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Paul G. Johnson

Paul G. Johnson

Professor; Department Head
Area of Study: Plant Science
Emphasis: Hort Science, Landscaping, Ornamental Horticulture, Turf
Employee Type: Administration, Faculty
Location:  AGRS 333
Office Phone:  435-797-7039
Fax:  435-797-3376
Cell Phone:  435-770-0112
4820 Old Main Hill AGS 306
Logan Utah 84322-4820

 Specialties:  Turfgrass science

Professor, Department of Plants, Soils, and Climate, Utah State University. Appointment: 70% Research, 20% Teaching, 10% Service.


Research and Teaching Philosophy

To learn about the grasses by studying their biology and ecology. The turfgrass environment, while being somewhat two dimensional, is a very diverse and dynamic system. It is unique because of the intense demands of our use and that of the urban climate.


Current Research Topics

·         Evaluation and development of stress tolerant (salt and drought) and sustainable turfgrasses for the Intermountain West, especially bluegrasses, wheatgrasses, and fine fescue species.

·         Organic golf course management in Utah

·         Drought Management, Utah--an interdisciplinary project studying climate, water storage in the mountains, runoff, and urban water use.

·         Turfgrass variety trials



Ph.D.  Horticulture, 1995, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota. Related field: Plant breeding. Thesis title: Genetics and Physiology of Flowering in Selected Poa annua L.

M.S.   Horticulture, 1991, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota. Thesis title: Factors affecting seed set of Poa annua  L. using an excised stem technique.

B.S.    Horticulture, 1986, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Options: Turfgrass Management; Science


Current Teaching Activities

·         PSC 3810: Turfgrass Management. Fall semester

·         PSC 4900: Prof. Turfgrass Management/Landscape Water Conservation. Spring semester


Current Graduate Student Advising:

·         Lijun Wang, M.S. Evaluation of Poa pratensis hybrids.

·         Yingmei Ma, M.S. Genetic and morphological variation of Fetuca ovina x F. idahoensis hybrids.

·         Hang Duong, M.S. Quantify drought mechanisms on turfgrass and Alder maritima.

·         Nisa Leksungnoen, PhD. A comparison of salt tolerance responses in grass and woody species.



Johnson, P.G., F.S. Rossi, and B.P. Horgan. 2012.Sustainable Turfgrass Management in an increasingly urbanized world. in Turfgrass. ASA/CSSA/SSSA Monograph. (in press). [Refereed]

Rosenberg, D.E., K. Kopp, H.A. Kratsch, L. Rupp, P.G. Johnson, and R. Kjelgren. 2011. Value landscape engineering: identifying costs, water use, labor, and impacts to support landscape choice. J. Amer. Water Res. Assoc. (in press).

Slavens, M.R., P.G. Johnson, and B. Bugbee. 2011. Irrigation; frequency differentially alters vegetative growth and seed head development of Poa annua L. biotypes. Crop Science 51:(in press).

Kilgren, D., J. Endter-Wada, R. Kjelgren, and P.G. Johnson. 2010. Implementing landscape water conservation in public school settings: A case study for situational problem solving. J. Amer. Water Res. Assoc. 46:1205-1220.

Robins, J.G., B.S. Bushman, B.L. Waldron and P.G. Johnson. 2009. Variation within Poa germplasm for salinity tolerance. HortScience 44:1517-1521.

Van Dyke, A. and P.G. Johnson. 2009. Buffalograss tolerance to post-emergence herbicides in the Intermountain West. Applied Turfgrass Science (online) doi:10.1094/ATS-2009-0312-01-BR.

Van Dyke, A., P.G. Johnson, and P.R. Grossl. 2009. Influence of humic acid on water retention and nutrient acquisition in simulated golf putting greens. Soil Use and Management 25:255-261.

Bunderson, L.D., P.G. Johnson, K.L. Kopp, and A. Van Dyke. 2009. Tools for evaluating native grasses as low maintenance turf. HortTechnology 19:626-632.

Kelley, A.M., P.G. Johnson, B.L. Waldron, and M.D. Peel. 2009. A survey of apomixis and ploidy levels among Poa L. (Poaceae) using flow cytometry. Crop Science 45:1395-1402.

Johnson, P.G. 2008. Native grasses as drought tolerant turfgrasses for the future. p. 619-640. In Handbook of Turfgrass Management and Physiology (ed. M. Pessarakli),.CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL.

Van Dyke, A., P.G. Johnson, and P.R. Grossl. 2008. Humic substances effect on moisture retention and phosphorous uptake in Intermountain West putting greens. Applied Turfgrass Science (online) doi:10.1094/ATS-2008-1006-01-RS.

Robins, J.G., B.L. Waldron, and P.G. Johnson . (2007) Potential for the improvement of turf quality in crested wheatgrass for low-maintenance conditions. HortScience. 42(7):1526-1529.

Johnson, P.G., S.R. Larson, A.L. Anderton, J.T. Patterson, D.J. Cattani, and E.K. Nelson. 2006. Pollen-mediated gene flow from Kentucky bluegrass under cultivated field conditions. Crop Science 46:1990-1997. [doi:10.2135/cropsci2005.09.0316] [UAES Paper No. 7746]

Hanks, J.D., P.G. Johnson, and B.L. Waldron. 2006. Recommended seeding rates for reduced maintenance, turf-type wheatgrasses. Online. Applied Turfgrass Science doi:10.1094/ats-2006-0808-01-rs]. [UAES Paper No. 7697]

Chang, S.W., E. Scheef, R.A.B. Abler, S. Thomson, P.G. Johnson, and G. Jung. 2006. Distribution of Typhula spp. and Typhula ishkariensis varieties in Wisconsin, Utah, Michigan, and Minnesota. Phytopathology 96:926-933. [doi: 10.1094/phyto-96-0926]

J.D. Hanks, B.L. Waldron, P.G. Johnson, K.B. Jensen, and K.H. Asay. 2005. Breeding CWG-R crested wheatgrass for reduced-maintenance turf. Crop Science 45:524-528.

Patterson, J.T., S.R. Larson, and P.G. Johnson. 2005. Genome relationships in polyploid Poa pratensis and other Poa species inferred from phylogenetic analysis of nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequences. Genome 48:76-87.

J.R. Stewart, R. Kjelgren, and P.G. Johnson. 2005. Growth and water relations of littleleaf linden trees established in irrigated buffalograss and Kentucky bluegrass. HortScience 40:1529-1533.

Shearman, R.C., T.P. Riordan, and P.G. Johnson. 2004. ‘Buffalograss’ in Warm-season grasses. pg 1003-1026. ASA/CSSA/SSSA Monograph No. 45. Madison, Wisconsin. [Refereed]

K. W. Frank, R. E. Gaussoin, T. P. Riordan, R. C. Shearman, J. D. Fry, E. D. Miltner, and P.G. Johnson. 2004. Nitrogen Rate and Mowing Height Effects on Turf-Type Buffalograss. Crop Sci. 44: 1615-1621.

Stewart, J. R., Kjelgren, R., Johnson, P.G. Johnson, and Kuhns, M. R. 2004. Soil-water-use characteristics of precision-irrigated buffalograss and Kentucky bluegrass. Online. Applied Turfgrass Science doi:10.1094/ATS-2004-1118-01-RS.

Brewer, H., J. Vinsonhaler, and P.G. Johnson. 2004. A study of two methods of delivery computer aided diagnostic assistance for turfgrass problems on the web. Issues in Information Systems. 5:43-48.

Dewey, D.W., P.G. Johnson, and R.K. Kjelgren. 2004. Species composition changes in a rooftop grass and wildflower meadow: Implications for designing successful mixtures. Native Plants Journal. 5:57-65.

Shearman, R.C., T.P. Riordan, and P.G. Johnson. 2004. ‘Buffalograss’ in Warm-season grasses. pg 1003-1026. ASA/CSSA/SSSA Monograph No. 45. Madison, Wisconsin.

Dewey, D.W., P.G. Johnson, and R.K. Kjelgren. 2006. Drought tolerant grass/wildflower mixtures for the Intermountain West. Native Plants Journal 7(3):267-278.

Johnson, P.G. and M.B. Winger. 2003. The Carbon County Ball Fields. J. Nat. Res. Life Sci. Edu. 32:80-86.

Johnson, P.G. 2003. Mixtures of buffalograss and fine fescue or streambank wheatgrass as a low maintenance turf. HortScience 38:1214-1217.

Johnson, P.G., R.T. Koenig, and K.L. Kopp. 2003. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium responses and requirements in calcareous sand greens. Agronomy Journal 95:697-702.

Maurer, M.A., D.A. Auld, C.L. Murphy, C.B. McKenney, P.G. Johnson, and K.E. Kenworthy. 2002. Evaluation of twenty-six buffalograss cultivars and accessions for use as turfgrass on the high plains of West Texas. Texas J. of Ag. and Nat. Res. 14:24-36.

Johnson, P.G. and T.P. Riordan. 2001. Unbalanced chromosome number and inbreeding effects on fertility and plant vigor in buffalograss. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 9:176-179.

Johnson, P.G., K.E. Kenworthy, D.L. Auld, and T.P. Riordan. 2001. Distribution of buffalograss polyploid variation in the southern Great Plains. Crop Science 41:909-913.

Vinsonhaler, J.F. and P.G. Johnson. 2001. TurfDoctor: A web-based expert system for turfgrass problem diagnosis and treatment. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 9:115-119.

Johnson, P.G., T.P. Riordan, and J. Johnson-Cicalese. 2000. Low mowing tolerance in buffalograss. Crop Science 40:1339-1343

Johnson, P.G., T. P. Riordan, R. E. Gaussoin and R. C. Shearman, J. Johnson-Cicalese, F. B. Baxendale, R. V. Klucas. 1999. Registration of '61' buffalograss. Crop Sci. 40:569-570.

Riordan, T.P., R. E. Gaussoin, R. C. Shearman, P.G. Johnson, J. Johnson-Cicalese, F. B. Baxendale,  R. V. Klucas. 1999. Registration of ‘118’ buffalograss. Crop Sci. 40:570-571.

Johnson-Cicalese, J., P.G. Johnson, T.P. Riordan, R. E. Gaussoin, F.B. Baxendale, J. Watkins, and R.V.  Klucas. 1999. Registration of '120' buffalograss. Crop Sci. 40:571-572.

Johnson, P.G., T.P. Riordan, and V. Meier. 1999. Review of issues pertaining to transgenic turfgrasses. HortScience 34:594-598.

Quemada, H., J. Antonovics, D. Gurian-Sherman, P.G. Johnson, N. Neal, T. Riordan, J. Turner, and J. Wipff. 1999. Report of the turfgrasses working group; in Proceedings of the Workshop on Ecological Effects of Pest Resistance Genes in Managed Ecosystems; Jan. 31 – Feb. 3, 1999, Bethesda, MD.

Johnson, P.G., K. Arumuganathan, and T.P. Riordan. 1998 Chromosome number an nuclear DNA content of buffalograss clones and populations. Crop Science 38:478-482.

Johnson, P.G., D.B. White. 1998. Inheritance of flowering pattern among four annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.) genotypes. Crop Science 38:163-168.

Johnson, P.G. and D.B. White. 1997. Vernalization requirements among selected genotypes of annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.). Crop Science 37:1538-1542.

Johnson, P.G., D.B. White. 1997. Flowering responses of selected annual bluegrass.(Poa annua L.) under different photoperiod and cold treatments. Crop Science 37:1543-1547.

Klingenberg, J.P., P.G. Johnson, and T.P. Riordan. 1997. Registration of ‘Tatanka’ buffalograss. Crop Science 37:1772-1773.

Johnson, P.G., T.P. Riordan, R. Gaussoin, D. Schwarze, and K. Kerner. 1997. Vegetative establishment of buffalograss with plugs: Method and management.  International Turfgrass Society  Research Journal, 8:467-476.

T.P. Riordan, P.G. Johnson, R. Gaussoin, and J.F. Svoboda. 1997. Seedling germination and establishment of buffalograss caryopses vs burs. International Turfgrass Society  Research Journal, 8:749-756.

Riordan, T.P., S. Fei, P.G. Johnson, and P.E. Read. 1997. Plant breeding, plant regeneration, and flow cytometry in buffalograss. p. 183-194. In Turfgrass Biotechnology: Cell and Molecular Genetic Approaches to Turfgrass Improvement. M.B. Sticklen & M.P. Kenna eds. Ann Arbor Press. Chelsea, Michigan.

Johnson, P.G., B.A. Ruemmele, D.B. White, P. Velguth, and P.D. Ascher. 1993. Observation on the reproductive biology in Poa annua L. In Proceedings of the Seventh International Turfgrass Conference. p. 798-804.