Mississippi State University’s Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station officially released Celebration Hybrid™ Bermudagrass at the 2022 Turfgrass Research Field Day held in Starkville, MS.
The new cultivar is the first release out of the “Celebration X” breeding program, which stemmed from the idea of cross-pollinating industry standard Celebration® Bermudagrass with numerous attractive Bermudagrass genotypes collected and maintained over the years at MSU to create new grasses. The goal of the program was to take the top characteristics of Celebration and develop new grasses with better cold tolerance, a finer texture, fewer seed heads, and less thatch. These grasses will be used in home lawns, golf courses, parks, and sports fields across the country and around the world. The Celebration X breeding program was initiated in 2014 as a partnership between MSU and Sod Solutions, a turfgrass research, development, and marketing company. Celebration Hybrid is the initial release from the Celebration X Program with more to be released next year and will have limited commercial availability by late Summer 2024.
Celebration’s ability to block well, resist drought, and endure shade better than other Bermudas has made it one of the best options on the market over the past two decades. Five grasses from the Celebration X program were chosen to be entered into the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program’s 2019 National Bermudagrass Test. This is a five-year trial being conducted at universities across the nation and experimental varieties are evaluated along with commercial varieties. Progress reports for 2020 and 2021 have ranked Celebration Hybrid (experimental name MSB-1017) at or near the top for fine leaf texture each year when averaged across all sites that reported this trait. Likewise, these progress reports revealed that MSB-1017 is shown to produce very few seedheads compared to all other varieties when averaged across sites in both years.
Celebration Hybrid has been planted in several real-world test applications throughout the Southeast, including three golf courses in Florida: Country Club of Florida in Boyton Beach; Royal Poinciana Golf Club in Naples; and On Top of the World GC in Ocala. Several sod farms have also been trialing the grass ahead of its release. Star Farms in Sebring, FL planted Celebration Hybrid plugs in 10,000 sq. ft. plots in June 2021 before expanding by three acres in June 2022. Quality Turf in Avon Park, FL, planted sprigs of Celebration Hybrid as a foundation block in May 2022 on a 3/4 acre. Superior Turf and Pike Creek Turf Farms, both located in Georgia; Billy Mayfield Farms and Murff Turf Farms in Texas and Inman Sod in North Carolina also have trial plots of Celebration Hybrid.
For more recent turfgrass introductions from Sod Solutions, see New Sola™ St. Augustinegrass Announced.