Sub-Freezing Temperatures Challenge Bermudagrass Survival
Photo Caption: Winterkill is a relative term where
part of a grass plant or entire turfgrass stand dies during the winter. Firm internodes
that are green, white, red or purple in color indicate bermudagrass stolons are
alive. Soft, mushy internodes that are brown or straw tan in color suggest that
the stolon is dead. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Dennis Martin, professor & turfgrass
specialist, Oklahoma State University).
grasses, better adapted to the South, will have a tough time surviving the
arctic cold that has crept across the United States. However, improvements in
bermudagrass varieties such as ‘Latitude 36’, ‘Northbridge’ and ‘Patriot’
should be up to the challenge. With financial support from the USGA, plant
breeders at Oklahoma State University have specifically developed these
varieties to survive periods of sub-freezing temperatures.
bermudagrasses are ideal for use in parts of the eastern, western and southern
United States for golf course fairways and tees, sports fields, commercial
grounds and residential lawns, in part, because of its excellent traffic
tolerance and recuperation rate once it is damaged.
seven years at Oklahoma State University before entering a national testing
phase, Latitude 36 and Northbridge then underwent rigorous independent
evaluation by researchers at land-grant universities across the southern and
central transition zone of the United States. At the conclusion of the
Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP)
bermudagrass trials, Latitude 36 claimed overall top honors, beating out many
importance is the performance for these grasses in sub-freezing, winter
conditions. Percent winterkill data was collected at Oklahoma State University
and Virginia Tech University (see Table 1) after the 2009-10 winter. During
that winter, freezing temperatures were much below normal for the south and
central U.S. (see Figure 1). The good news is that several bermudagrass
varieties survived the arctic blast.
Figure 1. Temperature anomalies for the 2009-10 winter.
2007 National Bermudagrass Test
Bermudagrass freeze tolerance
2009-2010 Climate Summary