Identifying, Classifying, and Selecting Turfgrass Student Learning Objectives. Instruction in this lesson should result in students achieving the following objectives: 1. Identify major parts of turf grass plants. 2. Explain how turf grasses are selected based on climate. 3. Identify characteristics of grass plants use for turf grass purposes. Terms. The following terms are presented in this lesson (shown in bold italics): Auricle Bahia grass Bermuda grass Centipede grass Collar Cool-season turf grass Creeping bent grass Crown Fine Fescue Kentucky Bluegrass Leaf blade Leaf sheath Ligule Perennial Ryegrass Rhizomes St. Augustine grass Stolon Tall Fescue Tiller Transition zone Turfgrass Vernation Warm-season turf grass Zoysia grass What are the major parts of turf grass plants? Turfgrass is a collection of grass plants that form a ground cover. All turf grasses belong to the grass family, Poaceae. The types of grasses vary in appearance and growth habits. They are narrow-leaf plants that have fibrous root systems. Flowers of most grasses are not showy. What are the major parts of turf grass plants? The stem of a grass plant is short or compacted. This compacted stem is called a crown. New leaves grow from the crown. There are three types of growth habits or patterns by which a turf grass spreads. They include stoloniferous, rhizomatous, bunchtype, and rhizomes. What are the major parts of turf grass plants? Some grasses spread horizontally and produce new shoots called stolons. Stolons are stems that grow from the main plant above the ground. Bermudagrass, Zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass, and Centipedegrass are stolon producing turfgrasses. What are the major parts of turf grass plants? Rhizomes are stems that grow under the soil surface. Like Stolons they grow horizontally and produce new shoots. Kentucky Bluegrass, Bermuda grass, and some Fine Fescues spread by rhizomes. Some grasses, such as Tall Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass, grow in bunches and expand somewhat by tillers. Tillers are shoots that develop alongside the parent shoot. Tillers grow upwards. What are the major parts of turfgrass plants? Grasses are identified by the shape of the auricle, collar regions, leaf blade, leaf sheath, ligule, vernation, and the shape of flower inflorescence. Other identification characteristics include growth habit, general appearance, and seed head. What are the major parts of turf grass plants? 1. An auricle is a pair of tiny appendages between the leaf blade and the sheath. 2. The collar is a light-colored band between the leaf blade and sheath on the lower side of the leaf. 3. The leaf blade is the upper portion of a grass leaf. 4. The leaf sheath is the lower portion of a grass leaf. 5. A ligule is a membranous or hairy structure on the inside of a leaf at the junction of the leaf blade and sheath. 6. Vernation is the arrangement of the youngest leaf in the bud shoot, either folded or rolled. How are turf grasses selected based on climate? The environment plays a major role in selecting a turf grass. Temperature and precipitation are key factors affecting the growth of a turf grass on a site. Other environmental factors include the exposure to the sun, the type of soil, and humidity. The United States has been divided into four turfgrass climate regions. These regions are based on the types of grasses that can be grown well within the particular region. Each region has certain environmental conditions that restrict growth of certain grasses. Four major turf grass climatic zones are described: a. Warm-humid— The soils are generally strongly acidic and may be infertile due to low organic content. b. Warm arid/semi-arid— best suited to warmseason grasses. The soils are usually alkaline with low fertility. They will not support grass without irrigation. c. Cool-humid— The soils are generally acidic and some irrigation may be needed to supplement the natural rainfall of the area. d. Cool-arid/semi-arid—The soils are generally acidic and will usually not support other grasses unless there is adequate fertilization and irrigation. Cool-season turf grass grows best in temperatures of 50–75°F. They grow best during the cool temperatures of spring and fall. Cool-season turf grasses with- stand cold winters in the northern part of the country. They may become dormant if allowed to dry out during the summer. Warm-season turf grass grows best in temperatures of 70–95°F. They grow best from late spring until fall. They go dormant when temperatures drop to 40°F or below. Warm-season turf grasses tolerate hot summers and drought conditions better than cool-season grasses. They are also more salt tolerant. However, they do not tolerate shade. A transition zone is an area between two major climatic regions. The transition zone can have cold winters and hot summers. Those conditions make it difficult for most warm and cool-season turf grasses. Only the cold-tolerant warm-season turf grasses and heat-tolerant cool-season turf grasses survive in the transition zone, but the climate isn’t optimal for either type of grass. What are the characteristics of grass plants used for turf grass purposes? Some of the major warm-season turf grasses are described: 1. Bahia grass 2. Bermuda grass 3. Centipede grass 4. Saint Augustine grass 5. Zoysia grass What are the characteristics of grass plants used for turf grass purposes? Some of the major cool-season turfgrasses are described: 1. Creeping Bent grass 2. Kentucky Bluegrass 3. Fine Fescues 4. Perennial Ryegrass 5. Tall Fescue What are the characteristics of grass plants used for turf grass purposes? Some grasses work fairly well in the transition zone. 1. Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass are two warmseason lawn turf grasses used in the transitional zone. The most cold-tolerant warm-season turf grass is buffalo grass. 2. Tall Fescue is the most common cool-season lawn turf grass used in the transition zone.