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Independent and Distance Learning

Course Details (subject to change)

Link to official U of M course prerequisites and descriptions

HORT 1061:

The Sustainable Lawn

 A 3-credit semester length  online course

Current Term: Fall 2008

Current Section: A81
Section Dates:
September 2 - December 10, 2008
Call Number: 57815
Registration Status:
April 10 - September 5, 2008

Course Instructor

Eric Watkins E-mail:

Course at a Glance

Educational Purpose:
This course is designed to expose a diverse group of students (nonmajors) to horticulture and how it relates to everyday life.

• This course requires use of a digital camera and the ability to upload photos.
• This course requires computer and Internet skills (such as word processing, browsing the Web, uploading and downloading files, and using e-mail with file attachments). It also requires a printer and near-daily access to the Web. For computer requirements see browser set up at (will open in new window) WebVista.

Course Materials

Redesigning the American Lawn: A Search for Environmental Harmony
Authors: Bormann, F. Herbert, Diana Balmori, & Gordon T. Geballe; 2nd edition (2001); Yale University Press.
ISBN: 978030008694.
•University of Connecticut Turfgrass Science. Cool-Season Turfgrasses: A Tutorial on Turfgrass Identification. CD-ROM.
ISBN 281000007126B

Go to the Search page at the University of Minnesota Bookstores Web site, and use the option to "Search for Books by Department, Course, or Author." If your search has no results, it means either that the bookstore does not yet have the textbooks for your course or that no texts are required. If you buy your textbooks in person, the books for IDL courses are in a special section at the Coffman Union bookstore. For more information, call 612-625-6000 or 1-800-442-8636 and ask for IDL book service.

Course Outline

1 Plant biology review
2 Turfgrass growth and development
3 Cool-season turfgrass species
4 Turf weeds
5 Turf diseases
6 Turfgrass establishment
7 Soils and fertility
8 Mowing, cultivation, and irrigation
9 Economics of turf
10 Low-input turfgrass
11 Organic lawn care
12 Developing a new turfgrass
13Public education/Turf and public policy
14 Conclusion

Grading Information

Assignments will include online quizzes, papers, online discussion postings, and a proctored midcourse and final exam.

Course Introduction

Millions of acres across the United States are devoted to turfgrass. Home lawns, parks, athletic fields, golf course, and other turf areas play an important role in environmental quality. Homeowners have little knowledge about fertilizer and pesticide use, irrigation, and mowing. Although the impact of an individual homeowner may be small, the effect of millions of acres of home lawns can be significant.

This course will focus on sustainable turfgrass management for the home lawn. The content will be presented in a fashion that focuses on environmentally responsible turfgrass management. The course will begin by presenting an overview of basic horticultural principles and then focus on turfgrass-specific topics. Lessons will provide information necessary for laboratory and discussion portions of the course. Students will learn how to identify common turfgrasses and then how to properly manage a home lawn in a sustainable way. The course will be presented entirely online and make extensive use of online discussion and other tools.

Students will discuss important turfgrass science topics such as fertilizer run-off, pesticide use, and genetically-modified turf. This course will also equip students with the knowledge and tools necessary to maintain quality turf areas with reduced inputs, thereby reducing potential risk to the environment.

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