Turf Grasses

The Turf Grasses course will help you understand different turf species and cultivars relevant to all turf situations: sports turf, amenity turf and residential turf.

Course CodeBHT342
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn to Determine What Turf Grass Cultivars to Use

This course takes turf knowledge to the next step - be an expert!

This course begins by developing a deeper understanding of grass physiology, so that you can better see and understand the often subtle differences between different species of grasses, and different cultivars within those species.

From there, you learn about the characteristics of the vast majority of species and sub species of grasses that are used for lawns and turf around the world. You compare many of the cultivars in common use for sporting, commercial and residential turf in Australasia, the UK and Europe, North America and elsewhere.

The course finishes by considering why and how different species and/or cultivars are purposefully grown together to achieve results that might not be as good if only one cultivar were used.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction - Biology, terminology and classification of turf grasses.
  2. Fescues - The “Festuca rubra complex”, “Festuca ovina complex” and others
  3. Bentgrasses - Creeping, Colonial, Velvet, Redtop, Highland and Idaho Bentgrass
  4. Ryegrasses - Perennial, Italian, Annual Ryegrass etc.
  5. Bluegrasses - Kentucky, Texas, Rough, Canada, Upland and other bluegrass species including winter grass.
  6. Couchgrasses -Bermuda, South African, Hybrid, Queensland Blue and Salt Water couches.
  7. Buffalo and Zoysia Grasses - Stenotaphrum, Buchloe, Bouteloua and Zoysia.
  8. Other Warm Condition Grasses -Centipedegrass, Kikuyu, Paspalums, Bahia grass and others
  9. Other Cool Condition Grasses -Hairgrasses, Timothy, Brome, Phalaris, Wheatgrass, Crested Dogtail, etc
  10. Turf grass Mixes -Growing two or more varieties together in the same turf.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • To recognise the characteristics that differentiate turf grass cultivars one from another, in order to make choices about what cultivars are appropriate for different turf applications.
  • To describe the characteristics, culture and uses of Fescue grasses as a turf.
  • To describe the characteristics, culture and uses of Bent grasses as a turf.
  • To describe the characteristics, culture and uses of Rye grasses as a turf.
  • To describe the characteristics, culture and uses of Blue grasses as a turf.
  • To describe the characteristics, culture and uses of Couch grasses as a turf.
  • To describe the characteristics, culture and use of Buffalo and Zoysia grasses.
  • To describe the characteristics, culture and uses of various warm condition grasses as a turf.
  • To describe the characteristics, culture and uses of various cool condition grasses as a turf.
  • Explain the dynamics at play when different varieties of turf grass grow together.

Why are Multiple Varieties Grown Together?

There are thousands of different turf grass cultivars, and they all perform differently.

  • Some are hardier
  • Some require less care and attention
  • Some can be mown much lower to produce a very even surface for use in sport.
  • Some grow better in winter, others are better in summer
  • Some grow in harmony with some others.
  • Some will dominate and suppress growth when mixed with others
  • There are many other points of difference.

Growth will strengthen or weaken in different species (and cultivars), across different seasons. Cynodon dactylon (Couch), for example, grows more strongly in warm weather, but can become quite dormant in the cold. Rye grass (Lolium perrene), may grow in cooler weather but growth can weaken as weather heats up.

When growth is strong, grasses can recover faster and more effectively from stresses such as mowing heavy traffic or an extreme weather event.

A turf sward that is made up of a single species will be robust when conditions are ideal; but when conditions are adverse, that turf sward will be weak, and more susceptible to serious or even permanent deterioration. If compatible grass species, with different climatic requirements are grown together, the turf can become more robust across a wider range of conditions.

The sum of two grasses can be more than either individual. The challenge is to ensure the varieties you mix are compatible.

When conditions cause one grass cultivar to die; the second might invade the dead patches. When conditions become more favourable again for the suppressed grass, it will recover.

This is a Course for Green keepers, Groundsmen, Turf Managers, Gardeners and others.

Anyone who works with Turf Grasses needs to know the things that this course covers.



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John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.
Robert James

B.App. Sc. (Horticulture), Dip.Ag., M.Sc., Grad Dip.Mgt. Over 50 years experience that includes, Nursery Manager Brisbane City Councoil, Grounds Manager (University of Qld), Lecturer Qld Agricultural College, Propagator/Nurseryman at Aspley Nursery, Hort