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2014 Sports Turf Short Course 30 December 2013, 13.56
2014 Sports Turf Short Course
The 2014 Sports Field Short Course topics are set!
Mulch Leaves into Lawn 04 November 2013, 00.00
Mulch Leaves into Lawn
Frosty Turf 21 October 2013, 00.00
Frosty Turf
Frost is a common reason for morning tee time delay. The reason for the delays is the damage that can occur from foot or

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An alternative method for measuring putting green firmness.

Reducing grain and improving leaf texture

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Heat Tolerant Blue

Hybrid or "heat tolerant" bluegrasses are the result of hybridization betwen Texas bluegrass (Poa arachnifera Torr.) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.). Texas bluegrass is a native of south central US that is considered poor quality as a turf grass but has good drought & heat tolerance. Kentucky bluegrass is a European grass, brought by settlers to the USA. It is considered a high quality turf grass but has relatively fair heat & drought tolerance. Both are cool-season (C3) grasses. There are several cultivars of hybrid bluegrass currently available; Reveille, Longhorn, Bandera, Thermal Blue, Thermal Blue Blaze, DuraBlue, and Solar Green. In 2003, Thermal Blue was seeded at Ohio State as part of a cool-season grass study.
Germination & establishment rates were similar to Kentucky bluegrasses. Seed germination was moderately quick (8 days), with 50% cover achieved 3 weeks after seeding and full cover achieved 10 weeks after seeding. A new study established in 2006 with several hybrid cultivars has shown the cultivar Solar Green to establish much quicker than other hybrids.

The color of hybrid blues has significantly improved the last few years. Thermal Blue and Solar Green are moderate green in color. Thermal Blue Blaze and DuraBlue are similar in their dark green color to Kentucky bluegrass cultivars like Midnight & Blacksburg. We have not evaluated Reveille, Longhorn or Bandera.
After 10 weeks of establishment, simulated traffic was applied to the plots. In our trial, Thermal Blue reacted to simulated traffic in a similar fashion to the aggressive cultivars of bluegrass, such as Bariris. Both the aggressive bluegrass and the hybrid bluegrass performed well under traffic conditions, compared to other bluegrass cultivars. While the hybrid bluegrasses may take as long to germinate & establish as Kentucky bluegrasses, once established they have prolific growth & recovery - similar to the aggressive types of Kentucky bluegrass classified by Rutgers.
Rhizome development in hybrid blues also appears similar to the aggressive cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass. In our study Thermal Blue had statistically the same number of rhizomes as Bariris (an aggressive blue). Prolific rhizome development offers many advantages - earlier sod harvesting, increased surface shear strength, wear resistance etc. Interestingly, Kentucky bluegrasses cultivars differ in their rhizome numbers - particularly if mixed with other grass species.

Picture left: Prolific rhizome growth on Thermal Blue & Bariris Kentucky bluegrass compared to Rugby 2 Kentucky bluegrass mixed with tall fescue & Rugby 2 Kentucky bluegrass mixed with perennial ryegrass.

Table left: Percentage of turfgrass plants with rhizomes

Drought & heat tolerance appears to be the one area that demands more research. Recent finding would suggest that the hybrids are not as drought tolerant as tall fescues in the southern and transitional zones of the USA. Comparing hybrids directly to Kentucky bluegrass cultivars seems to be somewhat more complex. Possibly because there is such variability among hybrid & Kentucky bluegrass cultivars.

In summary, the hybrid bluegrasses appear to react the same as bluegrasses, particularly the aggressive bluegrasses. Improved color of hybrids will be a benefit when mixing them with other grass species. Research at other institutions has yielded the same kinds of results. For example, hybrids appear to react similarly to Kentucky bluegrasses in billbug tolerance or susceptibility and herbicide tolerance. One study does suggest that Thermal blue is tolerant of Velocity herbicide but little is known about the other hybrid bluegrass cultivars.


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Authors: Pam Sherratt & John Street

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BuckeyeTurf Photos

Over the years, the OSU BuckeyeTurf website has provided a wealth of visual content.  Stop by the Buckeye Turf Media Manager and browse the photo gallery.

BuckeyeTurf Videos

Over the years, the OSU BuckeyeTurf website has provided a wealth of video content.  Stop by the Buckeye Turf Media Manager and browse the video gallery.

What's New!!!

logoA new publication entitled The Benefits of Turf is now available.  Authored by Pamela Sherratt the online publication outlines the positive benefits that turf plays in our daily lives.