Comparison of Fall Establishment of Plugs of Zoysia and St. Augustine Grass in Central Florida
Ricketts G., UF/IFAS Extension in Osceola County FL.
Objective: Zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass are warm season grasses. The temperature in Central Florida can be different from the temperatures when compared to North and the South Florida. The 2015-2016 fall/ winter was mild with temperature averaging 55 degree Fahrenheit. Since there was no information on the establishment of different varieties of turfgrass in Central Florida, sod producers and residents of Central Florida depend on information from North and South Florida. With this in mind there is a need for a turf grass applied demonstration site specific to Central Florida. Methods: The site divided into twenty 14 feet by 14 feet plots with each plot containing 30 samples of different cultivars. Ten (10) cultivars of zoysiagrass and ten (10) cultivars of St. Augustinegrasses (n= 600) were established by plugs in early November. The shoots and roots 30 St. Augustinegrass and 30 zoysiagrass (n=60) were measured every 30 days over a three month period to record growth rate. Results: All 10 St. Augustinegrass cultivars established at a faster rate than all 10 Zoysiagrass cultivars. At an average temperature of 55 degree Fahrenheit, the St Augustinegrass cultivars runners increased in length between 4 inches and 14 inches while zoysiagrass cultivars showed very insignificant increase in shoot growth. At the end of the study, roots and shoots of zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass evaluated, all cultivars of St. Augustinegrass roots grow about 4 inches while zoysiagrass roots increased by about an inch. Conclusion: Because of this project sod producers in Central Florida have access to information that is specific to their location. St. Augustine cultivars are more actively growing in winter compared zoysiagrass. During mild winter, although zoysiagrass cultivars did not show much signs of active shoot growth, the roots are actively growing.
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