Grass Species And Varieties For Severe Winter Climates (End)
Winter tolerant species for other turfgrass areas
One of the most winter hardy grass species on the market is tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosae). On a golf course it will sometimes appear naturally on moist fairways or roughs and cause unacceptable tufts.
For tees, fairways, sports field and ordinary lawns, smooth stalked meadow grass (=Kentucky bluegrass, Poa pratensis) should be mentioned because of its excellent winter survival. The challenge with this species is its slow development from seed, but when established it will resist all winter stresses very well. Under Nordic temperature and light conditions it has also proven to tolerate lower mowing than expected based on American literature. This species should therefore be seeded into both tees and fairways when establishing a golf course. It can be very challenging to introduce this species into established turf.
Choosing species and varieties
The most devastating winter damage in the northern part of the Nordic countries is suffocation due to ice and water-ponding in winter and spring. In Denmark and the southern part of Sweden the most severe winter injuries are related to Microdochium nivale which cause pink snow mould under snow cover or microdochium patches (refered to as Fusarium by many greenkeepers) when the weather is cold and moist.
When choosing grass species the local climatic conditions must be taken into consideration. The bent grasses have good tolerance to ice and other physical stresses, but are susceptible to snow moulds. The fine fescues are less resistant to suffocation, but will better resist winter diseases. The access to fungicides will most likely be limited in the future and this should be taken into account when a golf course is constructed and grass species chosen.
Since there are considerable differences within the fescue and bent grass species and subspecies, it is always crucial to order the best varieties based on test results from areas with similar climate.