What is Bermudagrass?
Bermudagrass is a warm season grass native to
Southeast Africa that is used for pasture and hay over much
of the southern United States. It is a deep rooted, sod-forming
grass that spreads by stolons and rhizomes growing to a height
of 15-24 inches. It serves as the forage ase for many livestock
enterprises because of its high forage production capability
and the management flexibility that it provides. Varieties differ
in performance characteristics relating to establishment, adaptation,
forage production and forage quality. Consequently, deciding
which bermudagrass variety to plant is important. Bermudagrass
is not planted by seed, but by sprigs.
What is Grass Sprigging?
Sprigging is done by a machine in which grass
sprigs are deposited in an in-line pattern on the earth's surface
by the use of a trenching disc. This trenching disc is aligned
with each discharge trough for forming a narrow trench in the
earth's surface into which grass sprigs are deposited 1-2"
We offer five varieties of bermuda grass: Coastal,
Midland 99 (Certfied), Ozark
(Certified), Tifton 44, and Tifton
85 (Certified). For quality assurance, we grow and dig our
own sprigs. Contact us to see how
we can provide custom sprigging for your individual needs.
For information on the care of these grasses,
you can see our Care
Guide. You may also like to read the article from the NC
Agricultural Extension "Making
Sure Your Bermuda Grass Comes Back This Spring."
Coastal is a highly productive hybrid between
Tif Bermuda and a tall strain of south African Bermuda developed
at the Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton, Georgia.
This vegetatively propagated pasture grass is adapted to well
drained soils of the Piedmont and Coastal Plains. Coastal is
tall growing and produces a few seed heads that rarely contain
viable seed. It shows some resistance to leaf spot and good
resistance to root knot nematodes.
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Midland 99 (Certified)
Midland 99 forage bermuda grass was officially
released in 1999 by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station
in cooperation with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, the
USDA-Agricultural Research Service, and the Arkansas, Kansas
and Missouri Agricultural Experiment Stations. Midland 99 is
a dependable, highly productive variety that is widely adapted
to the upper south.
Midland 99 is similar to Midland and Tifton 44
in morphology and growth habit. Like Midland and Tifton 44,
Midland 99 has relatively tall, upright growth in comparison
to more decumbent varieties such as Greenfield. The more upright,
taller growing varieties are often referred to as "hay
types" and the more decumbent varieties as "grazing
types". The stem diameter, shoot length, and leaf width
of Midland 99, Midland and Tifton 44 are similar. The leaves
of Midland 99 tend to be longer (2-4 cm) than those of Midland
and Tifton 44. Midland 99 typically produces seed heads later
and less prolifically than Midland, Tifton 44 and Greenfield.
However, very few seeds are produced in the heads.
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Ozark was jointly released in 2001 by the Oklahoma,
Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Stations,
the USDA Agricultural Research Service and the Samuel Roberts
Ozark's superior cold tolerance, stand persistence,
adaptation, production and quality make it unique among released
bermudagrass varieties. Ozark, like Midland, Midland 99, and
Tifton 44 is relatively upright and tall growing in comparison
to Greenfield. The stem diameter, shoot length, leaf length,
and leaf width of Ozark are similar to Midland and Tifton 44
and slightly smaller in size than Midland 99. Ozark typically
produces seed heads later and less profusely than Midland 99.
Its excellent stand persistence in humid environments suggests,
as do field observations, that it has good resistance to diseases
that may cause stand thinning. Ozark produces few seeds and
must be established by sprigging.
In almost every yield trial conducted, it has
yielded as much or more forage than any other variety. The forage
quality of Ozark, as indicated by laboratory tests of digestibility,
crude protein, and crude fiber has been similar to or better
than, other high-yielding bermudagrass varieties.
Our certified sprigs were purchased from Oklahoma
Foundation Seed Stock.
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Tifton 44 is a hybrid Bermuda grass released by
the Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton, Georgia,
in cooperation with the ARS and USDA in 1978. It is a fine stemmed
F1 hybrid that must be sprigged. Compared
with Coastal Bermuda, Tifton 44 is darker green, has finer stems
that cure faster when cut for hay, has more rhizomes, is a little
shorter, makes a denser sod and is more winter hardy than other
Bermudas tested. It starts growth earlier in the spring than
most Bermuda grasses tested at Tifton. Tifton 44 is more resistant
to foliage diseases than many varieties.
Tifton 44 has large roots, it can be planted as
early as March due to its root system. Planted in March, Tifton
44 might still be dormant. However, when planted in dormancy,
Tifton 44 will have higher levels of stored food reserves to
initiate growth once temperatures are warm enough for growth.
Tifton 44 planting dates are generally March through June.
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Tifton 85 (Certified)
Tifton 85 is a new hybrid Bermuda grass released
by the Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station in 1992. It
averaged 26% more dry matter and was 11% more digestible than
coastal in small plot tests. It has outperformed Coastal and
Tifton 78 in replicated grazing trials. It is proven cattle
gain faster on Tifton 85. To date it has not been extensively
tested in North Carolina. Winter hardiness is undetermined but
appears to be no greater than Tifton 78.
Tifton 85 is our fastest establishing bermuda.
The stolens can grow three inches a day, develop roots and a
plant at each node when soil moisture and growing conditions
are favorable. Tifton 85 is cold sensitive and your climate
plays a vital role. Tifton 85 planting dates are generally April
Research Article, August 1992
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