Grass varieties require years to decades of development, so the announcement of a new one warrants some fanfare. This fall, sales have officially begun of an innovative new bluegrass, called Southern Blue™.
NG Turf partners with Texas A&M
For 15 years, NG Turf has been working with Dr. Ambika Chandra, a Texas A&M University professor and turfgrass researcher, to find a better cool season grass for the transition zone. Not only a brand new variety, Southern Blue also introduces a grass species that was not viable in this region, until now.
A cross between Kentucky bluegrass and Texas bluegrass, Southern Blue offers year-round green grass that tolerates Southern summers better than any other cool season grass.
More than 60 crosses were studied at agriculture schools across the Southeast, including Texas A&M University, University of Georgia (UGA), University of Tennessee, Mississippi State University, Auburn University, Clemson University and North Carolina State University. Southern Blue stood out as a high performer.
“After 15 years, we have found and research has shown that with proper care, Southern Blue performs much better than tall fescue in heat and drought,” explained NG Turf President Aaron McWhorter, “and we believe that to be a gamechanger in the transition zone for cool season grass.”
Cool season grasses, like fescue, typically struggle in the summer heat of Atlanta, North Georgia and the surrounding areas. Once stressed, the grass dies and cannot regenerate, requiring reseeding each fall. However, Southern Blue creates new growth through its rhizomes, horizontal root systems that spread under the soil surface and send up grass shoots.
“The biggest innovation is in the recovery,” McWhorter points out. “If Southern Blue does have some stress in the summer, it can recover on its own, growing back in and reaching peak level of health and vigor in the fall and spring.”
Southern Blue Now Available
NG Turf put the new grass on test lawns a few years ago and began limited sales this spring. “Our excitement continues to elevate with the positive feedback that we’re getting from consumers and professionals,” said McWhorter. Early sales and demand from customers have prompted NG Turf to add acreage to produce Southern Blue.
“In metro Atlanta and North Georgia, a lot of areas have heavy shade where warm season grasses don’t thrive,” McWhorter noted. “We also have a lot of people moving from Northern states who are used to their lawns being green year round and don’t like the idea of their grass going dormant in the winter time. Now we can provide these customers a hardier cool season grass that stays green all year and doesn’t require reseeding. That’s a big deal for the industry.”
In addition to selling Southern Blue to homeowners and landscaping professionals, NG Turf also plans to sell licenses to other sod producers who want to offer the new variety to their customers.
For questions about Southern Blue, please contact NG Turf’s Certified Turfgrass Professionals at (770) 832-8608.