My research focuses on the development of low-input turfgrasses for cold climates. A major emphasis in recent years has been improving winter hardiness in perennial ryegrass using a number of different field and laboratory approaches including field-based screening, controlled environment evaluation, and metabolomics. My program has also led efforts to identify and improve low-input turfgrasses for various landscapes. In particular, we have demonstrated the usefulness of the underutilized fine fescue species for a number of turf management systems including roadsides, home lawns, and golf courses. We are now in the process of improving these fine fescue species for wider use in these environments through a federally funded multi-state breeding project. We have also made progress improving native prairie junegrass (Koeleria macrantha).
Heineck, G. C., Bauer, S. J., Cavanaugh, M., Hollman, A., Watkins, E. , and B.P. Horgan. 2019. Variability in creeping bentgrass cultivar germinability as influenced by cold temperatures. Crop, Forage and Turfgrass Management. doi:10.2134/cftm2018.07.0054.
Grimshaw, A., S. Bonos, W. Meyer, E. Watkins, and Y. Qu. 2018. Heritability of simulated wear and traffic tolerance in three fine fescue species. HortScience 53: 416-420.
Heineck, G.C., E. Watkins, and N.J. Ehlke. 2018. The fungal endophyte Epichloë festucae var. lolii does not improve the freezing tolerance of perennial ryegrass. Crop Science 58: 1788-1800. doi:10.2135/cropsci2017.12.0731
Barnes, M. R., K. C. Nelson, A. Meyer, E. Watkins, S. Bonos, B. Horgan, W. Meyer, J. Murphy, and C. Yue. 2017. Public land managers and sustainable urban vegetation: The case of low-input turfgrasses. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening: 29:284-292. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.12.008.
Friell, J., E. Watkins, B.P. Horgan, and M. Cavanaugh. 2017. Sod strength characteristics of 51 cool-season turfgrass mixtures. Agronomy Journal 109:1749-1757.; Heineck, G.C., E. Watkins, N.J. Ehlke. 2017. Exploring alternative management options for multi-year perennial ryegrass seed production in northern Minnesota. Crop Science: doi:10.2135/cropsci2017.03.0136
Reiter, M., J. Friell, B. Horgan, and E. Watkins. 2017. Drought response of fine fescue mixtures maintained as a golf course fairway. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 13:.65-74.;Yue, C., J. Wang, E. Watkins, S.A. Bonos, K.C. Nelson, J.A. Murphy, W.A. Meyer, and B. Horgan. 2017. An investigation of trait prioritization in turfgrass breeding programs. HortScience: 52:1544-1549.
Yue, C., J. Wang, E. Watkins, S.A. Bonos, K.C. Nelson, J.A. Murphy, W.A. Meyer, and B. Horgan. 2017. Consumer preferences for information sources of turfgrass products and lawn care. Agronomy Journal 109:1726-1733.
Yue, C., J. Wang, E. Watkins, S. Bonos, K. Nelson, J. Murphy, W. Meyer, and B. Horgan. 2016. Heterogeneous consumer preferences for turfgrass attributes in the United States and Canada. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics. doi:10.1111/cjag.12128.
Dabney, C., J. Ostergaard, E. Watkins, and C. Chen. 2016. A novel method to characterize silica bodies in grasses. Plant Methods 12: doi 10.1186/s13007-016-0108-8.
Hugie, K.L. and E. Watkins. 2016. Performance of low-input turfgrass species as affected by mowing and nitrogen fertilization in Minnesota. HortScience 51:1278-1286.
Friell, J., E. Watkins, and B.P. Horgan. 2015. Cool-season turfgrass species mixtures for roadsides in Minnesota. Ecological Engineering 84:579-587.
Koeritz, E.J., E. Watkins, and N.J. Ehlke. 2015. Seeding rate, row spacing, and nitrogen rate effects on perennial ryegrass seed production. Crop Science: 55:2319-2333.