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MSU agronomists produce cold-tolerant lawn grass
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Midsouth homeowners may soon find it easier to locate St. Augustine grass for their lawns.
A new St. Augustine grass cultivar bred for cold tolerance is being licensed by Mississippi State University to sod producers in north Mississippi and other Midsouth locations.
“Homeowners from southern Tennessee through central Mississippi have a hard time locating St. Augustine grass sod because sod farms in the region have found it difficult to produce older cultivars due to winter injury,” said MSU agronomist and breeder of the new cultivar Wayne Philley. “Very few sod farms in the region grow St. Augustine grass, so most people use sprigs obtained from friends or neighbors to establish St. Augustine grass in their lawns.”
The alternative for anyone who wants to establish a large area of St. Augustine grass quickly, Philley said, is to pay the expense of having sod shipped from another area.
St. Augustine grass performs well in the shade and is one of the most popular lawn grasses throughout the South.
The first license for the new cultivar has been issued to Diamond S Farms in Maben, and the company is establishing a plot to see if the grass will grow and perform under commercial growing conditions in north Mississippi.
“We hope it will, because anyone in this area who wants St. Augustine grass sod now has to pay shipping charges from south Mississippi, south Alabama and the Florida Panhandle,” said Wallace Sansing, co-owner of Diamond S Farms.
If the test plot is successful, Sansing said his company hopes to have sod available for customers by summer 2008.
For additional information about the new MSU St. Augustine grass cultivar, contact Charles Rivenburgh with the Office of Technology Commercialization at (662) 325-3521.