Joseph Roberts

Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Pathology and Nematology
Extension Specialist
Horticulture Program Team, Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, PeeDee Research and Education Center

Office: 123 Pitner Center, Pee Dee Research and Education
Phone: 843-519-0492


 Educational Background

Ph.D. Plant Pathology
North Carolina State University 2014

M.S. Plant Biology and Pathology
Rutgers University 2009

B.A. Chemistry
North Carolina State University 2007

B.S. Biological Sciences
North Carolina State University 2007


I am the state turfgrass pathologist for South Carolina with a faculty appointment of 70% Extension and 30% Research. My tenure home is within the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences and I am located at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence, SC. My extension activities include organization and participation in educational programs offered as turfgrass research field days, regional and national organization conferences and trade shows, reports in trade publications and in online outlets, and diagnosis of disease and nematode issues in turfgrasses. Research in my program is centered on innovative strategies to limit turfgrass and crop loss from plant pathogens including fungi, bacteria, and nematodes. Fungal pathogens are prominent pests of many grass hosts, yet nematode and bacterial disease issues have increased in recent years, illustrating the need for research across the entire microbial community or “microbiome.” Our microbiome research is designed to understand both plant-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions. Improved understanding will enhance disease etiology, management recommendations, and possibly identify new beneficial microbes for enhancing turfgrass health. Research trials are performed yearly to examine cultural and chemical management of diseases commonly observed in the state and region.


1. Beckley, C.J. and J.A. Roberts. 2021. Utilizing organic amendments for general suppression of dollar spot on creeping bentgrass turf. Int. Turf Soc. Res. J. 1-16.

2. Doherty, J.R., Crouch, J.A., and J.A. Roberts. 2020. Elucidating the influence of resident seed and soil microbiota on the developing creeping bentgrass microbiome. Agrosyst Geosci Environment. 2020:00-00. doi:

3. Roberts, J.A., Ma, B., Tredway, L., Ritchie, D. and J. Kerns. 2017. Identification and pathogenicity of bacteria associated with etiolation and decline of creeping bentgrass golf course putting greens. Phytopathology 108:23-30. doi:10.1094/PHYTO-01-17-0015-R.

4. Doherty, J.R., M. Botti-Marino, J.P. Kerns, and J.A. Roberts. 2017. Response of phyllosphere associated microbial populations in creeping bentgrass to periodic fungicide applications. Plant Health Progress 18:44-49. doi:10.1094/PHP-RS-16-0067.

5. Crouch, J. Z. Carter, A. Ismaiel, and J.A. Roberts. 2017. The U.S. Mall microbiome: a census of rhizosphere bacteria inhabiting landscape turf. Crop Science 57: S341-S348. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2016.10.0849.

6. Roberts, J.A., D.F. Ritchie, and J.P. Kerns. 2016. Plant Growth Regulator Effects on Bacterial Etiolation of Creeping Bentgrass Putting Green Turf Caused by Acidovorax avenae. Plant Disease 100(3):577-582. doi:10.1094/PDIS-04-15-0419-RE.

7. Roberts, J.A., J.P. Kerns, and D.F. Ritchie. 2015. Bacterial etiolation of creeping bentgrass as influenced by biostimulants and trinexapac-ethyl. Crop Protection 72:119-126. doi:10.1016/j.cropro.2015.03.009.

8. Roberts, J.A. and D.F. Ritchie. 2014. Influence of antimicrobial compounds on bacterial etiolation of creeping bentgrass caused by Xanthomonas translucens. Appl. T. Science 11:1-8. doi:ATS-2014-047-RS.

9. Roberts, J.A. and J.A. Murphy. 2014. Anthracnose Disease on Annual Bluegrass as Affected by Foot Traffic and Sand Topdressing. Plant Dis. 98(10):1321-25. doi:10.1094/PDIS-08-13-0877-RE.

10. Roberts, J.A., L.P. Tredway, and D.F. Ritchie. 2014. First report of Xanthomonas translucens causing etiolation on creeping bentgrass turf in IL, KY, and NC. Plant Dis. 98(6):839. doi:10.1094/PDIS-05-13-0565-PDN.

11. Roberts, J.A., J.C. Inguagiato, and J.A. Murphy. 2013. A Method to Evenly Apply Foot Traffic to Turf Plots. Int. Turf Soc. Res. J. 12:743-746.

12. Inguagiato, J.C., J.A. Murphy, B.B. Clarke, and J.A. Roberts. 2013. Topdressing sand particle shade and incorporation effects anthracnose severity of an annual bluegrass putting green. Int. Turf Soc. Res. J. 12:127-134.

13. Roberts, J.A., B.B. Clarke, and J.A. Murphy. 2012. Lightweight Rolling Effects on Anthracnose of Annual Bluegrass Putting Greens. Agron. J. 104(4):1176-1181.

14. Roberts, J.A., J.C. Inguagiato, B.B. Clarke, and J.A. Murphy. 2011. Irrigation management effects on anthracnose of annual bluegrass putting greens. Crop Sci. 51(3):1244-1252.

15. Roberts, J.A., and L.P Tredway. 2008. First report of curvularia blight of zoysiagrass caused by Curvularia lunata in the United States. Plant Dis. 92(1):173.