UAC Magazine - Summer 2021

Page 50


Bulbs in turfgrass

Research examines performance by Bodie Pennisi and Clint Waltz, University of Georgia, and William Miller, Cornell University

Spring-flowering bulbs are routinely planted in flower beds for dramatic display of earlyseason color, but what if you could grow them in turfgrass? Studies have indicated that spring bulbs can grow in competitive warm-season turfgrasses and serve as an earlyseason floral resource. Flowering bulbs have been known to naturalize and become perennial in grassy meadows and pastures, but they must compete successfully with the predominant vegetative cover. While previous studies have shown success in northern latitudes, knowledge has been lacking for bulb growth in more southern climates... until now. For the purposes of this study, “bulbs” are considered herbaceous geophyte species with foliage and flowers aboveground and an underground structure, the ‘bulb,’ which persist belowground. We undertook this research study to: 1) determine which species and cultivars can perennialize in a subtropical climate, 2) evaluate which species and cultivars can sustain acceptable growth and flowering performance under standard turf maintenance practices of weed control and mowing schedules, and 3) compare bulb performance in warm-season and cool-season turfgrasses.


The turfgrasses

Plantings were established at the University of Georgia campus in Griffin, Georgia. We studied geophyte performance in two turfgrasses: hybrid bermudagrass ‘Tift 94’ (TifSport®) and the tall fescue, ‘Lexington’. These were chosen for growing season and habit (hybrid bermudagrass is considered a dense, creeping, warm-season grass, whereas tall fescue is considered a slower-growing bunch grass grown during the cool season). Although tall fescue is considered generally less aggressive, its peak growth would coincide with bulb flowering and thus could potentially be even more competitive than hybrid bermudagrass.

The bulbs

The main criteria in selecting the bulb species was suitability for culture in a subtropical climate and a bloom period that would be completed by April or early May before mowing was resumed. The following bulb species and cultivars were used: Chionodoxa sp. ‘Blue Giant’ (glory-of-the-snow), Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’ (crocus), Crocus

Articles inside

Bulbs in turfgrass Research examines performance

pages 50-53

Seeing brown instead of green? Influx of disease to evergreens

pages 46-49

Help save the bees Your lawn could play a role

pages 44-45

NICH update Gearing up for the 2023 Farm Bill

pages 42-43

Promoting water stewardship

page 41

Keep it growing UGA Hort Club helps grow scholarship funding

pages 36-37

Martinez recognized for excellence APS award

pages 38-39

Capitol Connection UAC member poll results

page 35

Legislative update

pages 32-34

Irrigation info for your customers Benefits of "smart" irrigation

page 31

Is your marketing working? Part 1 How would you know?

pages 28-29

Safety works Water, rest, shade

pages 20-21

What the tech? Marketing automation

pages 16-17

Changing your focus Zooming in on a solutions-based approach

pages 24-25

Marketing 101 Series, Part 1 Value propositions

pages 26-27

GALA GALA is back and better than ever

page 7

Pro project Water conservation in action

pages 18-19

Supply and demand Impacts to the market

pages 22-23

Executive Director message

page 5
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