Members of OSU’s Turfgrass Science Club re-landscaped the Learning Gardens at Chadwick Arboretum.
Credit: Courtesy of Dominic Patrella

Some Ohio State students took to the turf to get real-world experience.

The Turfgrass Science Club and the Chadwick Arboretum recently partnered in order to renovate the green space in the Learning Gardens outside Howlett Hall on West Campus. The project provided the club with a way to learn and get experience in the turf industry, and the club also received $1,000 in funding from Chadwick for its upcoming trips in return for its labor.

The Turfgrass Science Club is an OSU student organization for those interested in the golf and sports turf industry, and is primarily made up of people studying turfgrass science, according to club treasurer John DiFranco, a fourth-year in sustainable plant systems. The group travels to competitions and industry shows for learning and networking opportunities throughout the academic year.

The project cost the Chadwick Arboretum a total of $2,390, with $1,000 going directly to the club, $702 being spent on seed-starter mulch and $688 going toward leaf compost, Mary Maloney, director of horticulture and crop sciences, said in an email. The money was raised through a spring plant sale.

The club members tore up the existing grass and put down mulch, fertilizer and seed, said Andrew Northeim, a fourth-year in sustainable plant systems and member of the Turfgrass Science Club.

The students’ work costs less for Chadwick Arboretum, which has a budget largely independent of the university, according to Maloney.

“The arboretum is primarily funded through (its) plant sales, which multiple student groups take part in to raise money, and through donors and friends of Chadwick Arboretum. The university covers some salaries, but we (Chadwick Arboretum) pay for lawnmowers, flowers, student workers and more,” Maloney said.

According to DiFranco, the club was also able to get $200 of grass seed and fertilizer donated to the project from Scotts, a lawn care company.

Northeim said he was excited about the project.

“Hopefully this project will make a difference,” Northeim said. “They (the Chadwick Arboretum) have had problems with the grass here, so we’re trying a different blend of seed.”

There were problems with the grass dying and the irrigation pipes underneath causing lines in the yard, he said.

The club used a mix of Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue to create a better green space in the area around the Learning Gardens, which the students think will take hold better than the previous grass.

The project doesn’t stop at the type of grass planted, though, said Tyler Turner, a fourth-year in sustainable plant systems and member of the club.

“We’re incorporating the leaf compost into the soil, to create a healthier bed for the grass,” he said.

The club’s efforts on the project, cultivating the soil and planting the grass, are nearing completion, and soon all that will be needed is the irrigation process, to be handled by Chadwick Arboretum.