wide shot of turfgrass trays on tables in a greenhouse

Turfgrass Breeding and Urban Landscapes

Scientific innovation for sustainable and resilient turfgrasses in sports, urban developments and homes.

Turf and Lawn Questions?

For general turfgrass inquiries and assistance with troubleshooting turfgrass-related issues in your landscape, please contact your Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county agent.

The turfgrass breeding program at Dallas works alongside a range of partners across the U.S. to produce new, drought tolerant, resource-efficient turfgrass varieties for sustainable urban living across Texas and the U.S. Our urban focus is guided by U.S. Census Bureau data showing that about 81% of the total U.S. population resides in urban and suburban areas. At the same time, turf grass covers an estimated 40% to 50% of the total land surface in these areas. Learn more about our work below.

Program Strengths

Established in 1980, our mature, reputable turfgrass breeding program maintains a proven track record of developing environmentally friendly and sustainable turfgrasses. Our efforts are trained strongly on our status as a leading provider of stress tolerant, resource-efficient turfgrasses, serving a full scope of industry sectors, namely lawns, sports and golf.

Our breeding program, as such, works toward preserving strong offerings of commercialized intellectual property in new turfgrass varieties. To date, we hold eight plant patents with an additional two patents pending alongside eight currently held PVPs (Plant Variety Protections.)

We are able to continue our breeding efforts by maintaining a comprehensive, proprietary collection of large and genetically diverse germplasm: zoysiagrass, creeping bentgrass, Texas bluegrass. Our ability to manipulate germplasm and breeding populations include:

  • Wide hybridization
  • Quantitative improvement
  • Embryo rescue
  • Tissue culture
  • Genetic transformation

Our turfgrass research and development efforts are supported by long-standing relationships with industry partners. Close academic collaborations with public and private sectors create opportunities for joint ownership of new varieties. These attributes, in conjunction with the unparalleled expertise of the Dallas turfgrass breeding team, allow us to bring true innovation to sustainable urban living.

Turfgrass Resources

Aggie Turf  This is the overarching turfgrass research and extension program of the Texas A&M University System, which houses the Dallas Center’s turfgrass breeding program.

Turfgrass Producers of Texas (TPT) – Use this comprehensive database to find any turfgrass variety bred in conjunction with the Dallas Center’s breeding program. This TPT list is categorized by growers and the turfgrass varieties they produce.

Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) database – This bibliographic computer database provides access to all published materials reporting on aspects of turfgrass and turfgrass maintenance.

AgriLife Soil Testing – This AgriLife Extension site provides all the information for having your soil tested and receiving a detailed soil profile – a critical component in determining how to amend your soil for optimal plant and turfgrass success.

Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab – This Texas A&M AgriLife Extension site is dedicated to diagnosing plant disease. It includes disease information and resources for submitting samples for testing.

Research projects

Breeding for Drought Tolerance in Zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass

Efforts to breed Zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass varieties for drought tolerance at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas began in 2010 as part of the Specialty Crops Research Initiative — a program whose scope also encompasses work with bermudagrass and seashore paspalum turfgrass varieties. Participating researchers also focus on breeding for…

Learn more Breeding for Drought Tolerance in Zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass

Determining Water Requirements of Diploid and Polyploid St. Augustinegrass

Hybrid St. Augustinegrass lines bred using embryo rescue technique by researchers at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center of Dallas continue to undergo evaluation for water resource efficiency and drought tolerance. The evaluation process represents a joint effort between the Dallas Center researchers and the Turfgrass Producers of Texas. Breeding lines identified as…

Learn more Determining Water Requirements of Diploid and Polyploid St. Augustinegrass

Turfgrass Varieties Bred Here

The turfgrass breeding program at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center of Dallas develops new varieties through an array of public and private partnership collaborations. New turfgrasses undergo comprehensive research in several climatic zones across the United States. Only the very best are registered for industry licensing. Click each image in the gallery for information by variety.

Licensing: Janie Hurley at jhurley@tamu.edu or by phone at 979.845.6337 for licensing information.
Technical information: Dr. Ambika Chandra at Ambika.Chandra@ag.tamu.edu for technical information.
Available varieties: Click here for varieties available for licensing.

Cavalier Zoysiagrass

Cavalier is a finer-textured zoysiagrass that is cold hardy, salt tolerant and resistant to tropical sod web worm, fall army worm, and the tawny mole cricket. Agronomic Merits Finer-textured Cold Hardy Shade Tolerant Salt Tolerant Insect Resistant Tropical Sod Web Worm Fall Armyworm Tawny Mole Cricket Disease Tolerant Pythium Blight Rhizoctonia Blight High Visual Quality…

Learn more Cavalier Zoysiagrass

Diamond Zoysiagrass

Diamond Zoysiagrass is a very fine-texture variety that is tolerant to a range of pests and conditions in addition to greening up early in spring compared with other zoysia varieties. Agronomic Merits Very fine textured Excellent Salt Tolerance Excellent Shade Tolerance Excellent Sod Strength Low Water Use Requirements Early Spring Greenup Good Genetic Color Tawny…

Learn more Diamond Zoysiagrass

Palisades Zoysiagrass

This medium-coarse-texture zoysiagrass is heat tolerant, cold tolerant, and retains its color well in fall. Agronomic Merits Medium-Coarse Texture High Visual Quality Rapid Establishment and Re-growth Good Fall Color Retention Shade Tolerant Salt Tolerant Cold Hardy Heat Tolerant Mowing height : 3.5 – 5.0 cm Utility of Palisades Home Lawns Industrial Parks Golf Course Fairways…

Learn more Palisades Zoysiagrass

Zorro Zoysiagrass

Zorro Zoysiagrass is a strong variety for rust resistance, large patch tolerance and good color retention in the fall.  Agronomic Merits: Finer-textured Excellent Shade Tolerance Excellent Resistance to Billbug Excellent Resistance to Zoysiagrass Mite Fall Armyworm Resistance Good Fall Color Retention Large Patch Tolerance Yellow Patch Tolerance Rust Resistance Early Spring Green Up Good Genetic…

Learn more Zorro Zoysiagrass

Chisholm Zoysiagrass

This zoysiagrass is superbly cold hardy compared with other transition zone adapted varieties. It features rapid recovery rates following damage, high shoot density, and low seedhead numbers. Agronomic Merits Medium Coarse Textured Comparable Cold Hardiness to those varieties Adapted to the transition zone Superior Turf Quality relative to other Zoysia japonica adapted to the transition…

Learn more Chisholm Zoysiagrass

Royal Zoysiagrass

Royal is a fine-texture zoysiagrass with excellent salt and shade tolerance. It is ideal for golf fairways, tee boxes, and sports field. Agronomic Merits: Fine Textured Excellent Salt Tolerance Excellent Shade Tolerance Excellent Resistance to Zoysiagrass Mite Excellent Fall Color Retention Rhizoctonia Blight Tolerance Early Spring Green Up Good Genetic Color Moderate Resistance to Tropical…

Learn more Royal Zoysiagrass

Program Faculty and Staff

Portrait of a woman smiling over a tray of turfgrass in a greenhouse wearing glasses

Ambika Chandra, Ph.D.

Professor, Principal Investigator, Assistant Center Director

Texas A&M AgriLife Research


A full selection of Dr. Chandra’s publications is available at TAMU Scholars along with information about researchers and peer-reviewed publications across The Texas A&M University System.

Dennis Genovesi, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

Justin Eads

Research Associate

Sandy Wisdorf

Non-Affiliated Student Assistant

Jennifer Haught

Graduate Assistant 

Meghyn Meeks, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Scientist

S.T. Kong

Research Assistant

Martin Guerrero Rojas

Agriculture Research Worker I

portrait of man

Chase Martin

Extension Associate and Graduate Student

sustainable Turfgrass Management: Extension and Outreach at Dallas

Delivering the latest science-based information in emerging turfgrass cultivars, technologies, and best management practices.