C71 Identifying Classifying and

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):
Bahia grass
Bermuda grass
Centipede grass
Cool-season turf grass
Creeping bent grass
Fine Fescue
Kentucky Bluegrass
Leaf blade
Leaf sheath
Perennial Ryegrass
St. Augustine grass
Tall Fescue
Transition zone
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
4. The leaf sheath is the lower portion of a grass
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
 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
 b. Warm arid/semi-arid— best suited to warmseason grasses. The soils are usually alkaline with
low fertility. They will not support grass without
 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
 Warm-season turf grasses tolerate hot summers
and drought conditions better than cool-season
 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
 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
 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
 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.