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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Protection and Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #266680

Research Project: Insect Ecology and Sustainable Systems for Insect Pest Management in the Southeastern Region

Location: Crop Protection and Management Research

Title: Registration of "Ultimate" Zoysiagrass

item Scully, Brian
item Nagata, R - University Of Hawaii
item Cherry, R - University Of Florida
item Nuessly, G - University Of Florida
item Trenholm, L - University Of Florida
item Kenworthy, K - University Of Florida
item Schwartz, B - University Of Georgia
item Unruh, J - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Journal of Plant Registrations
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/6/2011
Publication Date: 1/3/2012
Citation: Scully, B.T., Nagata, R.T., Cherry, R.H., Nuessly, G.S., Trenholm, L.E., Kenworthy, K.E., Schwartz, B.M., Unruh, J.B. 2012. Registration of "Ultimate" Zoysiagrass. Journal of Plant Registrations. 6(1):71-74.

Interpretive Summary: Zoysiagrass has emerged as a desirable turf species for a number of turf applications in the southeastern U.S. In Alabama, Florida and Georgia there are presently fourteen varieties produced under the seed certification protocols of each state, which total just over 13,000 acres. The purpose of this breeding program was to identify and develop additional zoysigrass varieties for an expanding market and to enlarge the diversity of warm season clonally propagated grasses grown for the specialty turf markets in the southeastern U.S. The new variety ‘Ultimate’ was selected as an open pollinated progeny derived as an off-type from naturalized local land races and was tested in southern Florida under the coded breeding line number BA-189. Ultimate was selected for improved agronomic and horticultural traits including a darker leaf color; more refined vegetative structure defined by shorter and narrower leaves, and reduced seed head production. It was also selected for a faster rate of crop establishment and ground coverage.

Technical Abstract: ‘Ultimate’ (Reg. No. ________, PI 652947) zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.) was developed at the Everglades Research and Education Center, IFAS, University of Florida, Belle Glade, FL and initially approved for release in 2004. A plant patent was submitted in mid-2005 and presently awaits examination. This zoysiagrass cultivar was selected as an open pollinated progeny derived from ‘Meyer’, which was developed and released in 1952. Ultimate was tested in Florida as a breeding line under the experimental designation of BA-189. Ultimate was selected in Florida for improved agronomic and horticultural traits, including reduced seed head production and a faster rate of crop establishment and ground coverage in southern Florida, along with a finer leaf texture, and a darker leaf color. In comparison to the standard cultivar Meyer, Ultimate produced 57% fewer seedheads and the crop established 30 days faster than Meyer on an approximate annual basis. Ultimate produced leaves with a darker green color and had a deeper color value than Meyer. On average, the leaves of Meyer were 29% longer and 34% wider than Ultimate. The attenuated leaf morphology of Ultimate conferred the appearance of a more refined canopy structure than Meyer. Ultimate also exhibited a floral morphology distinct from Meyer, and foliar resistance to the tropical sod webworm (Herpetogramma phaeopteralis Guenee) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) that was improved, but not significantly superior to ‘Meyer’. Ultimate was developed to augment the specialty zoysiagrass market in Florida.