Learn a lot more about different turf grass species, sub species and cultivars. Understand their comparable characteristics and gain the ability to make better desiccation about what to use in varied situations.
Turf or lawn is a surface covered by (normally) grasses growing in an unnatural environment contrived by man. Other plants may occasionally be used as a lawn or mixed with grasses to create a lawn, but lawns are for the most part created with only grasses.
Lawns don’t just happen naturally. They are planned, put there by people and maintained through mowing and other practices. If we want the turf cover to be sustainable and fit for purpose, it needs to be purposefully planned and maintained.
The grasses which you choose to use in a turf, need to be understood and carefully selected to meet the purpose of that turf. Making a good choice of grass variety can make a huge difference to the quality of the surface, the health of the grasses, what it can be used for and the cost of maintaining it in terms of moth money and resources.
Available in March 2017
Advance enrolments accepted now
There are 10 lessons in this course:
Buffalo and Zoysia Grasses
Other Warm Condition Grasses
Other Cool Condition Grasses
Turf grass Mixes
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Most turfs or lawns are a community comprising more than just one turfgrass cultivar.
There are lots of different ways of classifying different types of turf cultivars. All are helpful.
Under the scientific system for classifying grasses, all grasses belong to the same plant family, which is called Poaceae. Previously the family was called Graminae; and you may still find references that use that as the family name.
The family Poaceae is divided up into a number of different broad sub groups called “tribes”.
Those tribes are then further divided into groups called genera; and those genera are again divided.
The more commonly grown tribes and genera found in each are:
- Chlorideae includes Cynodon, Buchloe and Bouteloua
- Horideae includes Lolium and Agropyron
- Zoysieae includes Zoysia
- Agrostideae includes Agrostis, Phleum and Ammophila
- Festuceae includes Festuca, Poa and Bromus
- Paniceae includes Paspalum, Pennisetum, Stenotaphrum and Axonopus
Understanding this can provide you with a scientific framework for classifying grasses with shared characteristics. Your understanding of this will develop as you study this course.
What is Turf?
In 1973, Beard defined a turf as “an aggregation of individual turfgrass plants that have mutual relationships with the environment as well as among the individual plants”
Turfgrass swards (soil and living plants) are ecosystems made up of a variety of species all competing for nutrients, light, water and oxygen. The degree to which one competes with the others will constantly change, as the environmental conditions vary (particularly across seasons), and as different pests and diseases impact to suppress one in favour of others.
Management practices can impact significantly on these interactions, to favour one species or discourage another.
The species growing in a well managed turf will be largely contrived to create a desired type of turf cover across the seasons, and to meet the intended purpose of that turf, whether as a sports surface, for erosion control, aesthetic affect, or something else. There is always the possibility of unplanned species entering the sward as weeds. If unmanaged, weeds can eventually dominate some turf swards; and the original turfgrass species may die out completely. This level of change in a sward may be acceptable in some situations (eg. a mown sward on a roadside); but it can significantly degrade the value of turf in other situations (eg. sports greens).