More than 2,000 varieties on display at exclusive industry field day
DALLAS — About a dozen of Texas’ leading turfgrass producers toured Texas A&M AgriLife Research facilities where ongoing studies aim to breed the next generation of high quality, resilient turfgrass varieties for the consumer market.
The Dallas turfgrass breeding team, led by AgriLife Research scientist Dr. Ambika Chandra, welcomed the Turfgrass Producers of Texas, or TPT, for a preview of more than 2,000 prospective zoysia and St. Augustine varieties. On-site data collection and evaluation of each variety seek to quantify resilience to disease, heat, drought, shade and input consumption.
“Periodic field days like this allow our industry partners and sponsors a first look at our developing research initiatives,” Chandra said. “In turn, they provide invaluable input on market trends, helping us to focus on traits that satisfy emerging performance demands.”
Her team’s research takes place at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas, where the visiting group toured roughly 1,000 square feet of greenhouse research space and about 6 acres of field plots housing shade, disease and drought trials alongside putting green research.
“We are always looking for that next-level adaptability and quality that’s going to perform well in the market,” said TPT executive director Brent Batchelor. “The producers liked what they saw in the field at Dallas, especially in zoysia and St. Augustine.”
Chandra said zoysia and St. Augustine lines under testing at Dallas aim to build on her team’s track record in varietal development. Their most recent market-available varieties carry resilience and aesthetic improvements over their respective predecessors, she said. Visit https://dallas.tamu.edu/research/turf/ for comprehensive information on each.
In addition to the campus facility tour, the TPT joined AgriLife Research scientists for discussions on market trends, a briefing on data gathering efforts and a lunch of “southern home cooking.”
“We come for an update on what’s going on with the research, but it also gives growers a renewed confidence in the program’s ability to breed successful varieties for the market,” Batchelor said.
A public field day showcase for the Dallas turfgrass breeding program is slated for October, Chandra said.
Visit the event calendar at https://dallas.tamu.edu for information as event details emerge.