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John J. Sloan and M.C. Engelke

Irrigation of sand-based golf greens with ozonated water may affect grass growth and chemical processes in the root zone. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of ozonated and aerated water on bentgrass growth and root zone chemistry in sand-based greens over a 12-month period. Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) cores [10 cm diameter × 12 cm depth (3.9 × 4.7 inches)] were collected from a sand-based bentgrass nursery and placed in columns designed to collect leachate water. Cores were placed in a greenhouse and irrigated with 1) municipal tap water [6 to 8 mg·L-1 (ppm) dissolved oxygen (DO)], 2) aerated tap water (12 mg·L-1 DO), or 3) ozonated tap water (aerated plus 0.8 mg·L-1 ozone). Leachate was periodically collected and analyzed for pH, electrolytic conductivity (EC), and nutrients. Grass clippings were weighed and analyzed for total nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). Roots were periodically collected from selected cores to determine root distribution. At 40 and 90 days after initiating water treatments, bentgrass irrigated with ozonated water had a higher chlorophyll index than bentgrass irrigated with tap water. After 128 and 157 days, bentgrass clipping weights were significantly greater for the cores irrigated with ozonated water and, to a lesser extent, aerated water. At 61 and 149 days, nitrate (NO3-N) and EC levels were elevated in leachate from aerated and ozonated samples, suggesting increased mineralization of organic matter in those bentgrass cores. Ozonated water increased bentgrass crown weights, but had no effect on root mass. Ozonated water did not affect bentgrass tissue N and P concentrations. Statistically significant effects from ozonated water occurred within the first few months, but sustained benefits were negligible.

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K. B. Marcum and M. C. Engelke

Root extension to lower soil depths and root branching are important drought avoidance mechanisms, allowing efficient use of available soil water during periods of prolonged drought. Rooting characteristics of 25 zoysiagrasses included in the 1991 National Turfgrass Evaluation Program were determined. Grasses were grown in clear polyethylene tubes filled with sand, and inserted into opaque PVC sleeves, tilted 30° from vertical. Root extension was monitored weekly, and root mass and number per 10 cm depth determined. Root extension was correlated with total root weight and number of roots per 10 cm vertical section. Shoot weight was not correlated with root extension or total root weight. Grasses having exceptional root extension, root number and weight per 10 cm root section, include DALZ8516, TC5018, and GT29047, while those with poorest overall performance include DALZ9006, DALZ8508, DALZ8501, DALZ8502, and CD2013. Of five commercial cultivars tested, Emerald, Meyer, and El Toro had the greatest root extension.

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Y.L. Qian and M.C. Engelke

Determining the appropriate level of irrigation for turfgrasses is vital to the health of the turfgrass and the conservation of water. The linear gradient irrigation system (LGIS) allows long-term assessment of turf performance under continuous irrigation gradients from excess to no irrigation. The objectives of this study were to: 1) evaluate the minimum irrigation requirements and relative drought resistance of `Rebel II' tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), `Meyer' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.), `Tifway' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], `Prairie' buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm], and `Nortam' St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze]; and 2) evaluate the long-term effects of irrigation levels on turf persistence, weed invasion, and disease incidence for the five selected turfgrasses under field conditions. Turf was sodded under LGIS with an irrigation gradient ranging from 120% Class A pan evaporation (Ep) to natural precipitation, along a 20-m turf area. Evaluation during the summers of 1993–96 indicated that grasses differed in drought resistance and persistence under variable irrigation regimes. Irrigation (Ep) required to maintain acceptable turf quality for respective grasses was `Rebel II' (67%), `Meyer' (68%), `Nortam' (44%), `Tifway' (35%), and `Prairie' (26%). Higher dollar spot (Sclerotinia homoeocarpa Bennett) infection was observed at 115% Ep irrigation regime in `Tifway' bermudagrass, whereas gray leaf spot [Pyricularia grisea (Hebert) Barr] was observed only at 10% Ep irrigation regime in St. Augustinegrass plots. An outbreak of brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani Kuehn.) occurred in Sept. 1996 in St. Augustinegrass plots receiving irrigation at >80% Ep.

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Kenneth B. Marcum, M.C. Engelke, and Sharon J. Morton

Rooting characteristics of 22 buffalograss [Buchloë dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.] genotypes were determined by growing plants in clear, sand-filled polyethylene tubes in a glasshouse. Differences were observed among entries for average maximum root depth, total root weight, root count and weight at increasing 100-mm depth increments, and total shoot weight. Average maximum root depth was positively correlated with total root weight (r = 0.59) and with root count at each 100-mm root profile depth. Root count and weight across all vertical root profile sections were highly correlated (r = 0.81). Total shoot weight was weakly correlated with average maximum root depth but not at all with total root weight. Grasses with superior rooting characteristics (deeply rooted, with larger root mass and count in the lower root profile sections) included AZ-143, NTDG-1, and `315' (NE84-315).

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Bridget A. Ruemmele, Robert Cunningham, and M. C. Engelke

A limitation to distribution of some field-grown sod is the time required to produce a saleable product rooted sufficiently to retain its shape when removed from the ground. Research for a more efficient sod production process was examined using sod segments planted at a 1:100 plant:planting area ratio in an aboveground soilless, root-restricting system. Combinations of 3 growth media, 2 rooting stimulants, and 2 fertilizers each at 2 rates were evaluated to determine the most rapid and optimal sod development for zoysiagrass. Treatments were rated weekly for percent cover, rate of stolon development, and rooting. Although treatments with rooting stimulants generally scored higher than other treatments for rooting and percent cover, these differences were not consistently significantly different from week to week. No significant differences occurred among treatments for stolon development ratings. After 16 weeks of growth, sod strength was greatest when the growth medium was a peat and vermiculite mixture.

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S.K. Braman, R.R. Duncan, and M.C. Engelke

Turfgrass selections including 21 paspalums (Paspalum vaginatum Swartz) and 12 zoysiagrasses (Zoysia sp.) were compared with susceptible `KY31' tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and more resistant common bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon Pers.) and common centipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro.) Hack] for potential resistance to fall armyworm [Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith)], an occasionally serious pest of managed turf. Turfgrass and pasture grasses annually suffer sporadic damage by this pest, often severe in the Gulf Coast states. Resistant grasses offer an alternative management tool for the fall armyworm, reducing the need for pesticide use. Laboratory evaluations assessed the degree of antibiosis and nonpreference present among more than 30 turfgrass genotypes to first and third instar fall armyworms, respectively. Zoysiagrasses exhibiting high levels of antibiosis included `Cavalier', `Emerald', DALZ8501, DALZ8508, `Royal', and `Palisades'. Paspalum selections demonstrating reduced larval or pupal weights or prolonged development times of fall armyworm included 561-79, Temple-2, PI-509021, and PI-509022.

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Y.L. Qian, M.C. Engelke, M.J.V. Foster, and S. Reynolds

Turfgrass is grown under extremely variable light intensities. This presents difficult management problems, and methods are needed to improve turf performance under variable shade conditions. Two experiments were conducted to determine the influence of trinexapac-ethyl (TE) on turf performance and physiological responses of `Diamond' zoysiagrass [Zoysia matrella (L.) Merr.] under several light intensities. In a polyethylene-roofed greenhouse, `Diamond' was sodded in 12 wooden boxes (1.2 × 1.2 × 0.16 m) (Expt. 1) and 18 fiber containers (55 × 38 × 12 cm) (Expt. 2). Treatments applied to boxes or containers included three levels of shade (40%, 75%, and 88%) with and without multiple TE applications at 48 g·ha-1 of active ingredient. Without TE treatment, vertical shoot growth increased linearly with increasing shade levels. Excessive shoot growth under 75% and 88% shade exacerbated energy depletion, as evidenced by the 45% and 67% lower rhizome mass and the 37% and 65% lower total nonstructural carbohydrate content (TNC), respectively, compared with turf under 40% shade. Trinexapac-ethyl reduced excessive vertical shoot growth and increased rhizome mass and TNC. Mean turf quality was increased by 0.7 and 1.4 units for turf receiving multiple TE applications under 75% and 88% shade, respectively. Trinexapac-ethyl did not increase turf quality or TNC under 40% shade. Canopy photosynthetic rate (Pn) was not affected 4 weeks after the initial TE treatment under any shade level. However, 34 weeks after the initial TE treatment a 50% higher Pn was observed for turf treated with TE under 88% shade, possibly because of higher tiller density. Repeated TE application increased turf quality and provided more favorable physiological responses (such as TNC and Pn) under 75% and 88% shade, where conditions favored vertical shoot growth. However, little or no improvement in turf quality was observed under 40% shade, where conditions favored slow vertical shoot growth. Chemical name used: 4-(cyclopropyl-α-hydroxy-methylene)-3,5-dioxo-cyclohexanecarboxylic acid ethyl ester (trinexapac-ethyl).

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M.A. Fidanza, P.F. Colbaugh, M.C. Engelke, S.D. Davis, and K.E. Kenworthy

Fairy ring is a common and troublesome disease of turfgrasses maintained on golf course putting greens. Type-I fairy ring is especially destructive due to the development of hydrophobic conditions in the thatch and root zone, thus contributing to turfgrass injury and loss. The objective of this 2-year field study was to evaluate the application and novel delivery method of two fungicides and a soil surfactant for curative control of type-I fairy ring in a 20-year-old creeping bentgrass [Agrostis palustris (synonym A. stolonifera)] putting green. In both years, all treatments were applied twice on a 28-day interval. In 1998, flutolanil and azoxystrobin fungicides were applied alone and in combination with Primer soil surfactant by a conventional topical spray method, and fungicides without Primer applied via high-pressure injection (HPI). Acceptable type-I fairy ring control was observed in plots treated with flutolanil plus Primer, HPI flutolanil, azoxystrobin alone, azoxystrobin plus Primer, or HPI azoxystrobin. In 1999, treatments were HPI flutolanil, HPI flutolanil plus Primer, HPI azoxystrobin, HPI water only, and aeration only. Acceptable type-I fairy ring control was observed in plots treated with HPI flutolanil plus Primer or HPI azoxystrobin. HPI of fungicides alone or in combination with a soil surfactant may be a viable option for alleviating type-I fairy ring symptoms on golf course putting greens.

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D.W. Davis, J.V. Groth, G.R. Gingera, W.M. Randle, and C.A. Engelkes

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B.G. Wherley, P. Skulkaew, A. Chandra, A.D. Genovesi, and M.C. Engelke

A 3-year study was conducted to evaluate the comparative performance of zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.) cultivars for shaded environments in which inputs are minimized. Included in the study were commercial cultivars Diamond, Cavalier, Royal, Shadow Turf, Zorro, Zeon, Jamur, Crowne, Palisades, and Meyer. In July 2006, grass plugs were planted in a shade nursery comprised of live oak trees providing 89% shade. From 2007 to 2009, turf plots were periodically evaluated for quality, density, color, vertical canopy height, and extent of lateral spread. Overall turfgrass quality was noticeably reduced by the heavily shaded environment; however, some cultivars attained acceptable levels during midsummer periods. A turf performance index (TPI) was generated for ranking the cultivars that represented the number of times an entry occurred in the top statistical group across all parameters and rating dates. ‘Royal’, ‘Zorro’, and ‘Shadow Turf’ were the cultivars ranking in the top statistical grouping most often throughout the study. The results suggest that Z. matrellas may be better adapted than Z. japonicas for heavily shaded environments where inputs are conserved.