• Golf Management, Lawn Care, Sports Turf
  • Mar 09, 2015

Modified Ranking for Tall Fescue

New Modified Turf Performance Index (TPI) – Tall Fescue
Tall Fescue has received widespread usage among turf professionals due to its lower maintenance requirements, drought resistance, insect resistance, and in many cases, wear/shear tolerance. Plant breeders have been actively breeding fine texture and dark green color into the newest cultivars, raising the quality of tall fescue and in some cases approaching that of Perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass. One of the major weaknesses that tall fescue has is its susceptibility to Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia solani) disease, which can cause significant damage resulting in lower quality and higher maintenance costs.

One way to deal with Brown Patch disease is to select cultivars that have shown increased resistance.  The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) has been evaluating brown patch on tall fescue since 1983.  The latest tall fescue trial is the 2012 study and the recently published 2013 progress report. 

Using the proprietary TurfTech Tool 5.0 – which uses the NTEP database – the following two charts were developed and can help in selecting tall fescues resistance to brown patch disease.

The first is a modified TPI ranking all the variety sponsors in the 2012 tall fescue trial by the number of varieties entered that score in the top LSD group. Use of TPI for developing a comprehensive ranking among cultivars was previously published by Wherley et al. in 2011

Here is how it works:
1. Determined how many varieties each sponsor entered into the trail.
2. Determine how many of those varieties had scores that included them in the top statistical grouping based on LSD (Least Significant Difference)  for each state in the trial.
3. TPI = # of times a sponsor’s varieties appeared in the top LSD group divided by the total number of varieties.
  • Example:  if a sponsor entered 1 variety and that variety appeared in all five trials in the top LSD group, then the TPI would be = 5 or (5/1).  5 would be a perfect index score.  A sponsor who entered 2 varieties and those varieties showed up 8 times in the 5 trials, then the TPI would be 8/2 = 4. 
4. The TPI gives the professional turf manager an indication of the strength of the sponsor’s portfolio of tall fescue varieties to brown patch resistance.   

Note: even though a sponsor may have a lower TPI score, they may still have a single variety within their lineup of varieties that scores very high in resistance to brown patch.

Species: Tall Fescue
Trial: 2012 NTEP Tall Fescue Trial.  2013 progress report 
States in study:  AR1, NC1, NJ2, TN1, MD1
Sponsors:  All 

Ranking of Tall Fescues in NTEP trial 2012-2013 progress report. 
Tall Fescue  Attribute: Brown Patch warm
Weighted average for states  AR1, NC1, NJ2, TN1, MD1
All varieties in top LSD group for the above states.


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