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John M. Kauffman, John C. Sorochan, and Dean A. Kopsell

Thatch-mat and organic matter (OM) accumulation near the putting green soil surface impacts soil physical properties and turf performance. Excessive thatch and OM can encumber infiltration of water and oxygen into the soil profile and slow drainage of excess water away from the putting surface. Proper sampling of thatch-mat depths and OM contents is vital for management of putting green turf; therefore, a study was performed in Knoxville, TN, to derive proper sampling procedures of these important parameters using ‘TifEagle’ and ‘Champion’ bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis), ‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum), and ‘Diamond’ zoysiagrass (Zoysia matrella). ‘TifEagle’ and ‘Champion’ accumulated thatch-mat to a greater depth than ‘SeaDwarf’ and ‘Diamond’. However, ‘SeaDwarf’ had a higher OM content than ‘Diamond’ and both had higher OM contents than ‘TifEagle’ and ‘Champion’. Data generated from sampling procedures indicate that previous studies often undersampled plots for thatch-mat depth; however, previous sampling procedures have not traditionally undersampled plots for OM. Data in this study provide a range of confidence and minimum detectable difference levels which may allow future researchers to more accurately sample ‘TifEagle’, ‘Champion’, ‘SeaDwarf’, and ‘Diamond’ putting green plots for thatch-mat depth and OM content.

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A. Shiferaw, M.W. Smith, R.D. Eikenbary, and Don C. Arnold

Perennial legumes ground covers were evaluated in pecan (Carya illinoinensis) orchards to supply nitrogen and increase beneficial arthropods. Ground covers were `Kenland' red clover (Trifolium pratense), `Louisiana S-1' white clover (Trifolium repens), a mixture of these two legumes, or bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), each in 5 ha plots. Nitrogen was applied at 0-200 kg·ha-1 N in 50 kg intervals to bermuda grass plots, and was omitted on the legumes. Aphids feeding on the legumes attracted lady beetles; however, lady beetle populations in the tree canopies were not affected by ground cover treatment. The most abundant lady beetle species in legumes were Coleomegilla maculata lengi (77%) and Coccinella septempunctata (13%); whereas, dominant species in tree canopies were Coleomegilla maculata lengi (33%). Olla v-nigrum (20%). Cycloneda munda (18%) and Coccinella septempunctata (15%). Several other beneficial arthropods were sampled in legumes and tree canopies. Aphid populations feeding on pecans were low (peak population ≈ 2 aphids/leaf), and not affected by ground cover treatment. Legumes supplied the equivalent of applying 68-156 kg·ha-1 N.

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Grady L. Miller

High rates of potassium (K) are often applied in an attempt to increase stress tolerance of hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt Davy] turfs. Two field-grown bermudagrass cultivars, `Tifdwarf' and `Tifway', were used to determine the influence of applied K on plant nutrient content and nutrient retention in two soils. Six rates of K ranging from 0 to 390 kg·ha-1 were applied twice per month each growing season from 1992 to 1994. The cultivars were established on both a sand-peat (9:1 by volume) and loamy sand. Potassium chloride and K2SO4 were compared as sources of K, and were applied simultaneously with N applications. Extractable soil K and leaf tissue K concentrations increased with increasing K rates. There was a critical K fertilization level (74 to 84 kg·ha-1) for each cultivar and medium combination beyond which no increase in tissue concentration was observed. Increasing K fertilization resulted in a decrease in extractable Ca and Mg in both media with corresponding decreases in tissue Ca and Mg concentrations. High K rates appear to increase the potential for Ca and Mg deficiencies in bermudagrass, indicating that rates higher than those that provide sufficient K levels for normal growth should not be used.

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Grady L. Miller

The effects of several soil amendments, following a single filling of core aerification holes, on growth and transpiration of `Tifdwarf' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt Davy] were examined during drought stress. Soil amendments had variable effects on turf quality. In general, turf grown in ZeoPro®- and Profile®-amended sand had the highest quality. Data indicated that the evaluated soil amendments have the potential to influence soil water content, ultimately influencing transpirational response to drought stress. Amended sand contained 1% to 16% more transpirable water compared with non-amended sand. Turfgrass grown in Axis®- and Isolite®-amended sand required 0.4 to 1.4 days longer to reach the endpoint (transpiration rate of drought stressed plants <12% of well-watered plants) during a period of rapid water depletion. Data from this study suggest that the total volume these amendments occupied in the root zone, following a single filling of core aerification holes in sand, may positively influence soil moisture status, resulting in an increase in drought avoidance.

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Marco Fontanelli, Michel Pirchio, Christian Frasconi, Luisa Martelloni, Michele Raffaelli, Andrea Peruzzi, Nicola Grossi, Lisa Caturegli, Simone Magni, Monica Gaetani, and Marco Volterrani

Turfgrass species can be classified into two main groups: cool-season and warm-season species. Warm-season species are more suited to a Mediterranean climate. Transplanting is a possible method to convert a cool-season to a warm-season turfgrass in untilled soil. It generally requires the chemical desiccation of the cool-season turfgrass. However, alternative physical methods, like flaming and steaming, are also available. This paper compares flaming, steaming, and herbicide application to desiccate cool-season turfgrass, for conversion to hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis) in untilled soil, using transplanting. Two prototype machines were used, a self-propelled steaming machine and a tractor-mounted liquefied petroleum gas flaming machine. Treatments compared in this work were two flaming treatments and two steaming treatments performed at four different doses together with two chemical treatments with glufosinate-ammonium herbicide applications. The cool-season turfgrass species were tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). The desiccation effect of the various treatments on cool-season turf was assessed by photographic survey 15 days after treatment. The percentage cover of hybrid bermudagrass was visually assessed at 43 weeks after planting. Steaming and flaming effects on both parameters were described by logistic curves. The highest doses of steaming and flaming almost completely desiccated cool-season turf, and similar hybrid bermudagrass cover was established by both the methods as the chemical application (50% to 60%). Thus both flaming and steaming may be considered as valid alternatives to herbicides aimed at turf conversion.

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Marco Schiavon, Brent D. Barnes, David A. Shaw, J. Michael Henry, and James H. Baird

Replacing cool-season turf with more drought and heat tolerant warm-season turfgrass species is a viable water conservation strategy in climates where water resources and precipitation are limited. Field studies were conducted in Riverside and Irvine, CA, to investigate three methods (scalping, eradication with a nonselective herbicide, planting into existing turf) of converting an existing tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) sward to warm-season turf. Cultivars established vegetatively by plugging were ‘De Anza’ hybrid zoysiagrass [Zoysia matrella × (Z. japonica × Z. tenuifolia)], ‘Palmetto’ st. augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), ‘Tifsport’ hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis), ‘Sea Spray’ seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum), and ‘UC Verde’ buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides). Cultivars established from seeds were ‘Princess-77’ bermudagrass (C. dactylon) and ‘Sea Spray’ seashore paspalum. Neither scalping nor planting into existing tall fescue were effective conversion strategies, as none of the warm-season turfgrasses reached 50% groundcover within 1 year of planting. All of the species except for st. augustinegrass reached a higher percentage of groundcover at the end of the study when glyphosate herbicide was applied to tall fescue before propagation compared with the other conversion strategies. Bermudagrass and seashore paspalum established from seeds and hybrid bermudagrass from plugs provided the best overall establishment with 97%, 93%, and 85% groundcover, respectively, when glyphosate was used before establishment. Quality of seeded cultivars matched or exceeded that of cultivars established vegetatively by plugging. These results suggest that eradication of tall fescue turf followed by establishment of warm-season turf from seeds is the best and easiest turf conversion strategy.

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John Wells, Jiyu Yan, Melissa Riley, Suresh Samala, and Vance Baird

Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) cultivars may exhibit increased tolerance to cold following periods of exposure to moderately cold temperature (i.e., acclimation). We are evaluating biochemical changes and the regulation of gene expression in two cultivars—'Midiron' and U-3—during this acclimation period. Total membrane lipid fatty acids per unit of total lipids (MLFA/TL; μg·mg–1) increased in crowns over the 4-week exposure to chilling temperatures (8C day/2C night). Of the fatty acids comprising 95% of total MFLA, concentrations of short-chain and saturated FAs declined significantly while unsaturated longer-chain FA concentration increased. As a result, the double bond index (percent of each FA x number of double bonds in the FA) increased during the period of low temperature exposure, indicative of increasing membrane fluidity. Changes in MFLA were evident as early as 4 days following exposure to chilling temperatures. Identification of mRNA species expressed in response to low temperature utilized differential display-PCR. Initial screening with paired T11N1N 2 3'-anchor and 5'-random decamer primers has identified transcripts differentially expressed as early as 23 h post-exposure and was maintained for at least an additional 36 h. Isolation, reamplification, and cloning of these identified PCR products is in progress.

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Filippo Lulli, Claudia de Bertoldi, Roberto Armeni, Lorenzo Guglielminetti, and Marco Volterrani

Synthetic sports surfaces are increasingly subject to standardization of athlete-surface and ball-surface interactions (playability parameters). Such standardizations have led to an increase in the level of the engineering and predictability of these surfaces, and as such may be beneficial also for natural turf. In warm and temperate climates, many natural turf sports surfaces are established with warm-season (C4) turfgrass species due to their suitability to the environment in such areas. This study was aimed at evaluating the Féderation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)-standard playing characteristics of different sports turf surfaces obtained from three commonly used C4 turfgrass species: 1) ‘Tifway 419’ hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon var. dactylon × C. transvaalensis), 2) ‘Zeon’ manilagrass (Zoysia matrella), and 3) ‘Salam’ seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) for factors concerning leaf tissue (silica, lignin, water content) and canopy structure (shoot density, leaf architecture, stolon density, etc.). Results showed that surfaces of different C4 turfgrass species generate different playability parameters, with seashore paspalum being a harder faster surface, manilagrass being a softer slower surface, and hybrid bermudagrass showing intermediate characteristics. These playing quality results were associated with certain specific canopy biometrical/morphological parameters such as shoot density, horizontal stem density (HSD), leaf section, and, to a lesser extent, to certain plant tissue compounds (lignin, silica).

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Michael D. Richardson, John McCalla, Tina Buxton, and Filippo Lulli

Many early spring bulb species are naturally found in grassy areas such as meadows or lawns. However, few studies have been conducted to define this concept in maintained lawns, especially warm-season lawns such as zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica) or bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon). Four early spring bulb species, including two crocus species (Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’ and Crocus chrysanthus ‘Goldilocks’), reticulated iris (Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’), and snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) were established in a zoysiagrass lawn site in Fall 2010. In Spring 2011 and 2012, five common preemergence herbicides used on lawns were applied across the plots to determine phytotoxicity. In addition, mowing treatments were started on plots at two timings (15 Mar. and 15 Apr.) to determine how mowing might affect survival and performance of the bulb species. Early performance was good for all bulb species and greater than 50% flower production was observed in the first spring (2011) after planting. However, in the subsequent 3 years (2012–14), the only species that persisted and continued to flower adequately each spring was ‘Ruby Giant’ crocus. Herbicides and mowing did not affect bulb survival or performance in the trial, suggesting that typical lawn management practices will not be deleterious to the bulbs. These results demonstrate that early spring bulbs may be incorporated into dormant, warm-season lawns, but species and cultivar selection will be crucial for long-term performance.

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Panayiotis A. Nektarios, Garyfalia Economou, and Christos Avgoulas

Fresh, senesced, and decaying pine needles from Pinus halepensis were evaluated for their allelopathic potential on Festuca arundinacea, Cynodon dactylon and the biosensor plants Avena sativa and Lemna minor through in vivo and in vitro studies. The in vivo study was performed in growth chambers, using 6, 12, and 18 g of pine needle tissue mixed with screened perlite as a substrate. The effects of the different pine needle types were evaluated by determining the total root length, total root surface, root dry weight, total shoot length, total shoot surface, and shoot dry weight. The in vitro study was performed in Petri dishes where seeds from each species were subjected to an increasing concentration of pine needle extract. The extracts were obtained from pine needle ground tissue that was diluted with water and either shacked at room temperature or placed in water bath at 40 °C for 24 h. The evaluation of the allelopathic potential was performed with the determination of radicle length. The allelopathic potential of the pine needle tissues was confirmed with bioassays using oat (A. sativa) and duckweed (L. minor). The results strongly suggested the allelopathic potential of the pine needle tissue, being more pronounced in the fresh, moderate in the senesced, and low in the decaying pine needles. The allelopathic substances were species-specific, and the inhibition resistance of the species tested followed the order F. arundinacea > C. dactylon > A. sativa. The inhibition of the L. minor suggested that the water soluble phytotoxic compounds were inhibitors of Photosystem II.