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Oklahoma State researchers announce two new turfgrass varieties

By |  May 26, 2022 0 Comments

Oklahoma State University (OSU) researchers released two new varieties of turfgrass, OKC1876 and OKC3920, which are crosses between common bermudagrass and African bermudagrass.

(Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services)

Yanqi Wu, Ph.D. (Photo: Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services)

The two turfgrass varieties were built for professional facilities such as country clubs and golf courses and are available for commercial use in the next two to four years.

OSU scientists found that OKC1876 exhibits high turfgrass quality, improves drought resistance, retains excellent fall color, reduces seedheads and wide adaptation in southern states.

“It is recommended for use on golf courses, lawns and other areas where high-quality turfgrass is needed and good management can be practiced in the southern states,” Yanqi Wu, Ph.D., plant and soil sciences professor and plant breeder said. Wu is a part of the research team that developed the new releases.

OKC3920, targeted for use on putting greens, shows improved freeze tolerance that is better than ultradwarf putting green bermudagrasses and it demonstrates high turfgrass quality comparable to ultradwarf cultivars — the current industry standard for warm-season greens-type turfgrass.

It has improved cold hardiness and some disease resistance compared to top varieties. Its genetic color and leaf texture were comparable to or better than the three popular commercial varieties — TifEagle, Tifdwarf and Mini Verde. Its density was comparable to the three commercial varieties in some states and better in others, and there was no significant damage caused to the plant by disease pathogens, insects or nematodes.

The cultivar also shows sufficient establishment characteristics, fine texture, early spring green-up, dark green color and ball roll distance approaching that of an ultradwarf bermudagrass. Researchers tested OKC3920 at 19 locations in 15 states.

“This grass is a scientific breakthrough because in the industry right now, concerning putting green bermudagrasses, we only have ultradwarf types and ultradwarfs do not have cold hardiness. OKC3920 has proven resistant to winterkill,” Wu said. “That is why this grass stands out so strongly. Winterhardiness has traditionally been a signature of our OSU turfgrass development program.”

Many steps still need to happen before OSU releases the cultivars in the sod market. The next step is achieving licensing with sod producers to distribute the product, a process OSU said has already begun. The expected initial market availability for the two varieties is in the 2023 growing season, with widespread availability expected around 2025.

Learn more about the new cultivars in Oklahoma State University’s full article.

This is posted in Industry News, Research

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