Have you ever been curious about the anatomy of grass or wondered what each part of the plants function is? In this blog, we dissect grass and examine each part’s role in creating a lush and healthy lawn.
What are Rhizomes?
Below the surface of your lawn, there are stems known as Rhizomes. A common misconception is that the rhizomes below the surface are roots, when in fact they are a stem.
Rhizomes grow below ground for a short distance, then rise to the soil surface to form new shoots. In some grass species, rhizomes produce growing points (often called nodes) which give rise to roots and shoots forming new or ‘daughter’ plants. Rhizomes are usually white.
What Are Stolons?
When discussing our lawn spreading or establishing, we tend to talk about the runners or stolons that run above the surface. Stolons are stems, that produce nodes from which new plants form. Stolons will help to spread into bare spots and thicken a lawn.
Stolonising or sprigging is the process of planting stolons of grass. These stolons are broken up to a singular runner and are planted into the ground. The nodes on the stolon will then grow and produce a root system. Over time the grass will thicken up and cover the area. This process is mostly used on sporting surfaces like fields and golf greens.
Stoloniferous grasses grow and repair from stolons above the ground, such as Buffalo (Sir Walter DNA Certified).
Rhizomatous grasses grow from rhizomes below the ground, such as RTF Tall Fescue.
Eureka Kikuyu and TifTuf Bermuda are both stoloniferous and Rhizomatous, meaning they grow both above the ground from stolons and below ground with rhizomes, this makes them particularly aggressive growers and repairers and suitable to high traffic areas. Due to their extensive rhizomatous growth, Couch and Kikuyu varieties can be ‘renovated’ very heavily as they can repair from underground rhizomes. When you renovate a buffalo, you must ensure to leave some of the stolons visible above ground, as this is the only real source of growth and repair.
Primary and Secondary Roots on Turf
Another part of your grass’s anatomy is the primary and secondary roots. Primary roots are the first roots that develop from the embryo or grass seed. When installing turf, you are looking for secondary roots for establishment which come from nodes on horizontal stems (stolons).
Where Are Nodes on Grass?
The nodes on grass can be identified as the bulbous points along a runner of grass. These are the points where there is lots of cellular activity and growth occurs. The nodes are the points from which the grass can recover if the plant becomes damaged. Nodes also have the ability to create new turfgrass plants.
Where are the Internodes on Grass?
Another part of your grasses’ anatomy is the internodes. The internode is the plant material between each node. The internode is responsible for transporting nutrients throughout the plant.
What is a Sheath on Turf?
The sheath is the lower portion of the grass’ leaf blade that usually surrounds a node and stolon.
Learning how your grass grows will help to understand the growth and repair processes and ultimately how you can best care for your specific variety.
If you have more questions, get in touch with our friendly lawn consultants or visit Pauls Lawn Tips page here.