Cobalt™ Hybrid St. Augustine Changing Perceptions About St. Augustinegrass and Water Use

Pallet of Cobalt™ Hybrid St. Augustine.

Recent research indicates that, compared to other common St. Augustinegrasses, homeowners can save over 6,000 gallons of water a year by installing Cobalt™ Hybrid St. Augustine in the Southern US. It is rapidly transforming perceptions about St. Augustinegrasses and water use. Developed by Texas A&M AgriLife after nearly 20 years of research and extensive field testing, this variety promises to set a new standard in the turfgrass industry.

Cobalt (experimental designation DALSA 1618) was released by the Texas A&M AgriLife Research program and breeder Dr. Ambika Chandra in January 2022 and is exclusively licensed through Sod Solutions for commercial production and marketing. The grass got funding assistance from the St. Augustine Research Group (SARG). SARG is a program started in 2003 with a group of Texas sod producers getting together to support and fund the breeding program at Texas A&M AgriLife to develop an improved St. Augustinegrass variety. This venture aimed to breed grass with good drought and disease resistance while also growing fast and harvesting well, which would benefit both producers and end-users.

Cobalt was also developed using an advanced breeding technique called embryo rescue technology (ERT)​ and was tested across multiple states (Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Oklahoma). In national testing, it consistently ranks in the top statistical groups for drought resistance and overall quality.

Not to be overlooked is Cobalt’s winter hardiness. During the 2021 polar vortex, Cobalt survived temperatures as low as 1 degree Fahrenheit. Many researchers and growers were impressed by its ability to thrive in such cold temperatures.

Pallet of Cobalt™ Hybrid St. Augustine for an installation in Charleston, SC in June 2024.

Cobalt’s aesthetic qualities and resilience position it to meet modern market demands. Researchers and growers alike have remained optimistic about its potential to thrive in various conditions, making it a valuable addition to commercial and residential landscapes. As it grows in demand, its qualities stand as a testament to the advancements in turfgrass breeding and the dedication of researchers and producers. It showcases a beautiful dark green, wide leaf blade and stolons. It also features a low thatch, which, for the end-user, helps maintain a healthier lawn with easier maintenance.

Cobalt is becoming more readily available across the South, with acreage available this summer and fall. In addition to its origin state of Texas, Cobalt is currently grown in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina​ and will be available in more states in the coming months. For more information about this improved variety or to purchase grass that can save you several thousand gallons of water each year as a homeowner, visit CobaltStAugustine.com.

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