Alec  Kowalewski

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Alec Kowalewski
Assistant Professor, Turf Specialist

Working on improving the environmental and economic sustainability of turfgrass management

OSU Campus
Department of Horticulture
(541) 737-5449


My secondary responsibility, which is partially funded by the Giustina Turf Endowment, is extension and outreach.  This portion of my appointment includes the development and implementation of various applied research projects.  My overall extension and research goal is improving the environmental and economic sustainability of turfgrass management. 

Topics of interest related to this include, but are not limited to, the utilization of sustainable turfgrass varieties and cultivars.  Quantifying the impact of environmental stewardship certified golf courses is also an important extension/outreach interest, particularly because the Pacific Northwest is the national leader in this effort, having the largest percent of certified environmental stewardship program golf courses in the U.S.  Improving fertility and irrigation efficiency, and the development of carbon neutral turfgrass systems are also key factors in the development of sustainable turfgrass management.   Finally, I will be involved with the development and implementation of integrated pest management programs designed to reduce pesticide use.  This is of particular interesting considering the increase pesticide bans and restriction in the United States and Canada. 


Teaching and advising the Turfgrass Management undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Horticulture is my primary responsibility.  In the fall I teach the Principles of Turfgrass Maintenance and in the winter I teach Turf Pest Management.  In the spring term I teach two classes, Golf Course Maintenance and Landscape Construction: Irrigation and Drainage.  I am also the advisor for the OSU undergraduate Turf Club.  This club is a very active group that regularly meets with industry members,  participates in student competition on a national level, and frequently represents the OSU turf program as exhibitors at various industry related meetings and shows.

Graduate Students 

Clint Mattox, M.S. Candidate
Research Focus: Fungicide Alternatives

Biography: Graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. degree in Turfgrass management in 2000 and then moved overseas, where I worked in Japan, Germany, Togo and then in France.  I spent the last 7 years in Paris; two years as the Assistant golf course superintendent at Paris Disneyland and then 5 years as the grow-in and golf course superintendent of the Arnold Palmer designed Vignoly Course.  I decided to return to the USA in order to pursue a Masters degree in horticulture at Oregon State in order to research alternative methods of controlling turfgrass diseases, notably Microdochium patch on Poa annua putting greens.

Photo by Stephen Ward, OSU Extension and Experiment Station Communications.


Brian Daviscourt, M.S. Candidate
Research Focus: Sports Turf Management

Biography: I graduated from Oregon State University with a B.S. in turfgrass management in 2013. The first job I worked was at Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford, Oregon, and entering and entering OSU’s turf management program seemed like the next step to take. During my education I worked for three years at Trysting Tree Golf Course and had an excellent learning experience. I love working on the golf course side of the industry but I also want to build experience dealing with the issues of the sports turf industry and learning skills and knowledge needing to run an athletic facility.

Micah Gold
Research Focus: Low Maintenance Ground Covers and IPM for Oregon Schools

Biography: I was born and raised in Salem and attended Silverton High School where I received a tuition grant to attend Chemeketa Community College. Upon graduating from C.C.C. in 2012 with an Associate of Arts degree, I enrolled at Oregon State in the Turf Management program after hearing about it from a friend. During the two years I worked towards my bachelor’s degree I worked at Illahe Hills in Salem and at Pronghorn Resort in Bend. Each experience was amazing and accelerated my yearning to learn more about turf and the golf industry.

Since I am relatively new to the turf industry, I decided to learn more under Alec Kowalewski as one of his graduate students. One day I plan on becoming a superintendent, but for now I am intrigued in researching low maintenance/input ground covers that are drought tolerant. Hopefully my project will help public schools’ maintenance crews, as their budgets are always being reduced. Maybe the ground covers will even be implemented into golf courses as a way to provide erosion control and suppress weeds without having to mow, fertilize, or use pesticides.

Conner Olsen
Research Focus:  Water Quantity/Quality Issues in Turfgrass Maintenance
Biography:  I graduated from Oregon State University in 2014 with an Honors B.S. in Environmental Engineering.  Among many other things, my undergraduate studies provided me with a well-rounded understanding of environmental science, particularly as it relates to water quality and quantity.  It came to my attention that one of the recurring methods for mitigating water quality issues was through the use of engineered wetland systems.  This realization got me thinking that I could potentially utilize my engineering skills for the design/renovation of golf courses, as their local hydrology often resembles wetland systems.  Not to mention, I am an avid golfer with an ever-growing appreciation for golf course architecture.
Once I made this connection, my mind was set, and I sought out a way to fill-in the gaps in my education, namely in turf maintenance and agronomy.  Thanks to Dr. Kowalewski, I have been working at Trysting Tree Golf Club since the summer of 2014, as well as at the Lewis-Brown Horticulture Farm (OSU) under the tutelage of Senior Research Assistant Brian McDonald.  My master’s program started Spring 2015, and my research includes the assessment of two types of rainwater collection/irrigation systems (low-energy-input & high-tech), along with a look into the effects of using greywater for the irrigation of turfgrasses.



May 2006 to May 2010
Doctorate of Philosophy: Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University
Dissertation: The built-up sand-capped athletic field system

Aug. 2003 to May 2006
Master of Science: Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University
Dissertation: Organically derived weed control methods

Aug. 1998 to Aug. 2003
Bachelor of Art: Studio Art (Honors), Michigan State University
Cognate: Landscape Design


Dec 2012 to present
Assistant Professor, Turfgrass Specialist: Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University. Appointment: 70% Teaching and Service and 30% Extension and Outreach.
Duties: Teaching classes and laboratories, advising and mentoring Turfgrass Management students, advising the OSU Turf Club, as well as student internship assessment and job placement.  Extension and outreach service related to golf, sports, municipal and commercial turfgrass management.  Development and direction of an applied research program designed to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of turfgrass management.    

Aug 2010 to Dec 2012
Assistant Professor, Turfgrass Management: Department of Environmental Horticulture, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Appointment: 100% Teaching.
Duties: Teaching classes and laboratories (9-10 credit hours per semester), advising Turfgrass and Golf Course Management (B.A.S.), Environmental Horticulture Technology (A.A.S.) and Agriculture Business and Economics (A.S.) students on academic enrollment, advising the ABAC Turf Club and GCSAA Student Chapter, as well as student internship assessment and job placement.

Aug 2010 to Dec 2012
Research Scientist: In collaboration with Dr. Brian Schwartz, Turfgrass Breeding, Crop and Soil Science Department, University of Georgia Coastal Plains Experiment Stations, Tifton, GA. 
Duties: Field research design, data collection and statistical analysis, publication and grant proposal writing.  Current research interests include spectral reflectance as a turf stress monitoring tool, hybrid wear tolerance and recovery, turfgrass sustainability vs. aesthetics, and drought tolerant hybrids. 


I accept graduate students for Horticulture


Refereed Journal Articles

Kowalewski, A.R., B.M. Schwartz, A.L. Grimshaw, D.G. Sullivan, and J.B. Peake. 2015. Correlations Between Bermudagrass Hybrid Morphology and Wear Tolerance. HortTechnology. 25(6):725-730.

Grimshaw, A.L., B.M. Schwartz, P.L. Raymer, A.R. Kowalewski and T.L. Grey. 2015. Influence of soil type on nitrogen leaching of controlled release fertilizers. Florida State Horticultural Society. In Press, Accepted Feb 15, 2015. 

Kowalewski, A.R., B.M. McDonald and C.M. Mattox. 2015. Evaluation of sulfur rates and calcium sources on Microdochium patch and Anthracnose of an annual bluegrass putting green in western Oregon, 2013 – 2014. Plant Disease Management Reports. Report No. 9:T034.

Mattox, C.M., A.R. Kowalewski, and B.W. McDonald. 2014. Evaluation of winter fertility practices in combination with simulated traffic in order to determine their effects on the suppression of Microdochium patch and turfgrass recovery on annual bluegrass in western Oregon, 2013-2014. Plant Disease Management Report. Report No. 8:T043. pg 1.

Mattox, C.M., A.R. Kowalewski, and B.W. McDonald. 2014. Evaluation of fungicide alternatives for the control of Microdochium patch on annual bluegrass in western Oregon, 2013-2014. Plant Disease Management Report. Report No. 8:T042. pg 1.

McDonald, B.W., and A. R. Kowalewski. 2014. Evaluation of fungicides for preventative control of gray snow mold in central Oregon, 2010 – 2011. Plant Disease Management Report. Report No. 8:T040. pg 1-2.

Kowalewski, A.R., B.M. Schwartz, A.L. Grimshaw J.N. McCrimmon and J.M. Layton. 2014. Mowing Requirements and Costs to Maintain Bermudagrass is Influenced by Cultivar Selection and Trinexapac-Ethyl Use. Applied Turfgrass Science (Online). doi:10.1094/ATS-2010-0416-01-RS.

Grimshaw, A.L., B.M. Schwartz, T.L. Grey, P.E. McCullough, P.L. Raymer, T.M. Webster, A.R. Kowalewski, T.M. Tate and W.A. Parrott. 2014. Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase Herbicide Tolerance in Bermudagrass. Agronomy Journal. 106(3):1-6.

Kowalewski, A.R., B.M. Schwartz, A.L. Grimshaw, D.G. Sullivan, J.B. Peake, T.O. Green, J.N. Rogers, III, L.J. Kaiser and H.M. Clayton. 2013. Biophysical Effects and Ground Force of the Baldree Traffic Simulator. Crop Science. 53:1-6.

Kowalewski, A.R. B.M. Schwartz, M.D. Richardson, A.J. Patton, D.E. Karcher, J.H. McCalla and W.W. Hanna. 2012. Effects of nitrogen, growth regulators and mowing height on ball lie in TifSport bermudagrass. Applied Turfgrass Science (Online). doi:10.1094/ATS-2012-0625-01-RS

Kowalewski, A.R., J.C. Dunne, J.N. Rogers and J.R. Crum. 2011. Heavy sand and crumb rubber topdressing improves Kentucky bluegrass wear tolerance. Applied Turfgrass Science (Online). doi:10.1094/ATS-2011-1223-01-RS.

Kowalewski, A.R., J. R. Crum, J.N. Rogers III and J.C. Dunne. 2011. Improving Native Soil Athletic Fields with Intercept Drain Tile Installation and Subsequent Sand Topdressing Applications. Soil Science. 176(3):1-7. 

Kowalewski, A.R., J.N. Rogers, J.R. Crum and J.C. Dunne. 2010. Sand Topdressing Applications Improve Shear Strength and Turfgrass Density on Trafficked Athletic Fields. HortTechnology. 20: 867-872.

Kowalewski, A.R., R.N. Calhoun, A.D. Hathaway and J.N. Rogers, III. 2010. Using cultural practices and leaf mulch to control weeds in established turfgrass. Applied Turfgrass Science (Online). doi:10.1094/ATS-2010-0416-01-RS

Garrison, M.A., J.C. Stier, J.N. Rogers and A.R. Kowalewski. 2009. Cool-season  turfgrass survival on two former golf courses in Michigan. Invasive Plant Science and Management. 2:396-403.    

Kowalewski, A.R., D.D. Buhler, N.S. Lang, M.G. Nair and J.N. Rogers, III. 2009. Mulched maple and oak leaves associated with a reduction in common dandelion populations in established Kentucky bluegrass. HortTechnology. 19(2):297-304.

Kowalewski, A.R., J.N. Rogers, III and T.D. VanLoo. 2008. Pre-harvest core cultivation of sod provides an alternative cultivation timing. Applied Turfgrass Science (Online). doi:10.1094/ATS-2008-0421-02-RS.

Popular Press Articles

Mattox, C., A. Kowalewski and B. McDonald. 2014. Alternative control methods of Microdochium patch. The Turf Line News. 235: 50 and 52. 

Kowalewski, A. 2012. Selecting the proper topdressing material for your athletic field. Sports Turf. August 2012.

Kowalewski, A.R., J.N. Rogers, III , J.C. Dunne, and T.D. VanLoo. 2012.  Effects of hollow tine diameter and topdressing incorporation implement on sand topdressing integration. Golf Course Management. July 2012.

Kowalewski, A, A. Hathaway, A. Martinez-Espinoza and K. Braman. 2012. Integrated pest management for sports fields. Sports Turf.  28(4): 8, 10, 12-13, 45.

Kowalewski, A.R., J.R. Crum and J.N. Rogers, III. 2012. The spartan cap athletic field system. The Turf Line News. 227:36-37.

Dunne, J., A. Kowalewski and John Rogers III. 2010. Differences in blends and monostands of Kentucky bluegrass varieties. Michigan Turfgrass Foundation News Notes. 3(2):3-4.


Press Releases

Turfgrass specialist makes lawns, sports fields greener. By. Denise Ruttan. Capital Press. Retrieved March 14, 2015.  
Lawn maintenance plan can be affordable. By. Kathleen Alaks. The Daily Astorian. Retrieved March 8, 2015.   
Parts of the Whole: Creating Urban Landscapes. By: Erin Martin. Oregon’s Agricultural Process.  Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station. Winter 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2015.

In The Garden - FM News 101 KXL. Mike Darcy talks with Alec Kowalewski about reseeding an existing lawn or establishment of a new one. Broadcast date September 6, 2014. 

Garskof, J. 4 (Mostly) Cheap and Easy Ways to Green Up Your Grass. Money Magazine. July 8, 2014. 

McClenathan, W. and A. Kowalewski. OSU Turf Tips. Garden Time TV.  Retrieved April 21, 2014.  

Rese archers Testing a Better Way to Control Microdochium Patch on Putting Greens. IPM West: News and Information from the Western IPM Center. Retrieved March 17, 2014.

Teresa, C. 2014. Not so pretty in pink. Golf Course Management. 2(14):32.  Retrieved February 20, 2104.

3rd Annual OSU Turf Alumni & Friends Weekend. January 9. 2013.

How to get rid of moss in your lawn. By Denise Ruttan. December 20, 2013.

Pick a low-maintenance grass lawn this September.  September 18, 2013.

In The Garden - FM News 101 KXL. Mike Darcy talks with Alec Kowalewski about fall turf lawn planting and upkeep on existing lawns...  September 14, 2013.

Two ways to uproot your lawn. By Denise Ruttan. July 12, 2013.



Outreach and Extension

Extension Publications

Kowalewski, A. G. Stahnke, T. Cook and R. Goss. 2015. Best Management Practices for Maintaining Sand-based, Natural Grass Athletic Fields. A Pacific Northwest Extension Publication (PNW676). pg 1-13.


Kowalewski, A. G. Stahnke, T. Cook and R. Goss. 2015 Best Management Practices for Construction of Sand-based Natural Grass Athletic Fields. A Pacific Northwest Extension Publication (PNW675). pg 1-13.


Kowalewski, A. 2014. Developing an Integrated Pest Management Plan. 2014. Sports Turf Mangers Association: The Safe Foundation. pg 1-7. 

Baker, S. and A. Kowalewski. 2014. Retail Lawn Seed Mixtures for Western Oregon and Western Washington. OSU Extension Service. EC9100.


Voderberg, D. and A. Kowalewski. 2014. Practical Lawn Care for Western Oregon. OSU Extension Service. EC1521.

2013 OSU Turf Field Day Proceedings

2014 OSU Turf Field Day Proceedings

2015 OSU Turf Field Day Proceedings