CitraBlue St. Augustine: What’s in a Name?
CitraBlue™ St. Augustine was developed by the University of Florida’s Turfgrass Breeding Program. The St. Augustine cultivar has been under development since 2006 and was introduced to the public in October 2018 at the FNGLA Landscape Show. CitraBlue will become available for commercial sales in limited quantities in fall 2019 with more widespread availability in spring 2020. With the excitement of an improved turfgrass variety comes questions about its development and characteristics. One such question is, “How did this superior grass variety acquire the name, CitraBlue?”
CitraBlue was developed in Citra, Florida, and designed for the state’s tropical climate, procuring the first half of the grass cultivar’s name, “Citra” Blue. The University of Florida’s IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit located in Citra, Florida, was developed in 1972 after the property was donated to UF by the Bedford family for cattle research. Fast forward to the year of 2015 when the St. Augustine sponsored research program was created to promote further research and evaluation on a number of St. Augustine lines in the UF breeding program for the specific traits of disease resistance as well as shade and drought tolerance. This breeding program brought about the creation and birth of CitraBlue St. Augustine under the direction of Dr. Kevin Kenworthy. To read more about CitraBlue’s breeding objectives, click here.
With St. Augustinegrass being a popular type of grass in the area, Floratam is the most commonly used cultivar for Florida home lawns. One of CitraBlue’s breeding objectives was to exhibit superior characteristics in comparison to Floratam. CitraBlue handles shade very well, flourishes in full sun exposure, and provides a dense canopy that results in fewer weeds than its predecessor, Floratam. In addition, CitraBlue has a greater resistance to diseases such as brown patch fungus, gray leaf spot, and take-all root rot. With all of these characteristics in mind, CitraBlue’s most prominent feature that distinguishes it from all other turfgrass varieties is its striking blue-green color depicted in the second half of its name, Citra “Blue”.
The name CitraBlue™ was chosen both for its distinctive color and for its development at the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research & Education Unit at Citra, Florida. The grass variety will be made available from a wide network of Florida growers in 2020. To read more about CitraBlue’s breeding process, read Dr. Kevin Kenworthy’s blog on The Process of Breeding a New Turfgrass Variety.
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 has become commercially available as of late 2019 with more widespread availability in the spring of 2020.