December 07, 2015 at 10:22 am

Rum and coke, tequila and lime, no matter what they are, some things just blend well together. Even bluegrass and bermudagrass blend well together. Our industry has been discussing this concept for sometime, but in the last few years, the thought process, interest, and testing have exploded (We have seen a few blog posts on this matter from our own Roger D. Crenshaw, including his most recent post: Bermuda/HGT Update: Part 2).

If you’re in Kentucky, you can witness blended bluegrass and bermudagrass first hand. A golf course located in Cub Run has had bluemuda fairways for a few years now. However, the first golf course application of the two grasses I was involved in happened at the Battlefield Golf Course in Richmond, KY, and I wanted to share the results with you.

Superintendent Tony Kidd wanted to grow warm and cool season turfgrasses together in his fairways. He decided to try Turf Blue HGT interseeded into the bermuda. The HGT bluegrass was seeded late November 2014. This is not the recommended time frame, but the decision to test this was made late. Our main objective was to treat the area no different than the rest of the fairways. Fertility, watering, and mowing practices were completed in the same manner for both the HGT/bermuda area and the rest of the bermuda fairways. Seeding rate was at 4lbs/1000 sq ft. The higher rate was chosen because of the dormant seeding. Other plots completed this past fall show that lower rates will be efficient if seeded early enough. Of course, our main objective was to see how much, if any, bluegrass would be left this fall after a full summer of play.

Here’s the snapshot of the program and environment:

-Quickstand bermuda fairways
-HGT bluegrass from Barenbrug
-Single row irrigation
-Mowing heights ranged from .75-1″
-Fertility program that wouldn’t push one species over the next:
2 lbs N granular ammonium sulfate
Monthly applications of ArmorTech PGR 113, Foliar-Pak Amperage, and Foliar-Pak 22-0-4

The first picture below was taken in July of this year. The foreground is the HGT/bermuda and the background is straight bermuda. The HGT/bermuda out performed the bermuda in all categories: playability, color, wear, and density. The test plot remained looking the same all year, from June to September. The HGT/bermuda was also the best playing surface on the course. In season results were better than expected, but the true test was coming once the bermuda went dormant.

The second picture below was taken late October of 2015. No additional seeding was done. The HGT bluegrass that remains was from the original dormant seed done in November 2014. The current stand of HGT bluegrass has the consistency of an annual or perennial ryegrass traditional overseed. The late season results were better than anticipated; the two grasses transitioned from one to the other perfectly. In this full season test plot, we felt that a 50/50 poly stand of HGT/bermuda was achieved. We are looking forward to a full spring and summer assessment with two established species.

Whether it’s fairways, tees, or sports field applications, these two grasses have shown that they can exist and play well together.  BLUEMUDA, NO MORE TRANSITION!!!

Brad Nevitt
ATS Sales Representative