NC State University releases Sola, a new St. Augustinegrass

By |  August 18, 2022 0 Comments

North Carolina State University’s (NC State) turfgrass breeding and genetics program, under the direction of Susana Milla-Lewis, Ph.D., released Sola St. Augustinegrass. The grass, which has been evaluated over the past 11 years, had its much-anticipated name revealed at NC State’s 2022 Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Field Day held on Aug. 10.

“This is an exciting day for everyone involved in the research and development of this new St. Augustinegrass cultivar. I am hopeful both growers and consumers appreciate Sola for its many improved characteristics and overall turf quality,” Milla-Lewis said.

Photo: Sod Solutions

Photo: Sod Solutions

Sola is the second cultivar to be released from Milla-Lewis’ breeding program within the past year. Lobo Zoysiagrass was released in November 2021. Select N.C. sod producers, turfgrass research, development and marketing company Sod Solutions as well as the North Carolina Sod Producers Association (NC SPA) helped support the development of these grasses by teaming up to form Turf Research North Carolina (TRNC) in 2016.

Sola follows in the footsteps of the long-standing cultivar Raleigh St. Augustinegrass from NC State and adds a number of improvements including aggressive growth, shade tolerance, drought tolerance and superior sod strength in combination with turf quality. While comparable to Raleigh’s cold tolerance, Sola possesses better resistance to chinch bugs and gray leaf spot.

Growers made financial contributions over a six-year period to fund research and development of Lobo, Sola and other turfgrasses yet to come out of the program. All NC SPA participating growers contributing to the program will have exclusive access to the grasses when they are released. Sola St. Augustine will be exclusively licensed through Sod Solutions for commercial production and marketing.

“This is a monumental day for the turfgrass industry. Dr. Milla-Lewis and her team have put in years of research and hard work towards this new St. Augustinegrass cultivar. We are thrilled to be a part of this process and cannot wait to see the success of Sola in the marketplace for years to come,” Tobey Wagner, president of Sod Solutions, said.

Milla-Lewis said up next for NC State’s Turfgrass breeding and genetics program will be a new centipedegrass cultivar.

This is posted in Industry News

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