Turf Research Center named for Joseph Troll

By Ed Blaguszewski

The Turf Research Center in South Deerfield has been named in honor of professor emeritus Joseph Troll, who dedicated more than three decades to research and teaching at the University.

Troll, who lives in Hadley, is widely credited with expanding the turf program, including its 17-acre facility. The center focuses on golf courses and lawn turf, with experiments that include testing varieties of turf grass, water usage, nutrition, wear of sports on turf, biological control of insects and weeds, and low-temperature disease control.

At the recent Turfgrass Management Field Day at the center, attended by more than 250 people, Troll was honored by friends and colleagues. Cleve Willis, dean of the College of Natural Resources and the Environment, says, “I am so proud of the history of the turf program, what it has done, and the trajectory it is on. Joe Troll played the pivotal role in establishing that path and in mentoring the people who are now the leaders in the industry across the nation. We’re honored to name this center for him.”

Troll joined the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences as an instructor in 1957 and was promoted to professor in 1959. He was responsible for teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, conducting an eight-week winter school for turf grass managers, and teaching courses in a two-year program at the Stockbridge School, where he was chosen as Outstanding Professor of the Year on three occasions.

Troll was recognized in 1983 by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America with its Distinguished Service Award. He retired from the faculty in 1988.

Meanwhile, plans are proceeding to erect a modern 3,300-square-foot building at the research center. Design of the single-story building has been completed, and the $1 million fund-raising effort continues to gain support. TurfLinks of Hudson recently made a $100,000 gift to the campaign, designed to contribute to both the construction costs and creation of an endowed fund to cover ongoing operational costs.

The new facility will contain a laboratory to wash, sort and dry plant materials; a conference room; office and bathrooms. About half will be open space to store and repair equipment. It will provide faculty and students the opportunity to better collaborate on a variety of research projects aimed at solving problems faced by the turf industry in New England and beyond.

“We want the turfgrass management program at UMass to remain viable, grow, and in turn support the educational requirements of students and industry professionals in
the region,” says Scott Makintosh of TurfLinks. “Although information from other research institutions has value, a local facility, easily accessible to the New England market, is worthy of our investment.”