Santa Rita and Canelo Germplasms of Sprucetop Grama and Taber Germplasm of Curly Mesquite

Technology #ua16-072

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Steven Smith
Associate Professor, SNRE
David Kopec
Specialist, Plant Sciences
Managed By
Tod Mccauley

Title: New Varieties of Resilient Turfgrass


Invention: Professors at the University of Arizona have invented several varieties of turfgrass designed to grow under low-maintenance conditions. The inventions were derived from specimens of two classes of sprucetop grama (Santa Rita and Canelo), as well as one class of curly mesquite grasses (Taber). They require low amounts of water and fertilizer, are tolerant of pests and mowing, and were selected based on their appearance and other characteristics associated with turf utility. In addition to the germplasms (seeds or other material used to generate the plants), the invention encompasses the genes within them that contribute to their utility as low-input turfgrasses.


Background: Preliminary research, which began in 2007, evaluated native bunchgrasses for their utility as turfgrasses. Following the conduction of greenhouse trials, several strains of native bunchgrasses were evaluated for quality and density. While the particulars for each class of grass varies, plant clones were generally subjected to culling processes based on metrics associated with turf quality in addition to survivability. Because these grasses are derived from native species, environmental impact decreases when the grasses spread beyond their intended areas, an issue that arises non-native grasses become an invasive species.



  • Residential/commercial groundcover
  • Golf courses
  • Athletic fields
  • Erosion prevention
  • Livestock
  • Green roofing



  • Useful when high levels of irrigation are impractical or prohibitively expensive
  • Reduces use of water and fertilizer       
  • Requires lower input and maintenance
  • Increases prevention of soil erosion
  • Increases ease of generating pastures in hot, dry areas for livestock
  • Only requires 35 cm of rainfall to prevent drought-induced dormancy (less than bermudagrass)
  • Lowers maintenance costs
  • Decreases environmental impact by replacing non-native grasses with these new strains
  • Potential to improve species richness and other ecological measures that would otherwise be disturbed by bermudagrass or other non-native grass types
  • Requires less stringent mowing


Licensing Manager: 

Tod McCauley

(520) 626-7916