Keeping the green in putting greens

Jun 22, 2012 By Dennis O'Brien
Keeping the Green in Putting Greens
An ARS researcher has developed a tool to more accurately identify non-uniform plants that can adversely affect the appearance and "playability" of putting greens, so that golf course managers can decide how to best deal with the trespassing plants.

When a patch of unwanted grass discolors a putting green, it can cause headaches for golf course managers and for the sod farmers who supply them. But a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist has developed a tool to help minimize the damage.

Putting greens in the southern United States are made up of single cultivars of bermudagrass, and the appearance of non-uniform plants, or "off-types," can throw off the green's appearance and "playability." Karen Harris-Shultz, a geneticist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Unit in Tifton, Ga., has refined the process for telling one type of bermudagrass from another. This will help identify the source of unwanted off-types. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

The lines of bermudagrass used on putting greens throughout the southeastern United States are all offshoots of Tifgreen, a variety developed more than 40 years ago by the late Glenn Burton, a former ARS grass breeder in Tifton. Even with the best , the grass varieties are so nearly alike that it is sometimes hard to tell them apart.

When they find an off-type, golf course managers and sod farm managers often send samples of them to Harris-Shultz for analysis before deciding how to proceed. They need to know if the off-types are caused by a previously planted cultivar, a bermudagrass weed or by a mutation of the variety they planted.

Harris-Shultz collected 15 Tifgreen-derived cultivars from golf courses and research partners, extracted DNA from them and, with the help of an existing , developed a tool to help distinguish bermudagrass and identify contaminants.

The results, published in the Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Sciences, identify "repeatable polymorphic fragments" of DNA that are unique for each cultivar and can be used not only to distinguish among the different grasses, but to trace relationships between them.

Read more about the research in the May/June 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Explore further: Polyethylene mulch, glazing create optimal conditions for soil solarization

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Divot resistance in golf course turfgrass

Aug 10, 2011

Golf courses, known for their calm scenic views and precise grass patterns, take daily abuse. Divots created by golf strokes are a common occurrence, and can be a costly problem for golf course maintenance operations. Although ...

UGA licenses new Bermuda grass that thrives in sun and shade

May 27, 2009

An internationally recognized turfgrass researcher from the University of Georgia has developed a new Bermudagrass that thrives in sun, but also produces healthy turf in areas with less than half the light normally required ...

Grazing of cattle pastures can improve soil quality

Mar 03, 2011

A team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists has given growers in the Piedmont guidance on how to restore degraded soils and make the land productive. Researchers with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service ...

New tool for tracking a voracious pest

May 09, 2012

Since it first appeared in Texas in 1986, the Russian wheat aphid has cost U.S. wheat growers an estimated $200 million each year. But U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have developed a new ...

Recommended for you

How photosynthesis changed the planet

Nov 20, 2014

Two and a half billion years ago, single-celled organisms called cyanobacteria harnessed sunlight to split water molecules, producing energy to power their cells and releasing oxygen into an atmosphere that ...

From dried cod to tissue sample preservation

Nov 19, 2014

Could human tissue samples be dried for storage, instead of being frozen? Researchers are looking at the salt cod industry for a potential tissue sample drying technology that could save money without sacrificing tissue quality.

Riding a food fad to an opportunity

Nov 18, 2014

Until a couple years ago, Shaun Paul's knowledge of chia was limited to the kitschy terracotta Chia Pet figurines. But recently, chia seeds, promoted as a nutritional powerhouse, have earned a growing consumer ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.