Sometimes something new comes along that truly stands out. This is the case with Latitude 36™ Bermudagrass. Commercially introduced by Sod Solutions in 2011, Latitude 36 is already on the map worldwide, providing the golf and sports field surface that meets the needs of the transition zone and beyond.
Development of Latitude 36 at Oklahoma State University included an extensive seven-year testing program. In 2007, the variety entered the National Turf Evaluation Program (NTEP) bermudagrass trials where it dominated. Exceptional wear tolerance and high resistance to spring dead spot were among Latitude 36’s stand out qualities.
Roberto Gurgel, executive director of research at Sod Solutions, describes the breeding process. “Latitude 36 is the result of a very elaborate and detailed breeding program coordinated by Dr. Yanqi Wu. Dr. Wu, who has vast experience breeding bermudagrasses, tested many parent lines before the actual crossing that resulted in Latitude 36. Parent lines are used to generate hundreds and hundreds of seeds, which are then tested against each other and industry standards. The goal is to identify one of those seedlings that is better than what is on the market.”
Through this process, Latitude 36 came about. Gurgel identifies some of the major characteristics that set it apart:
• Early green up – 30 – 40 days sooner than some other bermudagrasses
• High density with more growing points per square inch
• High recovery rate after wear and divots
• Excellent cold tolerance
• Excellent disease resistance, particularly against spring dead spot
• Low (almost zero) seed head production
With benefits like these, demand for Latitude 36 is growing quickly. The variety is featured on several sports fields including Purdue University’s Ross-Ade football stadium, Duke University’s Wallace Wade football stadium, Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd football stadium, and Orlando City Soccer Club’s Orlando City Stadium (MLS). Internationally, Latitude 36 was chosen for Al Saad Stadium in Doha, Qatar and Khalifa International Stadium, also in Doha, that has received recent recognition for its state-of-the-art renovation. Golf courses are also selecting Latitude 36 including the new Jack Nicklaus signature Ashgabat Golf Club in Turkmenistan.