Cale A BigelowCale A Bigelow

Professor of Agronomy

Department: Agronomy
Phone: 765.494.4692
Fax: 765.496.6335
Office: Lilly 2-414-D
Personal Web Page

Curriculum Vitae


 Why I am a Turf Scientist

Area of Expertise: Turfgrass Science/Management, Soil Properties and Turfgrass Nutrition

Research Areas:
The purpose of my research program is to provide practical information that enables turf managers of all abilities to grow the highest quality turf using the fewest management inputs (e.g. mowing, fertilization, irrigation and pesticides). This is being accomplished by emphasizing adapted turfgrass species and cultivar selection, proper establishment methods and employing sound cultural practices with an emphasis on soil fertility and nutrient management related issues.

Several research areas are being investigated in detail:

Species and cultivar evaluations are being conducted in conjunction with researchers throughout the United States by participation in the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) and Internationally with Universities like Mendel University in the Czech Republic. Specific information for trials located in West Lafayette can be acquired by visiting Additionally; studies are conducted to evaluate various species and strategies for winter overseeding of warm-season species.

The response of both cool-season turfgrass (e.g. Kentucky bluegrass and turf-type tall fescue to major fertilizer nutrients like nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) is being studied on both seedling and mature turf areas. The goal of these programs is to maximize turfgrass quality while minimizing fertilizer inputs in order to protect water quality.

Applied golf course management studies: Several studies are in process including evaluating the use of plant growth regulators to maximize creeping bentgrass appearance and minimize annual bluegrass encroachment as well as the evaluation of wetting agents/soil surfactants to improve putting green turf performance on sand-based rootzones. Additionally, the response of various N programs and fertilizer supplements/biostimulants is studied on creeping bentgrass research putting green turf. In these studies different N sources and application frequencies are evaluated.

Overseeding warm-season grasses like bermudagrass with cool-season grasses like perennial ryegrass is commonly practiced to provide a longer duration of green color and extend use in the upper transition zone climate. Our program has been evaluating various cool-season species, seeding rates and application timings to improve the success of this important management practice in our region.

Localized dry spot or hydrophobic soil conditions are a serious problem particularly on closely cut cool-season grasses grown on sand-based rootzones. Our program has been evaluating various soil surfactants/wetting agents chemistries for their efficacy and ability to relieve localized dry spot on sand-based rootzones. Often these products must be applied early in the growing season in order to improve conditions throughout the growing season.

Research Publications: Details of my research findings can be found in this partial list of peer-reviewed publications.

Bigelow, C.A., D.C. Bowman, and D.K. Cassel. 2000. Nitrogen leaching in sand-based rootzones amended with inorganic soil amendments and sphagnum peat moss. Journ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 126:151-156.

Bruneau, A.B., C.A. Bigelow, R.J. Cooper, and D.C. Bowman. 2001. Performance of creeping bentgrass cultivars maintained at two mowing heights and under two fungicide regimes in North Carolina. Intl. Turf Res. Soc. J. 9:835-842.

Bigelow, C.A., D.C. Bowman, and D.K. Cassel. 2001. Water retention of sand-based putting green mixtures as affected by the presence of gravel sub-layers. Intl. Turf Res. Soc. J. 9:479-486.

Bigelow, C.A., D.C. Bowman, D.K. Cassel, and T.W. Rufty. 2001. Creeping bentgrass response to inorganic soil amendments and mechanically induced subsurface drainage and aeration. Crop Science 41:797-805.

Bigelow, C.A., D.C. Bowman, and A.G. Wollum. 2002. Characterization of soil microbial population dynamics in newly constructed sand-based rootzones. Crop Science. 42:1611-1614.

Dernoeden, P.H., C.A. Bigelow, J.E. Kaminski, and J.M. Krouse. 2003. Smooth crabgrass control in perennial ryegrass and creeping bentgrass tolerance to quinclorac. Hort. Science 38:607-612

Bigelow, C.A., D.C. Bowman, and D.K. Cassel. 2004. Physical properties of three sand size classes amended with inorganic materials or sphagnum peat moss for putting green rootzones. Crop Science. 44:900-907.

Kaminski, J.E., C.A. Bigelow, and P.H. Dernoeden. 2004. Soil amendments and fertilizer source effects on creeping bentgrass establishment, soil microbial activity, thatch and disease. Hort. Science 39(3):620-626.

Kaminski, J.E., P.H. Dernoeden, and C.A. Bigelow. 2004. Creeping bentgrass seedling tolerance to herbicides and paclobutrazol. Hort. Science. 39(5):1126-1129.

Bigelow, C.A., D.W. Waddill, and D.R. Chalmers. 2005. Turf-type tall fescue lawn turf response to added clippings. Intl. Turf Res. Soc. J. 10:916-922.

Donald, S., P.H. Dernoeden, and C.A. Bigelow. 2006. Dollar spot control in creeping bentgrass as influenced by fungicide spray volume and application timing. Online Journ. Applied Turfgrass Sci.

McDonald, S., P.H. Dernoeden, and C.A. Bigelow 2006. Dollar spot and gray leaf spot severity as influenced by irrigation, chlorothalonil, paclobutrazol and a wetting agent. Crop Sci. 46:2675-2684.

Walker, K.S., C.A. Bigelow, D.R. Smith, G.E. VanScoyoc, and Z.J. Reicher. 2007. Aboveground responses of cool-season lawn species to nitrogen rates and application timings. Crop Sci. 47:1225-1236.

Bigelow, C.A., and G.A. Hardebeck. 2007. Monthly flurprimidol applications reduce annual bluegrass populations in a creeping bentgrass fairway. Online Journ. Applied Turfgrass Sci.

Bigelow, C.A., K.S. Walker, and G.A. Hardebeck. 2007. Single fall applications of coated urea fertilizers produce a high quality Kentucky bluegrass turf. Online Journ. Applied Turfgrass Sci.

Bigelow, C.A., and K.S. Walker. 2007. Golf ball roll distance: A field exercise to explore management factors affecting putting green speed. J. Nat. Res. Life Sci. Edu. 36:112-119.

Moeller, A.C., C.A. Bigelow, J.R. Nemitz and G.A. Hardebeck. 2008. Bentgrass Cultivar and Annual Nitrogen Regime Affects Seasonal Shoot Density. Online Journ. Applied Turfgrass Sci.

Nemitz, J.R., C.A. Bigelow and A.C. Moeller. 2008. Surface firmness and repair tool affect golf ball mark recovery. Online Jour. Applied Turfgrass Sci.

Richmond, D.S. and C.A. Bigelow. 2009. Variation in endophyte-plant associations influence black cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) performance and susceptibility to the parasitic nematode Steinernema carpocapsae. Environ. Entomol. 38:996-1004.

Bigelow, C.A. 2009. Comparing student performance in an online versus face-to-face introductory turfgrass science course – A case study. NACTA Journal 53:1-7

Wang, Y., C.A. Bigelow and Y. Jiang. 2009. Ploidy level and DNA content of perennial ryegrass germplasm as determined by flow cytometry. HortSci.44:2049-2052.

Bornino, B.F., Z.J. Reicher and C.A. Bigelow 2010. Strategy and perennial ryegrass seeding rate affects overseeding success in bermudagrass athletic fields. Online Jour. Applied Turfgrass Sci.

Caceres, V.A., C.A. Bigelow and D.S. Richmond 2010. Aesthetic and economic impacts associated with four different cool-season lawn fertility and pesticide programs. HortTechnology 20:418-426.

C. Bigelow, E. Ervin, X. Zhang and A. Nichols. 2010. Creeping bentgrass putting green cultivation recovery as affected by pre-stress conditioning with liquid fertilizer and biostimulant programs in the cool-humid region. Online Jour. Applied Turfgrass Sci.

Watkins, E., Fei, S., Gardner, D., Stier, J., Bughrara, S., Li, D., Bigelow, C., Schleicher, L., Horgan, B., and Diesburg K. 2011. Low-input turfgrass species for the north central United States. Online. Applied Turfgrass Science doi:10.1094/ATS-2011-0126-02-RS.

Dr. Bigelow is the primary faculty contact for inquiries related to the undergraduate Turfgrass Science and Management Program at Purdue University. He teaches or co-teaches five courses related to turfgrass management for the Agronomy Department.

Courses Taught
Agronomy 110 Survey of Turfgrass Culture
Overview: This course is designed to introduce freshman and transfer students to the Turfgrass Science program and provide an overview of the Agronomy Department. Students are exposed to basic turfgrass management principles and an early relationship is developed between these new students and the Turfgrass Science faculty. Additionally, this course familiarizes the students with the many employment opportunities in the turfgrass industry, to help them confirm that they are on the correct career path.

Agronomy 210 Fundamentals of Turfgrass Culture
Overview: This introductory course is available to any student who has an interest in maintaining turfgrasses not just those in the Turfgrass Science option. Students taking this course become familiar with the breadth of the turfgrass industry, learn the characteristics of the primary turfgrass species, and which species are appropriate for home-lawns in Indiana. By the end of the course the student should be able to properly establish and manage a home-lawn at any desired quality level using sound cultural practices.

Agronomy 210Y Fundamentals of Turfgrass Culture: Distance Learning Course (New Spring 2006)
Overview: Online version of AGRY 210. It is available through Purdue University 's “Open Campus” to any student or life-long learner who has an interest in maintaining turfgrass. The course is a distance learning version of AGRY 210 and utilizes WebCT Vista to deliver the content-rich modules. These modules include clear learning objectives which are supplemented by colorful, image-rich audio Power Point presentations, which were created using Adobe/Macromedia Breeze Presenter, supplemental readings and online quizzes. The course provides technical information regarding the fundamental principles and methods for planting and maintaining lawn grasses throughout the cool-humid region of the United States . The introductory turfgrass course, AGRY 210 is a pre-requisite for AGRY 510 which is offered only during the fall semesters. Students can take AGRY 210Y either during the spring or summer prior to fall enrollment.

Agronomy 211 Principles of Turfgrass Culture Laboratory
Overview: This laboratory based course is intended exclusively for Turfgrass Science majors who will be taking advanced Turfgrass Science courses. Students learn vegetative turfgrass and seed identification, winter-weed identification, turfgrass fertilizers, understanding fertilizer and pesticide labels, summer annual weedy grass control strategies, basic turfgrass establishment and maintenance practices and the mathematical calculations required for employment in the turfgrass industry.

Agronomy 311 Turfgrass Diagnostics
Overview: This one-credit elective course enhances and further hones students' skills in vegetative turfgrass, turfgrass weed sample, seed, and insect identification, ability to determine soil texture, and solve critical thinking questions related to general turfgrass management practices. This course is designed for students who want to further their diagnostic skills and compete in the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and Sports Turf Managers Association annual “Turf Quiz Bowl”.

Agronomy 510 Turfgrass Science
Overview: This intermediate course builds on concepts learned in Agronomy 210. It is open to anyone who has successfully completed AGRY 210. The overall goal of this course is to familiarize students with the issues and advanced cultural practices required to successfully manage an economically important turfgrass area. By the end of this course a student should understand the procedures required to properly maintain golf courses and athletic fields. In addition to lecture, a hands-on laboratory section offers practical training exercises like spreader/sprayer, irrigation sprinkler calibration and periodic field trips to local golf courses and athletic fields.

The goal of my engagement program is to empower turfgrass managers of all abilities to achieve their management goals. This is accomplished by providing factual information on a variety of applied management topics that the industry is interested in.

Bachelor of Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Master of Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Doctor of Philosophy, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Professional Experience:
Post Doctoral Research Associate, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Extension Associate, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Adjunct Instructor, Turf Management, Northern Virginia Community College
Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, Belle Haven Country Club, Alexandria, VA
Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, The Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, Lake Manassas, VA

Date joined staff: 2002