Thomas W. Cook was a faculty member in the Oregon State University (OSU) Horticulture Department from 1977 until his retirement in 2008. Cook taught classes in turf and landscape maintenance leading to the horticulture degree option in turf management and directed the undergraduate internship program. He developed and maintained a five-acre practical field lab to support instruction in turf and landscape management, irrigation, and drainage. In addition, Cook was the OSU Extension Service Specialist for Turfgrass; in this role, he supported public and private entities engaged in turfgrass management as well as county extension programs. He prepared Extension Service publications for broad distribution, consulted on turfgrass projects, organized workshops, and coordinated the annual Field Day. Cook conducted applied research in turfgrass fertility, cultural practices, and pest management with an emphasis on regional issues, golf course turf problems, and general lawn care. He is credited with developing grass seed mixes needing less water and chemicals and also encouraged the use of native plants in landscaping around golf course fairways. In 2006, he received the Distinguished Service Award of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
A native of Washington, Cook earned a BS from Washington State University in 1972, majoring in agronomy and soils. He completed an MS in Plant and Soil Science at the University of Rhode Island in 1975, with a concentration on stress physiology. Cook worked as a Research Associate at Washington State University from 1975 to 1977, doing applied field research in turfgrass fertility, variety evaluation, cultural practices, and weed control.
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