Regional Differences in the Relative Competitive Ability of Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua L.)

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, 2021 Coffey Road, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1086

Annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.) and creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds. syn. A. stolonifera L.) coexist on golf greens as a dynamic ecosystem in the temperate regions of the United States. In a two year field study, the competitive ability of different populations of annual bluegrass was investigated both in and out of their native environment. In April 2000, at both The Country Club in Cleveland, Ohio, a temperate environment, and Camargo Club in Cincinnati, Ohio, a transition zone environment, 72 plugs of annual bluegrass were removed from golf greens and inserted into polyvinyl chloride pipe measuring 10.2 cm in diameter and 15 cm in length to eliminate root competition between species. Thirty-six plugs then were reestablished into one of three greens at the same golf course, and the remaining 36 plugs were transported to the opposite location and also established into one of three preselected greens. Each plug was centered in a 20.3-cm-diameter sward of `L-93' creeping bentgrass to provide an initial point of reference. Competitive ability was measured as the rate of increase or decrease in average diameter of each plug. Measurements initially were taken on a bimonthly basis and then on a monthly basis for the remainder of the study. Significant (P < 0.05) differences in the location × population interaction were seen in the first 2 months of the study and then not seen again until the last 2 months. The most frequent occurrence of significant (P < 0.05) differences was in the variability between greens within a particular location. At each location the native population of annual bluegrass outperformed the imported population. Differences at the beginning of the study are attributed to an additional acclimation period required by the exported population following transportation to the opposite location. From our study, annual bluegrass performance was similar across populations, suggesting that management recommendations can be made on a regional basis.

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