Water is a limited resource and its use to irrigate landscapes is under increasing scrutiny. Warm-season turfgrasses, including zoysiagrass, are more heat and drought resistant than cool-season grasses, which results in water savings (Fry and Huang, 2004). In the transition zone, where both cool- and warm-season grasses are options, zoysiagrass requires fewer inputs of pesticides and fertilizers than most cool-season turfgrass species (Fry et al., 2008). However, in the transition zone, one perceived benefit of cool-season turfgrasses is that they remain green late into autumn and also green-up early in the spring. In contrast, zoysiagrass turns brown following the first autumn frost and remains dormant until mid to late spring. Some homeowners in the transition zone may avoid use of zoysiagrass because they object to its long duration of brown color during dormancy.
‘Chisholm’ zoysiagrass is a suitable turfgrass for residential and commercial lawns, parks, and golf courses in the transition zone (Chandra et al., 2014). In Kansas, ‘Chisholm’ usually takes on a straw-brown color of dormancy in October and begins to green-up in mid to late April as noted in studies during its development when it was evaluated under the experimental designation DALZ0102 (Okeyo et al., 2011). The dormancy period can be unappealing to homeowners, especially when cool-season grasses, which retain color longer in autumn and green-up sooner in spring, are grown in the same vicinity.
Turf colorants are an option for improving zoysiagrass color during dormancy. The use of turf colorants has become popular on golf course fairways and putting greens in the southern United States to provide green color during winter dormancy (Long, 2006). The turf colorants Titan Green Turf (Burnett Athletics, Campobello, SC), Green Lawnger (BASF Corp., Florham Park, NJ), and Regreen (Precision Laboratories, Waukegan, IL) provided acceptable turf quality on a ‘TifEagle’ hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis) putting green during the winter in South Carolina when applied in a dilution of 1:10 (colorant:water) at a rate of 283 gal/acre (Liu et al., 2007). The turf colorants Wintergreen Plus (Precision Laboratories) and Turf in a Bottle (US Specialty Coatings, Norcross, GA) applied once in autumn in a dilution of 1:10 (colorant:water) at rate of 80 gal/acre enhanced winter color of ‘Diamond’ zoysiagrass (Zoysia matrella) and ‘Miniverde’ hybrid bermudagrass putting greens (Briscoe et al., 2010).
Colorant application volume has been shown to affect turf color and duration. In North Carolina, intensity of visual turf color increased from 1% to 44% on ‘Miniverde’ hybrid bermudagrass and 11% to 15% on ‘Diamond’ zoysiagrass putting greens when application volumes increased from 80 to 160 gal/acre (Briscoe et al., 2010). Briscoe et al. (2010) reported a variety of turf colorants provided acceptable visual turf color up to at least 56 d after treatment at a rate of 80 gal/acre in 1:7 or 1:10 (colorant:water) dilutions on zoysiagrass mowed at golf course green height. It was also reported that there was an unspecified increase in the longevity of acceptable visual turf color for treated zoysiagrass greens with colorants Green Lawnger, Turf in a Bottle, and Ultradwarf Super (Pioneer Athletics, Cleveland, OH) applied at a rate of 160 gal/acre (Briscoe et al., 2010). However, information is lacking on effects of colorants and application volumes on zoysiagrass maintained at the higher mowing heights used on home lawns and golf course roughs. Therefore, our objective was to quantify the impact of colorants applied in autumn at three application volumes on persistence of green color on lawn-height ‘Chisholm’ zoysiagrass.
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