Joseph Vargas, Ph.D.

Joseph Vargas

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Professor - Fungicide resistance; disease management; biological control; chemical control and breeding; epidemiology.
Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences



B.S., University of Rhode Island
M.S., Oklahoma State University, Plant Pathology
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Plant Pathology

We focus on turfgrass disease management by chemical, biological, and genetic means.  We have discovered and registered a Pseudomonas bacterium for biological control of turfgrass diseases and are currently trying to expand its use into other areas.  We have developed turfgrass disease preditiction models for three turfgrass diseases and are currently modifying them under field conditions.  We have an active turfgrass disease breeding program to develop disease resistant creeping bentgrass cultivars.

Classes taught:

  • PLP 362, Turfgrass Diseases
  • PLP 885, Plant Diseases in the Field 

Extension and outreach activities:

  • Michigan State University Turfgrass Conference
  • Michigan State University Turfgrass Field Day
  • Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Other turfgrass conferences around the world

Websites of Interest:

Recent publications:

  1. Turgeon, A.J. and J.M. Vargas Jr. 2005.  The Turf Problem Solver. John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ. p. 246.
  2. Vargas, J.M. Jr. 2004.  Management of Turfgrass Diseases.  John Wiley and Sons.  Hoboken, NJ. p. 322.
  3. Vargas, J.M., Jr. and A.J. Turgeon. 2003.  Poa annua: Physiology, Culture and Control of Annual Bluegrass. John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ. p. 165.
  4. Chai, B., Maqbool, S.B., Hajela, R.K., Green, D., Vargas Jr., J.M., Warkentin, D., Sabsikar, R., Sticklen, M.B. 2002.  Cloning of a chitinase-liek cDNA (hs2), its transfer to creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds) and development of brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani) disease resistant transgenic lines.  Plant Science 163:183-193.
  5. Powell, J.F. and J.M. Vargas Jr. 2001.  Vegetative compatibility and seasonal variation among isoltes of Sclerotinia homoeocarpa.  Plant Dis. 85(4):377-381.
  6. Powell, J.F., J.M. Vargas Jr., M.G. Nair, A.R. Detweiler, and A. Chandra. 2000.  Management of dollar spot on creeping bentgrass with metabolites of Pseudomonas auerofaciens (TX-1)  Plant Dis. 84:19-24.
  7. Liu, C.A. H. Zong, J.Vargas, D. Penner, and M. Sticklen. 1998.  Prevention of fungal diseases in transgenic bialaphos and glufosinate-resistant creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris). Weed Science 46:139-146