After 33 years of service to the state of California and golf course superintendents, sports turfgrass managers, landscape professionals and homeowners throughout the U.S and in many other countries, Ali Harivandi, Ph.D., is retiring from the University of California Cooperative Extension.
It was 1979 when Harivandi interviewed for the position of UC Cooperative Extension advisor for Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties. At the time, he was hired for his expertise in turfgrass, soils, salinity, irrigation and recycled water―topics that are still highly relevant today. Since then, he has taught many, many seminars (for more than 22 years he was a lecturer for GCSAA’s education programs) and authored numerous publications (some of which can be downloaded from the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website.
His publication, “No-mow fine-leaf fescue grasses for California urban landscapes,” was the winner of the American Society for Horticultural Science 2010 Outstanding Extension Division Educational Materials Award. Harivandi also recently developed “Irrigating Turfgrasses with Recycled Water,” part of the Crop Science Society of America’s Slide Monograph Series (see the June issue of GCM, p. 38, http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/132416/42).
Besides becoming an internationally recognized expert on recycled/reclaimed/reused water for golf courses and landscapes, Harivandi carried out research on weeds, turfgrass diseases and insects and erosion control. He encouraged Californians to use lower-input tall fescue for lawns and established that leaving grass clippings on lawns was, in fact, beneficial to the turf, and he also recommended no-mow fescue for areas such as roadsides, cemeteries and slopes that are difficult to mow. Out of his extensive experience as a soccer referee came the realization that playing on wet sports fields should be prohibited because of the damage players cause to the turf.
Harivandi may be planning to spend a lot of time traveling with his wife, Sue, but he is not forsaking turf. The University of California has granted him emeritus status, and he plans to continue doing research and accepting speaking engagements.