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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Are Turf-type Tall Fescue Cultivars Useful for Reducing Wildlife Hazards in Airport Environments?


Wildlife-aircraft collisions pose a serious risk to aircraft and cost civil aviation over US$1 billion worldwide annually. Habitat management within airport environments is the most important long-term component of an integrated approach to reduce the use of airfields by hazardous wildlife. Recent research has demonstrated that Canada geese avoid foraging on endophyte-infected tall fescue; consequently, this turfgrass might be useful in airfield revegetation and seeding projects. Although some research evaluating commercially available tall fescue cultivars on airfields has been conducted, additional information is needed to determine if tall fescue cultivars might be viable for airfields in various regions of the U.S. In 2007, a study was initiated to examine the establishment of currently available high-endophyte �‘turf-type’ tall fescue grasses at 9 airfields. The objectives were to: 1) determine if selected tall fescue cultivars establish on airfields across the U.S. and 2) provide airport-specific recommendations for tall fescue cultivar selection. At each airfield, 12 tall fescue cultivars were seeded into 3 replicate experimental plots in either fall of 2007 or spring of 2008. Although tall fescue cover varied among airports, most cultivars resulted in similar amounts of tall fescue cover after one or two growing seasons. This study demonstrates and identifies tall fescue cultivars that will grow successfully in the environmental conditions found on these airfields while providing airfield vegetation that is minimally attractive to wildlife hazardous to aviation.

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