Dark-Green Turf Grass
When testing turf grass varieties in Southern Europe, dark green types seem to perform relatively better during summer due to a high light intensity and high temperatures. The drawback has been that these dark green varieties, in general, have a relatively low shoot density and are more broad-leaved. Breeding efforts focus on combining the dark green colour and adaptation to heat and drought with improved turf qualities. This has resulted in new darker green varieties and breeding lines having the desired characteristics. Markets like the Southern part of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the Middle East often request this type of turf grasses.
Distinct colour differences can be observed both between turf plots and single plants. The ease of scoring, along with it being a highly heritable trait, makes it relatively simple to work with the dark colour as a breeding goal in the breeding program.
Most dark-green turf grass varieties for commercial use, originate from the American gene pool. We are developing this material to increase its shoot density, drought tolerance and improve its seed production. This is done at our breeding station in the USA and at our stations in Europe. From these programmes, we have now varieties within perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, red fescue and smooth-stalked meadow grass - all species being well suited for Southern hemisphere and similar climatic regions. The breeding set up at DLF-TRIFOLIUM has made it possible to develop very exiting, new types of breeding lines also for the future.
The range of colour is so large that turfgrass mixtures can be composed clearly based on the colour of the varieties. However, it should be noted that the dark-green varieties and mixtures are not particularly suited for the North European climatic conditions. This is mainly due to the fact that the light green Poa annua is present in almost all turf areas in Northern Europe as a weed grass. The presence of Poa annua is striking in a background of dark turf varieties, whereas it cannot be seen in more medium-green mixtures.