Evaluation of an Electrolyte Leakage Technique to Predict St. Augustinegrass Freezing Tolerance

in HortScience

Stolons of `Raleigh', `Floratam', and FX-332 St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] were sampled from the field between October and March in two consecutive years to evaluate accuracy of an electrolyte leakage (EL) method for predicting freezing tolerance. Lethal temperatures of stolons estimated using EL were compared to those obtained by regrowth tests in the greenhouse. Mean lethal low temperatures for regrowth and EL methods over 12 sampling dates were `Floratam', –4.5C (regrowth) vs. –4.4C (EL); FX-332, –4.2C (regrowth) vs. –4.9C (EL); and `Raleigh', –6.0C (regrowth) vs. –5.4C (EL). A positive correlation (r = 0.81) was observed between EL-predicted and regrowth lethal temperatures for `Raleigh', which exhibited some acclimation during the first sampling year. The EL technique consistently predicted a lower lethal temperature for `Raleigh' than for `Floratam', which corroborates field observations concerning freezing tolerance of these two cultivars.

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