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Tuomey Turfgrass Consulting, LLC

Providing Expert Turfgrass & Horticulture Consulting Services

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Turfgrass Physiology

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 12:20 PM Comments comments (4)
At ease.  Carry on. 
 
In the 6th century B.C., chinese general and military strategist Sun Tzu said, "...that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle."
 
I believe, before you can learn about the "operating environment" or "know your enemy", one must know one's self.  You must know your command, your subordinates.  You must know turfgrass.  Do you want your turfgrass to follow you through fire...or push you in?
 
A critical requirement for Turfgrass Warriors is to understand the troops under their command.  What are they made of?  Turfgrass Warriors need to know the capabilities and limitations of their Turfgrass. 
 
There are two major categories of flowering plants – monocotyledons (monocots) and dicotyledons (dicots).  Turfgrass is a monocot.  There are about ten differences between monocots and dicots - roots, embryo, root system, etc.  The big, noticable difference is: monocots have parallel leaf veins; dicots have reticulated (branched) leaf veins. 
 
Turfgrass seed has three parts: an embryo or immature grass plant, the endosperm and the seed coat.   As a seed matures, four basic circumstances must be satisfied in order for the seed to grow and germinate.   These conditions are: sufficient water, favorable temperature and oxygen.   In many cases, light is a fourth requirement. 
 
The turfgrass plant consists of a root system, shoots or stems and a crown.  A good turfgrass Soldier must have a basic understanding of turfgrass morphology and growth. 
To the left is a diagram of a mature turfgrass plant (Source: Penn State, College of Agricultural Sciences, 2013).  A mature, unmowed grass plant is composed of leaves, roots, stems, and a seed head.  The diagram shows these basic structures.  (BTW - My website is pretty cool.  If you click on these diagrams, they should pop out at you a little bigger.  You can close them by clicking on the "X" at the top right of the diagram or just click anywhere else on the web page.)  Keep in mind that some grass species do not have all the structures shown and that mowed grasses typically lack flower stems and seed heads.  As a rule of thumb, stolons are "runners" along the surface; rhizomes run below the surface.  Some plants don't stick to that rule of thumb, but, for the most part, turfgrass plants do.  Got it?  Keep these parts of turfgrass in mind, and maybe even refer back to this diagram, as we continue with our training.  Drive on with a purpose, Turfgrass Warrior.

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