UAC Magazine - Summer 2021

Page 50

URBAN AG

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.

50 | UAC MAGAZINE

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

8min
pages 50-53

Seeing brown instead of green? Influx of disease to evergreens

5min
pages 46-49

Help save the bees Your lawn could play a role

4min
pages 44-45

NICH update Gearing up for the 2023 Farm Bill

2min
pages 42-43

Promoting water stewardship

2min
page 41

Keep it growing UGA Hort Club helps grow scholarship funding

2min
pages 36-37

Martinez recognized for excellence APS award

5min
pages 38-39

Capitol Connection UAC member poll results

1min
page 35

Legislative update

7min
pages 32-34

Irrigation info for your customers Benefits of "smart" irrigation

1min
page 31

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

4min
pages 28-29

Safety works Water, rest, shade

5min
pages 20-21

What the tech? Marketing automation

3min
pages 16-17

Changing your focus Zooming in on a solutions-based approach

4min
pages 24-25

Marketing 101 Series, Part 1 Value propositions

4min
pages 26-27

GALA GALA is back and better than ever

2min
page 7

Pro project Water conservation in action

1min
pages 18-19

Supply and demand Impacts to the market

6min
pages 22-23

Executive Director message

3min
page 5
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