What’s new? Maybe zoysia greens

By |  February 8, 2018 0 Comments

What’s new, what’s new? You hear it asked by just about everybody at GIS every year. Well, this year, how about something that’s been virtually unheard of until now? That would be the first hybrid zoysia grass bred for golf course greens.

On Tuesday of this week, Team Zoysia played host to the “Zoysia and the Future of Golf Tour” at Bladerunner Farms, located just south of San Antonio in Poteet, Texas. The tour focused, according to the company, “on a scientific breakthrough in zoysiagrass breeding and research” that promises to change the way golf courses are grassed.

Zoysia, touted for years as a “sustainable” grass family (because of low-water needs, low inputs and lower maintenance costs) has been a subject of speculation because of its color and playability on fairways and tees. But a new variety bread especially for golf greens is ready for inspection at Team Zoysia’s trade show booth.

The hybrid, which just this week was named Tambika for Texas A&M professor Ambika Chandra, Ph.D., was developed specifically for putting greens by crossing two turfgrass species, zoysia minima and zoysia matrella. Until now, according to the company, zoysias have been thought to roll too slow for tournament play. But Tambika (which in development had been called DALZ 1308 and is licensed and marketed by Bladerunner Farms) solves the roll problem.

The Tuesday tour also highlighted decades of research on drought tolerance, shade tolerance, salinity tolerance, playability and turf quality. Tour attendees also got a look at Oak Hill Country Club in San Antonio, led by golf course architect Tripp Davis and course Superintendent Riley Maxey. The course recently was grassed with zoysia.

“Once it’s established, the playing surface is much, much better with zoysia versus bermuda, in my opinion,” said Maxey.

Oak Hills is grassed with zoysia on most surfaces, and Maxey has noticed his turf requires less fertilizer, less maintenance and recovers faster from drought conditions than other grasses.

“From a maintenance standpoint, we’ve seen a lot of ability to maintain more consistent conditions with less inputs, whether that’s labor, fertility, water. It’s just a little bit easier on zoysiagrass to have the same conditions day in and day out,” said Maxey. “If you’re going to spend that amount of money to truly be happy with your product, than zoysiagrass is definitely the way to go.”


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