Rhizosphere Bacterial Population Flux in Golf Course Putting Greens in the Southeastern United States

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  • 1 Department of Plant Pathology, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 3205 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
  • | 2 Department of Agronomy and Soils, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849
  • | 3 Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Science, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634

The rhizospheres of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) and hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy) putting greens were sampled quarterly for 4 years. Six bacterial groups, including total aerobic bacteria, fluorescent pseudomonads, actinomycetes, Gram-negative bacteria, Gram-positive bacteria, and heat-tolerant bacteria, were enumerated. The putting greens were located in four geographic locations (bentgrass in Alabama and North Carolina; bermudagrass in Florida and South Carolina) and were maintained according to local maintenance practices. Significant effects were observed for sampling date, turfgrass species and location, with most variation due to either turfgrass species or location. Bentgrass roots had significantly greater numbers of fluorescent pseudomonads than bermudagrass roots, while bermudagrass roots had significantly greater numbers of Gram-positive bacteria, actinomycetes and heat-tolerant bacteria. The North Carolina or South Carolina locations always had the greatest number of bacteria in each bacterial group. For most sampling dates in all four locations and both turfgrass species, there was a minimum, per gram dry root, of 107 CFUs enumerated on the total aerobic bacterial medium and a minimum of 105 CFUs enumerated on the actinomycete bacterial medium. Thus, it appears that in the southeastern U.S. there are large numbers of culturable bacteria in putting green rhizospheres that are relatively stable over time and geographic location.

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