Scott McElroy

Professor (Weed Science/Turf)

Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences

(334) 844-3992 


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Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • Ph.D., NC State University (Crop Science) (2003)
  • M.S., Auburn University (Agronomy and Soils) (2000)
  • B.S., Auburn University (Communication) (1998)


  • Alumni Professor, Auburn University, Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences (2017-present)
  • Professor, Auburn University, Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences (2014-2017)
  • Assistant Professor, Auburn University, Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences (2008-2014)
  • Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, Plant Sciences (2003-2007)
  • Graduate Research Assistant, NC State University, Crop Sciences (2001-2003)
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Auburn University, Agronomy & Soils (1998-2000)


  • Outstanding Faculty Member Award for the College of Agriculture, Selected by the Auburn University Student Government Association (2013)
  • Outstanding Instructor in Department of Agronomy and Soils, Selected by the Undergraduate Agronomy Club, Auburn University (2013)
  • Outstanding Early Career Weed Scientist, Weed Science Society of America, Baltimore, MD (2013)
  • Outstanding Young Weed Scientist, Southern Weed Science Society, San Juan, Puerto Rico (2011)
  • Director’s Research Award for Junior Faculty, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University (2009)
  • Outstanding Instructor in the Department of Agronomy and Soils, Selected by the Undergraduate Agronomy Club, Auburn University (2009, 2013)


  • Board Member, International Turfgrass Society (2017-present)
  • Executive board Member, European Turfgrass Society (International) (2012-2016)
  • Executive board Member, Southern Weed Science Society (2014-2016)


  • Bo Bi, PhD, Projected completion August 2020
  • Suma Basak, PhD, Projected completion December 2019
  • Claudia Ann Rutland, MS, Projected Completion May 2022
  • Eli Russell, MS, Projected Completion May 2021


  • Austin Brown, MS, August 2019
  • JD Student, Vanderbilt University
  • John Peppers, MS, December 2019
  • PhD candidate, Virginia Tech University
  • Clebson Gonsalves, MS, December 2019
  • Research Associate, Virginia Tech University
  • John Petrovsky, MS, May 2019
  • Golf Course Superintendent, New Jersey
  • Hui Zhang, PhD, August 2018
  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Auburn University
  • William Head, MS, May 2018
  • Field Manager, Mississippi State University
  • Ray Willett, MAg, May 2017
  • Horticulturalist, Auburn University Facilities
  • Philipe Aldahir, PhD, Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences (Auburn University), 2015
  • Research Scientist, Shaw Industries,
  • Shu Chen, PhD, Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences (Auburn University), 2015
  • Associate Professor, China Ocean University
  • James McCurdy, PhD, Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences (Auburn University), 2013
  • Assistant Professor, Mississippi State University
  • Jared Hoyle, Ph.D., Agronomy and Soils (Auburn University), 2012
  • Research and Agronomic Scientist, Corteva
  • Hunter Perry, PhD, Agronomy and Soils (Auburn University), 2011
  • Research and Development Scientist, Corteva
  • Mark Doroh, M.S., Agronomy and Soils (Auburn University), 2010
  • Scientist, Syngenta
  • Michael Flessner, M.S. (2010), PhD (2014), Agronomy and Soils (Auburn University)
  • Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech University
  • Dustin Lewis, M.S. Plant Sciences (University of Tennessee), 2009
  • Completed PhD at NC State University 2012
  • Research and Development Scientist, BASF
  • Steven Borst, M.S., Plant Sciences (University of Tennessee), 2008
  • Completed PhD at Louisiana State University
  • Global Compliance Manager, Alltech Crop Science
  • Matthew Cutulle, M.S., Plant Sciences (University of Tennessee), 2008
  • Completed PhD at Virginia Polytechnic and State University
  • Assistant Professor, Clemson University
  • James McCurdy, M.S. Plant Sciences (University of Tennessee), 2008; PhD Agronomy and Soils (Auburn University), 2014
  • Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Mississippi State University
  • Ethan Parker, M.S., Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences (Auburn), 2014
  • PhD at The University of Tennessee
  • Research Scientist, Syngenta Corp, Vero Beach, FL
  • Caleb Bristow, M.S. (co-advised with Guertal), Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences (Auburn), 2012
  • Executive Director, Alabama Peanut Producers



My research program has two major focuses:  1) evaluation of herbicides for use in turfgrass management, and, 2) weed genomics and herbicide resistance.  Synthetic herbicides are the most widely used method of weed control in turfgrass management.  New herbicides are being developed to replace older herbicides that have problems with environmental, human, and other non-target toxicity.  New herbicide chemistries have lower active ingredient use rates per area, are more targeted toward plant physiology, and have less chance of non-target contamination.  In general, I conduct research evaluating turfgrass species tolerance and effectiveness of herbicides in controlling major weeds in Alabama.  One specific research focus is controlling annual bluegrass in golf course turfgrass.  Annual bluegrass is one of the most problematic weeds in golf course turf, reducing aesthetic quality and playability.  New herbicides currently being tested could reduce triazine herbicide (atrazine, simazine) use, materials which have been implicated in amphibian reproductive malformations.  Also, research is focused on control of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon).  Bermudagrass, while an excellent turfgrass species, is also one of the state’s worst weeds in turfgrass and agriculture in general.  Bermudagrass control is difficult because few selective herbicides are available and control can take up to two to three years.  My research has focused on new chemical control measures for bermudagrass, alternative soil sterilization techniques, and the influence of non-chemical management practices.

The second focus of my research program is on weed genomics, specifically focusing on sequencing and assembling genes associated with herbicide resistance.  Identifying nucleic acid mutations and subsequent amino acid substitutions in herbicide target enzymes is a key component in herbicide resistance management.  Target-site amino acid substitutions can be correlated to various cross-resistance scenarios within herbicide families or modes of action.  In recent years, my lab has begun using next generation sequence (NGS), also referred to as massively parallel sequencing to avoid the many pitfalls of traditional PCR to sequencing approaches.  NGS using the Illumina platform sequences millions of nucleic acid sections, or reads, simultaneously leading to billions of sequenced bases in one sequencing run.  Sequencing reads of 100 to 200 base pair lengths can then be assembled using computational methods to form contiguous sequences, or contigs.  Since weed species are non-model organisms, most with no reference assemblies of key genes, my NGS approach provides a fast approach to resistance mechanism identification.  My lab has current collaborative projects with Clemson, Arkansas, and Georgia faculty to identify molecular mechanisms of resistance in weed species.


We have recently added an entire suite of research equipment available for both physiology and molecular biology research.

Advanced computer workstation including CLC Genomic Workbench for Next Gen Sequencing Analysis

  • StepOnePlus quantitative PCR system
  • Eppendorf Thermal Cycler
  • Standard DNA/RNA extraction equipment
  • Standard nucleic acid electrophoresis equipment
  • Licor 6400 Infrared Gas Analyzer with chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Chlorophyll Fluorescence Imaging System
  • Two portable fluorescence systems
  • Thermo Micropure Water Sterilization
  • Spectrophotoradiometer equipment
  • Licor light meter



  • CSES 3120/3123 — Principles of Weed Science
  • CSES 5160/5163 — Advanced Turfgrass Management
  • CSES 5200 — Applied Weed Science Technology
  • CSES 6200 — Applied Weed Science Technology
  • CSES 6160/6166 — Advanced Turfgrass Management
  • CSES 6960/6966 — Special Problems




  • (112) *Bi B, Wang Q, Coleman JJ, Porri A, Peppers JM, Patel JD, Betz M, Lerchl J, McElroy JS (2019) A novel mutation A212T in chloroplast protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO1) confers resistance to PPO inhibitor oxadiazon in Eleusine indica. Pest Manag. Sci. DOI:
  • (111)  *Hall ND, Zhang H, Mower JP, McElroy JS, Goertzen (2019) The mitochondrial genome of Eleusine indica and characterization of gene content within Poaceae.  Genome Biol. Evol. (In press, currently in early access)
  • (110)  Price AJ, Duzy L, McElroy JS, Li S (2019) Evaluation of organic spring cover crop termination practices to enhance rolling/crimping.  Agronomy 9:519. doi:10.3390/agronomy9090519
  • (109) Goncalves CG, McElroy JS, Peppers JM, Basak S, Fain GB, Li S (2019) Turfgrass-applied metsulfuron-methyl induces specific symptomology on non-target tree species.  Crop Forage Turfgrass Manage. 5:190006. doi:10.2134/cftm2019.01.0006
  • (108) Zhang H, Hall N, Goertzen LR, Chen CY, Peatman E, Patel J, McElroy JS (2019) Transcriptome analysis reveals unique relationships among Eleusine species and heritage of Eleusine coracana.  G3:Genes, Genomes, Genetics 9:2029-2036.
  • (107) Liu X, Bi B, Xu X, Li B, Tian S, Wang J, Zhang H, Wang G, Han Y, McElroy JS. (2019) Rapid identification of a candidate nicosulfuron sensitivity gene (Nss) in maize (Zea mays L.) via combining bulked segregant analysis and RNA-seq.  Theor. Appl. Gen. 132:1351-1361.
  • (106) Zhang H, Hall N, Goertzen LR, Bi B, Chen CY, Peatman E, Lowe EK, Patel J, McElroy JS (2019) Development of a goosegrass (Eleusine indica) draft genome and application to weed science research.  Pest Manag. Sci. DOI:
  • (105) Kerr RA, McCarty LB, Brown PJ, Harris J, McElroy JS (2019) Immediate irrigation improves turfgrass safety to postemergence herbicides. HortSci 54:353-356.
  • (104) Basak S, McElroy JS, Brown AM, Goncalves CG, Patel JD, McCullough PE (2019) Plastic ACCase Ile-1781-Leu is present in pinoxaden-resistant southern crabgrass (Digitaria ciliaris).  Weed Sci. DOI:


  • (103)  Price AJ, Williams JP, Duzy LA, McElroy JS, Guertal EA, Li S (2018) Effects of integrated polyethylene and cover crop mulch, conservation tillage, and herbicide application on weed control, yield, and economic returns in watermelon
  • (102)  Ravet K, Patterson EL, Krahmer H, Hamouzova K, F L, Jasieniuk M, Lawton-Rauh A, Malone JM, McElroy JS, Merotto Jr A, Westra P, Preston C, Vila-Aiub MM, Busi R, Tranel PJ, Reinhardt C, Saski C, Beffa R, Neve P, Gaines TA (2018) The power and potential of genomics in weed biology and management.  Pest Manag. Sci. 74: 2216-2225.
  • (101) Braun RC, Hoyle JA, Reeves JA, Flessner ML, McElroy JS (2018) Design and construction of mowing track for turfgrass experimentation in greenhouses.  Agron. J. 110:11870-1183.
  • (100) Guertal EA, McElroy JS (2018) Soil type and phosphorus fertilization affect Poa annua growth and seedhead production.  Agron. J. 110:2165-2170.


  • (99) Flessner ML, McElroy JS, McCurdy JD (2017) Annual bluegrass (Poa annua) control with methiozolin and nutrient tank-mixtures.  Weed Technol. 31:675-681.
  • (98) McElroy JS, Head WB, Wehtje GR, Spak D (2017) Identification of goosegrass (Eleusine indica) biotypes resistant to preemergence-applied oxadiazon. Weed Technol. 31:765-681
  • (97) Patton AJ, Trappe JM, Doroh MC, McElroy JS (2017) Evaluation of herbicides and their tank-mixes for suppression of bermudagrass in zoysiagrass.  Inter. Turf. Soc. Res. J. 13:716-722.
  • (96) Zhang H, Hall N, McElroy JS, Lowe EK, Goertzen LR (2017) Complete plastid genome sequence of goosegrass (Eleusine indica) and comparison with other Poaceae. Gene 600: 36-43.


  • (95) Tehranchian P, Norsworthy JK, Korres NE, McElroy S, Chen S, Scott RC (2016) Resistance to aryloxyphenoxypropionate herbicides in Amazon sprangletop: Confirmation, control, and molecular basis of resistance.  Pesticide Biochem. Physiol. 133:79-84.
  • (94) McCullough PE, Yu J, McElroy JS, Chen S, Zhang H, Grey TL, Czarnota MA (2016) ALS-resistant annual sedge (Cyperus compressus) confirmed in turfgrass.  Weed Technol. 64: 33-41.
  • (93) Svyantek AW, Aldahir P, Chen S, Flessner ML, McCullough PE, Sidhu SS, McElroy JS (2016) Target and non-target resistance mechanisms induce annual bluegrass (Poa annua) resistance to atrazine, amicarbazone, and diuron. Weed Technol. 30:773-782.
  • (92) Grossi N, Fontanelli M, Garramone E, Peruzzi A, Raffaelli M, Pirchio M, Martelloni L, Frasconi C, Caturegli L, Gaetani M, Magni S, McElroy JS, Volterrani (2016) Autonomous mower saves energy and improves quality of tall fescue lawns. HortTechnol. 26:825-830.
  • (91) McCullough PE, McElroy S, Yu J, Zhang H, Miller T, Chen S, Johnston C, Czarnota M (2016) ALS-Resistant spotted spurge (Chamaesyce maculata) confirmed in Georgia.  Weed Sci. 64:216-222.
  • (90) *Chen S, McElroy JS, Dane F, Goertzen LR (2016) Transcriptome assembly and comparison of an allotetraploid weed species, annual bluegrass, with its two diploid progenitor species, Poa supina Schrad and Poa infirma Kunth. Plant Genome doi: 10.3835/plantgenome2015.06.0050
  • (89) *McCurdy JD, McElroy JS, Flessner ML, Hoyle J, Parker E (2015) Tolerance of three trifolium species to common herbicides. Weed Technol. doi:


  • (88) *McCurdy JD, McElroy JS, Flessner ML (2015) Common lespedeza (Kummerowia striata) control within maintained centipedegrass turf.  Crop, Forage, and Turfgrass Management doi:10.2134/cftm2015.0140
  • (87) *Aldahir PCF, McElroy JS, Flessner ML, Baird JH, Magni S, Grossi N, Lulli F, Volterrani M (2015) Cultural and chemical practices for quality improvement of overseeded bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. X C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] and annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.) suppression. J. Environ. Hort. 33:7-14.
  • (86) *Parker, E.T., G.R. Wehtje, J.S. McElroy, M.L. Flessner, and P. Panizzi. 2015.  Physiological basis for differential selectivity of four grass species to aminocyclopyrachlor.  Weed Sci. 63: 788-798.
  • (85) Tehranchian, P, D.S. Riar, J.K. Norsworthy, V. Nandula, S. McElroy, S. Chen, and R.C. Scott. 2015. ALS-resistant smallflower umbrella sedge (Cyperus difformis) in Arkansas rice: physiological and molecular basis of resistance.  Weed Sci. 63:561-568.
  • (84) *Flessner, M.L., J.S. McElroy, J.D. McCurdy, J.M. Toombs, G.R. Wehtje, C.H. Burmester, A.J. Price, and J.T. Ducar. 2015. Glyphosate resistant horseweed (Conyza Canadensis) control with dicamba in Alabama. Weed Technol. 29: 633-640.
  • (83) Cross, R.B., Bridges, W.C. Bridges, Jr., L.B. McCarty, and J.S. McElroy.  2015 Evaluating annual bluegrass herbicide resistance evolution in golf course fairways.  Weed Technol. 29:488-500.
  • (82) Cross, R.B., L.B. McCarty, N. Tharayil, J.S. McElroy, S. Chen, P.E. McCullough, B.A. Powell, W.C. Bridges, Jr.  2015. A Pro106 substitution is associated with resistance to glyphosate in annual bluegrass. Weed Sci. 63:613-622.
  • (81) *Chen, S., J.S. McElroy, F. Dane, E. Peatman.  2015.  Optimizing transcriptome assemblies for leaf and seedling by combining multiple assemblies from three de novo assemblers.  The Plant Genome doi: 10.3835/plantgenome2014.10.0064
  • (80) Cross, R.B., L.B. McCarty, J.S. McElroy, N. Tharayil, W.C. Bridges, Jr. 2015.  Comparison of enzyme and growth characteristics in ALS-inhibitor susceptible and resistant annual bluegrass biotypes.  Weed Sci. 63:220-228.