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turf grass

Turf grass leaf growth factors

Moving on from yesterday’s post which detailed the structure of grass plants, today I want to go into more detail about the processes and factors related to the growth of turf grass.

Leaf Growth
When we think of turf it’s easy to imagine that each individual blade of grass is a plant. However, each of the blades we see in the turf is a single leaf of a plant that might have many other leaves. All growth occurs from the base of the leaf so that the bit we cut off is always the oldest part of the living plant tissue and it is this feature that allows the grass to be mown frequently without undue injury. Although the main function of the leaf is to manufacture food for the plant through photosynthesis and increase the biomass of the plant the leaf can also take in water and nutrients to some degree.

Factors which affect leaf growth

Environment
As we observed in the post introducing warm and cold season grasses there are certain environmental factors that affect the growth of the turf grass leaf.

Temperature
Temperature is This content is for members only.

 

Structure of a grass plant

How Grass Works

Since I did a little bit of an introduction to turf grass botany yesterday by talking about cool and warm season grasses, there has been further interest from readers in exploring turf grass botany.

There’s no better place to start than at the beginning, so today we will look at the basic shoot structure of the grass plant. Of course there is a lot of variation between species in how these structures appear but the following is a broad overview of turf grass plant shoot structures.

Shoot
This is the basic functional unit of the plant and consists of a short stem with leaves appearing alternately from nodes along the stem.

Stem
The stem is the main trunk of the plant that can take the form of a crown, which is a kind of bunched up stem where all of the leaf producing nodes are stacked one on top of the other or of an elongated stem (stolon or rhizome) that grows laterally either on or below the soil surface with widely spaced internodes from which new shoots and roots can appear. Lastly it can appear as a long upright stalk with widely spaced internodes (leaf producing points) ending in an infloresence/flower which is called a culm; more commonly called a seed head. The main functions of the stem are:

  • sites of buds where new shoots or roots can be initiated.
  • the movement of water, nutrients and food (carbohydrates) between the roots and the leaves.
  • storage of food for emergencies such as drought or injury.

Nodes
These are the bulbous pointsThis content is for members only.

Seashore Paspallum Green

Cool Season and Warm Season Grasses

My post from yesterday sparked a few questions by email about the term “Cool Season Grass”, a question only likely to crop up in the UK once every decade or so when we eventually get some hot summer weather! A brief summary of the differences between warm and cool season grasses below:

Cool Season Grasses
Cool Season turf grasses are best adapted to growing during the cool and moist periods of the year and do most of their growing in the UK during late spring/early summer. In a decent summer you will see growth rate tail off in mid summer and this will usually be followed by another growth spurt in late summer/early autumn. The cool season grasses are best adapted to grow well in temperatures ranging from 150 to 240 C. This group includes all of the usual turf forming suspects that are common in the UK such asThis content is for members only.