A new standard in drought-tolerant bermudagrass has been developed by turfgrass breeders at the University of Georgia. The new bermudagrass variety, called TifTuf, has been in development by Dr. Wayne Hanna since 1992 and received rigorous scientific testing by Dr. Brian Schwartz, the new turfgrass breeder at the University of Georgia. Field testing was conducted in Georgia and across the South, including Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina and Florida.
After almost 25 years of testing and development, TifTuf was jointly released this year by the University of Georgia and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. No other bermudagrass ever released from this breeding program has more data to support its agronomic qualities.
TifTuf – Key Agronomic Benefits
TifTuf has numerous qualities that make it a sustainable surface for tees, approaches, fairways and roughs:
- Drought Tolerance – TifTuf exhibited superior drought tolerance compared to older bermudagrass varieties. TifTuf uses less water and stays green longer without irrigation because of its unique physiological characteristics. During testing, soil moisture remained consistently higher in TifTuf plots than in plots containing other bermudagrass varieties. TifTuf used 38 percent less water and retained 95 percent more green leaf tissue during drought stress when compared to Tifway™. While other bermudagrasses went dormant, TifTuf retained green color and an acceptable appearance.
- Leaf Texture and Color – TifTuf has a very fine leaf texture and a vibrant green color. Visually, TifTuf blends well into areas with other hybrid bermudagrasses unless drought stress occurs.
- Wear Tolerance – TifTuf exhibited good wear tolerance when tested using the Cady traffic simulator. Irrigation and fertilizer applications helped TifTuf quickly recover from any damage.
- Cold Tolerance – TifTuf appears to have excellent cold tolerance in comparison to other bermudagrass varieties. TifTuf stays green longer into the fall, often greens up faster in the spring and seems to have a longer growing season than other bermudagrass varieties.
- Shade Tolerance – TifTuf also appears to have significant shade tolerance, surviving with only 25 percent sunlight transmission during testing. Initial tests also indicate that TifTuf experiences less drought stress than other bermudagrass varieties when planted over tree roots.
TifTuf is on the market and available from several sod producers. For additional information and data about TifTuf, check out this video on The Story of TifTuf Bermudagrass by Dr. Brian Schwartz.
Southeast Region Agronomists:
Chris Hartwiger, director, USGA Course Consulting Service - firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Kammerer, regional director – email@example.com
Patrick M O’Brien, agronomist – firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Lowe, agronomist – email@example.com