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  • 1 Texas A&M Research and Extension Center, 11760 Coit Rd., Dallas, TX 75252

Root extension to lower soil depths and root branching are important drought avoidance mechanisms, allowing efficient use of available soil water during periods of prolonged drought. Rooting characteristics of 25 zoysiagrasses included in the 1991 National Turfgrass Evaluation Program were determined. Grasses were grown in clear polyethylene tubes filled with sand, and inserted into opaque PVC sleeves, tilted 30° from vertical. Root extension was monitored weekly, and root mass and number per 10 cm depth determined. Root extension was correlated with total root weight and number of roots per 10 cm vertical section. Shoot weight was not correlated with root extension or total root weight. Grasses having exceptional root extension, root number and weight per 10 cm root section, include DALZ8516, TC5018, and GT29047, while those with poorest overall performance include DALZ9006, DALZ8508, DALZ8501, DALZ8502, and CD2013. Of five commercial cultivars tested, Emerald, Meyer, and El Toro had the greatest root extension.

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