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No more Thermal Bluegrass from commercial suppliers

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by ProStreetCamaro, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,228

    Would disagree with the use of TTTF in northern climates. Some of the best seeding I have done was a TTTF/KBG/Per Rye mix.
  2. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    My explanation was the quick and dirty version -- it's really a bit more involved than that. Texas bluegrass (TBG) is an out-crossing dioecious plant that usually has poor quality, poor stand density, coarse texture, pale color, and poor seed production. But, it's better in the heat and drought than Kentucky bluegrass (KBG). So, female TBG plants were crossed with KBG plants, then the daughter plants were crossed again with another KBG selection (called back-crossing), and those daughter plants were crossed one more time with a different KBG selection.

    So, for about half of the available hybrid bluegrasses (there are about 10 that I can think of), they were back-crossed to KBG twice. Some were back-crossed 3 to 5 times. The point was to get something resembling KBG that was more heat and dought tolerant than KBG. If you've ever seen TBG by itself, you would never want it in a lawn. If someone put TBG in fron of you and told you that they were going ot use it to make lawn grasses with, you would laugh in their face and tell them they're stupid. That's why all the back-crossed were needed.

    I don't think these hybrids have lived up to their hype. In several university trials, they were no different from tall fescue in their water requirements or disease issues and they took much longer to establish than tall fescue (which is why Scotts puts so much tall fescue in their blend). No one would want to want 3 or 4 months for a lawn to fill in when the tall fescue will do it in a couple of weeks.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That made sense... thanks for the info... :)
  4. maynardGkeynes

    maynardGkeynes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 411

    The thing with the heat tolerant bluegrasses is that they are heat tolerant, not drought tolerant, a distinction that seems to get lost in both the university studies and the NTEP analysis. I have used Thermal Blue, Solar Green, and Thermal Blue Blaze. TB establishes quickly, and does well in the shade. The color is on the lighter side, however. SG is simply too light green to blend with most elite types. TBB is quite dark in color, but it is little slow to establish. Dura Blue, which I have not used, is said to have a very dark color, but is extremely slow to establish. An ideal blend would be 50/50 TB/TBB. With irrigation, they will do quite well, and stay green a little longer than KBG. I prefer them to TTTF, which does not like temps above 90, and is pretty prone to brown patch in compacted (moist) soils.
  5. oabdu123

    oabdu123 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I've purchased the Newsome "Trio mix" quite a few times. It is great for overseeding an already established lawn, however I learned the hard way for a newly seed lawn the Perennial Rye and KBG dies by june with our hot and temperamentally dry summers in the DC area. I usually pay about $75 a bag for the trio mix. How much is the 90/10 thermal blue blend usually going for a bag at Newsome seed? Also, how do you like the trio mix?
  6. maynardGkeynes

    maynardGkeynes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 411

    Newsome seems to be out of Thermal Blue and the other hybrids right now. I might take another shot with the Scott's 90/10 blend this year, but my previous experience with the Texas/KBG hybrids is that they are no miracle cure. They did OK in the few areas of my lawn that get some shade during the hottest parts of the day, but everywhere else, it was no go. Basically, June 1 through end of August in the DC metro area is no man's land for cool season turf. I now plant PRG on 9/15 every year, and have a great lawn from Oct 1 to June1. In the summer, I tell people brown is the new green.
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,562

    Bluegrass sown in bare soil, well-prepared, fine--in an overseed situation--my opinion is that it is difficult for the bluegrass to take hold, probably only a tiny percent establishes itself, as compared to perennial rye or fescue.

    This needs proof with an experiment--but how?
  8. maynardGkeynes

    maynardGkeynes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 411

    The only thing I can think of is to make three separate test plots on the same lawn (one for each grass type), prep them the same way, water properly, and see what happens. The results won't be applicable for all lawns, but it should be pretty definitive for that particular lawn, at that particular time, under those particular weather conditions. However, I think many folks here would agree with you that overseeding a non KBG lawn with KBG is unlikely to give good results.
    hort101 likes this.

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