Water scarcity and the increasing cost of water favor warm-season grass over cool-season grass in the United States transition zone. Bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.), a warm-season, perennial grass, has been widely used in the southern United States for both forage and turf use (Wu and Anderson, 2011). Certain common bermudagrass cultivars are propagated by seed, whereas others are exclusively propagated by vegetative means because common bermudagrass is generally self-infertile and seed is not true-to-type of the parent plant (Harlan and De Wet, 1969). Certain seeded types have been increasingly used in the industry as they have comparable turfgrass quality and performance relative to interspecific hybrid bermudagrass (C. dactylon × Cynodon transvaalensis) at select use-sites (Patton et al., 2008).
Establishing a common bermudagrass sward by seeding costs less than solid sodding. Patton (2009) found that seeding costs were ≈$242/acre, whereas sprigging costs were ≈$1000/acre and sodding was ≈$7500/acre. The lower up-front establishment cost of common bermudagrass by seed makes it a desirable option for turfgrass managers, especially on projects with limited budgets.
In addition to cost concerns, many turfgrass production and reclamation sites across the United States are affected by soil salinity issues. The detrimental effects of salinity on grass growth include osmotic stress, specific ion toxicity, imbalances of nutrition, structural disorganization, and excessive energy resulting in damaged photosynthetic systems (Shahba et al., 2012). Saline-tolerant seeded-type common bermudagrass cultivars could produce acceptable quality turf in areas where reclaimed water is used for irrigation or soil salinity issues exist (Uddin et al., 2011). Information on the relative salinity tolerance of seed-producing common bermudagrass cultivars and experimental lines is, therefore, important for turfgrass industry professionals, breeders, and scientists.
Many objective and nondestructive evaluation parameters, such as NDVI, have been widely used in the turfgrass industry to evaluate TQ and monitor whether grasses are under stress. In particular, evaluating drought-tolerant turfgrass by NDVI has been well documented, but little has been found on salinity response (Xiang et al., 2017). In addition, new smartphone apps have recently been marketed for turf assessment, but extensive investigation regarding the effectiveness of these tools to evaluate grasses under salinity stress is needed. The objective of this research was to determine the relative salinity tolerance of seeded-type turf bermudagrasses, including seven industry standards and three Oklahoma State University (OSU) experimental lines using objective, nondestructive measurement parameters.
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