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About the Turfgrass Research Center

The Oklahoma State University Turfgrass Research Center is a 75-acre facility that specializes in ornamental and recreational turfgrass research, creating adaptive turfgrasses and developing eco-friendly pest management solutions. 
Research at the turf center is a multi-disciplinary effort that includes breeding and genetics research through the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, management and adaptability research through the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and disease management through the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.

Economic Impact

OSU turfgrass scientists have contributed eight turfgrass varieties that have been used on golf greens and fairways, residential yards, sports fields and in commercial production.
The turfgrass industry contributes over $40 billion per year to the U.S. economy and over $1 billion per year to the Oklahoma economy. According to the 2023 Golf Impact Report, the game of golf drove $101.7 billion in direct economic activity throughout the U.S. in 2022. NFL football adds $5 billion a year in ancillary revenue to the U.S. economy.

Research Information


Oklahoma State University turfgrass research began in the mid-1900s with the leadership of several faculty. Dr. Charles Taliaferro began breeding and developing bermudagrass turf in the mid-1980s.  Since then, OSU has independently or collaboratively released 10 bermudagrass cultivars to the turf industry:


  • Midlawn and Midfield in 1993

  • Yukon and Riviera in 2005

  • Patriot in 2006

  • NorthBridge and Latitude 36 in 2011

  • Tahoma 31 in 2020

  • OKC3920 and OKC1876, pending 2025-26

These cultivars are popular in the U.S. transition zone primarily due to their improved turf quality, cold hardiness and spring dead spot tolerance.

Research Focus

The research emphasis of the Turf Center is ornamental and recreational turfgrass varieties. Turfgrass scientists develop and screen turfgrasses for improved turf performance and environmental adaptation to both biotic and abiotic stresses and develop environmentally sound turfgrass management practices.


Turf Center scientists assess the pest management research needs of Oklahoma’s turf production and maintenance industries and further investigate and develop environmentally sound yet affordable alternatives to conventional turfgrass pest management practices.


As part of the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative, OSU collaborates with other southern region universities to explore plant genetics and genomics to improve drought and salinity tolerance for sustainable turfgrass production in the southern U.S.

Research Projects

  • Development of new turf bermudagrass cultivars

  • Developing new bermudagrass cultivars combining drought resistance, cold hardiness and high turf quality

  • Improving drought tolerance and sustainability of turfgrasses used in southern landscapes through the integration of breeding, genetics, physiology, economics and outreach

  • Evaluation of the effects of turf colorant products on non-overseeded bermudagrass during winter dormancy

  • Development of turf management curriculum for secondary education in Oklahoma

  • Training undergraduates in plant research and Extension principles through a summer experimental learning fellowship using an interdisciplinary approach

  • Precision irrigation to improve water use efficiency in the production of ornamentals, vegetables and turfgrass

  • Effect of storage time and harvest season on transplant success of bermudagrass and Zoysia grass sod

Meet the Turfgrass Research Center Team

Bart Frie

Station Superintendent

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