Jeffrey F Derr


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 maintenance.  I also conduct research on improved methods of controlling invasive species, including 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.

Through my research program, I evaluated the integration of nonchemical and chemical control strategies for doveweed, one of the newest invasive plant species in container nursery production. I evaluated control measures for chamberbitter, phyllanthus, and mulberryweed, three of the newest invasive weeds to infest nursery and landscape plantings in Virginia. Control strategies for yellow nutsedge, an aggressive weed in container and field nursery production as well as landscape maintenance was investigated.

I also oversee cultivar evaluation trials in bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass at the research station in conjunction with Dr. Mike Goatley and Dr. Erik Ervin in Blacksburg.  I am conducting other turf projects at the station, including drought tolerance in perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass, and compost plus microclover addition to bermudagrass.

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 9 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, 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.


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.


  • Professor of Weed Science, Hampton Roads Ag. Res. and Ext. Center (HRAREC), 1999-present.
  • Associate Professor of Weed Science, HRAREC, 1990-1999.
  • Visiting Scientist, Rutgers University, 1996-1997.
  • Assistant Professor of Weed Science, Hampton Roads Ag. Roads Ag. Res. and Ext. Center, (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 

  • 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
  • 2006 Outstanding Extension Publication Award. American Society for Horticultural Science. Joseph C. Neal and Jeffrey F. Derr
  • 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

Jeffrey Derr
  • Hampton Roads AREC
    1444 Diamond Springs Road
    Virginia Beach, VA 23455-3315