COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Becky Grubbs expects to spend the next chapter in her life growing the Texas turfgrass industry through collaborative and interdisciplinary actions as the new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service statewide turfgrass specialist in College Station.
Grubbs said her philosophy in approaching her new job, which she began April 1, will be to establish strong, credible relationships with producers and industry stakeholders through regular site visits and a steady person-to-person dialogue.
“My research will be designed to meet client needs in a way that promotes sustainability and facilitates industry progress,” Grubbs said.
A native of Lewisville, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas Tech University in horticulture and then finished with a doctorate from the University of Georgia in crop and soil science. Her doctoral dissertation was titled “Evaluation of Home Lawn Management Behaviors and Sustainable Fertility Practices in Various Turfgrass Systems.”
“I wanted to take a very interdisciplinary approach to my research, because I knew long-term I wanted to go into Extension and wanted to be able to cast a wide net when I did,” Grubbs said.
She said she intends to establish multiple platforms to communicate her AgriLife Extension work and her research across a broad client base, knowing that client needs will be ever-changing and she must be too.
“I believe my research initiatives should respond to client needs in a way that promotes progress, fills gaps and facilitates economic and environmental efficiency,” Grubbs said.
She said she will be reaching out to individual homeowners, golf course superintendents, sports turf managers, sod farmers, county agents and faculty peers to determine trends, concerns and needs of the turfgrass industry.
“Texas is a big state and I won’t be able to get all the information from one place,” Grubbs said. “I look forward to interacting with clients across the state and getting to know how I can best serve them.”
Some of the primary research needs, she said, will address water, pest management, sustainability, abiotic and biotic stresses and physiology as well as integration of tools such as sensor technology, systems modeling and qualitative research to collect data and improve outreach.
Grubbs said she intends to use an applied interdisciplinary approach that will combine general turfgrass management – stressors, pest management and nutrient management – with a robust outreach and education program through homeowners associations, turf management organizations and county agents.
The third part to her approach will be precision turfgrass management, which will include irrigation audits, precision irrigation, precision salt leaching, variable rate fertility, precision cultivation, preemptive pest management and delineation of sampling zones.
“There are just a lot of really neat pathways for moving forward with sustainable, productive turfgrass in the state,” Grubbs said.
For more on the AgriLife turf program, visit https://aggieturf.tamu.edu.