CitraBlue St. Augustine – A Known Drought Fighter

When you think about a grass type that handles drought or lack of water, typically a bermudagrass or zoysia come to mind. Those varieties have a built-in defense mechanism called dormancy that begins to shut down to protect the grass from damage. The University of Florida’s newest grass, CitraBlueTM St. Augustine, may not be a bermuda or zoysia, but it wants to join the drought conversation.

Most St. Augustine varieties give the impression of being good drought grasses at first. They typically hang on to their color longer in low-water, dry conditions. But when they begin to go brown, they are typically dying unlike the bermudas and zoysias of the world. All this said, in the years of research to develop CitraBlue and in several evaluations, CitraBlue maintained adequate turf quality and stand persistence when other St. Augustinegrasses declined in quality due to drought stress.  We asked the CitraBlue breeder, Dr. Kevin Kenworthy how this looks to the end-user.

“CitraBlue is slower to develop drought stress symptoms and suffer damage,” said Dr. Kenworthy. “If moisture is limiting to the point of damage, then CitraBlue is able to recover quickly when adequate moisture returns.”

All of this should give some confidence to the consumer. Droughts and water restrictions come and go, typically every few years. Having a grass that will be ready when those times come is a wise strategy. It also shows that excessive watering is not needed with CitraBlue and that is better for the environment as a whole.

CitraBlue™ ‘FSA1602’ St. Augustine grass was developed by the University of Florida’s turfgrass breeding program under a sponsored Research Service Agreement with the Turfgrass Producers of Florida, Inc. (TPF). CitraBlue St. Augustine is exclusively licensed to TPF by Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc., a direct support organization of the University of Florida. CitraBlue is marketed by Sod Solutions, Inc. and is now available throughout Florida.

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