August 1994 Bulletin 891
A.E. DuIdeck, J.B. BearJd, J.A. Reinert, Jknd S.I. Silecr,
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A.E. Dudeck, J.B. Beard, J.A. Reinert, and S.I. Sifers
A.E. Dudeck is Professor of Environmental Horticulture, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32611-0670. J.B. Beard and S.I. Sifers are Professor Emeritus and Research Associate of Turfgrass Physiology,
respectively, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843-2474. J.A. Reinert is
Professor of Entomology and Resident Director, Texas A & M University Research and Extension Center, Dallas, TX 75252-6599.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA LI~E:,F.
M erits .......................... .... .... ............................. "i
Limitations ............................. ........................ i11
Characteristics ............................................................ 1
Origin .................. ......................................... ........ 1
Turf Perform ance ........................... ..................... .... .... 1
Nitrogen Stress Tolerance ..................................... .......... 2
Adaptation ................... ............................. .... ........ 3
Fall Low Temperature Color Retention
Spring Greenup Rate
Soil pH Adaptation
Morphological Characteristics ................................................ 5
Leaf Extension Rate
Lateral Stem Development
Cultivar Identification ..................................................... 6
Reproductive Characteristics ............................................... 6
Pest Associations ...................................... .................... 7
Bermudagrass Stunt Mite
Tropical Sod Webworm
Source of Grass .................. ........................................ 9
Establishment................................. .. ......................... 9
M maintenance .... ............................ ............................ 9
Literature Cited ......................................................... 10
FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass is a joint release of the Florida and Texas Agricultural Experiment Stations.
FLoraTeXTM is a low maintenance bermudagrass for cemeteries, golf course fairways and roughs, lawns,
parks, and sports turfs in warm-humid and warm-semiarid climatic regions of the United States. Its merits
and limitations are summarized as follows:
* Widely adapted throughout the warm-humid and warm-semiarid regions of the southern United States
especially under low maintenance inputs.
* Widely adapted to soil pH especially on alkaline soils.
* Very low nitrogen requirement due to superior nitrogen stress tolerance.
* Excellent drought resistance and dehydration avoidance.
* Superior rooting depth and mass.
* Excellent fall low temperature color retention.
* Very early spring greenup.
* Good wear tolerance.
* Resistant to bermudagrass stunt mite.
* Tolerant to the short-winged mole cricket.
* Tolerant to lance and spiral nematodes.
* Least affected by dollar spot under low nitrogen stress.
* Can be identified by its starch gel electrophoresis banding pattern for aconitase.
* Produces seedheads in late Spring.
* May produce viable seed which may contaminate turf with off-types.
* Must be vegetatively propagated by plugs, sod, or sprigs.
* Susceptible to sting nematode.
* Poor shade adaptation which is a characteristic of all bermudagrass cultivars.
Cover Photo by T.E. Freeman
Bermudagrasses, Cynodon sp., are perennial warm-season
grasses native to eastern Africa (3). They are best adapted to
well drained, fertile soils of relatively fine texture. They have
a prostrate growth habit, fine leaf texture, high shoot density,
and deep root system. Bermudagrasses are tolerant of close
mowing, drought, heat, and wear stresses. For these reasons,
bermudagrasses are commonly used for golf course, recre-
ational, and sports turfs throughout warm climatic regions of
southern United States, as well as for ornamental lawns, parks,
and roadsides (3).
'FLoraTeXTM' bermudagrass, Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.,
is a deep rooted, warm-season turfgrass with excellent dehy-
dration avoidance, low nitrogen requirement, excellent fall low
temperature color retention, and early spring greenup. It is
resistant to bermudagrass stunt mite, Eriophyes cynodoniensis
Sayed. It is tolerant to short-winged mole cricket, Scapteriscus
abbreviatus Scudder, and to lance, Hoplolaimus galeatus Cobb,
and to spiral, Helicotylenchus pseudorobustus Steiner, nema-
todes. It is least affected by dollar spot, Sclerotinia
homoeocarpa FT. Bennett, under low nitrogen stress. It is
widely adapted and produces an acceptable turf throughout
southern United States. It can be identified by means of starch
gel electrophoresis for its aconitase "fingerprint". FLoraTeXTM
bermudagrass is an environmentally acceptable grass for low
maintenance turfs on golf course fairways and roughs, as well
as on athletic fields, other recreational sports turfs, roadsides,
and home lawns.
FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass is thought to have been intro-
duced into United States under the name 'Franklin' on 18 Feb.
1954 by African Explosives and Chemical Industries, Ltd.,
Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa (12). It was assigned a
plant introduction (PI) number, 213385, by United States De-
partment of Agriculture New Crops Research Branch, Crops
Research Division. Franklin was originally collected from a
putting green that was severely damaged by mealybugs,
Antonina indica Green, at Mount Edgecomb Golf Course,
Natal, South Africa.
From 1955 to 1962, it was tested under its PI number,
213385, in Alabama, Arizona, California, and Georgia (12).
In 1961, Baltensperger (2) first reported and later Butler (8)
confirmed that PI 213385 was resistant to bermudagrass stunt
mite, although Baltensperger also noted his original plant ma-
terial received from the Southern Regional Plant Introduction
Station in Experiment, Ga. was vegetatively contaminated. He
continued to test three vegetative off-types from PI 213385
under different coded numbers.
During the 1970s and 1980s, many studies on Florida
Bermudagrass accession 119 (FB-119) were conducted at Uni-
versity of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,
Fort Lauderdale and Gainesville, Fla., and at Texas A & M
University, College Station, Texas. During 1986 to 1990, FB-
119 was evaluated in a southern regional cooperative test ad-
ministered by National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP),
USDA ARS, at Beltsville, MD. The NTEP study involved 28
bermudagrass entries and was conducted at 22 locations in 14
states throughout the south (14).
Our original source of FB-119 bermudagrass in Florida is
unknown, although it was identified as PI 213385 (Franklin)
in our records. Unfortunately, original stock of PI 213385 has
since been lost at the Southern Regional Plant Introduction
Center so that comparisons to original germplasm are not pos-
sible (G.R. Lovell, personal communication). FLoraTeXTM was
chosen as a registered trademark name for the Florida experi-
mental bermudagrass selection that was tested throughout the
south as FB-119.
Turf-type bermudagrass cultivars now in use today gener-
ally fit into one of two groups. One group involves C. dactylon
cultivars which tolerate low cultural input in terms of turfgrass
maintenance and yet produce an acceptable level of turf qual-
ity in terms of density and leaf texture. A second group con-
sists of hybrid bermudagrass cultivars, C. dactylon x C.
transvaalensis, which typically require higher cultural inputs
to achieve high turfgrass quality. They also produce an inher-
ently higher turf quality due to their higher shoot density and
narrower leaf texture than the first group. With these two gen-
eral groupings in mind, FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass as described
herein fits within a low maintenance, C. dactylon, group.
FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass produced acceptable seasonal
turf quality when compared with 28 other experimental and
commercial cultivars at 22 locations in 14 states throughout
the south over a 5-year study (Table 1). This indicates wide-
spread geographical adaptation. It was consistently superior
in turf quality compared to 'Arizona Common', 'Guymon',
'NuMex Sahara', and 'Sonesta' cultivars and was equal in per-
formance compared to 'Midiron' and 'Vamont' cultivars. Its
turf quality was not as high, however, as 'Midfield,' 'Midlawn,'
'MS-Choice,' MS-Express,' 'MS-Pride,' 'Texturf 10,' 'Tifway,'
and 'Tufcote' cultivars. In Florida, FLoraTeXTM was superior
in turf quality to Arizona Common, Guymon, and NuMex Sa-
hara and was equal to the remaining 24 cultivars (Table 1). In
Texas, it was superior in turf quality to Arizona Common,
Guymon, and NuMex Sahara and was equal to Midfield,
Table 1. Comparative average turfgrass quality of se-
lected cultivars when tested in Florida and Texas
with other experimental and commercially avail-
able cultivars in a NTEP National Bermudagrass
Test that totalled 22 locations in 14 southern states
from 1986 to 1991 (14).
Cultivar Florida Texas NTEP
MS-Pride 6.7 7.7 6.7
Tifway 6.6 7.5 6.6
MS-Express 6.2 8.0 6.6
MS-Choice 6.1 7.3 6.4
Tufcote 6.3 5.7 6.1
Midfield 5.8 5.0 6.1
Midlawn 5.7 6.0 6.0
Texturf 10 5.9 5.2 6.0
FLoraTeXTM 6.2 5.8 5.7
Midiron 5.8 5.5 5.7
Vamont 5.7 5.2 5.5
Sonesta 5.7 5.2 5.4
NuMex Sahara 5.3 4.5 4.9
Guymon 5.3 3.2 4.4
Arizona Common 5.0 3.5 4.4
LSD value 0.7 0.9 0.2
t Quality rated 1 to 9 where 9=best. To determine statisti-
cal differences (p=0.05) among cultivars within columns,
subtract one culivar's mean from another cultivar's
mean. Cultivars within locations differ in turf quality when
the mean difference is larger than the corresponding
Midiron, Midlawn, Sonesta, Texturf 10, Tufcote, and Vamont.
Its turf quality was not as high, however, as MS-Choice, MS-
Express, MS-Pride, and Tifway (Table 1). Tifway bermudagrass
is a hybrid from the cross C. dactylon x C. transvaalensis, and
is considered to be an industry standard today for use on golf
course fairways and athletic fields. Nitrogen level in these
studies averaged 3.8 pounds but ranged from 1 to 6 pounds per
1000 square feet per growing season. Mowing height aver-
aged 1.2 inches but ranged from 0.25 to 3.0 inches. Irrigation
was applied to prevent moisture stress. Soil at various loca-
tions ranged from silty clay loam to loam to sand root zones.
Soil pH averaged 6.5 but ranged from 4.6 to 7.5.
Nitrogen Stress Tolerance
A unique and superior characteristic of FLoraTeXTM is its
ability to form an acceptable turf under low levels of nitrogen
fertilization. When combined with its superior dehydration
avoidance and drought resistance, FLoraTeXTM is a truly low
maintenance turfgrass which can sustain a significant shoot
density and growth rate needed for acceptable turf quality.
Table 2. Influence of nitrogen fertilization on ground cover
estimates of selected bermudagrassest after 3.5
years at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Dudeck, A.E.,
Cultivar Low Medium
FLoraTeXTM 70 a 91 a
Tiflawn 46 a-c 79 ab
Ormond 24 b-d 74 ab
Tifway 17 cd 47 cd
Bayshore 0 d 41 d
Everlades Od 13 e
Arizona Common -
t A total of 145 bermudagrasses were involved in this trial.
t Low N plots received only 1 pound of N per 1000 square
feet from a complete N-P-K fertilizer plus minor elements
In March of an 8-month growing season. Thus, the aver-
age rate was 0.1 pound of N per 1000 square feet per
growing month. Medium N plots also received a com-
plete N-P-K fertilizer in March, but N was reapplied dur-
ing the seven following months at the rate of 0.5 pound
of N per 1000 square feet. Thus, the average rate was
0.6 pound of N per 1000 square feet per growing month.
Arizona Common did not survive at both N rates and,
therefore, was not included in the statistical analysis.
Means followed by the same letter are not significantly
different (p=0.05) using Waller-Duncan k-ratio t test.
The ability of FLoraTeXTM to produce acceptable turf un-
der very low nitrogen fertilization was first noted during 1970
to 1974 at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Table 2). FLoraTeXTM aver-
aged 70% ground cover at 3.5 years after receiving only 1.0
pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet per year. This is an
average fertilization rate of 0.1 pound of nitrogen per 1000
square feet per growing month. This contrasts with Tifway
bermudagrass which averaged only 17% ground cover, while
Arizona Common, 'Bayshore', and 'Everglades' were unable
to sustain growth at this extremely low level of nitrogen. Even
at a medium rate of 0.6 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet
per growing month, Tifway produced an inferior turf of only
47% ground cover, while FLoraTeXTM averaged 91% under a
same nitrogen level.
In a later study, these findings were reconfirmed at
Gainesville, Fla. (9). Response of nine of the best Fort Lau-
derdale bermudagrass selections were studied in a field for 3
years at four nitrogen rates ranging from 0.25 to 1.0 pound of
nitrogen per 1000 square feet per growing month. Acceptable
turf quality of FLoraTeXTM was maintained at 0.3 pound of
nitrogen per 1000 square feet per growing month. In contrast,
Tifway required a minimum of 0.5 pound of nitrogen while
Arizona Common required more than 1.0 pound of nitrogen
per 1000 square feet per growing month to maintain accept-
able turfgrass quality.
In Texas, FLoraTeXTM, as well as Texturf 10, were the best
bermudagrass cultivars under low nitrogen fertilization (21).
These cultivars were able to sustain acceptable turf quality over
a 2-year period at 0.125 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square
feet per growing month. Based on detailed root/shoot studies,
Sifers and Beard postulated that these two cultivars have a
unique hormonal mechanism that sustains growth at very low
levels of nitrogen via balanced partitioning of available nitro-
gen and carbohydrates which sustains both root and shoot
Under fertilization rates of 0.5 to 0.6 pounds of nitrogen per
1000 square feet per growing month at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,
FLoraTeXTM had better turf color, quality, and ground cover at
2 months after planting compared to Tifway (7). At 11 months
after planting, it had equal ground cover, mole cricket damage,
and unmowed height compared to Tifway. In another 2-year
study, FLoraTeXTM had superior soil coverage, color, and qual-
ity ratings compared to Tifway for the first 2 years after plant-
ing (7). Busey's fertilization program averaged 0.5 pounds of
nitrogen per 1000 square feet per growing month. He con-
cluded that poor performance of Tifway under low fertility was
probably due to mole cricket damage.
Drought resistance refers to a turfgrass' ability to survive a
severe water stress, which may encompass entering a brown
dormant condition and then recovering subsequently when
water is available. Drought resistance, based on ability of a
grass to greenup over a 30-day period following rewetting, was
assessed after 158 days of drought stress during the summer of
1988 and after 48 days of drought stress during the summer of
1989 at College Station, Texas. FLoraTeXTM ranked high in
drought resistance both years (Table 3). Tifway was inconsis-
tent with a low drought resistance ranking in 1988 but had a
high ranking in 1989.
Dehydration avoidance refers to a turfgrass' ability to re-
tain a green shoot cover for an extended period of time during
onset of drought stress. Comparative dehydration avoidance,
as assessed by percent leaf firing of bermudagrass cultivars,
was observed in a field study after 158 days of drought stress
during the summer of 1988 and after 48 days of drought stress
during the summer of 1989 at College Station, Texas.
FLoraTeXTM ranked very high in 1988 and high in 1989 for
dehydration avoidance under field conditions, while Tifway
ranked low in 1988 but high in 1989 (Table 4). Dehydration
Table 3. Comparative drought resistance, evaluated as
shoot recovery, of selected bermudagrass culti-
vars observed 30 days following rewetting after
158 days of drought stress in the summer of 1988
and after 48 days of drought stress in the summer
of 1989 at College Station, Texas (22).
Relative ranking 1988 1989
High Arizona Common Arizona Common
X FLoraTeX FLoeXTM
NuMex Sahara NuMex Sahara
Texturf 10 Texturf 10
Table 4. Comparative dehydration avoidance, as as-
sessed by percent leaf firing, of selected
bermudagrass cultivars observed after 158 days
of drought stress during the summer of 1988
and after 48 days of drought stress during the
summer of 1989 at College Station, Texas (22).
Relative ranking 1988 1989
Very High FLoraTeXTM
NuMex Sahara NuMex Sahara
Texturf 10 Texturf 10
Medium Arizona Common
Low Arizona Common
avoidance in FLoraTeXTM is attributed primarily to its deep
root system which penetrated over six feet in root columns (4).
Low temperature hardiness is defined as susceptibility of
meristematic tissue to kill at temperatures below 320F. Beard
et al. (6) conducted cold stress simulation assessments on ma-
ture sods of 19 bermudagrass cultivars. FLoraTexTM was ranked
with 'Ormond' in the poorest group of cultivars, yet low tem-
perature hardiness of both cultivars was equal to that of Ari-
zona Common, 'Santa Ana', Texturf 10, and Tifway. The lat-
ter four cultivars were also ranked in the best group as having
high cold temperature hardiness. In the NTEP test (14), severe
winterkill of all bermudagrasses was reported in states of Illi-
nois (98%), Missouri (94%), and to a lesser extent in Mary-
land (40%). FLoraTeXTM averaged 73% winterkill in Beltsville,
MD, which was equal to that in Arizona Common, NuMex
Sahara, and Sonesta. No winterkill was reported in any year
when tested at two locations in Kansas and at three locations
Fall Low Temperature Color Retention
FLoraTeXTM ranked as one of the best bermudagrass culti-
vars in terms of fall low temperature color retention or chill
stress resistance at temperatures of 55 to 600F. This is a valu-
able trait for late fall field sports. Among 24 bermudagrass
cultivars evaluated over a 3-year period in Texas, FLoraTeXTM
ranked with Texturf 10, Santa Ana, and Tifway as the best group
of cultivars in terms of fall low temperature color retention
(23). It also exhibited excellent fall and winter low tempera-
ture color retention in Alabama (12), Arizona (12), Florida (9),
Louisiana (14), Oklahoma (14), and Virginia Beach, VA (14).
Spring Greenup Rate
Early spring shoot greenup of FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass
ranked very good among bermudagrass cultivars. This char-
acter would be important for field sports such as baseball and
soccer in order to facilitate recuperation from turf injury. In
studies over a 3-year period in Texas, FLoraTeXTM ranked with
the highest group including Midiron, Tufcote, 'U-3', and
Vamont to greenup early in the spring in spite of cool soil tem-
peratures (23). It also exhibited very early spring greenup in
Alabama (12), Arizona (2, 12), Florida (9), and Louisiana (14).
As with most bermudagrass cultivars, FLoraTeXTM exhib-
ited good wear tolerance. Among 17 bermudagrass cultivars
evaluated in Texas, FLoraTeXTM ranked mid-range with Ari-
zona Common, Bayshore, and Everglades after 800 revolu-
tions of a wear simulator (Table 5). Ormond, Texturf 10, and
Tifway had superior wear tolerance.
Like other bermudagrass cultivars, shade adaptation of
FLoraTeXTM is poor. Thus, it should not be used in densely
shaded areas. In studies by Beard and Sifers at College Sta-
tion, Texas, none of 24 bermudagrass cultivars, including
Table 5. Comparative leaf extension rate and width, canopy orientation, and shoot density in 1986 (24) and wear toler-
ance in 1979 (5) of selected bermudagrass cultivars grown at College Station, Texas.
Extension Canopy Shoot Residual
Cultivar rate Width orientation density verduret
mm d-' mm rating # ndm-2 g
FLoraTeXTM 8.3 a* 1.3 a 4.8 a 202 bc 3.93 b
Midlawn 7.7 a 1.2 a 4.8 a 280 ab
Midiron 7.6 a 1.2 a 5.6 a 200 c
Vamont 7.4 ab 1.4 a 4.8 a 230 bc -
Arizona Common 7.3 ab 1.3 a 5.4 a 229 bc 3.92 b
Tufcote 7.0 a-c 1.7 a 4.0 a 225 bc -
Ormond 7.0 a-c 1.2 a 5.1 a 262 a-c 4.36 a
Bayshore 6.6 a-c 1.3 a 4.7 a 289 ab 3.78 b
Everglades 6.4 a-c 1.2 a 5.3 a 264 a-c 3.64 b
Texturf 10 5.5 bc 1.4 a 4.9 a 204 bc 4.79 a
Tifway 5.0 c 1.2 a 5.1 a 335 a 4.31 a
t Residual verdure is tissue remaining after simulated traffic on turfs grown at low N rate of 0.5 pound N per 1000 square
feet per growing month. Other variables were tested under high fertility of 2 pounds N per 1000 square feet per
t Visual estimate based on scale of 0 = horizontal and 9 = vertical.
* Means within columns followed by the same letter are not significantly different (p=0.05) using Waller-Duncan k-ratio t
FLoraTeXTM, produced an acceptable level of turf quality over
a 2-year period under post oak tree shade.
Soil pH Adaptation
FLoraTeXTM adaptated to a relatively broad range of soil
pH during five years in a NTEP bermudagrass cultivar study at
22 locations in 14 states across southern United States (14). At
College Station, Texas, soil pH was periodically elevated as
high as 9.2 during mid-summer drought periods when irrigated
with water high in sodium. Subsequently, FLoraTeXTM was
able to sustain an acceptable level of turf quality at these very
high levels of alkalinity. There was no evidence of leaf chlo-
rosis as exhibited by some other cultivars.
Salinity tolerance was never measured directly, but in
Gainesville, Fla., FLoraTeXTM maintained leaf water poten-
tials equal to that of 'Tifgreen' and 'Tifdwarf' bermudagrasses
(15). The latter cultivars are very salt tolerant (10). Osmo-
regulation alone, however, cannot be used as an indicator of
salinity tolerance, since growth under saline conditions may
be severely inhibited.
Morphological components contributing to the turf charac-
ter of FLoraTeXTM include a medium-low shoot density, me-
dium leaf texture, and relatively rapid leaf extension rate.
Unmowed canopy height reaches 3 to 5 inches, depending on
environmental and soil conditions. It has a superior rooting
depth and mass, ranking as one of the best bermudagrasses.
Shoot density of FLoraTeXTM is in a medium to medium-
low range. In Texas, a cultivar group having a medium to
medium-high shoot density average of 18.4 shoots per square
inch included Bayshore, Everglades, Midlawn, Ormond, and
Tifway (Table 5). Everglades and Ormond, however, were also
included with Arizona Common, FLoraTeXTM, Midiron, Texturf
10, Tufcote, and Vamont in the group having a low shoot den-
sity average of 14.6 shoots per square inch. In general, a dense
turf is most competitive against weed invasion and may also
have improved wear tolerance (5). No relation between shoot
density and wear tolerance, however, was found (r=0.317,
p=0.54) in this study (Table 5).
FLoraTeXTM had superior summer density ratings in a NTEP
test (14) compared to Arizona Common, Guymon, and NuMex
Sahara. It had summer density ratings equal to Midfield,
Midiron, Midlawn, Sonesta, Tufcote, and Vamont. Cultivars,
MS-Choice, MS-Express, MS-Pride, Texturf 10, and Tifway
had high summer density ratings when averaged over a 5-year
Leaf width of FLoraTeXTM ranks in a medium range (1 to 2
mm or 0.04 to 0.08 inches) compared to most turfgrasses. It
ranked equal to Arizona Common, Bayshore, Everglades,
Midiron, Midlawn, Ormond, Texturf 10, Tifway, Tufcote, and
Vamont (Table 5).
Leaf Extension Rate
If a turfgrass has a rapid leaf extension rate, higher labor
and energy costs are incurred due to greater mowing frequency.
Also, turfgrasses with rapid vertical leaf extension rates tend
to have high evapotranspiration rates (13). Comparative leaf
extension rates of 11 bermudagrass cultivars grown in Texas
under high nitrogen (2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet
per growing month) are shown in Table 5. Cultivars having
high leaf extension rate average of 7.3 mm (0.29 inches) per
day were Arizona Common, Bayshore, Everglades,
FLoraTeXTM, Midiron, Midlawn, Ormond, Tufcote, and
Vamont. Tifway had a low leaf extension rate of 5.0 mm (0.20
inches) per day, but Bayshore, Everglades, Ormond, Texturf
10, and Tufcote were also equal to Tifway.
Unmowed height of FLoraTeXTM at Gainesville, Fla. in July
1991 was measured by Dudeck to be 4.5 inches after 36 days
of regrowth following defoliation. Busey (7) reported its
unmowed height as 3 inches at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
FLoraTeXTM had one of the deepest root systems among
commonly used bermudagrasses. FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass
produced the greatest dry weight of root mass among 24
bermudagrass cultivars grown in root columns for 210 days
under non-limiting moisture conditions in a glasshouse in Texas
(4). Root distribution at depths of 1, 2, and 3 feet for
FLoraTeXTM was 42, 18, and 14%, respectively, with some
roots extending to a 7-foot depth. In contrast, root distribution
at same depths for Tifway was 67, 19, and 9%, respectively,
with no roots extending beyond a 4-foot depth.
Lateral Stem Development
FLoraTeXTM and Tifway produced an equal number of sto-
lons with an average of 56 per 4-inch plug at 30 days after
planting at Gainesville, Fla. (Table 6). However, FLoraTeXTM
produced longer stolons which averaged 1.8 inches while
Tifway's stolons averaged only 1.2 inches in length. Rate of
ground cover produced by FLoraTeXTM and Tifway after 90
days was not different and averaged 40% (Table 6). A 50-day
growth period after planting was required to produce 50%
Certain biochemical analyses used in cultivar identification
are not influenced by growing conditions and cultural prac-
tices as are morphological measurements. Vermeulen et al.
(26) found that it was possible to accurately identify
FLoraTeXTM among 15 commercially available bermudagrass
cultivars with use of starch gel electrophoresis. FLoraTeXTM
produces a distinct "fingerprint" when stained for aconitase
FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass is a fertile, cross pollinated, tet-
raploid perennial grass having a chromosome compliment of
36 (J.C. Read, TAES, Dallas, Texas, personal communication).
Seedhead production disrupts normal vegetative growth and
reduces turf quality. FLoraTeXTM produces seedheads, espe-
cially during May and June. In an established turf in
Gainesville, Fla., it produced 251 and 111 seedheads per square
foot during May and June 1991, respectively. In May, 64, 33,
and 3% of the seedheads had two, three, or four branches per
inflorescence, respectively. In early June, 34, 51, and 1% of
the seedheads had two, three, or four branches per inflores-
cence, respectively. When counted in late June, 14% of the
seedheads were immature, indicating a decline in seedhead
production during that time. In a 1992 space-planted, polycross
study at Gainesville, Fla., FLoraTeXTM had a seedhead
production average of 85 seedheads per square foot and was
equal to NuMex Sahara and Arizona Common which had an
average of 109 and 73 seedheads per square foot, respectively
Table 6. Average number and length of bermudagrass
stolons per plug at 30 days after planting in a field
on 21 May 1991 at Gainesville, FL. Ground cover
rate and days to 50% ground cover of
bermudagrass cultivars during the first 90 days
are also presented (Dudeck, A.E., Unpub. Data).
Stolon Ground cover
Cultivar Number Length Ratet Cover,
# cm % days
FLoraTeXTM 46 ab* 4.7 a 41 a 484
Tifway 66 a 3.0 b 38 a 524
Tifgreen 21 bc 2.4 bc 28 b 623
Tifdwarf 19 c 1.1 c 18 c 966
t Biweekly nitrogen rate was 0.5 pound N per 1000 square
t Cover rate = sum of average weekly ground cover esti-
mates for a 90-day period.
Means within columns followed by the same letter are
not significantly different (p=0.05) using Waller-Duncan
k-ratio t test.
Figure 1. Isoenzyme banding patterns and reference val-
ues for aconitase derived from starch electro-
phoresis of crude protein extracts from turf-type
Cynodon genotypes (After Vermeulen et al.
(Table 7). FLoraTeXTM averaged 3.5 branches per seedhead,
which was lower than branching in Arizona Common and
NuMex Sahara, which averaged 3.8 per seedhead. After 13
years of observations in Texas, Sifers et al. characterized
FLoraTeXTM along with Arizona Common, Everglades,
Tufcote, and Vamont cultivars as "heavy" seedhead producers
(24). Midiron, Midlawn, Ormond, Texturf 10, and Tifway were
characterized as "light" seedhead producers. Sturkie in Ala-
bama (12), Burton in Georgia (12), and Baltensperger in Ari-
zona (2) all rated PI 213385 as being a heavy seedhead pro-
ducer. In a NTEP test, FLoraTeXTM produced seedheads equal
to that of Arizona Common, NuMex Sahara, Sonesta, and
Vamont (14). This group had more seedheads compared to a
group comprising Guymon, Midfield, Midiron, Midlawn, MS-
Choice, MS-Express, MS-Pride, Texturf 10, Tifway, and
There is a risk of turf contamination with off-types over
time due to production of viable seed. Seedlings were obtained
by Youngner in California from crosses involving P1 213385
both as a male or female parent indicating that FLoraTeXTM
may have the potential to produce viable seed (12). In New
Mexico, Baltensperger (personal communication) also pro-
duced several open-pollinated progeny from crosses with PI
213385 and its off-types. In Gainesville, Fla., FLoraTeXTM
had fewer seeds per seedhead compared to Arizona Common
Table 7. Seedhead morphology and production with associated seed production of selected bermudagrassest during
June 1992 in Gainesville, Fla. (Dudeck, A.E., Unpub. Data).
Branches/seedhead Seed/seedhead Seedheads/sq. ft. Seeds/sq. ft.
Cultivar Mean Range Mean Range Mean Range Total Range
Arizona Common 3.9 a* 3-5 32 a 0-86 73 b 21-148 2326 a 673-4742
NuMex Sahara 3.8 a 3-5 11 b 0-51 109a 25-170 1234 b 284-1931
FLoraTeXTM 3.5 b 3-4 2 c 0-7 85 ab 29-186 148 c 50-324
t Polycross test involving five cultivars each vegetatively propagated nine times in a randomized block design.
* Means within columns with the same letter are not significantly different (p=0.05) using Waller-Duncan k-ratio t test.
and NuMex Sahara (Table 7). Even though FLoraTeXTM aver-
aged only two seeds per seedhead while Arizona Common and
NuMex Sahara averaged 32 and 11, respectively, total seed
production in FLoraTeXTM could average 148 seeds per square
foot but vary from 50 to 324. Dudeck obtained seedlings from
his polycross study involving Arizona Common, FLoraTeXTM,
and NuMex Sahara. Total germination of polycross seed was
not different among these three cultivars and averaged 65%.
In College Station, Texas, however, no off-type bermudagrasses
were found by Beard and Sifers in FLoraTeXTM over 13 years
of observation in three replications of plots 90 square feet in
size. Other bermudagrass cultivars in adjacent plantings did
Timely nitrogen fertilization can reduce seedhead produc-
tion in FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass (Figure 2). In Gainesville,
N (Ibs./1000 sq. ft.)
Figure 2. Influence of nitrogen rate on average weekly
seedhead production in FLoraTeXTM bermuda-
grass during May of 1994. Fertilizer was applied
on 29 Apr. 1994 (Dudeck, A.E., Unpub. Data).
Fa., increased rates of nitrogen from 0.25 to 1.0 pounds per
1000 square feet decreased seedhead production in a linear
manner. Greatest reduction in seedheads was effected at 1.0
pound of nitrogen, where seedhead production was reduced
34% compared to non-fertilized treatments. Thus, timely ap-
plication of fertilizer at any rate in early May will effectively
reduce seedhead production in this turfgrass.
Bermudagrass Stunt Mite
Bermudagrass stunt mite, Eriophyes cynodoniensis Sayed,
is a serious pest of most bermudagrass cultivars, especially on
residential and golf turf. Bermudagrasses damaged by this mite
have shortened internodes with tufted, compact growth at the
nodes (20). When left uncontrolled, large areas of turf are killed.
Baltensperger (2) and Butler (8) reported in 1961 that culti-
vars commonly used in Florida at that time were susceptible to
bermudagrass stunt mite. Susceptible cultivars were Arizona
Common, Everglades, 'Nomow,' Ormond, 'St. Lucie,'
Tifdwarf, 'Tiffine,' Tifgreen, 'Tiflawn,' and Tifway. Of the
three morphological off-types that Baltensperger propagated
from his original PI 2133385 material, two were found to be
resistant, but one was found to be susceptible to bermudagrass
stunt mite (2). In 1978, bermudagrass stunt mite failed to es-
tablish on FLoraTeXTM during an 8-month solution culture
study in a glass house at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (20). Mite popu-
lations did establish on several experimental bermudagrass
genotypes and on Tifway. Reinert sampled field plots of
FLoraTeXTM adjacent to natural bermudagrass stunt mite in-
festations in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for up to six years (20) and
no infestation of FLoraTeXTM was found. Susceptible selec-
tions, however, had continual infestations. FLoraTeXTM,
Midiron, and Tifdwarf are the only cultivars with resistance to
this mite (16).
Tropical Sod Webworm
In a 1983 report, Reinert and Busey (17) indicated that
FLoraTeXTM was possibly tolerant to tropical sod webworm,
Herpetogramma phaeopteralis Guenne. However, Reinert et
al. reported in later work at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with ap-
proximately double the population pressure, that FLoraTeXTM
suffered moderate damage from tropical sod webworm larvae,
and it had high adult emergence values in caged studies (Table
8). Additional experimentation is required to fully understand
response of FLoraTeXTM to tropical sod webworm.
Studies in confined cages at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., showed
that adult tawny mole crickets, Scapteriscus vicinus Scudder,
caused 13 to 25% damage to FLoraTeXTM and 16 to 32% dam-
age to Tifway bermudagrass (Table 9). Resistance scores of
71 to 72 for FLoraTeXTM and 62 to 81 for Tifway were re-
ported. Additionally, Arizona Common, FLoraTeXTM, and
Ormond were least damaged by the short-winged mole cricket,
S. abbreviatus Scudder, another very damaging species (18).
Tifway and Tifgreen cultivars were severely injured by short-
winged mole crickets in a same study.
In a field study at Gainesville, Fla., Arizona Common,
FLoraTeXTM, and Tiflawn cultivars were least affected by dol-
lar spot, Sclerotinia homoeocarpa F.T. Bennett, while Tifway
was seriously infected when grown under a very low nitrogen
fertilization program (9). Researchers at two locations in the
NTEP study reported FLoraTeXTM as having best average score
for no dollar spot, but MS-Express, Tifway, and Tufcote were
also included in a same grouping (14).
Table 8. Foliage damage and emergence of tropical sod
webworm adults as affected by differing larvae
pressures on selected bermudagrass cultivars
Cultivar Foliage damage Adult emergence'
Arizona Common 2.5 a 10.4 ab
FLoraTeXTM 3.2 a 10.4 ab
Ormond 4.5 ab 15.8 b
Tifway 7.5 b 14.9 b
Tiflawn 1.5 a 18.0 a
Everglades 1.6 a 18.2 a
Tifway 2.1 a 21.6 a
FLoraTeXTM 5.3 b 17.8 a
Texturf 10 7.5 b 22.0 a
t Visual damage for grass in pots were rated 1 to 10 where
1 = little or no sod webworm injury and 10 = extensive,
nearly complete defoliation.
t Mean number of adults emerging per plot.
* Means within columns among experiments followed by
the same letter are not significantly different (p=0.05)
using Waller-Duncan k-ratio t test.
Table 9. Bermudagrass resistance scores to the tawny
mole cricket based on grass growth and insect
damage when confined in field cage experi-
Top growth Visual+ Resistance
Cultivar reduction (g) damage (%) score
Ormond 22 a 13 a 83
Tifway 22 a 16 a 81
FLoraTeXTM 31 a 25 a 72
Ormond 23 a 8 a 85
Midiron 28 a 14 a 79
FLoraTeXTM 45 ab 13 a 71
Tufcote 44 ab 32 ab 62
Tifway 44 ab 32 ab 62
Everglades 71 b 29 ab 50
Texturf 10 92 b 55 b 27
t All foliage was removed at or just above ground level
(check and mole cricket-inoculated plants treated
alike). Reduction due to mole crickets was figured on a
percentage of control.
t Visually estimated percentage of dead or dying foliage.
Resistance score = 100 (clipping dry weight + visual
* Means within columns followed by the same letter, are
not significantly different (p=0.05) using Duncan's Mul-
tiple Range test.
On numerous occasions, Red Thread, Laetisariafuciformus
(McAlp.) Burdsall, was observed in Gainesville, Fla., growing
on dormant FLoraTeXTM during a winter period (9). No turf
thinning or-damage, however, was noted during a following
Bermudagrass culture throughout tropical and subtropical
climates is seriously limited by parasitic nematodes (11). In
controlled studies at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., during 1991, Giblin-
Davis et al. (R.M. Giblin-Davis, 1991, personal communica-
tion) concluded that Arizona Common and FLoraTeXTM
bermudagrasses were susceptible to a sting nematode,
Belonolaimus longicaudatus, while Tifway bermudagrass was
In earlier studies at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1985,
FLoraTeXTM and Tifway bermudagrasses were equally toler-
ant to lance, Hoplolaimus galeatus Cobb, and to spiral,
Helicotylenchus pseudorobustus Steiner, nematodes (25).
Source of Grass
Foundation stock of FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass will be re-
leased to licensed growers only. FLoraTeXTM will be grown
under strict certification standards to maintain its genetic pu-
rity. Information regarding availability of foundation stock may
be obtained from Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc., P.O.
Box 309, Greenwood, Fla. 32443 or Texas Foundation Seed
Service, College Station, Texas 77843.
Best time to plant FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass is during
spring and summer months from April through August. It may
be established vegetatively by means of sprigs, plugs, or sod.
Regardless of method of planting, seedbed preparation be-
fore planting is very important for success of any new turf. All
old vegetation should be removed. Soil surface should be uni-
formly graded and cleared of debris. Amendments such as
colloidal phosphate or weed-free organic matter should be
added. If soil is very sandy, addition of colloidal phosphate at
a rate of 5% by volume (a uniform layer 5/16 inch thick over
the area) or peat at a rate of 10% by volume (a uniform layer
5/8 inch thick over the area) is a good investment. Organic
matter would be beneficial for only a few years, while colloi-
dal phosphate would last indefinitely. Either of these amend-
ments increases water and fertilizer holding capacity of soil.
Amendments should be thoroughly mixed into the upper 6
inches of soil.
A soil analysis is necessary to determine nutritional status
of soil. A pH, calcium, and magnesium analysis will deter-
mine need for chemical amendments. For most turf areas,
magnesium is soon depleted. For this reason, dolomite should
be used when lime is recommended. Follow recommenda-
tions of your local county Extension office. Any limestone or
sulphur should be uniformly incorporated into the root zone at
the same time other amendments are incorporated.
Sprigging is the cheapest vegetative planting method. A
sprig is an individual stem of grass without adhering roots and
soil. Sprigs, containing at least two nodes per propagule, are
usually planted end to end in shallow furrows spaced 6 to 12
inches apart. Cover most of the sprig with soil and firm by
rolling or stepping on the furrow. Stolonizing is another method
of sprigging where sprigs are uniformly distributed over the
entire soil surface at a rate of 5 to 10 bushels per 1000 square
feet and then pressed into the soil surface with a notched coulter.
The area is then rolled and watered. This method provides
very fast coverage since an entire area is uniformly planted.
Sprigs have no root system and, therefore, are quite perish-
able. Light, frequent, daily waterings are necessary for the
first few weeks until a root system becomes established.
Plugging is the planting of 2- to 4-inch circular or square
pieces of sod. A plug is a miniature piece of sod which con-
tains a mature plant with an intact root system 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 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 a most expensive method of vegetative propaga-
tion but this is usually compensated by having an 'instant' lawn.
Sod pieces should be fitted together as tightly as possible in a
brick-like fashion on a well-prepared, moistened seedbed.
Although sodding is a least perishable vegetative propagation
method compared to sprigs and plugs, be sure to moisten un-
derlying soil with daily supplemental water during the first few
weeks of establishment.
When new grass shoots appear after planting, a complete
fertilizer with minor elements such as a 16-4-8 or a 6-6-6 should
be applied. During the establishment phase, nitrogen should
be applied at a rate of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet
every 3 to 4 weeks until a solid stand of grass is achieved.
Begin mowing at a 1-inch height of cut when grass reaches
1.0 to 1.5 inches in height. Use a mower with a sharp blade.
Do not mow when the grass is wet. Do not remove clippings
as they may reduce fertilizer need by 20 to 30%.
Bermudagrasses as a group have quite low evapotranspira-
tion (ET) rates. FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass ranks in the upper
two-thirds among commercially available bermudagrass culti-
vars in terms of a low ET rate. Under a high evaporative stress
environment and nonlimiting moisture conditions, ET rate could
reach as high as 4.5 mm (0.18 inches) per day for a few days
during the year. More typically, however, ET rate would be
one-half that amount or less, during most of a growing season.
When this is combined with superior dehydration avoidance
and drought resistance, irrigation requirements for FLoraTeXTM
turfs would be quite low. Most probably, irrigation would be
needed no more than once a week. When turfgrass shows signs
of wilt, irrigate deeply and infrequently to wet the entire root
FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass has a low nitrogen requirement,
being exceeded only by Texturf 10 among bermudagrass culti-
vars. Thus, nitrogen requirement for an acceptable quality turf
would be in a range of 1 to 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000
square feet per growing season. One pound of nitrogen per
1000 square feet annually would produce an acceptable qual-
ity turf on most soils. A surprising cover can be maintained
even under no nitrogen fertilization on fertile, fine textured
soils that are not prone to leaching. If only a single annual
application is to be made, a complete fertilizer with minor ele-
ments such as a 16-4-8 should be applied in early May to mini-
mize seedhead production. Monitor need for phosphorus and
potassium by soil testing annually.
Since bermudagrasses are used primarily for sports activi-
ties, fertilization programs are often formulated to provide high
turf quality during the season. Heavier rates of fertilizers can
be used to keep turf healthy and vigorous. High fertilizer rates,
however, will produce a faster thatch buildup than low fertil-
izer rates and may also predispose a turf to more insect and
disease problems. Additionally, the amount of mowing and
watering increases with the amount of fertilizer used. Although
FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass will respond to high rates of nitro-
gen fertilizer, use of excessively high nitrogen rates on this
grass would be environmentally irresponsible.
FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass has consistently produced an ac-
ceptable quality turf in both Florida and Texas at a cutting height
of 1 inch, but it may be mowed from 0.75 to 1.5 inches. Higher
cuts are preferred to take advantage of its superior rooting depth
and mass. Do not remove more than one-third of leaf area at
any mowing. Clippings should not be removed. Turf may be
mowed with either a well adjusted reel mower or a sharp, well
balanced rotary mower. Reel-type mowers are best because they
cut grass blades cleanly as leaf blades pass between the reel
and bed-knife. Since FLoraTeXTM bermudagrass produces
seedheads from May through July, weekly mowing during this
time is required for removal of seedheads.
There should be no need for thatch control methods such as
core cultivation, vertical cutting, or top dressing on FLoraTeXTM
turfs, especially if cultured under low maintenance conditions.
Several pest problems such as insects and diseases may af-
fect FLoraTeXTM turfs, especially if grown under a high main-
tenance program. Diagnosis and recommended treatment of
pest problems are available from your local county Coopera-
tive Extension Service office.
1. Anonymous. 1981. Palm Beach Pesticide Report. Florida
Green (Winter): 15.
2. Baltensperger, A.A. 1961. Evaluation of bermudagrass
varieties and strains. Report on turfgrass research. Ari-
zona Agric. Exp. Stn. Rep. 203:3-14.
3. Beard, J.B. 1973. Turfgrass Science and Culture. Prentice-
Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
4. Beard, J.B. 1990. Developing water conserving minimal
maintenance turfgrasses and cultural systems. Texas Agric.
Exp. Stn. Final Rep. p. 19-21.
5. Beard, J.B., S.M. Batten, and A. Almodares. 1981. An
assessment of wear tolerance among bermudagrass culti-
vars for recreational and sports turf use. Texas Turfgrass
Research 1979-80. Texas Agric. Exp. Stn. Progress Rep.
6. Beard, J.B., S.M. Batten, and G. Pittman. 1981. Com-
parative low temperature hardiness of 19 bermudagrasses.
Texas Turfgrass Research 1979-80. Texas Agric. Exp.
Stn. Progress Rep. 3835:21-23.
7. Busey, P. 1986. Bermudagrass germplasm adaptation to
natural pest infestation and suboptimal nitrogen fertiliza-
tion. J. Am. Soc. Hort. Sci. 111(4):630-634.
8. Butler, G.D., Jr. 1961. Variations in response of
bermudagrass strains to eriophyid mite infestations. Re-
port on turfgrass research. Arizona Agric. Exp. Stn. Rep.
9. Dudeck, A.E., C.H. Peacock, and T.E. Freeman. 1985.
Response of selected bermudagrasses to nitrogen fertili-
zation. p. 495-504. In F. Lemaire (ed.) Proc. 5th Int. Res.
Turfgrass Conf., Avignon, France. 1-5 July. Inst. Natl. de
la Recherche Agron., Paris.
10. Dudeck, A.E., S. Singh, C.E. Giordano, T.A. Nell, and D.B.
McConnell. 1983. Effects of sodium chloride on Cynodon
turfgrasses. Agron. J. 75:927-930.
11. Johnson, A.W. 1970. Pathogenicity and interaction of
three nematode species on six bermudagrases. J. Nematol.
12. Juska, F.V. and A.A. Hanson. 1964. Evaluation of
bermudagrass varieties for general-purpose turf. USDA-
ARS Agric. Handb. 270. U.S. Gov. Print. Office, Wash-
13. Kim, K.S., J.B. Beard, L.L. Smith, and M. Ganz. 1983.
Comparative evapotranspiration rates of 13 turfgrasses.
Texas Turfgrass Research 1983. Texas Agric. Exp. Stn.
Progress Rep. 4156:39.
14. Morris, K.N. and J.J. Murray. 1993. National
bermudagrass test 1986. USDA, ARS, NTEP Final Rep.
1986-91. NTEP No. 93-1. USDA-ARS and Natl. Turfgrass
Federation, Inc., BARC, Beltsville, MD.
15. Peacock, C.H. and A.E. Dudeck. 1985. A comparative
study of turfgrass physiological responses to salinity, p.
822-830. In F. Lemaire (ed.) Proc. 5th Int. Turfgrass Res.
Conf., Avignon, France. 1-5 July. Inst. Natl. de la Re-
cherche Agron., Paris.
16. Reinert, J.A. 1983. The bermudagrass stunt mite. Florida
17. Reinert, J.A. and P. Busey. 1983. Resistance of
bermudagrass selections to the tropical sod webworm
(Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Environ. Entomol. 12:1844-
18. Reinert, J.A. and P. Busey. 1984. Biological control of
mole crickets Resistant varieties. p. 35-40. In T.J. Walker
(ed.) Mole crickets in Florida. Florida Agric. Exp. Stn.
19. Reinert, J.A., P. Busey, and F.G. Bilz. 1989. Bermudagrass
resistance to the tropical sod webworm (Lepidoptera:
Pyralidae). p. 325-327. In H. Takatoh (ed.) Proc. 6th Int.
Turfgrass Res. Conf., Tokyo, Japan. 31 July-5 Aug. Japa-
nese Soc. of Turfgrass Sci., Tokyo.
20. Reinert, J.A., A.E. Dudeck, and G.H. Snyder. 1978. Re-
sistance in bermudagrass to the bermudagrass mite.
Environ. Entomol. 7:885-888.
21. Sifers, S.I. and J.B. Beard. 1987. Morphological and
physiological plant parameters of bermudagrass cultivars
with low nitrogen requirements. Texas Turfgrass Research
1986. Texas Agric. Exp. Stn. Progress Rep. 4518:22.
22. Sifers, S.I., J.B. Beard, and M.H. Hall. 1990. Compara-
tive dehydration avoidance and drought resistance among
major warm-season turfgrass species and cultivars. Texas
Turfgrass Research 1990. Texas Agric. Exp. Stn. Progress
23. Sifers, S.I., J.B. Beard, and M.H. Hall. 1992.
Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) cultivar characterizations
for 1988, 1989, and 1990. College Station, Tex. Texas
Agric. Exp. Stn. Progress Rep. 4988:33-38.
24. Sifers, S.I., J.B. Beard, K.S. Kim, and J.R. Walker. 1989.
Bermudagrass cultivar characterizations for 1986. Texas
Turfgrass Research 1987. Texas Agric. Exp. Stn. Progress
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bermudagrass damage by ectoparasitic nematodes.
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