Bulletin (Tech.) 901
A.E. Dudeck and C.L. Murdoch
Agricultural Experiment Station
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
U' -- 1 1 i 17 -! I % 7 7 1'7 `T T7 -, I 't! ",! !" "" ',
A.E. Dudeck and C.L. Murdoch
A.E. Dudeck is Professor of Environmental Horticulture, Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0670. C.L. Murdoch is Emeritus
Professor of Horticulture, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of
Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822.
U OF F LIRRIARES
List of Tables .................................................... .ii
List of Figures ................................. .................... iii
M erits ....................... .................. ............... iv
Limitations ...................................................... iv
Characteristics .................................................... 1
O rigin ..... ... ....... ... ..... ....... .... ..... ..... ..... ..... .. 1
Turf Perform ance ................... ............... .......... ..... 1
NTEP Fairway Trials
Growth Rate and Turf Quality
Stimpmeter Ball Roll
Morphological Characteristics ................................... ...... 3
Lateral Stem Development
Reproductive Characteristics .......................................... 4
Pest Associations ................................................... 5
Source of Grass ................................................... 5
Establishment ..................................... ....... ......... 5
Maintenance ..................................................... 6
Mowing Height and Frequency
Acknowledgements .............................................. 7
Literature Cited .......................................... ....... 7
" 5 t. ~ii~ ~ ~ ;- ;.
List of Tables
1. Turfgrass quality of selected cultivars in National Turf Evaluation Program (NTEP)
bermudagrass fairway test at Gainesville, FL and NTEP average for 1995 ..... 9
2. Comparative performance in 1994 of selected cultivars in National Turf Evaluation
Program bermudagrass fairway test at Gainesville, FL ................... 10
3. Cover estimates, rate of cover, and days to 50% ground cover of bermudagrass
cultivars during the first 90 days following plug planting in a field at Gainesville, FL
on 21 M ay 1991 ........................................... 11
4. Influence of topdressing on thatch and verdure in FloraDwarf" bermudagrass at
Gainesville, FL ............................................. 12
5. Interactions of verticut with topdress treatments on rate of ground cover
establishment and turf quality of 'Darkhorse' rough bluegrass during the first month
after overseeded on FloraDwarf" bermudagrass at Gainesville, FL ......... 12
6. Interaction effect of photoperiod on length and width of the third leaf blade distal to
the vertical growing point of bermudagrass cultivars after 30 days of growth in a
glasshouse at Gainesville, FL ................................... 13
7. Average stolon number and length per plug of bermudagrass cultivars at 30 days
and unmowed height at 90 days after field planting on 21 May 1991 at Gainesville,
FL . .. .. . .. . .. . .. .. .. .. . . 13
8. Average internode length of noncompetitive, determinate stolons on bermudagrass
cultivars 90 days following field planting on 21 May 1991 at Gainesville, FL .. 14
9. Differential seedhead production as influenced by bermudagrass cultivar when
grown under putting green conditions at Gainesville, FL in 1994 .......... 14
List of Figures
1. Two-year average growth response of bermudagrass cultivars to nitrogen
fertilization at Gainesville, FL during 1993 and 1994 .................. 15
2. Two-year average turf quality during 1993 and 1994 of bermudagrass cultivars in
response to nitrogen fertilization at Gainesville, FL .................... 16
3. Thatch response of bermudagrass cultivars after two years of nitrogen fertilization
at Gainesville, FL ........................................... 17
4. Average verdure of FloraDwarf" bermudagrass in response to verticut frequency
from May through Sept. 1994 at Gainesville, FL ...................... 18
5. Regression of thatch and verdure in FloraDwarfT bermudagrass on vertical mowing
0, 2, 3, or 6 times during an 18-wk period from 19 May to 22 Sept. 1994 at
Gainesville, FL ............................................. 19
6. Stimpmeter measurements of ball roll distance on bermudagrass cultivars when
grown under same cultural practices in 1994 at Gainesville, FL ........... 20
7. Establishment rate and turf quality of 'Darkhorse' rough bluegrass in response to
overseed rate from Nov. through Dec. 1994 at Gainesville, FL ............ 21
8. Polyacrilamide gel electrophoresis patterns contrasting silver stained
deoxyribonucleic acid among bermudagrass cultivars .................. 22
9. Rate of ground cover of FloraDwarfM bermudagrass over time after planting as
affected by expansion rate of shredded sod ......................... 23
FloraDwarfT bermudagrass is a fine textured, dense, low growing turfgrass for golf
course putting greens, grass tennis courts, lawn bowls, and unmowed turfs in warm-
humid and warm-semiarid climatic regions of the world. Its merits and limitations are
Adapted throughout southern United States.
Unmowed height of growth averaged 8 mm (0.3 inch).
Excellent turf density due to many short stolons with very short internodes
and short leaf blades.
Excellent turf quality with minimal top growth.
Limited flowering with sterile seedheads.
Responsive to photoperiod producing longer and wider leaves during long
Can be identified by its DNA 'fingerprints'.
Patented to protect its identity in market place.
Develops thatch due to its horizontal growth habit.
Overseed grass establishment was difficult with large- but not small-seeded
Susceptible to nematodes like other bermudagrass cultivars.
Must be propagated by plugs, sprigs, or sod.
Value added to Florida's economy in
1991-1992 by the state's golf courses was
estimated at $2.92 billion (13). According to
a 1974 Florida Turfgrass survey (1), Florida had
512 golf courses. Of the 656 ha (1619 acres)
of total putting green surface, 'Tifdwarf'
bermudagrass, Cynodon spp., comprised 22%,
while 'Tifgreen' bermudagrass comprised 50%.
In 1996, it was conservatively estimated that
over 1400 golf courses were operational in the
state of Florida and that approximately 80% of
these courses had Tifdwarf as their putting
green grass cultivar. Like Tifdwarf,
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass has potential for
widespread use on golf course putting greens,
lawn bowls, and grass tennis courts throughout
southern United States as well as the tropics.
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass is a
patented (4), dwarf, dense, fine textured,
creeping turfgrass. It is essentially a non-
flowering, sterile grass. It is responsive to
photoperiod and produces longer and wider
leaves under long days. When FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass was compared to commercially
available Tifdwarf bermudagrass, 1) it had
greater turf density due to its many short
stolons with very short internodes and shorter
leaf blades; 2) at high fertility, it produced
superior turf quality with less topgrowth; 3) its
unmowed height of growth averaged 8 mm
(0.31 inch); 4) it produced 53% less purple
coloration during winter; and 5) it had better
putting quality. Overseed grass establishment
with perennial ryegrass, Lolium perenne L.,
which has relatively large seed, was difficult in
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass because of its
density. Small seeded cool-season grasses,
such as Poa trivialis, however, established
readily. It develops excess thatch in a
relatively short time period requiring timely
control measures involving combinations of
vertical mowing and topdressing.
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass was one of
224 clonal selections of bermudagrass
collected throughout the state of Hawaii during
1988. This clone was collected by the senior
author on 28 June 1988 from a bermudagrass
practice putting green on the Wailua municipal
golf course located on the island of Kauai, HI.
It was possibly a mutant from Tifgreen
bermudagrass, which was thought to have
been planted in 1977.
From 1989 to the present, FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass was tested as Florida Hawaii
Bermudagrass accession 135 (FHB-135).
Because of its unique characteristics of fine
texture, improved density, and low growing
characteristics, it was issued U.S. Patent
09030 on 3 January 1995 (4). It was officially
released with the name, FloraDwarf", by the
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station on 24
January 1995 (5).
NTEP Fairway Trials
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass was
evaluated along with 25 other cultivars in a
southern regional cooperative test administered
through the National Turfgrass Evaluation
Program (NTEP), USDA, ARS at Beltsville, MD.
Studies were conducted at 21 locations in 16
southern states from 1992 through 1995 (15).
It ranked poorly in the NTEP fairway test
having an average turf quality score of 4.5
(rating scale of 1 to 9 where 9 equals best)
compared to Tifgreen, which had an average
turf quality score of 6.1 (Table 1). It was equal
to Tifgreen in turf quality only in Alabama,
Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and
Virgina. Average mowing height of all studies
was 32 mm (1.25 inches). Cultural practices
involving topdressing and vertical mowing were
not applied, which may partially explain poor
performance of FloraDwarf" bermudagass.
Turf quality of FloraDwarf" in our Gainesville,
FL NTEP test (Table 1) averaged 6.7 and was
equal to that of 'Baby', 'Midiron', 'Texturf 10',
Tifgreen, and Tifway (8).
Fall establishment rate from plugs of
FloraDwarf" at Gainesville, FL was equal to
72% of the NTEP bermudagrass entries, which
included putting green cultivars of Baby,
Tifgreen, and Tifway (Table 2).
spring/summer study at Gainesville, FL,
Tifgreen had a 28% faster establishment rate
from plugs than both FloraDwarf" and Tifdwarf
(Table 3). FloraDwarf" and Tifdwarf had equal
establishment rates of 18%. Both grasses
required 93 days of growth to produce 50%
bermudagrass cover compared to 62 days of
growth for Tifgreen bermudagrass. Fertility
was equivalent to 5 g N m'2 (one pound of
nitrogen per 1000 square feet per month). In
a second summer establishment study at
Gainesville, FL under a fertility program of 2.5
g N m-2 2 wk'1 (one-half pound of nitrogen per
1000 square feet every two weeks),
FloraDwarf", 'MS Supreme', and Tifdwarf all
had equal establishment rates (9).
Growth Rate and Turf Quality
After two years of study when plots
were mowed at 5 mm (3/16 inch) and without
foot traffic, shoot growth of Tifdwarf was
greater than that of FloraDwarf", especially
under low fertility (Figure 1). Turf quality of
FloraDwarf", however, was superior to that of
Tifdwarf bermudagrass at N rates greater than
2.3 g m"2 3 wk'" (0.5 pound of nitrogen per
1000 square feet applied every three weeks)
(Figure 2). Thus FloraDwarf" bermudagrass
produced better turf quality with less clipping
biomass than Tifdwarf bermudagrass.
FloraDwarf" had finer leaf texture,
greater density, fewer seedheads, and later
spring greenup compared to Tifgreen
bermudagrass (Table 2). Genetic color scores
of both grasses were equal. In another study
at Gainesville, FL, FloraDwarf", MS Supreme,
and Tifdwarf had equal scores for decumbent
growth habit (9). FloraDwarf" and MS
Supreme had equal fine leaf texture scores.
Tifdwarf being slightly coarser, however, was
equal in leaf texture to MS Supreme.
Tifdwarf bermudagrass takes on an
objectionable purplish cast during winter cold
spells (2). This is due to an accumulation of
anthocyanin pigmentation in its foliage.
Anthocyanin pigmentation was measured in
FloraDwarf" and Tifdwarf bermudagrass three
days after passage of a cold front through
Gainesville, FL on 12 December 1994.
Methodology and formula,
Absorbance = (W530-W620)-0.1*(W650-W620)
(where W is wave length) as suggested by
Shingha et al. (16), was used to quantify
differences. FloraDwarf" had an anthocyanin
absorbance value of 0.251, which was 47%
less than the 0.471 anthocyanin absorbance
value for Tifdwarf. Thus Tifdwarf had 1.9
times more anthocyanin than FloraDwarf" or,
conversely, FloraDwarf" had only 53% of the
objectionable purplish cast associated with
It was not possible to evaluate winter
hardiness of FloraDwarf" bermudagrass in
NTEP trials because thatch control was not
addressed in those tests. During the winter of
1995-1996 at Starkville, MS, a mowing height
study involving FloraDwarf", MS Supreme,
Tifdwarf, and Tifgreen bermudagrass was lost
due to winter kill of all cultivars. No winter
damage has been observed over six years of
putting green, field trials at Gainesville, FL.
In spite of its relatively slow shoot
growth, FloraDwarf" bermudagrass produces
excess thatch in a relatively short time.
Thatch, which is defined in these studies as
organic matter weight loss on ignition (WLOI),
increased linearly 1.4 times per unit of N
application from 4.7 to 11.8% (Figure 3). On
the other hand, thatch in Tifdwarf
bermudagrass increased from 5.2% to a
maximum of 7.0% at an N rate of 3.9 g m2 3
wk'1 (0.8 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square
feet applied every three weeks) and then
declined. After three years in our NTEP test at
Gainesville, FL, FloraDwarf" averaged 23%
thatch compared to 9% thatch for Tifgreen.
After three years in a NTEP test at Griffin, GA,
which had a soil pH of 4.1, FloraDwarf"
averaged 21% thatch compared to 13% thatch
for Tifgreen bermudagrass.
Vertical mowing was an effective
method to reduce thatch in FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass but caused significant damage to
the remaining turf surface (11). In a 1994
study, vertical mowing every three, six, or nine
weeks caused unacceptable turf damage to
remaining verdure (Figure 4). Light, frequent
topdressing every two to three weeks at a rate
of 1.6 L m-2 (a layer of 1/16 inch) was more
effective than heavy, infrequent topdressing at
a rate of 3.2 L m2 (a layer of 1/8 inch) every
four to six weeks for grass recovery following
vertical mowing (11).
In a second study in 1994, vertical
mowing reduced verdure linearly from 83% in
untreated plots to 65% in plots verticut every
three weeks (Figure 5). Each vertical mowing
event reduced verdure an average of 3.01%.
A total of 4.4 vertical mowings, which was
equal to a vertical mowing event once every 30
days, reduced thatch 24% to its lowest level of
6.3%. Once again, turf quality was reduced
16% at this verticut frequency from 83 to 70%
In a third study in 1994 (7), topdress
had a positive effect on thatch reduction with
a concurrent increase in verdure (Table 4).
Topdress every 3 and 6 weeks reduced thatch
23% compared to no topdress on plots that
averaged 15% thatch. Applications of
topdress at a rate of 0.8 L m' (a layer of 1/32
inch) every 3 weeks were no different than
applications of topdress at a rate of 1.6 L m-2
(a layer of 1/16 inch) every 6 weeks as total
amount of topdress was equal within a 6-week
cycle. Topdress applications every 3 or 6
weeks actually increased verdure from 70 to
73%, respectively, and no differences were
found between topdress amount and
Stimpmeter Ball Roll
At a mowing height of 5 mm (3/16
inch), stimpmeter measurements of ball roll
during August of 1994 averaged 2.2 m (87
inches) for FloraDwarf" bermudagrass
compared to 2.0 m (78 inches) of ball roll for
Tifdwarf bermudagrass (Figure 6).
Establishment of perennial ryegrass,
Lolium perenne L., as an overseeded grass on
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass in the fall of 1993
was unsatisfactory (3). It was not possible to
uniformly work a large seeded grass such as
perennial ryegrass into a fine textured, high
density grass such as FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass without severe vertical mowing,
topdressing, and a high overseeding rate. Best
establishment of a blend of perennial ryegrass
was obtained by vertical mowing in one
direction with a 13 mm (0.5 inch) blade
spacing, seeding at a rate of 195 g m"2 (40
pounds of pure live seed per 1000 square feet),
and topdressing at a rate of 1.6 L m-2 (a layer
of 1/16 inch) of soil.
Small seeded grasses such as rough
bluegrass, Poa trivialis L., established readily
when overseeded in the fall of 1994 (6).
Vertical mowing with topdressing at a rate of
1.6 L m"2 (1/16 inch layer) was inferior to a
treatment combination of no vertical mowing
with topdressing (Table 5). This was because
rough bluegrass seed established in the 13 mm
(0.5 inch) grooves due to vertical mowing,
which directly affected turf quality. Highest
rate of overseeding at 61 g m' (12.5 pounds of
pure live seed per 1000 square feet) produced
best rate of cover as well as ultimate turf
quality (Figure 7).
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass isessentially
a non-flowering, dwarf, fine textured, creeping
grass, which spreads by means of rhizomes
and stolons. Its fine leaf texture and dwarf
growth habit are due to its very short, narrow
leaf blades produced on many short stolons
with many, short internodes. Leaf blade size is
responsive to photoperiod. FloraDwarfT
bermudagrass produces longer and wider leaf
blades in summer compared to winter.
When maintained under field conditions
at Gainesville, FL at a mowing height of 5 mm
(3/16 inch), under low fertility (no fertilization
for six-weeks prior to examination), and under
a long-day photoperiod (14 h), average length
of a fully emerged leaf blade of FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass was 6.5 mm (0.26 inch) while
Tifdwarf bermudagrass averaged 8.2 mm (0.32
inch) in length. Average leaf width was not
different between grasses and averaged 1.4
Lateral Stem Development
Data in Table 6 are from a glass house
study conducted by F.J. Marousky at
Gainesville, FL (unpublished data). Under long
days of 13 h, FloraDwarf" bermudagrass had a
shorter leaf blade of 14.2 mm (0.56 inch) in
length compared to 17.4 mm (0.68 inch) for
Tifdwarf bermudagrass. Leaf blade width was
not different between cultivars and averaged
2.2 mm (0.09 inch). Under short days of 9 h,
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass had shorter and
narrower leaf blades of 11.2 mm (0.44 inch) in
length and 2.1 mm (0.08 inch) in width. Leaf
blades of Tifdwarf bermudagrass averaged
17.0 mm (0.76 inch) in length and 2.3 mm
(0.09 inch) in width under the same conditions.
Table 6 also illustrates an interaction of cultivar
response to photoperiod. Day length had no
affect on length and width of leaf blades on
Tifdwarf bermudagrass. Leaf blades on
Tifdwarf bermudagrass averaged 17.2 mm
(0.68 inch) in length and 2.2 mm (0.09 inch) in
width when averaged over long and short
photoperiods. In a later study, Marousky et al.
(14) confirmed that Tifdwarf, Tifgreen, and
Tifway bermudagrass were all unresponsive to
photoperiod. FloraDwarf" bermudagrass,
however, is markedly influenced by
photoperiod. It had shorter and narrower leaf
blades under short days compared to long
Growth and rate of ground cover from
100 mm (4 inch) plugs planted on 300 mm
(one-foot) centers in a field at Gainesville, FL
on 21 May 1991 were monitored over a 90-
day period. Plots were unmowed, but a
complete N-P-K fertilizer was applied biweekly
at the rate of 2.5 g N m"2 (0.5 pound of
nitrogen per 1000 square feet). After 90 days,
unmowed height of FloraDwarf" bermudagrass
averaged 8 mm (0.31 inch) and was lower than
both Tifdwarf and Tifgreen, which averaged 15
and 69 mm (0.59 and 2.7 inches), respectively
Mean stolon number and length per 10
cm (4-inch) plug at 30 days after planting in
May are also presented in Table 7.
FloraDwarf" had highest stolon number
averaging 24 per plug compared to Tifdwarf
and Tifgreen, which averaged 17 stolons per
plug. FloraDwarf" had shortest stolons
averaging 2.6 mm (0.10 inch) in length
compared to Tifdwarf and Tifgreen, which
averaged 14.1 and 23.1 mm (0.56
and 0.91 inch), respectively.
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass had shorter
internodes compared to Tifdwarf and Tifgreen
bermudagrass (Table 8). Average internode
length for the three cultivars was 8, 12, and 25
mm (0.32, 0.48, and 0.98 inch), respectively.
The thatching characteristic of FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass is due to its production of many
short stolons with very short internodes, which
in turn account for its high density.
Rhizomes, which are underground
stems, were evaluated in a 4-year old turf on 1
September 1995. Sod pieces were first
removed with a sod cutter set at a depth of 38
mm (1.5 inches). Counts of remaining visible
rhizomes averaged 418 m'2 (39 per square
foot). There was no need to replant harvested
areas as sod reestablishment from residual
rhizomes was observed on several occasions.
It is difficult to distinguish FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass from other bermudagrass
cultivars based on morphological characteristics
that are very similar. Based on
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analyses
conducted at the University of Tennessee,
however, FloraDwarf" bermudagrass is
distinctly different from Tifdwarf and Tifgreen
bermudagrass (Figure 8). This was further
confirmed by additional DNA separations using
different primers at the University of Florida
Like Tifdwarf and Tifgreen, FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass is a sterile, triploid perennial
grass having a chromosome complement of 27
mm (0.06 inch).
(W.W. Hanna, 1994, personal communication).
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass is essentially
a non-flowering bermudagrass. During the
1994 growing season at Gainesville, FL (Table
9), it averaged 4 seedheads m2 (0.3 per square
foot) during June and July while Tifdwarf
bermudagrass averaged 1209 seedheads m-2
(112 per square foot).
Like other bermudagrasses,
FloraDwarf" is affected by many pests. It was
susceptible to dollar spot, Sclerotinia
homoeocarpa F.T. Bennett; tropical sod
webworm, Herpetogramma phaeopteralis
Guenne; mole crickets, Scapteriscus spp.; and
sting nematode, Belonolaimus longicaudatus
Steiner (12). Damage from lance nematode,
Hoplolaimus galeatus (Cobbe) Thorne, has been
observed in sod production fields.
Bermudagrass decline has not been observed
on this grass when mowed at a height of 5 mm
(3/16 inch). Most herbicides recommended for
use on putting green bermudagrass may be
used for weed control in FloraDwarf"
Source of Grass
Foundation stock of FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass will be released only to licensed
growers. To maintain its genetic purity, it is
being grown only under certification standards
governed by the Southern Seed Certification
Association, Inc., P.O. Box 2619, Auburn, AL
36831. Information regarding availability of
foundation stock may be obtained from Florida
Foundation Seed Producers, Inc., P.O. Box
309, Greenwood, FL 32443.
Best time to plant FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass is during spring and summer
months from April through August. It may be
established vegetatively by means of sprigs,
plugs, or sod. As it is sterile and produces no
viable seed, seed propagation is not possible.
Regardless of method of planting,
seedbed preparation before planting is very
important for success of any new turf. A soil
analysis is necessary to determine nutritional
status of soil. A pH, phosphorus, potassium,
calcium, and magnesium analysis will determine
need for chemical amendments. For most turf
areas, magnesium is soon depleted. For this
reason, dolomite should be used when lime is
recommended. Follow recommendations of
your local county Extension office. Any
limestone or sulphur should be uniformly
incorporated into the root zone.
Because of danger of contamination
with other bermudagrass, planting areas should
be fumigated with an acceptable soil fumigant
such as methyl bromide. Soil fumigation
should remove all potential problems from a
seedbed such as disease, insect, nematode,
and weeds. Follow recommendations of your
local county Extension office.
Sprig planting is cheapest of all
vegetative planting methods. A sprig is an
individual stem of grass without roots and soil.
Unlike sprig planting of other bermudagrass,
FloraDwarf" bermudagrass requires special
handling. Most conventional sprig harvesters
do a poor job of shredding and consequently
produce clumpy propagules instead of long,
intact, individual rhizomes/stolons.
Conventional sprig harvesters must be modified
to uniformly separate plant material into
individual sprigs rather than clumps. If
shredded properly, FloraDwarf" bermudagrass
may be propagated at expansion rates of one
surface unit of shredded sod uniformly spread
over 40 surface units of planting area.
Most putting greens are planted at a
rate of 3.8 to 7.6 L m-2 (10 to 20 bushels of
sprigs per 1000 square feet). Volumetric rates
are vague at best and should not be used
because FloraDwarf" bermudagrass grows
horizontally and not vertically. Hence surface
area is most practical and easy to accurately
At Gainesville, FL (10), sod pieces 38
mm (1.5 inches) thick were shredded in a
hammer mill to produce sprig planting
expansion rates of 1:2.5, 1:5, 1:10, 1:20, and
1:40 (surface unit of shredded sod:surface
planting unit). Planting rates of 1:2.5 and 1:5
were excessive and a waste of planting
material, but nevertheless, plots planted at
these rates produced 85% bermudagrass cover
in only two weeks (Figure 9). Expansion rates
of 1:10 and 1:20 effected 95 and 91% cover,
respectively, in six weeks. Although a 1:40
expansion rate averaged 20% bermudagrass
cover in two weeks, ground cover increased
rapidly to 70 and 90% in four and six weeks,
respectively. The many short, lateral stems
with very short internodes in this grass provide
many vegetative propagules per unit area for
vegetative propagation. Sprigs have no root
system and, therefore, are very perishable.
Light, frequent waterings every day are
necessary for the first few weeks following
planting until a root system becomes
Plugging is the planting of 51 mm (2
inch) circular or square pieces of sod. A plug is
a miniature piece of sod that contains mature
plants with intact root systems and adhering
soil. Plugging is very labor intensive and
costly, requiring from 3 to 10 times more
planting material compared to sprigging. Plugs
may be planted on 300- to 600-mm (1- to 2-
foot) centers. Obviously, a closer spacing will
provide faster coverage. Although plugs are
not as perishable as sprigs, water should be
applied one to two times per day during the
first few weeks of establishment.
Sodding is the most expensive method
of vegetative propagation, but this is usually
compensated by having an 'instant' turf cover.
Sod pieces should be fitted together as tightly
as possible in a brick-like fashion on a well-
prepared, moistened seedbed. Although
sodding is the least perishable vegetative
propagation method compared to sprigs and
plugs, be sure to moisten underlying soil with
daily supplemental water during the first few
weeks of establishment.
When new grass shoots appear in a
few days after planting, a complete fertilizer
with minor elements such as a 16-4-8 should
be applied. During the establishment phase,
nitrogen should be applied at a rate of 2.5 g m-2
(0.5 pound per 1000 square feet) every two
weeks until a solid stand of grass is achieved.
Fertilizer rate and frequency may be increased
if faster establishment is desired, especially on
Begin daily mowing at a 5 mm height of
cut (3/16 inch) when shoot growth reaches this
height. Use a well adjusted putting green reel
mower with catcher and remove clippings.
Topdressing should be applied
immediately after sprigging and then on weekly
intervals at a rate of 1.6 L m" (a layer of 1/16
inch) or more to true up the putting surface.
Topdressing material should be the same soil
texture as that of the underlying root zone.
When any grass is mowed at 5 mm
(3/16 inch) or lower, it is unable to develop a
deep root system. Hence, daily watering is
necessary to eliminate moisture stress. Apply
enough water during an irrigation event to wet
the entire root system.
Monitor soil pH and need for soil
nutrients by soil testing on an annual basis.
Since FloraDwarf" bermudagrass will be used
primarily on golf course putting greens,
fertilization programs are often formulated to
provide high turf quality throughout the season.
Heavy rates of fertilizer can be used to keep
turf healthy and vigorous, but heavy
fertilization rates will produce a faster thatch
buildup than lower rates. To obtain an average
turf quality score of 7.0, an optimum
fertilization schedule for FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass is an N rate of 3.4 g m"2 3 wk'1
(0.7 pound nitrogen per 1000 square feet
applied every three weeks).
Mowing Height and Frequency
All of our studies at Gainesville, FL
were maintained at a mowing height of 5 mm
(3/16 inch). Clippings were caught in catchers
and removed. Plots were mowed daily from
Monday through Friday with no mowing over
weekends. No scalping or other problems were
noted after several years of this mowing
schedule. Ongoing trials at various golf
courses throughout the south at daily mowing
heights as low as 2.8 mm (7/64 inch) report no
problems to date.
Topdressing and vertical mowing are
effective methods for thatch control in this
grass. Vertical mowing, however, seriously
affects turf quality. Assuming that thatch is
not excessive, a desirable topdressing schedule
without vertical mowing is to apply topdressing
at a rate of 0.8 L m-2 (a layer of 1/32 inch)
every three weeks. Topdessing applied at a
rate of 1.6 L m2 (a layer of 1/16 inch) every six
weeks is equally effective, but light, frequent
applications are less disruptive to play on golf
If thatch has not been controlled, use a
vertical mower with thin blades spaced 25 mm
(one inch) apart set to touch the soil surface.
Vertical mow once every 30 days in different
directions. Thatch should be mechanically
reduced to its lowest level but be aware that
this vertical mowing practice will reduce turf
Several pest problems such as diseases,
insects, nematodes, and weeds affect all high
maintenance turfgrasses, especially when
stressed under a low mowing height.
Diagnosis and recommended treatment of pest
problems are available from your local
Cooperative Extension Service office.
If large seeded, cool-season grasses
such as perennial ryegrass and fine fescues,
Festuca spp. L., are chosen, severe vertical
mowing, very high seeding rates, and
topdressing are required. Easier establishment
of smaller seeded grasses, such as roughstalk
bluegrass was attained with a seeding rate of
61 g m2 (12.5 pounds of pure live seed per
1000 square feet) followed by topdressing at a
rate of 1.6 L m-2 (a layer of 1/16 inch).
Vertical mowing was not required.
Special thanks go to Mr. Abe Koga,
former superintendent at the Wailua municipal
golf course, for his permission and assistance
to collect grass samples throughout his golf
course. Sincere thanks also to Dr. Wayne
Hanna for his chromosome count and to Dr.
Charley Guy for his DNA analyses.
1. Anonymous. 1976. Florida Turfgrass
Survey 1974. Fla. Crop and Livestock
Rep. Serv., Div. of Marketing, Ra. Dep.
of Agric. and Consumer Serv. Feb.
2. Burton, G.W. 1966. Tifdwarf
bermudagrass (Reg. No. 8). Crop Sci.
3. Dudeck, A.E. 1994. Overseeding
establishment on FHB-135
bermudagrass. p. 19-23. In A.E.
Dudeck (ed.), Turfgrass Res. in Florida,
IFAS Tech. Rep., May 1994.
4. Dudeck, A.E. 1995.
plant 'FHB-135'. U.S.
Date issued 3 January.
5. Dudeck, A.E. 1995. FloraDwarf"
Bermudagrass. p. 11-12. In J.L. Cisar
(ed.) Turfgrass Res. in Florida, IFAS
Tech. Rep., May 1995.
6. Dudeck, A.E. 1995. Overseed
establishment on FHB-135
bermudagrass. p. 35-40. In J.L. Cisar
(ed.) Turfgrass Res. in Florida, IFAS
Tech. Rep., May 1995.
7. Dudeck, A.E. 1996. Influence of
verticut and topdress treatments on
thatch control in FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass. p. 150. In Agronomy
Abstracts. ASA, Madison, WI.
8. Dudeck, A.E. 1996. NTEP
bermudagrass trials in North Florida. p.
16-25. In J.L. Cisar (ed.) Turfgrass
Res. in Florida, IFAS Tech. Rep., March
9. Dudeck, A.E. 1996. 1995 Putting
green bermudagrass trial. p. 26-33. In
J.L. Cisar (ed.) Turfgrass Res. in
Florida, IFAS Tech. Rep., March 1996.
10. Dudeck, A.E. 1996. Vegetative
establishment of FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass. p. 52-56. In J.L. Cisar
(ed.) Turfgrass Res. in Florida, IFAS
Tech. Rep., March 1996.
11. Dudeck, A.E., and J.B. Sartain. 1994.
Influence of cultural practices on thatch
in FHB-135 bermudagrass. p. 36-44.
In A.E. Dudeck (ed.), Turfgrass Res. in
Florida, IFAS Tech. Rep., May 1994.
12. Giblin-Davis, R.M., J.L. Cisar, F.G. Bilz,
and K.E. Williams. 1992. Host status
of different bermudagrasses (Cynodon
spp.) for the sting nematode,
Belonolaimus longicaudatus. J.
13. Hodges, A.W., J.J. Haydu, P.J. van
Blokland, and A.P. Bell. 1994.
Contribution of the turfgrass industry to
Florida's economy, 1991/92: A value
added approach. Economics Rep. ER
94-1. Food and Resource Economics
Dep., IFAS, Univ. of Fla. Dec. 1994.
14. Marousky, F.J., A.E. Dudeck, L.B.
McCarty, and S.F. Anderson. 1992.
Influence of daylength and fertility on
growth of bermudagrass cultivars.
Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 105:236-
15. Morris, K.N. 1995. National
bermudagrass test 1992. USDA,
ARS, 1995 Progress Rep. NTEP No.
96-4. UDSA-ARS and Natl. Turfgrass
Federation, Inc., BARC, Beltsville, MD.
16. Singha, S., T.A. Baugher, E.C.
Townsend, and M.C. D'Souza. 1991.
Anthocyanin distribution in 'Delicious'
apples and the relationship between
anthocyanin concentration and
chromaticity values. J. Amer. Soc.
Hort. Sci. 116(3):497-499.
Table 1. Turfgrass quality of selected cultivars in National Turf Evaluation
Program (NTEP) bermudagrass fairway test at Gainesville, FL and
NTEP average for 1995.
Cultivar 1993 1994 1995 1996 Average 1995
Baby 6.9 7.4 6.2 7.9 7.1 6.4
Tifway 6.5 7.4 7.5 6.6 7.0 6.4
FloraDwarfT 6.9 6.2 5.8 8.1 6.7 4.5
Tifgreen 6.0 6.6 6.0 6.9 6.4 6.1
Texturf 10 6.1 6.9 6.5 5.9 6.3 5.5
Midiron 6.4 6.7 5.6 6.2 6.2 6.2
Midlawn 5.2 4.9 6.2 5.6 5.4 6.2
Mirage 5.8 5.4 5.4 5.2 5.4 5.8
Sultan 6.2 4.9 5.1 5.4 5.4 5.1
Jackpot 5.6 5.3 5.3 5.3 5.4 5.4
NuMex Sahara 5.6 4.8 5.0 4.6 5.0 4.7
Guymon 4.9 5.0 4.9 4.4 4.8 5.2
Sonesta 5.8 4.7 4.4 4.3 4.8 4.4
Sundevil 5.6 4.4 4.6 4.5 4.9 5.3
Cheyenne 5.3 4.4 4.8 4.5 4.8 4.6
Midfield 6.0 5.7 4.6 2.3 4.7 6.0
AZ Common 5.1 3.7 3.9 4.1 4.7 4.2
Primavera 5.3 4.7 4.4 4.2 4.6 4.5
MSD* 0.6 0.8 0.9 0.8 0.5 0.2
tQuality visually rated on a scale of 1 to 9 where 9 equals best turf quality.
Average of 13, 17, 14, and 4 ratings in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996,
respectively. NTEP average of 21 trials in 16 southern states throughout 1995
*Minimum significant difference (P=0.05) using Waller-Duncan k-ratio t-test
where the difference between any two means within a column must exceed the
MSD value to be significantly different.
Comparative performance in 1994 of selected cultivars in National Turf Evaluation Program
bermudagrass fairway test at Gainesville, FL. Planted in Sept. 1992.
Cultivar Cover Ratet Greenup Genetic Color Texture Density Seedheads
AZ Common 48 3.5 3.7 2.6 4.1 4.2
Baby 39 4.9 6.4 7.7 7.8 2.2
Cheyenne 50 4.0 4.3 3.2 5.2 4.3
FloraDwarfm 24 3.4 6.1 9.0 8.2 1.0
Guymon 23 4.0 4.5 3.0 4.8 2.9
Jackpot 24 5.1 5.6 3.8 5.5 5.2
Midfield 40 3.7 3.9 3.8 3.0 1.8
Midiron 31 3.1 6.1 7.0 6.2 1.7
Midlawn 34 2.8 2.8 5.8 5.7 1.5
Mirage 38 5.5 5.9 3.7 5.3 3.9
NuMex Sahara 42 4.7 5.2 3.3 4.6 5.2
Primavera 36 3.5 4.4 2.7 4.3 5.1
Sonesta 57 4.5 5.1 3.0 4.5 5.0
Sultan 28 4.6 5.0 4.5 5.3 5.1
Sundevil 46 4.9 4.3 2.7 5.1 4.8
Texturf 10 40 5.1 6.6 6.5 5.7 1.4
Tifgreen 36 4.6 6.1 7.8 6.8 2.1
Tifway 36 5.1 8.0 8.3 7.0 1.1
------ ---------- ----- ------------------ ---------- ---------- --------
MSD* 16 1.0 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.0
tCover Rate is a sum of average weekly ground cover estimates obtained by dividing percent ground cover at
each evaluation period by number of weeks from planting for the first 90 days after planting.
tRatings on scale of 1 to 9. Greenup where 9 equals dark green growth in early spring averaged over 2 and 3
ratings in 1994 and 1996, respectively. Genetic color where 9 equals dark green color in July of 1994, 1995,
and 1996. It represents the inherent color of genotype under normal growing conditions. Texture where 1 equals
coarse and 9 equals fine texture in July of 1994 and 1995. Seedheads rated in spring (Apr. June) of 1993,
1994, 1995, and 1996 where 1 equals no seedheads and 9 equals many seedheads. Density where 1 equals low
and 9 equals high density. Average of 4 ratings in June July 1996.
*Minimum significant difference (P=0.05) using Waller-Duncan k-ratio t-test where the difference between any
two means within a column must exceed the MSD value to be significantly different.
Cover estimates, rate of cover, and days to 50% ground cover (Cover5o) of bermudagrass cultivars
during the first 90 days following plug planting in a field at Gainesville, FL on 21 May 1991.1
Days after planting Cover
Cultivar 30 38 50 57 73 90 Ratet Covero,
Tifgreen 11.7 a* 13.2 a 34.8 a 39.7 a 69.3 a 84.2 a 28.1 a 62.03.1
FloraDwarf" 12.0 a 13.0 a 23.3 b 25.8 b 32.3 b 51.2 b 18.3 b 90.47.5
Tifdwarf 11.5 a 12.0 a 21.3 b 23.8 b 31.8 b 45.8 b 17.9 b 95.75.8
tN applied at 5 g m2 (one pound per 1000 square feet per month).
*Cover Rate is a sum of average weekly ground cover estimates obtained by dividing percent ground cover at each
evaluation period by number of weeks from planting for the first 90 days after planting. Values are means of six
*Means within columns followed by the same letter are not significantly different (P=0.05) using Waller Duncan k-
ratio t test.
Influence of topdressing on thatch and verdure in FloraDwarf"
bermudagrass at Gainesville, FL.
Topdress Thatch Verdure
None versus 15.2 a* 69.7 b
3 and 6 week 11.7 b 72.8 a
3 week versus 11.5 a 72.2 a
6 week 12.0 a 73.5 a
*Least squares means for thatch and verdure within paired topdress contrasts with
same letter are not significantly different (P:0.05). Values are means of 12
Interactions of verticut with topdress treatments on rate of
ground cover establishment and turf quality of 'Darkhorse'
rough bluegrass during the first month after overseeded on
FloraDwarfT bermudagrass at Gainesville, FL.
Cover Rate t Turf Quality
Treatment Verticut No Verticut Verticut No Verticut
Topdress 8.2 a* 9.7 a 5.0 a 6.0 a
No Topdress 6.0 b 4.9 b 4.1 b 4.5 b
tCover Rate is a sum of average daily ground cover estimates obtained by
dividing percent ground cover at each evaluation period by number of days
from planting during the first 31 days after overseeding. Values are means
of 112 observations.
*Turf quality rated 1 to 9 where 9= best. Values are means of 176
*Least squares means within verticut columns between topdress
treatments with same letter are not significantly different (P50.05). Least
squares means within topdress treatments between verticut treatments
within cover rate and turf quality variables with a common underline are not
significantly different (P50.05).
Interaction effect of photoperiod on length and width
of the third leaf blade distal to the vertical growing
point of bermudagrass cultivars after 30 days of
growth in a glasshouse at Gainesville, FL.t
Cultivar Long Short Long Short
length (mm) width (mm)
FloraDwarf"T 14.2 b* 11.2 b 2.24 a 2.08 b
Tifdwarf 17.4 a 17.0 a 2.17 a 2.26 a
tUnpublished data from F.J. Marousky. Values are means of 18
*Short day =9 hours photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) from
Mar. to May 1989. Long day =9 hours PAR plus 4 hours interrupted
light from 2200 to 0200 h.
*Least squares means within columns followed by the same letter
are not significantly different (P<0.05). Underlined least squares
means between day length within leaf blade measurements are not
significantly different (PsO.05).
Table 7. Average stolon number and length per plug of bermudagrass
cultivars at 30 days and unmowed height at 90 days after field
planting on 21 May 1991 at Gainesville, FL.
Cultivar Total Length Height
No. mm mm
FloraDwarf" 23.7 a* 2.6 c 8 c
Tifdwarf 15.0 b 14.1 b 15 b
Tifgreen 18.7 b 23.1 a 69 a
*Means within columns followed by the same letter are not significantly
different (P=0.05) using Waller Duncan k-ratio t test. Values are means of six
Average internode length of noncompetitive, determinate
stolons on bermudagrass cultivars 90 days following field
planting on 21 May 1991 at Gainesville, FL.
Cultivar 1st 2nd 3rd Average
Tifgreen 23.4 a* 25.0 a 26.4 a 24.9 a
Tifdwarf 11.8 b 12.2 b 12.8 b 12.3 b
FloraDwarfM 8.2 c 8.6 c 7.8 c 8.2 c
*Means within columns followed by the same letter are not significantly
different (P=0.05) using Waller Duncan k-ratio t test. Values are means
of five measurements.
Differential seedhead production as influenced by
bermudagrass cultivar when grown under putting green
conditions at Gainesville, FL in 1994.
Seedheads after seven days of regrowth
Cultivar 6 June 1 July 27 July Average
Tifdwarf 355 1313 1959 1209
FloraDwarf' 11 0 0 4
tOptimum fertility, water, and mowed at 5 mm (3/16 inch). Values are
means of three observations.
I I I I -
- FloraDwarf" = 0.52 + 0.18X + 0.48X2
r2 =0.95 P=0.0001
Tifdwarf = 4.56 + 1.80X + 0.25X2
r2= 0.98 P=0.0001
0 Tifdwarf 1993
o FloraDwarfT 1993 0
SI I I I I I
N (g m-2 3 wk-1)
Figure 1. Two-year average growth response of bermudagrass cultivars
to nitrogen fertilization at Gainesville, FL. during 1993 and
1994. Data points are means of 20 measurements.
--FloraDwarfM = 2.4 + 1.8X 0.1X2
r2= 0.98 P=0.0001
Tifdwarf = 2.8 + 1.6X 0.2X2
r2= 0.98 P=0.0001 0
7 9 Tifdwarf 1994 -
0 Tifdwarf 1993 .
6 FloraDwarfTM 1994 .
o FloraDwarfTM 1993
0 1 2 3 4 5
N (g m-2 3 wk-1)
Figure 2. Two-year average turf quality during 1993 and 1994 of bermudagrass
cultivars in response to nitrogen fertilization at Gainesville, FL. Data
points in 1993 are means of 140 ratings. Data points in 1994 are
means of 228 ratings. Quality visually rated on scale of 1 to 9 where 9
was best turf quality.
__ ~ __ __
I I I I I I
FloraDwarfTM =4.7 + 1.4X
r2 0.98 P0.0009
*- Tifdwarf = 5.2 + 0.9X 0.1X2
r2= 0.95 P=0.047
-" -" -
I I I I ,I I I
N (g m-23 wk-1)
Figure 3. Thatch response of bermudagrass cultivars after two years of
nitrogen fertilization at Gainesville, FL. Thatch was measured as weight
loss on ignition. Data points are means of 20 observations.
80 73 c 77 b
0 3 6 9
Verticut Frequency (weeks)
Figure 4. Average verdure of FloraDwarfTM bermudagrass in response to
verticut frequency from May through Sept. 1994 at Gainesville,
FL. Means between verticut frequencies followed by the same
letter are not significantly different (P=0.05) using Waller-
Duncan k-ratio t- test. Each data point is an average of 348
90 ,I 9.0
O Verdure = 83.3 3.0X
80 -r2 = 0.99 P=0.007 -8.0
60 6 -.0
( --- Thatch = 8.3 0.9X + 0.1X2
r2= 0.99 P=0.006
50 I 1I -I
0 2 4 6
Verticut (No. of treatments)
Figure 5. Regression of thatch and verdure in FloraDwarfTM bermudagrass on vertical mowing 0,
2, 3, or 6 times during an 18-wk period from 19 May to 22 Sept. 1994 at Gainesville,
FL. This is equivalent to a verticut frequency of none or once every 9, 6, or 3 wk,
respectively. Each thatch value, which was determined as percent organic matter
weight loss on ignition, is a mean of six analyses at end of growing season. Each
verdure value is a mean of 348 visual observations throughout entire growing season.
Aug 25 Average
Figure 6. Stimpmeter measurements of ball roll distance on bermudagrass
cultivars when grown under same cultural practices in 1994 at
Gainesville, FL. Means between grasses within dates followed by the
same letter are not significantly different (P=0.05) using analysis of
variance. Values within dates are means of nine measurements.
SY = 2.17 + 0.12X
r2 = 0.99 P=0.005
0 I I
) 4 (
20 30 40 50 60
Seed Rate (g m-2)
Figure 7. Establishment rate and turf quality of 'Darkhorse' rough bluegrass in
response to overseed rate from Nov. through Dec. 1994 at
Gainesville, FL. Cover rate is a sum of average daily ground cover
estimates obtained by dividing percent ground cover at each
evaluation period by number of days from planting for first 31
days. Values for cover rate are means of 112 observations. Values
for turf quality are means of 176 observations. Turf quality visually
rated on scale of 1 to 9 where 9 was best turf quality.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
u -- -
Figure 8. Polyacrilamide gel electrophoresis patterns contrasting silver stained
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) among bermudagrass cultivars (After
Gresshoff, P.M., 1992, unpublished data). DNA amplification
polymorphism profiles of Tifgreen (gels 2 and 3), Tifdwarf (gels 4 and
5), FloraDwarf" (gels 6 and 7), and FHB-319 (gels 8 and 9)
bermudagrass are contrasted. Dots indicate differential banding
i I i I I I I I I
--Week 6 = 98.2 0.4X
r2 = 0.95 P=0.005
- .% U S * *
* U s
S Week 4 = 97.9 0.7X
r2 = 0.93 P=0.008
- Week 2= 84.5 1.8X
r2 = 0.92 P=0.009
| I I
I I I I
0 5 10
15 20 25 30 35 40
Expansion rate (1:X)
Figure 9. Rate of ground cover of FloraDwarfTM bermudagrass over time
after planting as affected by expansion rate of shredded sod.
Each value is a mean of 20 observations.
I I I I
- -,% n
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Richard L. Jones, Dean for Research, publishes
this information to further programs and related activities, available to all persons regardless of race, color, age, sex, handicap or national origin. For
information about alternate formats, contact the Educational Media and Services Unit, University of Florida, PO Box 110810, Gainesville, FL 32611-0810.
This information was published May 1997 as Bulletin (Tech.) 901, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.