Learn about Turf Grasses
- Choose the cultivars you use more wisely
- Know how to maintain and repair turf according to the cultivars being used
- Have a better quality turf and fewer failures
- Save time and money for yourself and your employer.
This course begins by strengthening your understanding of turf grass physiology and taxonomy. Most of the course then applies that understanding to systematically studying all of the significant types of turf grasses grown around the world, in both cool and hot climates; and both dry and wet climates. The course then finishes by showing you how multiple cultivars might be grown together in the same turf surface to compliment each other and produce a better turf.
There are 10 lessons in this course:
- Introduction -Biology, terminology and classification of turf grasses.
- Fescues - the “Festuca rubra complex”, “Festuca ovina complex” and others.
- Bentgrasses - Creeping, Colonial, Velvet, Redtop, Highland and Idaho Bentgrass.
- Ryegrasses - Perennial, Italian, Annual Ryegrass etc.
- Bluegrasses - Kentucky, Texas, Rough, Canada, Upland and other bluegrass species including winter grass.
- Couchgrasses -Bermuda, South African, Hybrid, Queensland Blue and Salt Water couches.
- Buffalo and Zoysia Grasses - Stenotaphrum, Buchloe, Bouteloua and Zoysia.
- Other Warm Condition Grasses -Centipedegrass, Kikuyu, Paspalums, Bahia grass and others
- Other Cool Condition Grasses -Hairgrasses, Timothy, Brome, Phalaris, Wheatgrass, Crested Dogtail, etc.
- Turf Grass Mixes -Growing two or more varieties together in the same turf.
- Recognise the characteristics that differentiate turf grass cultivars one from another, in order to make choices about what cultivars are appropriate for different turf applications.
- Describe the characteristics, culture and uses of Fescue grasses as a turf.
- Describe the characteristics, culture and uses of Bent grasses as a turf.
- Describe the characteristics, culture and uses of Rye grasses as a turf.
- Describe the characteristics, culture and uses of Blue grasses as a turf.
- Describe the characteristics, culture and uses of Couch grasses as a turf.
- Describe the characteristics, culture and use of Buffalo and Zoysia grasses.
- Describe the characteristics, culture and uses of various warm condition grasses as a turf.
- Describe the characteristics, culture and uses of various cool condition grasses as a turf.
- Explain how different varieties of turf grass can be effectively grown together.
RED FESCUE (OR CREEPING RED FESCUE)
(Festuca rubra) (syn. F. viridis)
The species can vary across a large number of varieties, but typically it has rounded, thin and wiry leaves with a darker base than top, and uncut some cultivars can grow to around 90cm tall.
- Leaf blades are folded or involute 0.5 to 1mm wide.
- Sheaths are oval or round and glabrous (smooth surfaced or lightly pubescent (hairy). The lower leaf sheaths are purplish or reddish, glossy, thin and break up as they get older.
- Leaves are involute (i.e. curled along the edges), or folded in cross section. The leaf blades are glabrous (smooth-not hairy) and overall leaf width varies from 0.5 to 1.5mm.
- Stems grow erect, with most varieties producing slender creeping rhizomes (some more than others though). Some varieties are more tussock forming and others more creeping.
Produces a very fine texture turf surface; medium to dark green in colour. The vertical growth rate is slower than many other cool condition grasses. From seed, it will establish faster than Kentucky bluegrass, but slower than Perennial Ryegrass. Establishment: seed and sprigs.
The rate of growth of upright shoots is slower than most cool season grasses (i.e. mowing does not need to be as frequent).
With proper care and attention, it can produce a high quality, fine turf. For a putting green, cut at around 7mm height. For a fairway or lawn in full sun, cutting height is 1 to 1.5cm. In a shaded area, cut higher at up to 5cm.
This species has wide application on road sides, parks, golf fairways, cemeteries, ornamental lawns, airfields, and even putting lawns. It is often planted with perennial ryegrass.
There are many different named cultivars of Festuca rubra, including sub species and named cultivars bred and/or selected by turf seed professionals.
Named cultivars you may encounter which have a good reputation include Bargena, Cindy Flyer and Jasper.
Sub Species include:
F. rubra ssp. arctica – Leaf blades 0.5 to 1.5mm wide; produces relatively long rhizomes
F. rubra ssp. arenaria -Sand Fescue. Produces long branching rhizomes on sandy soils base of leaf sheath is usually smooth and hairless.
F. rubra ssp. commutata – Known as “Chewings Fescue” this is widely used in the turf industry.
F. rubra ssp. litoralis – Known as Slender Creeping Fescue. Produces relatively short rhizomes but has a mat forming growth habit. Dark green leaf blades are 0.5 to 0.7mm wide, and smooth (glabrous)
F. rubra ssp. megastachys – Unmown, can grow to around 1m tall. Flat leaf blades 1.5 to 4m in cross section
F. rubra ssp. multiflora – Unmown, can grow to 1m tall. Leaves folded with bristle like hairs at the base changing to flattened in cross section at the top. All leaf blades are flat in cross section and 2-5 mm wide. The ribs of the leaves have hairs (i.e. pubescent)
F. rubra pruinosa – Bloomed Fescue. Has short rhizomes, grows to form tufts. Leaf blades are 0.6 to 1.3mm in cross section; basal sheaths pubescent (contain hairs), but higher leaf can be smooth or hairy
F. rubra subsp. pyrenaica (syn. F. stolonifera) – A cultivar from France. The name F. stolonifera has no botanical standing. It grows to 30cm tall, flat leaf blades often partly curved at margins (ie. involute); produces smaller flower heads than most cultivars
F. rubra ssp. rubra – Strong Creeping Red Fescue. Grows unmown between 20 and 100 cm tall. The base of the leaf sheath is very pubescent -contains lots of hairs. Occurs naturally and widely across Britain and Europe in grassland, dunes, moors mountain slopes and even woodlands. There are several named cultivars in used as turf in England including Rossinante, Mystic, Maxima 1, Herald, Heidrun, Galahad and Corail.
F. heterophylla – This has no scientific standing as a species name, but is used to refer to a variety of F. rubra from France, commonly known as “Shade Fescue”. Leaves are fine and threadlike at the base becoming flat toward the top. Stems are densely clustered at ground level forming a distinct tussock habit.
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