AgriDark is a green couch (Cynadon Dactylon) variety, and it has been commonly accepted that green couch's are not suited to shaded conditions, requiring at least 6+ hours of direct sunlight per day to survive, and the only turf options are broader leafed varieties like Buffalo or Zoysia.
But NO MORE! enter AgriDark, the first shade resistant green couch we have encountered. This brings huge advantages for the whole industry from homeowners to stadium managers alike.
All Turf Solutions have been selling AgriDark for about 5 years now, and at first we advised against installing it in shaded areas, just due to that common knowledge & because it is a new turf to the market, we didn’t have a whole lot of research data as yet.
But quite a few of our customers prefer the fine leaf grasses and went ahead & installed AgriDark in various shaded areas along fences, house edges, under trees & shrubs etc. and to our surprise & excitement we had several repeat customers telling us that their AgriDark is ‘thriving’ in the shade.
We decided to go and check on a house at Tamborine Mountain, QLD that had installed AgriDark throughout the back garden amongst many trees & shrubs. The turf was installed in early February 2016 and we first went to inspect the site on 20-Feb, we then came back in May and found that there were no changes, the AgriDark planted directly under shady trees was still just as good as new, it did not appear to be thinning out & its growth rates were consistent with the other parts of the lawn that received full sun throughout the day.
*See comparison images below*
We will be updating this comparison at the end of winter 2016 to see how the AgriDark pictured above held up through the slow-growing season.
Stadiums & Commercial Applications
The shade from stadium grandstands & ceiling overhangs has always been an issue in the sports turf industry, it is currently common practice to completely replace huge portions of stadium turf surfaces that are shade affected, this can mean be very expensive and time consuming, and using something like Buffalo or Zoysia grass just isn’t a possibility either.
All Turf recently assisted with replacing approx. 5000m2 of Wintergreen couch to the CBUS stadium at Robina in QLD due to it being worn & thinned out from a lack of sunlight, we believe that had this field been planted with AgriDark this wouldn’t be an issue and replacement would not have been necessary.
Rapid recovery from ‘zero’ light conditions
Stadiums, showground’s & other sporting venues have always been used for events like music concerts, festivals, markets, etc. all of which commonly bring in excessive foot traffic, and stages, tents & marquee’s that cover the turf for periods ranging from a few days to over a week, normally this results in damage to the turf, while the wealthier venues have the option of an instant turf replacement, some of the smaller venues have no choice but to wait for the turf to recover on its own.
AgriDark stands to make these problems a thing of the past;
Not only can it withstand excessive wear & low levels of light but it has also proven to recover rapidly from being blocked from all sunlight for extended periods of time.
All Turf Solutions is currently undertaking some ‘in-house’ testing of AgriDark’s recovery speed from ‘zero’ light in the below case studies.
We covered a selected patch of AgriDark & its comparator (Wintergreen) with a 1.2x1m piece of 16mm thick structural ply wood, which is painted black on both sides, we decided to use ply wood as this simulates a common and inexpensive method of protecting turf for events, plus it’s a kind of ‘worst-case-scenario’
Higher end venues will generally use ‘stadium flooring’ which provides more protection again, and anything that allows the turf to still breath will have lesser effects than our methods.
The ply cover was left in place for 10 days straight, with no exposure to sunlight or irrigation, we then removed the cover and observed the recovery period, taking timestamped photos every 2-3days.
The process was repeated, but this time the turf was covered for 21 days
|Case Study ID||Turf Type||Time covered for||Approx. fully recovered in|
|ATS-CS-03||Wintergreen||10 days||12+ days* (still in progress)|
|ATS-CS-06||AgriDark||10 days||5-6 days* (still in progress)|
|ATS-CS-04||Wintergreen||21 days||*(still in progress)|
|ATS-CS-02||AgriDark||21 days||9-10 days|
*findings & images coming soon*
To summarise, AgriDark offers the following benefits for the sports turf market;
- Superior wear tolerance
- Shade resistance comparable to buffalo grasses
- Rapid recovery from wear damage & zero light
- Low leaf water content (more player traction in the wet)
Come over to the dark side! - AgriDark Premium Sports Turf
All information provided in the above blog is based on the experiences of our customers, other growers, landscapers and our own in-house testing at All Turf Solutions, we are currently looking into getting official trials & testing conducted on AgriDark’s shade resistance & recovery however this will take some time before the results are in, so stay tuned!