Sod Solutions and UF Sign Contract to Initiate Turfgrass Breeding

On May 8, 2023, Sod Solutions signed the sponsored research agreement with the University of Florida for the development of improved bahiagrass and St. Augustinegrass, as proposed in the Turf Research Florida – Low Input initiative presented last year at the TPF Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL.

The Turf Research Florida Low Input Bahia/St. Augustine Program (TRF Low Input Program) is a collaboration between the University of Florida, the Turfgrass Producers of Florida (TPF) and Sod Solutions. The TRF Low Input Program’s main goal is to breed, select and release St. Augustinegrasses and Bahiagrasses that require fewer inputs from farms and end-users and that will handle Florida-specific environmental challenges like Lethal Virus Necrosis (LVN), drought, disease, insects, etc.

Eighteen TPF members have agreed to sponsor this 8-year research initiative. UF Turfgrass Breeder, Dr. Kevin Kenworthy sent a letter thanking the grower sponsors for their support of this program.

“Your continued funding of the breeding program is deeply appreciated and has resulted in the development of a strong and widely recognized program at the University of Florida. When I accepted this position in 2004, I could not have envisioned a better relationship with growers. Thank you for trusting me with your financial contributions. Each day, my program will be mindful of the responsibility to use these funds to create products to ensure the profitability,” Kenworthy wrote.

He went on to explain that for the past two years, they’ve adjusted the program priorities to put a greater emphasis on improved turf-type bahiagrass. Kenworthy will continue to work with growers around the state to grow plots and expand lines of bahiagrass and advanced lines of St. Augustinegrass. The main focus is to find bahiagrasses that will use less water, look green under drought stress and use less fertilizer to stay green. Other important characteristics are high seed production yields for lines that can be used as seed producers or reduced seed head production for lines to be selected for high aesthetic appearance.

“We want to thank the 18 sod farms that see the importance of this program and have committed to supporting this for the next eight years. We value your dedication to the development of improved bahiagrass and St. Augustinegrass. We would not be able to do this without your support,” said Sod Solutions President, Tobey Wagner.

Below is a list of the 18 farms that have committed to sponsoring the eight-year program:

  • Action Sod
  • Agriturf, Inc.
  • Bayside Sod
  • Bethel Farms
  • Collier Family Farms
  • Council Growers Sod
  • Duda Sod
  • Floriturf Sod
  • Island Turf
  • King Ranch Turfgrass
  • Lake Jem Farms
  • Meadowbrook Acres
  • Star Farms
  • Tater Farms Turfgrass
  • Travis Resmondo Sod
  • TurfPro Services
  • Willaway Sod Farms
  • Woerner Companies

The release of future improved grasses from the University of Florida Turfgrass Science Program in Florida and worldwide will be done through Sod Solutions, which will be the licensing and marketing agent for any new grasses resulting from the program. Any sod producer that wants to learn more about this program can contact Dr. Kenworthy at or Christian Broucqsault at


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