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Lambert B. McCarty, Raymond K. McCauley, Haibo Liu, F. Wesley Totten, and Joe E. Toler

Overseeded perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) aggressively competes with bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] for resources and may adversely affect spring transition by releasing allelochemicals into the environment. Growth chamber studies examined germination and growth of ‘Arizona Common’ bermudagrass in soil amended with 0%, 2%, 12%, or 23% perennial ryegrass root or shoot debris or in soil treated with irrigation water in which perennial ryegrass roots at 0, 5, 10, or 20 g·L−1 or shoots at 0, 10, or 20 g·L−1 had been soaked. Inhibitory effects on bermudagrass germination and growth were most extensive when soil was amended with ryegrass shoot debris, because germination, root ash weight, root length density, and root mass density were reduced 33%, 55%, 30%, and 52%, respectively. Soil amended with ryegrass root debris only inhibited bermudagrass-specific root length. Application of irrigation water containing either ryegrass root or shoot extracts only inhibited bermudagrass-specific root length. In conclusion, results obtained when soil was amended with shoot debris demonstrated perennial ryegrass can inhibit bermudagrass germination and growth in controlled environments.

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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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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.

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Gregg C. Munshaw, Jeffery S. Beasley, Christian M. Baldwin, Justin Q. Moss, Kenneth L. Cropper, H. Wayne Philley, Chrissie A. Segars, and Barry R. Stewart

Hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon × Cynodon transvaalensis] is frequently used throughout the southern and transitional climatic zones of the United States. These grasses can only be vegetatively propagated, such as by sprigging. Turf managers will often apply high rates of sprigs and nitrogen (N) in an attempt to minimize the time to establishment. However, little is known about how planting and N rates affect establishment. The objective of this study was to determine optimum sprigging and N rates during the establishment of ‘Latitude 36’ hybrid bermudagrass to minimize time to full surface cover. The study was conducted in four locations across the southern United States during Summer 2015. Sprigging rates consisted of 200, 400, 600, and 800 U.S. bushels/acre (9.3 gal/bushel), and N rates were 0, 11, 22, and 44 lb/acre N per week. Results showed that as the N rate increased, percent cover generally increased but only slightly [7% difference between high and low rates 5 weeks after planting (WAP)]. The effect of sprig rate on percent cover indicated that as rate increased, cover also increased. Differences in establishment due to sprig rate were present until 6 WAP at which time all plots achieved 100% cover. The greatest difference between N and sprig rate was that sprig rate showed differences in percent cover immediately, whereas N rate differences were not apparent until 2 WAP. Increasing sprig rather than N rate should be considered to speed up establishment.

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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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J.M. Goatley Jr., V.L. Maddox, D.L. Lang, R.E. Elmore, and B.R. Stewart

The ability of a temporary turf cover and foliar-applied iron (Fe) to sustain or promote bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) × transvaalensis Burtt-Davy `Tifway' growth beyond its normal growing periods in central Mississippi was evaluated during the fall, winter, and spring seasons of 1998-2001. The application of a polypropylene turf blanket when night temperatures were predicted to be ≤4 °C extended acceptable bermudagrass turf quality by 5 to 8 weeks in the fall and winter period as compared to the uncovered control plots. Also, complete green-up of the turf occurred 4 to 6 weeks earlier the following spring. There was no enhancement in bermudagrass quality by temporarily covering at predicted night temperatures of ≤15 or ≤9.5 °C. Foliar applied iron (Fe) further enhanced turf quality in the fall and winter months, but resulted in no visible turf response the following spring. Total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNC) concentrations in rhizomes that were sampled during November, January, and April 2000 and 2001 were generally increased by the cover application as compared to the uncovered control. Foliar Fe applications did not influence TNC levels.

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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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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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Alexander R. Kowalewski, Brian M. Schwartz, Austin L. Grimshaw, Dana G. Sullivan, and Jason B. Peake

Hybrid bermudagrasses (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis) typically have excellent wear tolerance when compared with other turfgrass species. This trait should be evaluated during variety development to reduce the risk of failure when new grasses are planted in areas with traffic stress. The objective of this research was to evaluate the wear tolerance of four hybrid bermudagrasses with differing morphological characteristics. Traffic was applied to the hybrid bermudagrass varieties ‘Tifway’, ‘TifSport’, and ‘TifTuf’, as well as an experimental hybrids (04-76) using a traffic simulator for 6 weeks. Leaf morphology (leaf width, length, and angle) and quantitative measure of density and color [normalized difference vegetation index ratio (NDVI), dark green color index (DGCI), and percent green turf color] were characterized before traffic, and then percent green turf color after 6 weeks of traffic was measured to estimate wear tolerance. ‘TifTuf’ hybrid bermudagrass provided the greatest wear tolerance, as well as the narrowest and shortest leaf lengths, greatest NDVI values and percent green color, and lowest DGCI before traffic. Conversely, 04-76 produced the poorest wear tolerance, as well as the widest and longest leaves, lowest NDVI values and percent green color, and highest DGCI values before traffic. Regression analysis determined that DGCI, leaf length, and leaf width were inversely, or negatively, correlated to wear tolerance, whereas percent green turf color before traffic was directly correlated to wear tolerance. For these hybrids, DGCI had the strongest correlation to increased wear tolerance.

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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.