Susana Milla-Lewis Leads Next-Gen Turf Research

A close-up of Zoysia grass sod at an NC State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences turf field day.

North Carolina State University has signed a long-term agreement with turfgrass research, development and marketing company Sod Solutions to research and create a line of turfgrass varieties that will balance global environmental challenges while aiming for the curb appeal of attractive landscapes. This first-ever partnership, called Turf Research North Carolina (TRNC), was made in conjunction with the North Carolina Sod Producers Association (NCSPA) and is supported by a select group of NCSPA turfgrass grower members.

Grasses currently under development include St. Augustine Grass, zoysia grass, bermudagrass, and centipede grass with potential for other varieties. The improved lawn grasses are being developed by renowned North Carolina State University turfgrass breeder, Dr. Susana Milla-Lewis, with release dates to follow over the next several years.

Susana Milla-Lewis
Susana Milla-Lewis

“Next-generation” turfgrasses currently under development in the program are bred with the goal of achieving enhanced qualities such as improved drought toughness, better cold tolerance and lower water and chemical needs. In a new world of limited resources and increased environmental regulations, these are the characteristics that will be in top demand; qualities that will benefit sod producers and end-users alike.

“We are very excited about this joint venture that will help us transition breeding efforts at NC State into commercial varieties for the southeastern United States,” said Dr. Milla-Lewis.  “We look forward to this mutually beneficial relationship among North Carolina State University, Sod Solutions and the NC Sod Producers Association.”

— By Kaki Carl

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