Titan Limited t. t. tall fescue... with rhizomes ?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Marcos, May 3, 2008.

  1. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    I'm getting really sick and tired of seeing the perennial springtime advertisements of various "breakthrough" turf-type tall fescues with "rhizomial" traits.... like ky. bluegrass exhibits.

    A few years ago, "Watersaver" by Barenbrug Seeds was all-the-rage for a while; but it's been proven since then that this claim had largely been 'altered' and bias.... in that the only amount of "lateral root development" that Watersaver showed was EXCLUSIVELY in soils that were "light weight" peat moss / sand mixes.

    I suspect the newest offering (that's being touted on this site) is cut from the same vine.
     
  2. Smith Seed

    Smith Seed Inactive
    Posts: 17

    Marcos,

    I understand your frustration about false claims. I know personally that we have taken great care to not over market Titan Ltd's qualities. I can say from my own hands-on evaluation and much research from numerous parts of the country that Titan Ltd. does produce rhizomes. There are only a few other tall fescue varieties that can make that claim. It is a unique trait that does have a "promotable value."

    That said, if there are things on the site or pieces in the advertising that you think are misleading, please let me know directly at jonathan@smithseed.com. I will gladly look into them. - Jonathan
     
  3. DavidR

    DavidR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    I look at Ntep before choosing my seed. I can't help but notice that on the most recent data, the Titan product didn't fair as well as many other fescues. Is there a reason for this? Does this product not grow as well in my zone for some reason?
     
  4. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720


    Thanks for responding, Jonathan.

    When you talk about Titan Ltd. hands-on evaluation and much research from "numerous parts of the country"....
    ....it makes me wonder if they didn't look for any true clay-based soil, like what we have here in S.W. Ohio, to test it on, too.

    So with that in mind...
    Can you please show me (as well as others on this site) an actual link to a reputable independent or university-sponsored seed plot study (such as NTEP) that shows relatively consistent rhizome production of "Titan Ltd" t.t.t. fescue in clay-based , or otherwise "heavier" soils ?
     
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    That's what I figured.
     
  6. DavidR

    DavidR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    I was wondering if maybe you had received a PM or something. Guess not.
     
  7. Smith Seed

    Smith Seed Inactive
    Posts: 17

    Marcos, I don't check these postings often. If you have a question, please contact me directly at my e-mail. I will likely respond quicker. You might check out some research conducted by Ohio State University back in 03-04. (see http://www.ohioturfgrass.org/pdf/marapril2005.pdf)

    It was a traffic tolerance study done on good 'ole native Ohio soil. The goal was to study how some grasses not normally used for traffic might hold up. As a side study, they took some rhizome measurements. We had entered a three-way blend that included Titan Ltd. This was one of the studies that confirmed to us the value of rhizome-producing fescues. Titan Ltd. was only 1/3 of the blend , and yet out of all the fescue entries, it had the highest rhizome activity.

    You will notice in the data that under these conditions - established sod, the highest rhizome activity was 33%. That was a bluegrass. Even bluegrasses don't produce 100% rhizomes. So when data like this shows tall fescues producing 13% rhizomes, you've got to admit there is a value to that, especially when one of the entries was an 80;20 bluegrass/ryegrass mix. Think on that: A 3-way tall fescue blend produced more rhizomes than an 80/20 bluegrass/ryegrass mix in central Ohio under a traffic tolerance trial meant to simulated the type of traffic a football field would get!

    Also, you can visit the University of Kentucky at Lexington and talk to Dr. A.J. Powell. There have been plots down at his site for the past couple of years looking at tall fescues in blends, in straights, under low-mow, under high mow, etc. They have a nice field day in the summer. If you want, I would be happy to meet you down there at the field day.

    Finally, there are more independent researchers trying to look into evaluating and testing rhizome activity, but frankly many programs are strapped for money. That's the catch 22 of private vs. independent research. It would be nice if everything could have an independent evaluation, but who pays for it?

    Again, drop me an e- directly if I can answer any more questions. - jonathan
     
  8. Smith Seed

    Smith Seed Inactive
    Posts: 17

    David,

    I am familiar with that data in your area. There were a number of other varieties that had a higher numeric score in Blacksburg, but if you look at the "least statistical difference" measurement, you will find that in '02, '03, and '05 Titan Ltd. was actually statistically equal to the top variety for turf quality ratings.

    If you are interested in getting some local opinions, you might contact the guys at Herod Seeds there in Richmond. They can give you some names of contractors who have used Titan Ltd. Virginia has been one of our largest markets for Titan Ltd.
     
  9. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720



    Jonathon,

    I appreciate the offer for the private e-mail service...

    But since lawnsite is a learning forum, and we're not talking about anything "sensitive" here...I'd just assume keep this discussion out here online...and open to anyone.

    I have no problem with waiting for your reply. I'm busy too.
    (A response will just pop up under "quick links"...even after it's dormant for a while).
    ___________________________________________________________

    Thanks for posting the OSU study from 2005, through the OTF brouchure.

    Titan, Kittyhawk & Rendition, as you say, made up a "combined entry" at those trials.
    But, at the same time, I see from your link, other varieties of seed (certainly from other vendors, too) on this same trail that were tested for various hardiness traits individually.

    Why did your organization choose to test a "blend" of fescues at OSU ..instead of having them individually evaluated, as what is the usual procedure ?

    How can it be determined that "Titan" showed a more aggressive rhizome rooting pattern.... over "Kittyhawk" and "Rendition", if they weren't tested separately ?

    Now, don't get me wrong !
    I've always been a big fan of the "strength in numbers" concept in seed ! :)
    I believe the best seed out there on the market is always going to be a mix / blend that has multiple varieties / species that have high ratings from field testing from schools like OSU, that ultimately show up on the NTEP results.
    http://ntep.org/

    But on the other hand, I believe the testing stages of any seed should be completely "separate" from any other seed...to keep any possible seed trait marketing "mistakes" from happening down the road, obviously.

    Do you agree ?
     
  10. Smith Seed

    Smith Seed Inactive
    Posts: 17

    As far as that trial goes, we were only a participant and one of a few sponsors. It was OSU's trial targeted at "evaluate(ing) (1) grass seed germination and establishment rates, (2) grass density and visual quality, (3) disease susceptibility, and ultimately, (4) grass wear tolerance over time. "

    The rhizome measurements were only secondary, and due in part, if I remember correctly, to some interest in another rhizomateous tall fescue. Since the goal's of the trial were listed above, our "best shot" in our opinion was a blend. We put Rendition in alone as a comparison to the blend. So the rhizome measurements really weren't the focus of the trial, and the money wasn't there for OSU to keep the trial any longer than 2 years.

    Money is the real issue on independent trials. That's part of the reason why I have always done my own "like a homeowner" testing of new products. What I can tell you is that in both a straight situation and in a blend, Titan Ltd. works very nice. It does have rhizomes and I have seen them fill in bare spots in my heavy Ohio clay yard. That's also what I encourage others to do as well. When a new product comes out, and you have an interest in it, try a little. If it meets your expectations, great. If it doesn't no signification loss. As you know, not all products work for all applications.
     

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