Lawn ecology

Lawns are the most ubiquitous land cover type in urban and residential ecosystems, representing a massive footprint with potential to provide ecosystem services. In general, urban landscapes often lack plant diversity due to aesthetic requirements, design, or functionality, which may increase pest abundance and management inputs, and reduce ecosystem services. Inter- and intra-specific plant diversity can have substantial effects on herbivorous insects, biological control, and plant resilience to abiotic stress. Taking advantage of the inherent benefits associated with plant diversity may provide more sustainable strategies to managing insect pests and increasing the services plants provide.

My lab is interested in how manipulating both inter- and intra-specific plant diversity in lawns can increase plant health, reduce reliance on synthetic inputs, and promote ecosystem services (like biodiversity conservation).

Recent Publications:

Whitman B*, Iannone III BV, Kruse JK, Unruh JB, Dale AG. 2022. Cultivar blends: A strategy for creating more resilient warm season turfgrass lawns. Urban Ecosystems. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-021-01195-3

Pinkney IV JL*, Laplante KA(§), Dale AG. 2021. Mixing warm season turfgrass cultivars to reduce weed pressure and increase lawn quality. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal. https://doi.org/10.1002/its2.85

van der Laat R, Dale AG, Arellano C, Milla-Lewis SR. 2021. Variation in southern chinch bug (Blissus insularis) survival and damage on St. Augustinegrass germplasm. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal. https://doi.org/10.1002/its2.67

Doherty EM*, Meagher RL, Dale AG. 2019. Turfgrass cultivar diversity provides associational resistance in the absence of pest resistant cultivars. Environmental Entomology. 48(3), 623-632. doi: 10.1093/ee/nvz026.

Larson JL, Dale AG, Held D, McGraw B, Richmond DS, Wickings K, Williamson RC. 2017. Optimizing pest management practices to conserve pollinators in turf landscapes: Current practices and future research needs. Journal of Integrated Pest Management. 8(1): 18; 1-10. doi: 10.1093/jipm/pmx012. [PDF]

Blog posts:

https://entomologytoday.org/2019/04/22/mixing-lawn-grass-varieties-could-trim-fall-armyworm-infestations/