NTEP Warm-Season Putting Green Trial Begins In The Southwest October 1, 2013 By Brian Whitlark

(L) Six weeks after planting, the zoysiagrass entries have been slowest to establish in the new NTEP warm-season putting green trial established summer 2013 at the Karsten Turfgrass Research Facility in Tucson, Ariz. (R) Most of the bermudagrass entries have completely covered the treatment area during the same six weeks.

A new National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) trial began this summer on golf courses and university research centers at 12 locations spanning the southern U.S and transition zone. Specific sites in the Southwest arethe Karsten Turfgrass Research Facility in Tucson, Ariz., and Tamarisk Country Club in Palm Springs. 

The study is designed to evaluate three warm-season turfgrass species – bermudagrass, seashore paspalum and zoysiagrass – for use on putting greens.The study will be conducted over five years and the turf is to be managed to produce green speed between nine and 10 feet as measured using a Stimpmeter®. As golf facilities look to employ more economically sustainable practices, the goal of this trial is to identify several warm-season varieties that yield smooth, reasonably paced greens with fewer inputs when compared to a traditional management program for ultradwarf bermudagrasses. For example, the target mowing height is set to a range between 0.140 and 0.165 inches and the goal is to reduce fertilizer and fungicide inputs and lessen the frequencies for verticutting and topdressing. 

Please contact Dr. James Baird with University of California-Riverside or Dr. David Kopec with University of Arizona for site-specific information on the trials. Looking forward, mark your calendars for May 7, 2014 for the University of Arizona Turfgrass Field Day where you will be able to view the progress of the trial and learn which varieties were first to emerge from winter dormancy. 

Source: Brian Whitlark (

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