Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lateral Spread of Creeping Bentgrass Cultivars

Many of the new, improved varieties of creeping bentgrass have increased shoot densities and a more upright growth compared to the older varieties. While many believe these morphological characteristics create a superior playing surface, there are questions about the ability of these improved varieties to spread laterally compared to traditional varieties. Timely recovery of divots on tee boxes and concentrated areas on fairways during the fall season helps to prepare a smooth, uniform playing surface for the following season. A study was recently initiated at Iowa State University to determine the lateral spread of 24 varieties of creeping bentgrass (Table 1).

A simulated divot was created by removing a core of turf with a cup cutter and backfilling with native soil. The surrounding turf is allowed to naturally creep back together. The study is located on a research fairway at the ISU Research Station. The fairway is mowed at 0.5 inches two to three times per week.

The recovery of each divot is being analyzed using digital image analysis (DIA) technology. A digital image is periodically taken of each simulated divot. The DIA analysis technique calculates the percent recovery of each divot by calculating the percent of the image that is comprised of green pixels. This technique allow for a more accurate measurement of turfgrass coverage.

The study was initiated on August 3, 2009 and data is still being collected. The study should conclude sometime this fall and the results will be presented at the 2010 Iowa Turfgrass Conference.

Any questions or comments can be directed to: (

Marcus Jones
Graduate Research Assistant

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