Icon is the product of a decade long breeding program conducted by Todd Layt of Ozbreed Pty Ltd. Todd has been involved with the turfgrass industry since the 70’s, first working on his parents turf farm and later as a sod producer himself. In the late 2000’s, Todd leased out the farm so that he could focus exclusively on breeding and new variety introduction. Today, Ozbreed is recognized as one of the most successful turf & ornamental breeding companies in Australia with thousands of acres of proprietary turfgrass varieties in production and millions of their ornamental selections being sold every year. In the United States, the Ozbreed turf & ornamental introductions are managed by DIG Plant Co. of Awendaw, South Carolina.
The objective of this breeding program was fairly straightforward: commercialize the world’s first improved cultivar of Zoysia macrantha, a zoysia grass that is native to coastal cliffs in southeastern Australia. It is well documented that Z. macrantha is extremely salt tolerant and also drought tolerant, an adaptation necessary to survive along the rocky cliffs of the Australian coastline.
Sounds simple, right? Well, not really. It took Todd more than ten years and 5 generations of trials and selections to find a strong candidate that ticked all of the boxes: a selection that retained the salt tolerant and drought tolerance of the species, a selection that exhibits above-average fall color and spring green-up, a selection with great aesthetics, and…perhaps most importantly… a variety that exhibits more growth vigor than any other broad blade zoysia (of any species) currently on the market.