Late-season Applications of Various Nitrogen Sources Affect Color and Carbohydrate Content of `Tiflawn' and Arizona Common Bermudagrass

in HortScience

Bermudagrass turfs in the southern United States often receive late growing season applications of nitrogen (N) in order to sustain turfgrass color prior to dormancy, even though such applications might increase winterkill potential. Yearly research trials were initiated in the last week of Sept. 1989 to 1991 at Mississippi State Univ. to evaluate fall and spring color responses and rhizome levels of total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC) of `Tiflawn' and Arizona (AZ) Common bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon L. (Pers.)] treated with various N sources delivering N at 98 kg·ha-1 in a single application. The fertilizers were ammonium nitrate (AN), sulfur-coated urea (SCU), a natural organic (`Milorganite', NO), isobutylidene diurea (IBDU), ureaformaldehyde (UF), and methylene urea (MU). Color responses from N fertilization were most prominent in the fall except when there was an early frost event in Oct. 1990. The most rapid greening response and highest color ratings were consistently observed for the water-soluble AN. Of the slow-release sources, SCU, MU, and IBDU provided color responses as long as temperatures remained warm enough to promote bermudagrass growth. The NO source provided an unexpected, significant greening response in Oct. 1989 and 1991 on `Tiflawn', but not on AZ Common. The UF consistently provided the lowest color ratings. There were virtually no differences in TNC levels between N treatments for either grass. At no time was there any indication that N fertilization increased bermudagrass winterkill potential; to the contrary, the predominant responses were better fall and spring color than the nontreated control.

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