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Two New Hybrid Turfgrasses

NorthBridge™ and Latitude 36™ hybrid bermudagrasses are the two newest releases in the OSU line of improved turf bermudagrasses. Both bermudagrasses are vegetatively propagated (no commercial seed), fine textured and have excellent winter hardiness along with outstanding turfgrass color, quality, density and divot recovery rate. Both grasses performed exceptionally well in the 2007-2012 NTEP National Bermudagrass Trial conducted in multiple states where bermudagrass is adapted. Development of NorthBridge™ and Latitude 36™ was conducted with support from the United State Golf Association (USGA), OSU - Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and the Oklahoma Turfgrass Research Foundation (OTRF).

Intended Use Sites:
NorthBridge™ and Latitude 36™ are very well adapted for use on golf course fairways, teeboxes and greens surrounds as well as on intensively managed and heavily trafficked sports fields. They can also be used on “show case” lawns where high quality is demanded and intensive management will be practiced. These grasses are adapted on sites where regular mowing in the range of 3/8 to 1.25 inches will be practiced; they are intended for close cut conditions. A golf course superintendent on the east coast has already reported trialing Latitude 36 at ¼ inch on teeboxes with success. For those considering either grass for lawns, they are not intended for use in situations where cutting height will be above about 1.25 inches and are not considered low maintenance “walk away” grasses – they were developed to deliver the ultimate in performance in response to management inputs.

Development History and Production Rights:
In 2010 the Departments of Plant & Soil Science as well as Horticulture & Landscape Architecture obtained approval for release of the two new hybrid turf bermudagrasses, OKC 1119 and OKC 1134 (US Plant Patents Pending). In early 2011 exclusive licensing and production rights for these two releases were granted by the OSU Office of Intellectual Property Management to Sod Solutions, Inc. In close consultation with Oklahoma State University, Sod Solutions has applied the trade names Latitude 36™ to OKC 1119 and NorthBridge™ to OKC 1134.
In 2011, Sod Solutions Inc sublicensed production rights of these varieties to 6 sod producers with at least 3 more producers to be licensed in 2012. The first sod and sprigs of these proprietary and Blue-tag Certified varieties will be available for purchase in early 2012 from Oakwood Sod Farms of Maryland with other licensees having product available late in 2012 or early 2013. The first licensed sod producers are: Easton Sod Farms, Inc. of Bixby, OK; Meadowspring Turf Farm, LLC of Charles City, VA; Greenfield Turf of Gordonville, MO; Lavery's Sod Farm of Shawsville, VA; Carolina Turf Farms of Raeford, NC and Oakwood Sod Farm of Delmar, MD.
Plant patent applications for each variety were submitted in 2010 and a decision by the US Patent and Trade Mark Office is pending. Inventors of record on these two varieties are: Drs. Yanqi Wu, Dennis Martin, Charles Taliaferro, Jeff Anderson and Justin Moss of Oklahoma State University – Stillwater. Latitude 36™ and NorthBridge™ bermudagrasses are both interspecific hybrids created by the cross of Dactylon, some times called “Common bermudagrass”, and African bermudagrass, or a Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensiscross. They are termed interspecific hybrids, both have 2n=3x=27 chromosomes and are termed triploid hybrids. Triploid hybrids may flower but are generally sterile with so little viable seed produced such that they can only be commercially propagated by clonal or vegetative means. Unique DNA finger prints verified by simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers have been documented for these two varieties. This aids in maintenance of varietal purity and in prosecution of violations of the patent once it is granted.

Are They a Good Fit for Me?
Extensive performance data on NorthBridge™ and Latitude 36™ is available from the 2007-2012 NTEP bermudagrass trial on line at: ntep.org. However, it has been said by many turfgrass managers that the only performance that matters is on one’s own real world test site. One of the best ways to find out if new turfgrass products offer benefits while exposing yourself to very little cost and risk is to try just a few square feet of sod, patched in to an area where they can be maintained and observed for 1 to 3 growing seasons. Bermudagrass sod planting is best done in April or May so the sod can root in during the more mild months of the year. Practice normal Good Management Practices (GMP) during establishment and maintenance. NorthBridge™ and Latitude 36™ just being released to the sod producers, will not be available for purchase in Oklahoma until very late 2012 or early 2013. Stocks may be very limited at first. Try them, you just may like them!

 

Dennis Martin, PhD
Professor & Turfgrass Extension Specialist
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture,
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK  74078-6027

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