Until breeding improvements were made in the “common” type bermudagrasses in the 1980s and 1990s, sprigging was the most common means of propagation. Seeded cultivars released in the 1990s finally achieved equal or superior quality characteristics when compared with the interspecific “hybrid” cultivars that had long been the industry standard in medium- to high-maintenance turf applications (Baltensperger and Klingenberg, 1994).
Seeded cultivars provided a substantially lower cost alternative compared with other means of stand establishment (Patton et al., 2004a, 2004b). In the early years of the 21st century, research with new seeded bermudagrass cultivars was limited. As more cultivars were made commercially available, studies were conducted to determine optimal seeding rate, date, and fertility requirements (Karcher et al., 2005; Munshaw et al., 2001; Patton et al., 2004a, 2004b; Shaver et al., 2006).
Continued breeding efforts have led to greater genetic diversity among the cultivars (Yerramsetty et al., 2005). Patton et al. (2008) reported on the establishment vigor of 28 bermudagrass cultivars in the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) bermudagrass trial that indicated significant differences among cultivars. Establishment vigor was described as a combination of the rates of germination and postgermination seedling growth. However, several of the 28 cultivars in that work were sprigged, and several of the seeded entries were experimental lines and not commercially available.
Previous research on optimal seeding dates has been based on the establishment characteristics of a few to several seeded cultivars. However, with the availability of many newly released cultivars, recommendations for successful establishment protocols arising from previous work may or may not be valid for all cultivars (Patton et al., 2004a).
To that end, it would be useful to investigate what has become apparent anecdotally; i.e., some seeded cultivars tend to be very slow to germinate and difficult to establish, especially relative to other cultivars. The objectives of this study were to quantify the differences among commercially available seeded bermudagrass cultivars in germination rate and total germination, grown under 20-year average temperature regimes representing potential seeding dates in Lexington, KY.
Association of Official Seed Analysts 1998 Methods of testing for laboratory germination, p. 68. In: AOSA rules for testing seeds. Association of Official Seed Analysts, Ithaca, NY
Baltensperger, A.A. & Klingenberg, J.P. 1994 Introducing new seed-propagated F1 hybrid (2-clone synthetic) bermudagrass U.S. Golf Assn. Green Section Record 32 14 19
Karcher, D.E., Richardson, M.D., Landreth, J.W. & McCalla, J.H. 2005 Recovery of bermudagrass varieties from divot injury. Appl. Turfgrass Sci. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/pub/ats/research/2005/divot/>
Morris, K.N. 2010 Data progress report. 2007 National Bermudagrass Test. NTEP No. 11-4. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://www.ntep.org/reports/bg07/bg07_11-4/bg07_11-4.htm>
Munshaw, G.C., Williams, D.W. & Cornelius, P.J. 2001 Management strategies during establishment year enhance production and fitness of seeded bermudagrass stolons Crop Sci. 41 1558 1564
Patton, A.J., Hardebeck, G.A., Williams, D.W. & Reicher, Z.J. 2004a Establishment of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass by seed Crop Sci. 44 2160 2167
Patton, A.J., Richardson, M.D., Karcher, D.E., Boyd, J.W., Reicher, Z.J., Fry, J.D., McElroy, J.S. & Munshaw, G.C. 2008 A guide to establishing seeded bermudagrass in the transition zone. Appl. Turfgrass Sci. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/pub/ats/guide/2008/bermudagrass/>
Patton, A.J., Williams, D.W. & Reicher, Z.J. 2004b Establishing seeded bermudagrass. Golf Course Mgt. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://www2.gcsaa.org/GCM/2004/dec04/pdf/Estseedbermuda73-77.pdf>
Shaver, B.R., Richardson, M.D., McCalla, J.H., Karcher, D.E. & Berger, P.J. 2006 Dormant seeding of bermudagrass cultivars in a transition-zone environment Crop Sci. 46 1787 1792