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Sport Grasses

On top of the standard criteria that all turf professionals must consider when selecting a turfgrass variety for a specific site (such as heat, drought and cold tolerance), sports turf managers face the additional challenges of repeated, on-going turf injury from wear and tear. A turf stand’s ability to withstand abuse and recover quickly from wear is crucial.

In the transition zone, bermudagrasses have long been the standard choice for high-traffic athletic fields. With their aggressive spreading habit from both aboveground stolons and underground rhizomes, bermudas boast a capacity for rapid self-repair like no other turfgrass species. When choosing among the bermudagrasses for a trafficked site, however, keep the variety’s blade width in mind. The finer-bladed cultivars tend to exhibit greater turf density and, so, show wear more slowly than the wider-bladed cultivars. The coarser-textured, more rapidly spreading cultivars, on the other hand, typically show wear sooner, but they recover more quickly. So, while a fine-bladed cultivar such as TifGrand is an outstanding choice for a game field only, an aggressive cultivar such as T10 or Patriot is likely a more suitable selection for a practice field.

With the exception of a very few new shade-tolerant varieties such as TifGrand, however, the great majority of bermudagrasses require full sun for optimum performance. That’s why some turf managers with shaded and/or lower-use sites, such baseball and softball fields, opt for one of the zoysiagrass varieties. Not only do many zoysias exhibit excellent shade tolerance, but they also spread by stolon growth, covering worn areas (albeit more slowly than bermudagrasses) without the need for resodding or reseeding. They are also exceptionally drought tolerant and typically require far less fertility than bermudagrasses.

Here’s our all-star line-up of outstanding sports-turf performers.

TifGrand bermudagrass truly sets a new standard for bermudagrass athletic fields. In addition to its second-to-none tolerance to drought and traffic wear, fine-bladed TifGrand also exhibits excellent tolerance to both cold and shade (a unique quality among bermudagrasses). In fact, TifGrand&rsquo … MORE
An outstanding alternative to bermudagrass on baseball and softball fields, as well as some high-end game fields for football, Zeon zoysiagass is exceptionally drought tolerant and requires far less nitrogen than bermudas. And, it grows more slowly than bermudas, reducing encroachment and the nee … MORE
The most widely used bermudagrass cultivar on athletic fields in the South, Tifway 419 has been a dependable favorite among sports turf managers in the lower transition zone since its release in 1960. A dense, fine-bladed cultivar, Tifway withstands day-in, day-out abuse from cleats and maintenan … MORE
Considered a higher-quality descendent of Tifway, TifSport’s hallmarks are its superior turf density and sod strength, two key indications of wear tolerance. In fact, in a 2004 wear-tolerance trial in North Carolina, TifSport was a top performer, closely followed by Tifway and Patriot. Plus … MORE
With its aggressive growth and exceptional cold tolerance, Patriot is the go-to sports-turf cultivar in the northern transition zone. Its rapid spreading habit makes it ideally suited for high-use athletic fields wherever the growing season is shorter. In fact, Patriot performs so well that it ha … MORE
Yet another Buy Sod zoysiagrass suitable for lower-use athletic fields, Empire zoysia offers both beauty and durability. Its dark-green blades create a visually striking turfgrass stand, yet its other natural strengths produce a hard-wearing surface that plays as good as it looks. Among Empire&rs … MORE
While not typically considered a sports-turf species, El Toro zoysia actually makes an excellent playing surface for lower-traffic fields (i.e., baseball and softball), particularly those without irrigation. One of the most drought-tolerant turfgrasses ever released, El Toro also boasts dense gro … MORE
Looking for a low-maintenance, cold-hardy, tough-as-nails bermudagrass for a high-use practice or intramural field, such as those often found at high schools and parks & recreation facilities? T10 is a top pick. Its extremely aggressive lateral growth results in rapid traffic recovery, but it …MORE
In chilly regions of the transition zone and northward, Kentucky bluegrass is the dominant athletic-field variety, providing a dense, dark-green playing surface that tolerates wear and recovers from traffic via rhizomatous lateral growth. Buy Sod’s Blue Heat bluegrass builds on those benefi … MORE