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UGA licenses new Bermuda grass that thrives in sun

By Terry Hastings
University of Georgia

An internationally recognized turfgrass researcher from the University of Georgia has developed a new Bermuda grass that thrives in sun and produces healthy turf in areas with less than half the light normally required for other Bermuda grass.

The new grass, licensed by the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., to New Concept Turf, will soon be available to homeowners for planting lawns; to developers for recreational facilities, sports complexes and golf courses; and to urban area landscapers.

TifGrand was developed by Wayne Hanna, professor of plant breeding and genetics in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“Although TifGrand produces a beautiful turf in full sun, its major contribution will be the production of nice turf in areas with reduced light -- up to 60 percent less light than is normally required for healthy Bermuda grass growth,” Hanna said.

Hanna is a world-renowned plant breeder. During his 37-year career, Hanna has developed winter-hardy, pest-resistant Bermuda grasses able to handle high traffic. These grasses now grow on golf courses around the world and in major sports stadiums.

Hanna has spearheaded the screening of Bermuda grass for hybrids that naturally deter mole crickets, the No. 1 lawn and turf pest in the Southeast. He and his research team have been awarded seven patents.

New Concept Turf, a Georgia-based company specializing in marketing new turfgrasses, has contracted The Turfgrass Group of Ft. Valley, Ga., to exclusively handle licensing of TifGrand for sod production. TifGrand will be licensed to a selected number of growers beginning in summer 2009. It is expected to be available in the general market in 2010.

For more information on TifGrand and licensing opportunities, contact Bill Carraway, vice president of marketing for The Turfgrass Group, 770/207-1500, or visit www.theturfgrassgroup.com.

(Terry Hastings is the director of communications for the UGA Office of the Vice President for Research.)

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