Zoysiagrass Rooting and Drought Tolerance are Reduced by Frequent Irrigation

in HortScience
Authors: Y.L. Qian1 and J.D. Fry1
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  • 1 Division of Horticulture, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS 66506.

Textbook recommendations suggest that turf should be watered deeply and infrequently to encourage drought resistance. Data supporting this recommendation are lacking, however. Studies were done to determine the influence of irrigation frequency on `Meyer' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.) rooting and drought resistance. Turf was established on a silt loam soil in 27-cm-diameter by 92-cm-deep containers in the greenhouse. Irrigation was performed daily or at the onset of wilt with a water volume equal to daily or cumulative evapotranspiration of well-watered turf in small weighing lysimeters. After 90 days of irrigation treatments, a dry-down was imposed during which no additional water was applied for >50 days. Compared to turf irrigated daily, turf watered at the onset of wilt exhibited: i) lower (more-negative) leaf water and osmotic potentials prior to the onset of drought; ii) higher leaf water potential and better turf quality at the end of dry-down; and iii) deeper rooting as indicated by lower soil moisture content at 50- and 70-cm depths at the end of dry down.

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