Differential Physiological Responses and Genetic Variations in Fine Fescue Species for Heat and Drought Stress

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Summer decline is typically characterized by heat and drought stress and is a major concern for fine fescue species (Festuca). The objectives of this study were to examine whether heat or drought stress is more detrimental, and to determine the genotypic variations in heat and drought tolerance for fine fescues. A total of 26 cultivars, including seven hard fescues (Festuca trachyphylla), eight chewings fescues (Festuca rubra ssp. commutate), seven strong creeping red fescues (Festuca rubra ssp. rubra), two sheep fescues (Festuca ovina ssp. hirtula), and two slender creeping red fescues (Festuca rubra ssp. littoralis) were subjected to prolonged heat or drought stress in growth chambers. Several physiological parameters, including turf quality (TQ), electrolyte leakage (EL), photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) chlorophyll content (Chl), and relative water content (RWC) were measured in plants exposed to heat or drought stress. The results indicated that heat stress was more detrimental than drought stress for fine fescue species. Based on TQ and major physiological parameters (EL and Fv/Fm) under heat stress, several cultivars with good heat tolerance were selected, including ‘Blue Ray’, ‘Spartan II’, ‘MN-HD1’, ‘Shoreline’, ‘Navigator II’, ‘Azure’, ‘Beacon’, ‘Aurora Gold’, ‘Reliant IV’, ‘Marco Polo’, ‘Garnet’, ‘Wendy Jean’, ‘Razor’, and ‘Cindy Lou’. Based on TQ and major physiological parameters (EL, RWC, and Fv/Fm) under drought stress, several cultivars with good drought tolerance were selected, including ‘Spartan II’, ‘MN-HD1’, ‘Reliant IV’, ‘Garnet’, ‘Azure’, and ‘Aurora Gold’. These cultivars could be used in hot, dry, or both environments and as breeding germplasm for developing heat tolerance, drought tolerance, or both.

Contributor Notes

The authors wish to acknowledge the funding support by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Specialty Crops Research Initiative under award number 2012-51181-19932. The authors also thank Stephanie Rossi and Cathryn Chapman for critically reviewing the manuscript.

Authors with equal contribution.

Corresponding author. E-mail: huang@aesop.rutgers.edu.

Article Sections

Article Figures

  • View in gallery

    Turf quality of (A) chewings fescue, (B) hard fescue, (C) sheep fescue and slender creeping red fescue, and (D) strong creeping red fescue as affected by heat stress compared with control (no heat stress). The letter “H” after each cultivar name stands for heat stress treatment. Turf quality was performed visually to evaluate overall turfgrass performance on a scale of 1 to 9, with 1 being brown and desiccated turf and 9 being green and healthy turf. Control line shows the averaged value of all cultivars. Vertical bars of the figure indicate least significant difference values (P ≤ 0.05) for comparison at a given day of treatment.

  • View in gallery

    Turf quality of (A) chewings fescue, (B) hard fescue, (C) sheep fescue and slender creeping red fescue, and (D) strong creeping red fescue as affected by drought stress compared with control. The letter “D” after each cultivar name stands for heat stress treatment. Turf quality was performed visually to evaluate overall turfgrass performance on a scale of 1 to 9, with 1 being brown and desiccated turf and 9 being green and healthy turf. Control line shows the averaged value of all cultivars. Vertical bars of the figure indicate least significant difference values (P ≤ 0.05) for comparison at a given day of treatment.

  • View in gallery

    Electrolyte leakage of (A) chewings fescue, (B) hard fescue, (C) sheep fescue and slender creeping red fescue, and (D) strong creeping red fescue as affected by heat stress compared with control. Control line shows the averaged value of all cultivars. The letter “H” after each cultivar name stands for heat stress treatment. Vertical bars of the figure indicate least significant difference values (P ≤ 0.05) for comparison at a given day of treatment.

  • View in gallery

    Electrolyte leakage of (A) chewings fescue, (B) hard fescue, (C) sheep fescue and slender creeping red fescue, and (D) strong creeping red fescue as affected by drought stress compared with control. Control line shows the averaged value of all cultivars. The letter “D” after each cultivar name stands for heat stress treatment. Vertical bars of the figure indicate least significant difference values (P ≤ 0.05) for comparison at a given day of treatment.

  • View in gallery

    Photochemical efficiency of (A) chewings fescue, (B) hard fescue, (C) sheep fescue and slender creeping red fescue, and (D) strong creeping red fescue as affected by heat stress compared with control. Control line shows the averaged value of all cultivars. The letter “H” after each cultivar name stands for heat stress treatment. Vertical bars of the figure indicate least significant difference values (P ≤ 0.05) for comparison at a given day of treatment.

  • View in gallery

    Photochemical efficiency of (A) chewings fescue, (B) hard fescue, (C) sheep fescue and slender creeping red fescue, and (D) strong creeping red fescue as affected by drought stress compared with control. Control line shows the averaged value of all cultivars. The letter “D” after each cultivar name stands for heat stress treatment. Vertical bars of the figure indicate least significant difference values (P ≤ 0.05) for comparison at a given day of treatment.

  • View in gallery

    Relative change in chlorophyll content under heat stress compared with control of (A) chewings fescue, (B) hard fescue, (C) sheep fescue and slender creeping red fescue, and (D) strong creeping red fescue. The letter “H” after each cultivar name stands for heat stress treatment. Vertical bars of the figure indicate least significant difference values (P ≤ 0.05) for comparison at a given day of treatment.

  • View in gallery

    Relative change in chlorophyll content under drought stress compared with control of (A) chewings fescue, (B) hard fescue, (C) sheep fescue and slender creeping red fescue, and (D) strong creeping red fescue. The letter “D” after each cultivar name stands for heat stress treatment. Vertical bars of the figure indicate least significant difference values (P ≤ 0.05) for comparison at a given day of treatment.

  • View in gallery

    Relative water content (%) of (A) chewings fescue, (B) hard fescue, (C) sheep fescue and slender creeping red fescue, and (D) strong creeping red fescue as affected by drought stress compared with control. Control line shows the averaged value of all cultivars. The letter “D” after each cultivar name stands for heat stress treatment. Vertical bars of the figure indicate least significant difference values (P ≤ 0.05) for comparison at a given day of treatment.

  • View in gallery

    Ward’s cluster analysis of 26 fine fescue cultivars based on photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), electrolyte leakage (EL), and turf quality (TQ) at the day 21 of heat treatment. Darker color of the value bar corresponds to higher values in terms Fv/Fm, EL, and TQ. The square brackets connect cultivars with similar Fv/Fm, EL, and TQ. Based on the grouping by the square brackets, the 26 cultivars were categorized into four groups including “heat sensitive,” “moderate heat sensitive,” “moderate heat tolerant,” and “heat tolerant” cultivars.

  • View in gallery

    Ward’s cluster analysis of 26 fine fescue cultivars base on photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), electrolyte leakage (EL), relative water content (RWC), and turf quality (TQ) at day 28 of drought treatment. Darker color of the value bar corresponds to higher values in terms Fv/Fm, EL, and TQ. The square brackets connect cultivars with similar Fv/Fm, EL, and TQ. Based on the grouping by the square brackets, the 26 cultivars were categorized into four groups including “drought sensitive,” “moderate drought sensitive,” “moderate drought tolerant,” and “drought tolerant” cultivars.

Article References

  • AbrahamE.M.HuangB.BonosS.A.MeyerW.A.2004Evaluation of drought resistance for texas bluegrass, kentucky bluegrass, and their hybridsCrop Sci.4417461753

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ArnonD.I.1949Copper enzymes in isolated chloroplasts. Polyphenoloxidase in Beta vulgarisPlant Physiol.24115

  • BajjiM.KinetJ.-M.LuttsS.2002The use of the electrolyte leakage method for assessing cell membrane stability as a water stress tolerance test in durum wheatPlant Growth Regulat.366170

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BarrsH.WeatherleyP.1962A re-examination of the relative turgidity technique for estimating water deficits in leavesAustral. J. Biol. Sci.15413428

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BeardJ.B.1972Turfgrass: Science and culture. Pearson Higher Educ. London UK

  • BianS.JiangY.2009Reactive oxygen species, antioxidant enzyme activities and gene expression patterns in leaves and roots of kentucky bluegrass in response to drought stress and recoverySci. Hort.120264270

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BlumA.EberconA.1981Cell membrane stability as a measure of drought and heat tolerance in wheatCrop Sci.214347

  • CarrowR.DuncanR.2003Improving drought resistance and persistence in turf-type tall fescueCrop Sci.43978984

  • ChristiansN.E.EngelkeM.1994Choosing the right grass to fit the environment p. 99–113. In: A.R. Leslie (ed.). Handbook of integrated pest management for turf and ornamentals. CRC Press Boca Raton FL

  • CrossJ.W.BonosS.A.HuangB.MeyerW.A.2013Evaluation of heat and drought as components of summer stress on tall fescue genotypesHortScience4815621567

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CuiL.LiJ.FanY.XuS.ZhangZ.2006High temperature effects on photosynthesis, PSII functionality and antioxidant activity of two Festuca arundinacea cultivars with different heat susceptibilityBot. Stud.476169

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • FuJ.HuangB.2001Involvement of antioxidants and lipid peroxidation in the adaptation of two cool-season grasses to localized drought stressEnviron. Expt. Bot.45105114

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HiscoxJ.T.IsraelstamG.1979A method for the extraction of chlorophyll from leaf tissue without macerationCan. J. Bot.5713321334

  • HuangB.DaCostaM.JiangY.2014Research advances in mechanisms of turfgrass tolerance to abiotic stresses: From physiology to molecular biologyCrit. Rev. Plant Sci.33141189

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HuangB.GaoH.1999Physiological responses of diverse tall fescue cultivars to drought stressHortScience34897901

  • JiangH.FryJ.1998Drought responses of perennial ryegrass treated with plant growth regulatorsHortScience33270273

  • JiangY.HuangB.2000Effects of drought or heat stress alone and in combination on kentucky bluegrassCrop Sci.4013581362

  • JiangY.HuangB.2001Drought and heat stress injury to two cool-season turfgrasses in relation to antioxidant metabolism and lipid peroxidationCrop Sci.41436442

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KarcherD.E.RichardsonM.D.HignightK.RushD.2008Drought tolerance of tall fescue populations selected for high root/shoot ratios and summer survivalCrop Sci.48771777

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KunkelK.StevensL.StevensS.SunL.JanssenE.WuebblesD.HilbergS.TimlinM.StoeckerL.WestcottN.2013Part 9. Climate of the contiguous United StatesNatl. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Tech. Rpt.1424652

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LarkindaleJ.HuangB.2004Changes of lipid composition and saturation level in leaves and roots for heat-stressed and heat-acclimated creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera)Environ. Expt. Bot.515767

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LiuX.HuangB.2000Heat stress injury in relation to membrane lipid peroxidation in creeping bentgrassCrop Sci.40503510

  • MarcumK.B.1998Cell membrane thermostability and whole-plant heat tolerance of kentucky bluegrassCrop Sci.3812141218

  • McCannS.E.HuangB.2008Evaluation of drought tolerance and avoidance traits for six creeping bentgrass cultivarsHortScience43519524

  • ToppG.C.DavisJ.AnnanA.P.1980Electromagnetic determination of soil water content: Measurements in coaxial transmission linesWater Resour. Res.16574582

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TurgeonA.J.1996Turfgrass management. Prentice-Hall Englewood Cliffs NJ

  • TurgeonA.J.2011Turfgrass management. Pearson Higher Educ. London UK

  • VolaireF.LelievreF.2001Drought survival in Dactylis glomerata and Festuca arundinacea under similar rooting conditions in tubesPlant Soil229225234

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • VolaireF.ThomasH.LelievreF.1998Survival and recovery of perennial forage grasses under prolonged Mediterranean drought: I. Growth, death, water relations and solute content in herbage and stubbleNew Phytol.140439449

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WahidA.GelaniS.AshrafM.FooladM.R.2007Heat tolerance in plants: An overviewEnviron. Expt. Bot.61199223

  • WangJ.CuiL.WangY.LiJ.2009Growth, lipid peroxidation and photosynthesis in two tall fescue cultivars differing in heat toleranceBiol. Plant.53237242

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WangJ.P.BughraraS.S.2008Evaluation of drought tolerance for Atlas fescue, perennial ryegrass, and their progenyEuphytica164113122

  • WatkinsE.HuangB.MeyerW.A.2007Tufted hairgrass responses to heat and drought stressJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.132289293

Article Information

Google Scholar

Related Content

Article Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 119 119 8
Full Text Views 127 126 2
PDF Downloads 15 15 1