Plant Growth Regulators and Mowing Height Affect Ball Roll and Quality of Creeping Bentgrass Putting Greens

in HortScience

Questions exist as to whether growth-inhibiting chemicals mimic the effects of reduced mowing heights on putting green ball roll. An experiment was initiated during Spring 1997 to investigate ball roll and visual quality parameters of putting greens maintained at 3.2, 4.0, or 4.8 mm with plant growth regulator (PGR) treatments applied monthly over the course of 1 year. Additional experiments were conducted during Fall 1995 and 1996 and Spring 1996 to investigate diurnal PGR effects on ball roll. All experiments were conducted on pure stands of `Penncross' creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds). Treatments included trinexapac-ethyl and paclobutrazol, both inhibitors of gibberellin biosynthesis. In the one-year experiment, mowing height was inversely related to ball roll. However, compromises in turfgrass visual quality and shoot density in `Penncross' turf mowed at 3.2 mm make this a questionable mowing height in areas with severe summer conditions. Ball roll during summer months was reduced by PGRs, suggesting that PGRs have little potential as alternatives to decreasing mowing height for increased ball roll. Paclobutrazol reduced turfgrass quality and shoot density during summer months, suggesting that it be used with caution. Other PGRs, particularly trinexapac-ethyl at 0.05 kg·ha–1 a.i., increased afternoon ball roll by as much as 5% to 10% in diurnal experiments. Use of PGRs on creeping bentgrass putting greens may therefore produce short-lived increases in ball roll with subtle to negative effects on bentgrass growth over more extended periods of time. Chemical names used: 4-(cyclopropyl-α-hydroxymethylene)-3,5-dioxocyclohexane carboxylic acid ethylester (trinexapac-ethyl); (+/–)-(R*,R*)-β-[(4-chloro-phenyl)methyl]-α-(1,1dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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E-mail address: bigfinn@earthlink.netZeneca Corp., Des Moines, Iowa.

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