Honors Program

Project Presenters

Rachel Habegger

Title: “Comparison of Fertilizers on Turfgrass”

Major: Biology/History

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Jordan Marshall (Biology)

External Reviewers: Dr. Elliott Blumenthal (Biology) & Dr. George Mourad (Biology)

Honors Program Council Liaison:  Dr. Ann Livschiz (History)


Rachel Habegger is in her third year at IPFW where she has beenwith Dr. Jordan Marshallher first year.plans to graduate in the Spring of 2015 with Bachelor's degrees in Biology pre-med and History. She hopes to attend Indiana University Medical School in the Fall of 2015 and go on to a residency in Family practice or Pediatrics.


The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of three turfgrass fertilizers belonging to Pro Products (Formula 2, BioNatra+ and BioBuilder) in increasing above ground growth, coverage, and root depth of Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis). One of the focuses of Pro Products’ fertilizers is to use living organisms (bacteria and fungi) to improve the growth of turfgrass through soil development. In order to establish that this soil development occurs and contributes to turfgrass growth, Scott’s Natural Lawn Food fertilizer, a formulation without these organisms, was tested as well. Two hydroponic experiments failed to show an increase in shoot or root growth with the fertilizer treatments. The results of the field experiment using the company’s recommended watering frequency and patented irrigation system were that the unirrigated, unfertilized plots had more nitrogen and potassium than their fertilized counterparts. This suggests that the frequent irrigation leached nutrients from the soil out of the reach of the turfgrass.