September 18, 2013

I have been doing plant walks on Iowa State Campus with students in the Hort 351 lab for 34 years before this fall.  I have never found bermudagrass on campus, with the exception of that which was planted on the steam tunnel a few years ago.  But outside of the very warm soil on the steam tunnel, our winters have been too cold for it to survive.  However, this fall, in my 35th year of doing this, there is bermudagrass that is not on the steam tunnel.  It is located in front of the genetics building.  Spence Nelson, president of the turf club, found it this morning.  The first picture is of the patch of bermuda and the second one is of a stolon that he brought in from the patch.  Notice that the bluegrass surrounding it is still dormant in mid September.  We went more that 70 days without significant rainfall.  Just this week, we had one half inch.  Hopefully we will get more tomorrow.  This shows how much better adapted warm-season grasses like bermuda are to drought.

There have also been several reports of bermudagrass in lawns and sports fields in central Iowa (see earlier posts on this subject).  While this is great for teaching, it can be a serious weed problem in our cool-season turf.  It will be interesting to see if it continues to survive our winters over the next few years.


Nick Christians Professor

Nick Christians, Ph.D. – University professor of turfgrass management, Iowa State University, Department of Horticulture, Ames, IA, and adjunct faculty, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA. Dr. Christians received his B.S. from the Colorado State University ...