URI’s Noel Jackson serves as a link to green golf courses

KINGSTON, R.I. — July 27, 1999 — Golf course superintendents know that turfgrass problems can be par for the course. When a difficult problem arises, the superintendents also know whose advice to seek. A man who can quickly diagnose an ailment and suggest a remedy. This Dr. Turf is none other than Dr. Noel Jackson, a University of Rhode Island professor of plant science and expert turf pathologist. Each season, somewhere between 300 to 400 samples of troubled turf, many dug up from some of the swellest golf courses throughout the northeast, Canada, and northern Europe get shipped to Jackson’s Kingston lab. There the good doctor tries to find why the “patients” are ailing and what can put them on the green road of recovery. Renowned for his knowledge of cool-season turfgrass diseases, Jackson, a Kingston resident, was the recipient of the 1999 Green Section Award, given this winter by the United States Golf Association for his outstanding service to golf through his work with turfgrass. Jackson was the first turfgrass pathologist so honored and the first recipient to be born and educated outside the United States. Jackson was born in Yorkshire, England and educated in the United Kingdom. Turfgrass can fall ill to 20 to 30 fungal diseases, bacterial disorders, or perhaps an abundance of nematode (microscopic worms) activity, according to Jackson. His recommendations involve both a cultural and chemical approach. A cultural remedy could mean the soil should be aerated, the height of cut should be raised, the soil fertility levels and acidity should be adjusted. Chemical remedies vary. There is no universal fungicide, according to Dr. Turf, who has helped evaluate many of the fungicides available today. Thus, correct diagnosis of the causal agent is a critical issue and Jackson must match the fungicide with the fungus. An accomplished and popular public speaker, Jackson has authored hundreds of research articles and co-authored the book Fungal Diseases of Amenity Grasses , considered the premier reference book on turfgrass diseases among turfgrass pathologists. URI has a history of turfgrass research dating back to the spring of 1890. In fact, URI has the longest continuous turf research than any college or university in the country. X-X-X For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116