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Jeffrey Derr

  • Professor of Weed Science
Jeffrey Derr
Hampton Roads AREC, Virginia Tech
1444 Diamond Springs Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23455


Ph.D. Horticulture/Weed Science, North Carolina State University, 1984.

M.S. Horticulture/Weed Science, North Carolina State University, 1981.

B.S. Horticulture, The Pennsylvania State University, 1979.


  • Director, Hampton Roads Ag. Res. and Ext. Center (HRAREC), 2018-present.
  • Professor of Weed Science, HRAREC, 1999-present.
  • Associate Professor of Weed Science, HRAREC, 1990-1999.
  • Visiting Scientist, Rutgers University, 1996-1997.
  • Assistant Professor of Weed Science, HRAREC, 1988-1990.  Dept. of Plant Path., Physiol. & Weed Sci. (PPWS) 1984-1988.
  • Research Assistant, Dept. Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University. 1979-1984.    

Selected Major Awards 

  • 2017. R.D. Cake/Silver Tray Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to the Virginia Turfgrass Industry, Virginia Turfgrass Council.
  • 2013. Completed LEAD21 Leadership training for the 21st century.
  • 2012 Fellow, Weed Science Society of America
  • 2012 Award for Excellence in Applied Research, College of Ag. and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • 2008-2009 President, Weed Science Society of America
  • 2008 Distinguished Member, Northeastern Weed Science Society
  • 2005 Distinguished Service Award, Tidewater Turfgrass Association
  • 2003 Virginia Turfgrass Council Award for significant contribution to the orderly growth and development of the Council and the Virginia Turfgrass Industry
  • 2001-2002 President, Northeastern Weed Science Society

Program Focus

My responsibilities are to develop weed management strategies for horticultural crops through innovative research and to incorporate such findings into a statewide extension program.   I also oversee the turfgrass evaluation program at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Current Projects

I evaluate new strategies for weed control in container and field nursery production, tree and small fruit production, and in turfgrass and ornamental landscape maintenance.  I also conduct research on improved methods of controlling invasive species, including Japanese stiltgrass, bamboo, Phragmites, and English ivy.  I evaluate the weed control effectiveness of nonchemical methods, especially mulches, landscape fabrics, and black plastic, for weed control in landscape maintenance.  I also evaluate reduced-risk herbicides for preemergence and postemergence weed control, comparing experimental chemicals to currently used products by the industry.  I also oversee evaluation trials in bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustine, tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass at the research station in conjunction with Dr. Mike Goatley.

Program Focus

I am responsible for weed management recommendations for a diverse clientele, including tree fruit, small fruit, Christmas tree, greenhouse, and nursery producers. I also provide weed management information to commercial landscape maintenance firms and lawn care professionals and develop the weed management recommendations for home fruit and vegetable production and landscape maintenance.

Current Projects

Improved weed management in horticultural crops – I train growers, extension agents, and master gardeners on the use of nonchemical and chemical control options. Attendees learn the benefits of nonchemical weed control options, resulting in fewer pesticide applications to lawns, landscape bed, and in production areas. Practitioners utilizing the results from my integrated research and extension program will increase the effective use of nonchemical weed control measures. This will result in a decrease in unnecessary pesticide applications. I utilize my research to update the Tree Fruit Guide and 10 sections of the Pest Management Guides. I presented current recommendation on weed management using IPM strategies at short courses, in-service training sessions, and at field day presentations. Results are also disseminated through preparation of manuals, trade journal articles, newsletter articles, and website articles.

Weed identification training - Weed identification is a critical first step when developing a management program. Due to the shipment of ornamental plants from across the country, new weed species are frequently introduced into Virginia. Growers and landscapers need identification tools so that they can be proactive in eradicating infestations of new weed species. I train individuals in the identification of common and troublesome weed species in the maintenance of lawns and landscape beds. I develop displays containing over 50 weed species that are grown in pots and maintained at the Hampton Roads AREC. These living specimens are then utilized at the Virginia Turfgrass field day in Blacksburg, at the Hampton Roads AREC Turfgrass field day and at extension programs across Virginia. The specimens are identified to genus and species and identification characteristics are demonstrated at these programs. I also presented techniques for identifying the most common and the most aggressive weed species in horticultural crop
production and landscape maintenance at workshops and short courses.

  • Derr, J.F., J.C. Neal, and P. C. Bhowmik. 2020. Herbicide resistance in the nursery crop production and landscape maintenance industries.  Weed Technology (In press).
  • Liu, D., J.B. Samtani,C. S. Johnson, D.M. Butler, and J. Derr. 2020. Weed control assessment of various carbon sources for anaerobic soil disinfestation. Int. J. Fruit Science.
  • Payne, G., J. Evans, J. Derr, and E. Murdock.  2019. Japanese siltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) germination pattern and its impact on control strategies. J. Environ. Hort. 37(3):101–107.
  • Cutulle, M., J.F. Derr, D. McCall, A. Nichols, and B. Horvath. 2018. Impact of mowing height and nitrogen fertility on crabgrass cover in ‘RTF’ tall fescue. J. Environ. Hort. 36(3):104-107.
  • Rana, A. and J. F. Derr. 2018. Responses of Ten Weed Species to Microwave Radiation Exposure as Affected by Plant Size. J. Environ. Hort. 36(1):14–20.
  • Rana, A. and  J.F. Derr. 2017. Determining the Microwave Radiations Exposure Level Needed for Weed Control Using a Stationary and Running Belt Microwave Radiations Applicator System. Journal of Environmental Horticulture, 35(2):58-65.
  • Robertson, L.andJ.F. Derr. 2017. Dimethenamid persistance and leaching in a soilless mix. Journal of Environmental Horticulture, 35(3), 99-102.
  • Samtani, J. B., Derr, J., Conway, M. A., & Flanagan, R. D. 2017. Evaluating Soil Solarization for Weed Control and Strawberry (Fragaria xananassa) Yield in Annual Plasticulture Production. Weed Technology 31(3):455-463.
  • Derr, J. F., & Serensits, T. 2016. Impact of Application Temperature on Broadleaf Herbicide Efficacy. J. Environ. Hort. 34(4:123-130.
  • Derr, J., L. Robertson, and E. Watson. 2015. Leaching behavior of two pendimethalin formulations in a soilless growing medium. Weed Science 63:555-560.
  • Cutulle M., J. Derr, D. McCall, A. Nichols, B. Horvath, and T. Sanchez. 2015. Evaluation of chitinase activity in tall fescue cultivars inoculated with Rhizoctonia solani. J. Environ. Hort. 33(4):143-147.
  • Cutulle M., J. Derr, D. McCall, A. Nichols, and B. Horvath. 2014. Effect of mowing height and fertility on bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) encroachment and brown patch severity in tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum), Weed Technology 28:225-232.