Dr. Kris Bramans research since joining the UGA Entomology faculty in 1989 has explored the ecology and management of arthropod pests associated with turfgrass and woody ornamentals in the urban environment. The focus of her research is the development of decision making guidelines for landscape pests which incorporate knowledge of the biology, behavior, and damage potential of the pests and those regulating influences due to associated beneficial arthropods. Her studies blend basic and applied components to improve the sustainability and profitability urban plant production and landscape pest management. Research emphasizes two areas: Identifying and increasing the use of pest resistant and adapted turf and ornamentals and Integrating natural enemies and alternative control technologies and new chemistry into IPM through enhanced understanding of tritrophic interactions in urban plant systems.
Increasing Use of Sustainable Plants in Production and Landscape Design
This program, funded by Southern SARE, will research, develop and deliver a mutually conceived plant information and resource database that will simultaneously encourage the demand, production and ultimate use of low-input, horticulturally-desirable plants in southeastern landscapes. Abundant research has been conducted to identify pest-resistant and other lower-input plants. That information, however, is unsystematically distributed and, therefore, not readily accessible. Additionally, sources of low-input and pest resistant plant material, when requested by homeowners or landscape architects and designers, are often unavailable or difficult to locate. We engage Green Industry professionals with our multi-state, interdisciplinary research and extension team in the development of a multi-pronged plan to 1) identify optimal plant material (from both low-input and horticultural aspects), 2) provide a tool to facilitate the location of these optimal plants and 3) educate Green Industry professionals on the feasibility and technical aspects of sustainable landscapes. Our goal is to enhance the likelihood that low-input plants will be specified in landscape design, thereby stimulating and expediting the production and availability of such materials.
Turfgrass Environmental Research and Management
Funded by SRIPM, EPA-STAR, and USGA, and UGARF, this project emphasizes environmental sustainability and explores alternative control of turfgrass insects and seeks to identify low- input, pest- resistant turfgrass cultivars appropriate for the southeastern US. The beneficial arthropod community in turfgrass is evaluated and potential candidates for conservation biological control are defined.