The University of Florida’s first turfgrass release in over a decade, CitraBlue™ St. Augustine, is now available for purchase throughout Florida. Currently there are over 350 acres across the Sunshine State up for sale to the public with an exponential increase expected in 2021. This grass is a product of many years of research, development and testing begun in 2006 and led by UF breeder Dr. Kevin Kenworthy. CitraBlue, marketed by Sod Solutions, Inc., is naturally developed for Florida and has many improved features over other grasses that may answer many statewide environmental challenges.
CitraBlue’s traits were developed by narrowing down hundreds of different lines of grass. Those grasses in the program were eliminated over time until the process was left with just one standing variety. This grass was developed first and foremost for a resistance to disease. That was the feature that Dr. Kenworthy was primarily seeking in his years of research and he believes that’s just what it has. CitraBlue has shown an enhanced level of resistance to damaging diseases grey-leaf spot, take-all root rot and large patch. Other traits include an elevated drought persistence, a slower growth rate than Floratam St. Augustine, a dense canopy to cut down on weed pressure, and it’s one of the top options for shade tolerance in the state. Its most visually significant feature is its unique blue-green color which will set it apart in a field of other grasses. This will lead to a reduction in over-fertilization.
“Just the color alone makes it pop out where a lot of grasses look good in one yard but not the other,” said Eric Bartl of Vero Beach based Gulf Kist Sod. “This grass is going to be good across all the yards because of the color alone and I think that when one neighbor has it, everyone else is going to want it.”
Professor Dr. Kenworthy is one of the top forward-thinking turfgrass breeders in the industry. CitraBlue is his first release from a program partially funded by over 20 sod producers across the state of Florida. They, in conjunction with the Turfgrass Producers of Florida, formed a research support group called Turf Research Florida (TRF) to help develop this variety. This group includes most of the top turfgrass producers in the Sunshine State.
“We are very excited about CitraBlue and what it will bring to the turf industry,” said Dr. Kenworthy. “Grower responses and landscape tests have been very favorable. We look forward to learning and sharing more in the future as production expands.”
With its toughness and sustainability, CitraBlue St. Augustine has positioned itself to be the premiere lawn for Florida and the southern half of the country for years to come.
Sod Solutions has helped successfully develop and release to the market over 20 different turfgrass varieties over the past 27 years including Palmetto® St. Augustine, EMPIRE® Zoysia and Celebration®, Latitude 36® and NorthBridge® Bermudagrass. The company is based in Mount Pleasant, SC.
CitraBlue™ St. Augustine is an improved St. Augustine turfgrass variety developed by the University of Florida turfgrass breeding program under the 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.
Customers can purchase sod or plugs directly at CitraBlue.com.