Inhibition of `Zenith' Zoysiagrass Seedling Emergence and Growth by Perennial Ryegrass Leaves and Roots

in HortScience
Authors: Alan J. Zuk1 and Jack D. Fry1
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Forestry, and Recreation Resources, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-5506

Establishment of seeded `Zenith' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.) in an existing sward of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) is difficult, and chemicals arising from perennial ryegrass leaf and root tissue may contribute to establishment failure. Experiments were done to evaluate zoysiagrass emergence and growth in soil amended with perennial ryegrass leaves or roots, or after irrigation with water in which perennial ryegrass leaves or roots had previously been soaked. Compared to unamended soil, soil amended with perennial ryegrass leaves at 12% and 23% by weight reduced zoysiagrass seedling number 20% and 26%, respectively; root area and mass were reduced 50% when amendments comprised 12% of soil weight. Similar reductions in zoysiagrass seedling emergence and growth were observed in a second soil amendment study, regardless of whether perennial ryegrass was treated with glyphosate or not. Soil mixed with perennial ryegrass leaves, but not roots, at 12% by weight had a high soil conductivity (5.1 dS·m–1), which could have contributed to reduced zoysiagrass emergence and growth. More than 50% fewer zoysiagrass seedlings emerged and root mass was up to 65% lower when irrigated with water in which perennial ryegrass leaves or roots at 5, 10, or 20 g·L–1 were previously soaked for 48 hours. Zoysiagrass leaf area, and root length and area, were also lower when irrigated with water previously containing perennial ryegrass roots. Perennial ryegrass leaves and roots have the capacity to inhibit emergence and growth of `Zenith' zoysiagrass seedlings, which could negatively affect stand establishment.

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