In the U.S. transition zone, turf bermudagrasses have been increasingly used on sports fields as they possess excellent traffic and drought tolerance, less damage from diseases and insects, and quicker recovery from damage than many other turfgrasses. Turf bermudagrass has been used on the OSUBF in Stillwater, OK, for decades. However, the identities of bermudagrasses grown on the OSUBF have been lost due to the use of multiple varieties over several years. Seeded bermudagrasses (‘Guymon’), variety not specified common bermudagrass (‘Cheyenne’, ‘JackPot’, ‘NuMex Sahara’, and ‘Riviera’), as well as vegetatively propagated bermudagrass (‘Patriot’) have all been planted on the OSUBF at various times from 1987 to date (D.L. Martin, unpublished data). ‘Patriot’ and ‘Riviera’ were developed and released by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. ‘Patriot’ is a clonally propagated F1 hybrid from a cross of common bermudagrass ‘Tifton 10’ and an OSU african bermudagrass selection, whereas Riviera bermudagrass is a synthetic variety derived from the intercrossing of three clonal parent plants selected on the basis of turf quality and transition zone adaptation (Taliaferro et al., 2004a, 2004b).
To have suitable bermudagrass sod for repair of damaged spots on the OSUBF, a mini sod farm has been established and maintained on site. Bermudagrass plants in one area of the mini sod farm have been observed to show favored traits, including allowing for successful establishment of overseeded perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) in the fall and excellent transition back to bermudagrass in the early summer. However, the identity of the specific bermudagrass(es) of this area is unknown.
In 2013, three promising vegetatively propagated experimental bermudagrass lines developed by the OSU turf bermudagrass breeding program were entered in the 2013 NTEP bermudagrass trial to allow for testing over a wide geographic area. DNA fingerprints to identify these bermudagrass entries have not been established.
Identification of bermudagrass varieties was challenging until DNA molecular markers were developed, providing powerful identification tools over the last several years. For example, using 11 SSR markers, 32 commercially released clonal varieties and OSU experimental lines in bermudagrass were identified by Wang et al. (2010). SSR markers differentiated ‘Tifgreen’ bermudagrass and its mutation derived varieties (Harris-Shultz et al., 2011). In this study, the objectives were to use SSR markers to 1) determine if the OSUBF selections were the same plant; 2) identify if the grass was one of the U.S. commercially released, clonally propagated varieties; and 3) verify if the three recent OSU experimental NTEP entries were new, distinct lines.
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