Held at the University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research & Education Center in March, the 2009 South Florida Turf Expo yielded some interesting research information.

Graduate Student Neil Young explained his findings in a project that examines establishment of fairway height bermudagrass & seashore paspalum. Included in the study were SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum, Celebration Bermudagrass, TifSport Bermudagrass and TifWay Bermudagrass.

Young said the tests revealed that a 1N:0P:2K fertilizer mix worked best for SeaDwarf, noting that “high levels of phosphorus inhibit uptake of nitrate” in the paspalum. The bermudagrasses, by comparison, seemed to do best with a 1N:1P:4K rate.

“Root and shoot growth were not influenced by fertility treatments but inherent differences between grasses demonstrated SeaDwarf possesses the greatest shoot density,” Young said.

His findings, he said, explained some of the playability benefits of SeaDwarf in a golf course setting. “The ball sits up higher, we contribute that to the shoot density,” Young said. “Your members will love it.”

John Rowland presented the findings of a study he’s working on with several UF colleagues on the establishment of warm season putting green cultivars with various nitrogen/potassium fertilizer rates. In the study with TifDwarf and TifEagle bermudagrasses are SeaDwar® Seashore Paspalum and PristineFlora Zoysia.

Highlights of the research so far:

• PristineFlora Zoysia had the firmest surface and minimal mower scalping. Rowland said the

PristineFlora Zoysia is “very promising at greens height” because it is “tight” and “upright,” noting that its cold tolerance and shade tolerance are also positive benefits of the grass.

• Rhizoctonia Solani, which exists in the soil, was more severe in SeaDwarf at lower N rates. Rowland said this was a surprise because the general assumption is that more nitrogen would cause disease during grow-in. Rowland speculates that at higher rates of N, “faster growing SeaDwarf had less rhizoctonia because it was stronger to fight off” the disease.

• SeaDwarf and TifDwarf were fastest to establish in the test. SeaDwarf achieved 50% cover fastest with 0.75 and 1.0 lb./N/wk though there was no difference between 0.5, 0.75 and 1.0 lb. N/wk at 90% cover.

Rowland said the testing will continue this summer where an emphasis will be on drought tolerance and water use.

All four grasses were mowed as low as .110-inch during the study.


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