On a fact-finding mission, a leading group of groundsmen from Scotland visited the Top Green research station and grass seed trial site at Les Alleuds in France, courtesy of specialist seed agent Rigby Taylor.
They went to view the latest cultivars helping to win the battle against stress, drought and wind-chill conditions being developed by Rigby Taylor, in conjunction with leading seed breeder Top Green.
"It is vital new cultivars are orientated to the needs of the customer and the environmental changes taking place," says Brian Robinson, Director of Seed Research at Rigby Taylor.
To keep up appearances on sports pitches, the group was impressed with tall fescues rhizomatous Grande and Scorpiones, which are excellent
performers under both more water-logged and drier conditions, due to their extensive rooting system and ability to search for moisture.
Current successful trials include Tetraploid perennial ryegrass, specifically bred to resist drought and stress conditions, and a US perennial ryegrass that looks very green when under stress.
Latest dedicated research also focuses on continuing to produce cultivars with excellent wear characteristics and disease resistance. "It is vital we make turf managers aware of where we are going with our breeding programme, as it takes up to 15 years to develop new cultivars," says Stephen Alderton, Development and Marketing Director for Top Green.
Regular overseeding recommended / Addressing wear issues,
Robinson says: "With sports grass under more stress, through heavier continuous usage and drier conditions, holes will develop and the sward degenerate unless new seeds are introduced to fill the gaps. Regular overseeding not only keeps the sward dense but also reduces the need to apply herbicides, chemicals and water."
Commenting on the visit, Geoff Brereton, said: "The trip to the research station was particularly good, because we looked at all of the processes involved in grass breeding. "It certainly makes you aware of the time it takes to develop a new generation of turfgrass cultivars."
For further details: Rigby Taylor freephone 0800 424919