Understanding physiological factors that may confer heat tolerance would facilitate breeding for improvement of summer turf quality. The objective of this study was to investigate whether carbohydrate availability contributes to changes in turf quality and root mortality during heat stress in two creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera L. var. palustris (Huds.) Farw. (syn. A. palustris Huds.)] cultivars, `L-93' and `Penncross', that contrast in heat tolerance. Grasses were grown at 14-hour days and 11-hour nights of 22/16 °C (control) and 35/25 °C (heat stress) for 56 days in growth chambers. Turf quality decreased while root mortality increased under heat-stress conditions for both cultivars, but to a greater extent for `Penncross' than `L-93'. The concentrations of total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNC), fructans, starch, glucose, and sucrose in shoots (leaves and stems) and roots decreased at 35/25 °C. The reduction in carbohydrate concentrations of shoots was more pronounced than that of roots. Shoot glucose and sucrose concentrations were more sensitive to heat stress than other carbohydrates. `L-93' maintained significantly higher carbohydrate concentrations, especially glucose and sucrose, than `Penncross' at 35/25 °C. Results suggest that high carbohydrate availability, particularly glucose and sucrose, during heat stress was an important physiological trait associated with heat-stress tolerance in creeping bentgrass.
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