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Maxim J. Schlossberg and William P. Miller

Coal combustion by-products (CCB) are produced nationwide, generating 108 Mg of waste annually. Though varied, the majority of CCB are crystalline alumino-silicate minerals. Both disposal costs of CCB and interest in alternative horticultural/agricultural production systems have increased recently. Field studies assessed the benefit of CCB and organic waste/product mixtures as supplemental soil/growth media for production of hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] sod. Growth media were applied at depths of 2 to 4 cm (200 to 400 m3·ha-1) and vegetatively established by sprigging. Cultural practices typical of commercial methods were employed over 99- or 114-day growth periods. Sod was monitored during these propagation cycles, then harvested, evaluated, and installed offsite in a typical lawn-establishment method. Results showed mixtures of CCB and biosolids as growth media increased yield of biomass, with both media and tissue having greater nutrient content than the control media. Volumetric water content of CCB-containing media significantly exceeded that of control media and soil included with a purchased bermudagrass sod. Once installed, sod grown on CCB-media did not differ in rooting strength from control or purchased sod. When applied as described, physicochemical characteristics of CCB-media are favorable and pose little environmental risk to soil or water resources.

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G.C. Munshaw, X. Zhang, and E.H. Ervin

Bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] is widely used along its northern limit of adaptation. However, cold hardiness and winter survival are common concerns facing turfgrass managers in these areas. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of moderate salinity applications on bermudagrass cold hardiness. Two trials were conducted in Summer 2002. The cultivar Princess was seeded into pots in a glasshouse at a rate of 24 kg·ha-1. Pots received a weekly solution of 20-20-20 at a rate of 4.9 kg·ha-1 N. Bi-weekly salinity treatments began ≈2 months after germination and consisted of 0, 5, 20, and 40 dS·m-1 in the form of NaCl. These treatments continued for ≈8 weeks. Weekly quality ratings and chlorophyll fluorescence measurements showed similar results, with the high salinity treatments having the poorest quality. Soil electrical conductivity measurements showed a significant increase for the high salinity rates over the lower rates at the end of the trials. Proline concentrations increased with increasing salinity treatments in Trial 1 and were highest with the 20 dS·m-1 rate in Trial 2. Plants were acclimated in a growth chamber, and artificial freezing tests revealed that the 5 and 20 dS·m-1 treatments had the highest percentage of regrowth after freezing. These results indicate that moderate applications of salt or the use of effluent water prior to hardening may be an important way to increase bermudagrass cold hardiness.

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G.E. Bell, B.M. Howell, G.V. Johnson, W.R. Raun, J.B. Solie, and M.L. Stone

Differences in soil microenvironment affect the availability of N in small areas of large turfgrass stands. Optical sensing may provide a method for assessing plant N needs among these small areas and could help improve turfgrass uniformity. The purpose of this study was to determine if optical sensing was useful for measuring turfgrass responses stimulated by N fertilization. Areas of `U3' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], `Midfield' bermudagrass [C. dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy], and `SR1020' creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) were divided into randomized complete blocks and fertilized with different N rates. A spectrometer was used to measure energy reflected from the turfgrass within the experimental units at 350 to1100 nm wavelengths. This spectral information was used to calculate normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and green normalized difference vegetation index (GNDVI). These spectral indices were regressed with tissue N and chlorophyll content determined from turfgrass clippings collected immediately following optical sensing. The coefficients of determination for NDVI and GNDVI regressed with tissue N averaged r 2 = 0.76 and r2 = 0.81, respectively. The coefficients of determination for NDVI and GNDVI regressed with chlorophyll averaged r 2 = 0.70 and r 2 = 0.75, respectively. Optical sensing was equally effective for estimating turfgrass responses to N fertilization as more commonly used evaluations such as shoot growth rate (SGR regressed with tissue N; r 2 = 0.81) and visual color evaluation (color regressed with chlorophyll; r 2 = 0.64).

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Kenneth B. Marcum, Mohammad Pessarakli, and David M. Kopec

Relative salinity tolerance of 21 desert saltgrass accessions (Distichlis spicata [L.] Greene var. stricta (Torr.) Beetle), and one hybrid bermudagrass `Midiron' (Cynodon dactylon [L.] Pers. var. dactylon × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy `Midiron') were determined via solution culture in a controlled-environment greenhouse. Salinity in treatment tanks was gradually raised, and grasses progressively exposed to 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, and 1.0 m total salinity in sequence. Grasses were held at each salinity level for 1 week, followed by determination of relative salinity injury. Relative (to control) live green shoot weight (SW), relative root weight (RW), and % canopy green leaf area (GLA) were highly correlated with one-another (all r values >0.7), being mutually effective indicators of relative salinity tolerance. The range of salinity tolerance among desert saltgrass accessions was substantial, though all were more tolerant than bermudagrass. Accessions A77, A48, and A55 suffered little visual shoot injury, and continued shoot and root growth at a low level, when exposed up to 1.0 m (71,625 mg·L–1); sea water is about 35,000 mg·L–1), and therefore can be considered halophytes.

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Jinmin Fu, Jack Fry, and Bingru Huang

Water requirements for `Meyer' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud., hereafter referred to as zoysia), `Midlawn' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy, hereafter referred to as bermuda], `Falcon II' tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and `Brilliant' kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L., hereafter referred to as bluegrass) were evaluated under a mobile rainout shelter at deficit irrigation levels of 20% to 100% of actual evapotranspiration (ETa), applied twice weekly, between June and September 2001 and 2002. Soil was a river-deposited silt loam (fine, montmorillonitic, mesic Aquic Arquidolls). Minimum annual irrigation amounts required to maintain quality ranged from 244 mm for bermuda to 552 mm for bluegrass. Turfgrass species and respective irrigation levels (% of ETa) at which season-long acceptable turf quality was maintained in each year were bluegrass, 100% (evaluated 2001 only); tall fescue, 60% in 2001 and 80% in 2002; bermuda, 60% in both years; and zoysia, 80% in both years. A landscape manager who could tolerate one week of less-than-acceptable quality could have irrigated tall fescue at 40% ETa (224 mm) in 2001 and 60% ETa (359 mm) in 2002. Likewise, bermuda exhibited unacceptable quality on only one September rating date when irrigated at 40% ETa (163 mm) in 2001. Bermuda was able to tolerate a lower leaf relative water content (LRWC) and higher level of leaf electrolyte leakage (EL) compared to other grasses before quality declined to an unacceptable level.

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M.L. Elliott, E.A. Guertal, and H.D. Skipper

The rhizospheres of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) and hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy) putting greens were sampled quarterly for 4 years. Six bacterial groups, including total aerobic bacteria, fluorescent pseudomonads, actinomycetes, Gram-negative bacteria, Gram-positive bacteria, and heat-tolerant bacteria, were enumerated. The putting greens were located in four geographic locations (bentgrass in Alabama and North Carolina; bermudagrass in Florida and South Carolina) and were maintained according to local maintenance practices. Significant effects were observed for sampling date, turfgrass species and location, with most variation due to either turfgrass species or location. Bentgrass roots had significantly greater numbers of fluorescent pseudomonads than bermudagrass roots, while bermudagrass roots had significantly greater numbers of Gram-positive bacteria, actinomycetes and heat-tolerant bacteria. The North Carolina or South Carolina locations always had the greatest number of bacteria in each bacterial group. For most sampling dates in all four locations and both turfgrass species, there was a minimum, per gram dry root, of 107 CFUs enumerated on the total aerobic bacterial medium and a minimum of 105 CFUs enumerated on the actinomycete bacterial medium. Thus, it appears that in the southeastern U.S. there are large numbers of culturable bacteria in putting green rhizospheres that are relatively stable over time and geographic location.

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Lambert B. McCarty, Leon T. Lucas, and Joseph M. DiPaola

Spring dead spot (SDS) [Gaeumannomyces graminis (Sacc.) von Arx & D. Olivier var. graminis Walker] is a serious disease of bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] throughout much of the southern United States and is believed to be at least partially influenced by the previous year's turfgrass management practices. Research was performed to: a) determine the efficacy of selected fungicide control measures; and b) determine the influence of N and K nutrient regimes on the expression of SDS symptoms in Tifway bermudagrass (C. dactylon x C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy). Averaged over two sites in 2 years, a 72% reduction in SDS followed a fall application of benomyl at 12 kg·ha. Fenarimol applied at three rates (1.5, 2.3, and 3.0 kg·ha) on three fall dates reduced SDS by a combined average of 66%. A single application of propiconazole (2.5 kg·ha) reduced disease by an average of 56%. Application of N (98 kg·ha) in late fall increased SDS 128% in one test location. Application of potassium sulfate (269 kg K/ha) in late fall resulted in an average increase in SDS expression of 89% the following spring over all experiments. Turf managers with severe SDS should minimize heavy late-fall K applications and possibly use benomyl, fenarimol, or propiconazole for disease suppression. Chemical names used: α -(2-chlorophenyl)α -(4-chlorophenyl)-S-pyrimidinemethanol (fenarimol); [methyl 1(butylcarbamoyl)-2-benzimidazolecarbamate] (benomyl); 1-[[2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4propyl-1,3-dioxolan-2-yl]methyl]--1H-1,2,4-triazole (propiconazole).

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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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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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M.L. Elliott

The growth responses of 10 Rhizoctonia zeae isolates, obtained from turfgrasses in Florida and Ohio, to four temperatures (20, 25, 30, and 35 °C) and seven fungicides at four concentrations (0, 1, 10 and 100 μg·mL-1 a.i.) were compared. Greenhouse pathogenicity tests were conducted using hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy]. Optimal temperature for growth for all isolates was 30 °C. Growth of R. zeae isolates from both geographic locations was severely limited (>75%) at 20 °C. All R. zeae isolates were insensitive to the benzimidazole fungicides, benomyl and thiophanate methyl. Their sensitivities to iprodione, mancozeb, and quinotzene fungicides were similar. The Florida isolates were more sensitive to chlorothalonil, and the Ohio isolates to thiram. All isolates were pathogenic to hybrid bermudagrass. Chemical names used: methyl 1-(butylcarbamoly)-2-benzimidazolecarbamate (benomyl); dimethyl 4,4′-O-phenylene bis(3-thioallophanate) (thiophanate methyl); pentachloronitrobenzene (quintozene); 3-(3,5-dichlorophenyl)-N-(1-methylethyl)-2,4-dioxo-1-imidazolidinecarboxamide (iprodione); tetrachloroisophtalonitrile (chlorothalonil); tetramethylthiuram disulfide (thiram); manganese ethylenebisdithiocarbamate (mancozeb).