Ryan Daddio spent his summer vacation giving diseases to fields of grass.
And separating varieties for cloning in search of disease- and pest-resistant strains. He knows all about dollar spot, billbugs and the fungus that causes brown patch.
He can tell you all about tall fescue, a durable type of turfgrass with slightly serrated edges bred to develop better underground stems and grow more dense and widespread.
“I’ve always been interested in plants,” said Daddio, a Nonnewaug High School senior in the agri-science program from Beacon Falls. “I just like watching them flower. A sense of accomplishment. The fact you can keep it alive is a great feeling.”