University of Florida turfgrass researchers have partnered with 21 Florida sod producers from the Florida Sod Growers Cooperative (FSGC) to form Turf Research Florida, a grower-funded research initiative. The research group will seek out new and improved zoysiagrass varieties, particularly those that are disease resistant. Turfgrass research, development and marketing company Sod Solutions ® is coordinating this cooperative effort and will be the licensing and marketing agent for new grasses resulting from the program.
The primary objectives of the research will address large patch disease, drought and shade responses of experimental lines of zoysiagrass. Secondary objectives may include color retention during cooler weather and hunting billbug or caterpillar (fall armyworm and tropical sod webworm) responses.
The University of Florida will conduct the research and evaluate the turfgrass performance of the experimental lines at several locations across Florida. Locations include both University research centers and partnering sod farms. As the best experimental lines are identified, larger plots will be installed on several sod farms and growers will provide information regarding establishment, harvesting, re-growth and installation of the selected lines. Release is expected within five to six years.