Temporary Covers Maintain Fall Bermudagras Quality, Enhance Spring Greenup, and Increase Stem Carbohydrate Levels

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  • 1 Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762

The ability of a temporary turf cover and foliar-applied iron (Fe) to sustain or promote bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) × transvaalensis Burtt-Davy `Tifway' growth beyond its normal growing periods in central Mississippi was evaluated during the fall, winter, and spring seasons of 1998-2001. The application of a polypropylene turf blanket when night temperatures were predicted to be ≤4 °C extended acceptable bermudagrass turf quality by 5 to 8 weeks in the fall and winter period as compared to the uncovered control plots. Also, complete green-up of the turf occurred 4 to 6 weeks earlier the following spring. There was no enhancement in bermudagrass quality by temporarily covering at predicted night temperatures of ≤15 or ≤9.5 °C. Foliar applied iron (Fe) further enhanced turf quality in the fall and winter months, but resulted in no visible turf response the following spring. Total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNC) concentrations in rhizomes that were sampled during November, January, and April 2000 and 2001 were generally increased by the cover application as compared to the uncovered control. Foliar Fe applications did not influence TNC levels.

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