A Rock-Hard Turf Question

By |  October 30, 2012

Being in Dr. Ken Diesburg’s turf classes at the University of Illinois-Urbana can be hard. Rock hard. Hard as concrete.

Diesburg says his favorite question to pose to students — requiring an essay answer — is, “It is claimed that turfgrass can be grown on concrete. How would you accomplish such a feat?”


The answer is given after Diesburg has presented to the students the environmental parameters needed for plant growth.  Here’s how it can be done.

“They would need a textured concrete, like a sidewalk has, to catch the seed,” Diesburg starts.

“By supplying a continuous trickle of nutrient solution, and the capillary properties of water spreading it across the concrete plane, the seed would get plenty of moisture, oxygen, light and nutrients. Assuming the temperature is within the cardinal range for the species, the seed would germinate and form soilless sod over the subsequent month,” he says. If that was your answer, give yourself an A+.

“One point, here, is that perennial grasses don’t need a particulate media to hold them upright,” Diesburg notes. “Their leafy canopy holds itself upright very well. Soilless bentgrass sod for sale is grown in such a way.”

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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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