Because North Carolina is in the transition zone, both warm- and cool-season grasses can be grown in our state. However, cool-season grasses get severely stressed during our hot and humid summer months, and warm-season grasses can suffer significant winterkill during cold winters. Therefore, a big emphasis of our program is to improve cold-tolerance in warm-season grasses and heat and drought tolerance in cool-season grasses. Currently, we have ongoing research projects in St. Augustine, Zoysia, centipede, bermuda, and tall fescue.
One of the main areas of interest in our program is the combination of modern technologies with conventional methods for turfgrass improvement. Molecular markers, tissue culture, flow cytometry, chromosome doubling with colchicine, linkage and QTL mapping, and mutagenesis are some of the methods we are currently applying.