Featured Speakers of the Month

The SFMA Conference Education Committee has put together an exciting and informative education program for the 2024 Conference in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Each month, speakers will be featured to highlight a sample of what will be offered to attendees at the conference.  This month’s featured speakers are Dr. Marco Schiavon and Aaron Hathaway.

Dr. Marco Schiavon is an assistant professor in the Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center.  His primary research interests include potable water conservation for irrigating turfgrass areas, salinity management, and physiology of turfgrass in response to drought stress.  He will be presenting, “Turfgrass Irrigation: Water Quality, Quantity, and Lack of Thereof.”

Irrigation is the single most important maintenance practice to keep turfgrass alive. However, with water restrictions being progressively enforced and rising water costs, sufficient irrigation may not be available. Strategies that will be covered during the presentation include the use of alternative sources to potable water, deficit irrigation, wetting agents and sufficient nitrogen fertilization.

Three learning objectives that attendees will take away from this presentation include:

  • Learning appropriate crop coefficient for each species depending on the environment
  • Learning about options available on the wetting agent market
  • Learning proper fertilization practices for drought stressed turf


Aaron Hathaway is the technical services manager with Nufarm.  Aaron worked at Michigan State University from 2001 to 2019 with concentrated research and teaching efforts in weed science. He conducted field research in turfgrass systems, covering weed control, fertility and nitrogen fate, and PGR use. He has spent years researching the PGR use for general growth regulation, weed suppression, seedhead suppression, and plant health. He will be presenting, “The ABCs of PGRs for Turfgrass.”

Regulating excess vertical turf growth with plant growth regulators (PGRs) can reduce inputs like mowing while increasing overall plant health and quality. However, some growth is necessary. Available PGRs will be explained, and different use patterns presented so managers can be more prepared to achieve just enough growth.

Three learning objectives that attendees will take away from this presentation include:

  • Understand the different PGRs available, how they are similar, and how they are different from each other.
  • Implement plans to effectively maintain even growth regulation when desired, using calculated reapplication intervals and different rates to reduce other inputs, increase quality, and maintain a safe and effective playing surface.
  • Be prepared to use PGRs effectively to reduce grassy weeds such as annual bluegrass and suppress seedheads when and where desired.