Latitude 36, a
new bermudagrass variety developed at Oklahoma State University and funded in
part by the USGA, is gaining popularity across the U.S. Here it is showcased at
Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md., and will soon be installed at FedEx
Field, home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins. (Photo by Steve McCormick)
When the NFL season kicks off this fall, the Washington Redskins will be playing on a new surface at FedEx Field. ‘Latitude 36’ bermudagrass, created by researchers at Oklahoma State University and funded in part by the USGA, will be sodded in June on the Redskins' home field. Since 1986, the USGA research program has supported the development of cold-hardy, fine-textured bermudagrasses, including the turfgrass breeding program at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
This is not the first time that Latitude 36 bermudagrass has made headlines in the sports world. The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens have installed the new variety on two practice fields, and the University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.) and Bradley University (Peoria, Ill.) home football fields are sodded with Latitude 36 as well.
The grass is 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. It has improved cold hardiness, spring greenup and excellent color.
Latitude 36 was tested for seven years at Oklahoma State University before entering a national testing phase. The grass then underwent rigorous independent evaluation by researchers at land-grant universities across the southern United States and the central transition zone through theNational Turf Evaluation Program (NTEP). At the conclusion of the 2007-2012 NTEP bermudagrass trials, Latitude 36 claimed overall top honors, beating out many strong competitors.
Initial sales of Latitude 36 began last year after its release in 2010. Nine outlets across the U.S. are currently licensed to produce the grass through Oklahoma State University’s licensing firmSod Solutions.
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