Palmetto is a US cultivar based on a variant plant discovered adjacent to ‘Bitterblue’ and ‘Floratam’ (both sterile genotypes - Busey, 2003) on a Florida, USA, turf farm (USPP9,395) Palmetto and is protected by a PBR (Plant Breeders Rights) and cannot be grown or sold commercially without a licence. This PBR was granted in 2002

Palmetto's performance during HAL project would be considered average. From the HAL report the average Leaf Width is 6.46mm. Palmetto also has an average leaf length of 18.0mm.

During the HAL Project various tests were conducted for Quality, Colour and Thatch ratings. Palmetto's results Quality averaged across the test sites had a score of 69 from 100 (1st place score was 72) bringing it in along with Sapphire for equal last. Palmetto was also below average in the colour test scoring 65 from 100 overall which placed it 3rd last from buffalos reviewed here for colour.

Palmetto showed slightly lower thatch levels when compared to other varieties, most of the buffalos showed similar levels of thatch only varying slightly by a few %. Palmetto's average thatch levels were only 1% more than Wintergreen couch.

The disease tolerance of Palmetto was average, Palmetto did not show good or bad tolerance to the disease during the trial. For full results and images of the disease trial please Click Here...

Based on the HAL results Palmetto would not be recommended for areas of traffic or where the wear factor is a concern, Palmetto also performed poor in the shade test. If water usage is your major concern other varieties would possibly be better suited.

Individual Tests

Shade Test:

Palmetto was not the best performer in the shade trials coming in at 6th from 7 cultivars sampled for all tests, showing below average growth in all tests conducted, The turf quality ratings were around average for all 4 of the shade levels. Palmetto would seem to struggle to recover from damage in shaded areas with such a slow growth rate.

Grams per m2 Ranking Average of all cultivars
Full Sun 2.21 6 2.98
30% Shade 2.00 6 2.87
50% Shade 1.57 6 2.25
70% Shade 1.27 6 1.73

During the above tests, Palmetto maintained close to acceptable turf quality ratings in all but the 70% shade test with a quality score of only 4.7/10 in this test.

Drought Tolerance

Water usage for Palmetto was around the average for the 50% net evaporation test, maintaining 82% of the control growth, however Palmetto really struggled in the 33% test, dropping to only 17% growth during this test. The Hue Angle for Palmetto decreased to around 100 for the 50% test with some signs of losing its colour. Palmetto started to drop colour around 20 days into the 33% test and did not fully recover until 15 days into the recovery period. The Hue shown for Palmetto at its lowest was around 88.

(Hue Angles - 130=Green/blue 110=green 100=light green, 90= green/yellow, 80-yellow)

Wear Test

Palmetto was not the best performer in the wear trials coming in at 6th from 7 cultivars reviewed here, Palmetto has a much slower growth rate than other varieties, and it is shown here with the slow recovery rate of this cultivar. Other cultivars reviewed here performed better and if wear if your primary concern another variety might be the best for your lawn.

Cultivar Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 8 Week 9 Week 11 Week 13
Palmetto 0% 1.3% 0% 0% 1.5% 7.5% 6.2% 7.5% 2.5%

Winter Colour

While Still maintaining a reasonable colour, Palmetto lost 13% compared to its summer Hue. Palmetto does not look particularly brown or yellow in winter, but it does not maintain the colour of some cultivars as shown in this test.


Matilda Turf Star Rating

Detailed Star Rating

ShadeShade - 4 Stars

WearWear - 4 Stars

Maintenance /
MowingMaintenance - 4 Stars

QualityQuality - 4 Stars

Drought ToleranceDrought Tolerance - 3 Stars

Winter ColourWinter Colour - 4 Stars

AestheticsAesthetics - 3.5 Stars

Value for MoneyValue for Money - 4 Stars

Thatch (Sponginess)Sponginess - 2 Stars

Overall RatingGeneral Toughness - 4 Stars