example, St. Andrews in Scotland has most of these types of grass.
It has stated that for a climate such as Scotland this is a big advantage
for at least one of these grasses is flourishing at different points throughout
bentgrass is a perennial cool season grass that forms a dense mat which is
perfect for smooth putting surfaces with very little grain or imperfections.
Bentgrass is often considered the “Gold Standard” for fast, smooth
putting surfaces. The species was introduced into the United States from Europe
during the Colonial Period.
is not well adapted to southern climates and bentgrass is best adapted to the
transition zone where cooler temperatures prevail. Bentgrass
in the South is limited to putting greens and even then requires a certain
climate, extensive management and high input costs. Typically the high
maintenance costs of bentgrass greens in the South are not cost effective.
However, New England States and the Pacific Northwest have ideal climatic
conditions for bentgrass. In Europe
and parts of Asia, the grass is native and commonly found in most turf.
the last 20 years, breeding programs have developed varieties of fine fescue
that have improved disease resistance and the ability to be cut at modern
fairway heights. This could to be a
new avenue for golf courses who wish to become more environmentally friendly
while reducing operating budgets.
Poa Annua & Poa Trivialis
in northern and cooler climates, poa annua greens are considered the norm and
can provide good putting surfaces. It
is often mixed with bentgrass and some rye grasses.
There are many different sub-species of poa annua and some greens are
infested with as many as twenty different types.
The secret lies in utilizing only the
varieties that provide high quality putting surfaces.
As seen at Oakmont and Torrey Pines, poa annua mixed with bentgrass can
provide a championship caliber putting surface.
Poa annua can also be seen used in
other areas of the golf course. Many
northern golf courses also have a close cousin of
poa annua call poa trivialis. It
is sometimes considered a weed, but it can provide a high quality putting
surface as well. In fact, it is
often used to winter over-seed Bermuda grass greens in the South.
the United States the distribution of Bermuda grass extends from New Jersey and
Maryland southward to Florida and westward to Kansas and Texas. Modern
irrigation extends Bermuda grass use westward to southern New Mexico, Arizona
and California. Recently, the
development of more cold hardy varieties of Bermuda grass has increased use near
its northern limits.
grass is a warm season perennial species adapted to tropical and subtropical
climates. It grows best under
extended periods of high temperatures, mild winters and moderate to high
rainfall. It does not tolerate low
winter temperature and becomes dormant when average temperatures drop below 50°F
and the grass begins to discolor. Temperatures
below freezing kill the leaves and stems. Bermuda
grass remains dormant until average daily temperatures rise above 50°F for
warm climates that are frost-free, Bermuda grass remains green throughout the
year. Growth is reduced at the
onset of cool nights. It grows best
when the average daily temperatures are above 75°F. It is not very shade
the right climate, bermuda grass is known for its hardiness on golf courses.
There are many new modern varieties that specialize in certain usages
such as fairway grass, tee boxes, and putting greens.
In the past, bermuda grass greens where known for a “graininess” that
was not desirable. But with recent
development in finer hybrids, bermuda greens are beginning to rival
bentgrass’s dominance as king of putting surfaces.
Some of these new putting green hybrids are Mini Verdi, Champions, and
TifEagle. One unique aspect of
hybridized Bermuda is it must be plugged, sprigged, or sodded as hybrid bermuda
grasses are sterile.
temperate climates where bermuda becomes dormant in the winter, there has been
development of hybridized bermuda that tolerates more cold.
However, often facilities in temperate climates simply “overseed” the
golf course in winter with cool season grasses such as rye and poa trivialis.
grass tends to build up a thatch layer of un-decomposed organic matter just
above the soil surface. This is
often seen in putting greens. Proper
mowing is essential to prevent the accumulation of thatch in turf.
Also, thatch removal by mechanical means is required.
Vertical mowers (Verti-cutting) are used to remove excess thatch and
grain especially on putting surfaces.
grasses are among the most wear tolerant turf grasses.
However, it has a slow rate of growth and takes longer to recuperate.
It can tolerate some shade and is often used on tee boxes where bermuda
grass will not perform. Like bermuda
grass, Zoysia grass tends to build up a thatch layer and requires some verti-cutting.
superintendants are not familiar with its cultivation.
However, it is not difficult to
cultivate paspalum for the well trained personnel. Its
maintenance guidelines are different from
other turf grass species especially bermuda grass
paspalum is used in fairway and rough areas although a new variety called
“SeaDwarf” is now being used on putting greens.
Paspalum is offering some exciting new options for golf courses to go
more “green” with less maintenance costs.
Thomas T Wartelle ™
© 2015 This material cannot be used without permission from Asteur-Louisiane LLC & Thomas T Wartelle™.