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Turfgrass Selection

Selecting a species and variety that are adapted to the climate and soil of a particular site is a very important part of a comprehensive turfgrass management plan. The goal is to plant an adapted turfgrass capable of providing the desired quality at a reasonable maintenance intensity level and cost. The cost of maintaining a turf through the years is reduced by purchasing the right turfgrass. The long-term, seed or sod bargain is not always the lowest priced turfgrass variety.

Turfgrasses usually grow best in full sun and in nutrient-rich, well-drained soils. Topography and soils of Tennessee influence how turfgrasses perform. Cool-season turfgrasses are usually well adapted in East Tennessee which is mostly mountainous, with broad, fertile valleys. Here, soils were formed from limestone, sandstone or shale. The rolling hills of the Central Basin in middle Tennessee reach an elevation of 800 feet or more. Both warm- and cool-season turfgrasses are maintained in limestone-based, phosphorus-rich soils of the Central Basin. The Highland Rim surrounding the Central Basin is composed of hills often reaching an elevation of 1,000 feet or more. Cool-season turfgrasses usually perform very well on the Highland Rim. Bermudagrass and Zoysia are the predominate turfgrass species maintained at elevations approaching sea level in southwest Tennessee.

The following publications provide information on selecting the species and variety best adapted to particular soil and climate conditions:

(These publications are PDF files. To read, download and print these files, you must have Acrobat Reader® installed on your computer. Click here for a FREE copy of the Reader.)