawns versus Alternative Landscapes

Friday, August 6  1:10 PM - 2:10 PM .... CEU: TNLA 1

Water conservation has become a key priority for many municipalities throughout the United States. It has been estimated that approximately 30-50% of potable municipal water is used for residential landscape irrigation. While homeowners have traditionally installed and appreciated landscapes comprised predominantly of turfgrass, many communities are now enacting rebate programs incentivizing removal of turfgrass and conversion to alternative landscapes, with the goal of reducing outdoor water use. However, most prior research evaluating alternative landscape benefits have focused primarily on water use, with little emphasis on other important considerations associated with this type of landscape conversion. The objectives of this study were to compare four alternative water-efficient landscapes (mulch, xeriscaping, artificial turf, and sand-capped lawn) with traditional St. Augustinegrass home lawns in terms of ecosystem services and environmental impacts including rainfall capture, runoff dynamics, runoff chemistry, surface temperatures, and weed pressure. Our results revealed that while the traditional lawn requires more supplemental irrigation, it offers ecosystem services including rainfall capture, runoff reduction, and temperature moderation compared to other landscape types.

Dr. Ben Wherley,

Associate Professor, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences

Specialty:Turfgrass Science & Ecology


I hold a 70% research/ 30% teaching appointment.  My research program addresses basic and applied research issues related to turfgrass management and ecology.  Research focuses on developing sustainable approaches to irrigation, nutrient management, and construction practices for golf course, sod production, and lawn systems.  My program collaborates with faculty across a variety of disciplines to address problems of interest to turf industry stakeholders.


I currently teach undergraduate courses in Advanced Turfgrass Ecology and Physiology (SCSC 428), Professional Development in Turfgrass Science (SCSC 489), and Sports Field Construction (SCSC 427), and oversee undergraduate research projects (SCSC 491) each semester.

EDUCATION SPONSOR: Landmark Nurseries, Inc.  
Landmark Nurseries is dedicated to continually supplying top quality plant material while maintaining superior customer service. These goals and focus allow Landmark to continue to provide a strong foundation for their continued growth and support of the green industry. In addition to its wholesale locations, Landmark operates four growing facilities located throughout Texas in Edgewood, Grand Saline, Kirbyville, and Round Rock. From annuals, perennials, shrubs, ground cover, to trees, each operation specializes in different aspects of Landmark’s goal to service the green industry as a whole. The farms encompass over 900 acres allowing Landmark to grow quality products while being able to maintain fair pricing.

HISTORY -- Landmark Nurseries, Inc. was founded over 20 years ago by Jim Prewitt. Jim began his landscape career doing jobs for friends and neighbors and soon after opened his first wholesale nursery in Garland, Texas. In 1992, Landmark moved from Garland to Coppell, Texas to set up new corporate headquarters and begin a long term goal of expanding facilities to service landscapers across the state. Since then, four other wholesale distribution locations have been added to major markets in Texas.

Address:     1510 Royston Ln, Round Rock, TX 78664
Email:    jprewitt@landmarknurseries.com    
Contact:   Jim Prewitt
Phone:    (512) 251-9238   FAX:  (512) 251-7117


The World is Our Campus!  
Horticulture encompasses a unique blend of art, science, and technology. The Texas A&M Department of Horticultural Sciences offers two undergraduate and three graduate degrees that prepare students for a myriad of diverse career opportunities.

Address:     TAMU 2133 College Station, TX 77843-2133
Email:    hortweb@tamu.edu     Contact:  
Phone:    979.845.5341   FAX:  979.845.0627


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