Water quantity and quality are major issues of concern around the world, particularly in arid and semiarid areas where water shortages have resulted from rapid urbanization, agriculture, and/or industry (Huang et al., 2014). Elevated salinity is often an agronomic problem associated with use of recycled water sources (Harivandi, 2008), overuse of aquifers and/or saltwater intrusion (Carrow et al., 2001a; Moreaux and Reynaud, 2001), or may result from capillary rise of salts into the root zone (Armstrong et al., 1996). Salts can negatively affect plant development by damaging physiological processes through ion toxicity, ion imbalances, osmotic stress, or reduced soil permeability (Carrow et al., 2001a).
In the southern United States, landscape water conservation programs have been developed by municipalities and water purveyors to help alleviate pressures on potable water supplies. As a result, recycled wastewater is rapidly becoming a primary source of irrigation for turfgrass acreages including golf courses, parks, and athletic fields (Devitt et al., 2004). According to the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s Environmental Institute for Golf Survey (Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, 2015), recycled water has become the primary irrigation source used by golf courses in both the southeastern and southwestern regions (35% of facilities in each region) of the United States. Increased regulations on direct discharge of effluent have also resulted in a growing number of communities throughout the country providing recycled wastewater to residences and commercial properties for use in landscape irrigation (Rojeski and Luster-Teasley, 2008).
Turfgrasses are generally well suited for recycled wastewater because they function as biological filters that can assimilate excess nutrients and, to some extent, salts from saline water (Hayes et al., 1990). Bermudagrass, seashore paspalum, zoysiagrass, and st. augustinegrass are four of the most widely used turf species in tropical and subtropical regions (Uddin and Juraimi, 2013). However, there have been limited published studies focused on evaluating comparative salinity tolerance and recovery attributes among many of the currently used cultivars of these species. Such information is important both for proper species and cultivar selection, as well as for improving and developing superior warm-season turfgrasses through breeding efforts (Abraham et al., 2008). Therefore, the objectives of this research were to evaluate comparative salinity tolerance and recovery attributes after salinity stress among 10 commonly used warm-season turfgrass cultivars representing bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, st. augustinegrass, and seashore paspalum.
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