Fred Grau, agronomist and grass specialist, dies

December 07, 1990|By New York Times News Service

Memorial services for Fred V. Grau, an agronomist who developed a legume that is used widely to prevent soil erosion and beautify slopes alongside highways, will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the University of Maryland Memorial Chapel.

Mr. Grau died Dec. 1 of congestive heart failure at Prince George's Community Hospital in Cheverly. He was 88 and lived in College Park.

Mr. Grau who was born in Bennington, Neb., received a doctorate in 1935 from the University of Maryland. He was the founder of Grasslyn Inc. in State College, Pa., and commercialized crown vetch, a European perennial that is widely cultivated for its pink flowers and tenacious roots. His son, Fred V. Grau Jr., is president of Grasslyn.

Mr. Grau Sr. discovered the plant growing along a field in southern Pennsylvania and noticed that it held back other vegetation from overrunning the roadside. He developed a method of processing seed from the plant and made it commercially available.

He also helped develop zoysia varieties that require small amounts of water and fertilizer and are used on athletic fields.

He was a specialist in turf grasses and from 1945 to 1953 was director of the United States Golf Association Green Section.

Mr. Grau was an agricultural extension agent at Pennsylvania State University and was later with the Department of Agriculture's Beltsville Agricultural Research Station.

In addition to his son, Mr. Grau is survived by a daughter, Ellen Mentzer of Silver Spring; a sister, Edith Reynolds of Pensacola, Fla.; and six grandchildren.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.