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Brian J. Tucker, Lambert B. McCarty, Haibo Liu, Christina E. Wells, and James R. Rieck

As golfers demand higher quality golf green putting surfaces, researchers continue to seek improved turfgrass cultivars. One such improved cultivar is `TifEagle' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy], which is an improvement over traditional bermudagrass cultivars such as `Tifgreen' and `Tifdwarf' due to its ability to tolerate mowing heights of ≤3.2 mm for extended periods. One observed disadvantage of `TifEagle' is its lack of a deep, dense root system compared to previous bermudagrass cultivars. This field study measured mowing height, N rate, and biostimulant product effects on `TifEagle' rooting. Three mowing heights (3.2, 4.0, and 4.8 mm), three N rates (12, 24, and 48 kg N/ha/week), and two cytokinin-containing commercial biostimulant products (BIO1 and BIO2) were examined. Plant responses measured were root length density (RLD), root surface area (RSA), thatch layer depth (TLD), and turf quality (TQ). Increasing mowing height from 3.2 to 4.0 mm increased RLD by >11%, RSA by >11%, and TQ by >17%. Increasing N rates from 12 to 24 kg N ha-1 week-1 increased RLD by >17%, RSA by >26% and TQ by >16%. No effect on RLD was observed after the first year of biostimulant use, however, after the second year, BIO1 increased RLD by >11% when applied with the lowest rate of N (12 kg N/ha/week). Higher mowing heights (4.8 and 4.0 mm) increased TLD >6% compared to the lowest mowing height (3.2 mm), and higher N rates (48 and 24 kg N/ha/week) increased TLD >3% compared to the lowest N rate (12 kg N/ha/week). Overall, a mowing heights ≥4.0 mm, N rates ≥24 kg N/ha/week, and long-term use of a cytokinins-containing biostimulant had a positive effect on `TifEagle' rooting.

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Héctor Mario Quiroga-Garza and Geno A. Picchioni

Total plant biomass, shoot growth rate, and the periodicity in shoot growth and color of hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy `Tifgreen'] in response to slow-release fertilizer N sources, rates, and application frequencies were studied in two, 120-day greenhouse studies. Plugs were planted in plastic cylinders filled with a growing medium of 93 sand: 7 peat moss (w/w). The first experiment was completed under progressively increasing photoperiod (13.1 to 14.9 hours) typical of the long-day requirements for bermudagrass growth. The second experiment occurred under progressively decreasing photoperiod (13.7 to 10.7 hours) representative of autumnal growing conditions and declining growth and N demand. Urea (URE), sulfur-coated urea (SCU), and hydroform (HYD, methylene urea polymers) were broadcast at N rates of 100 or 200 kg·ha-1 and at frequencies of 20 or 40 days. Bermudagrass was clipped at 3-day intervals and the average daily clipping growth rate (increase in shoot dry matter; DM) reached a maximum of 11.5 g·m-2 per day. Use of the least soluble source, HYD, produced the lowest total clipping DM, and at low HYD rate and frequency, leaf color intensity was frequently below the accepted standard of 7, in the scale from 1 “tan” to 9 “dark green”. A greater responsiveness of bermudagrass to N rate and application frequency (increased clipping growth rate and color intensification upon N application) occurred under increasing photoperiodic conditions as compared to decreasing photoperiodic conditions. Both clipping growth and color changed cyclically through time and mainly under long-day photoperiod (>12 hours), with greater oscillation at longer fertilization interval (40 days). With either SCU or URE, at low N rate and frequency (total N application of 0.25 g·m-2 per day), clipping growth rates were above 4 g·m-2 per day, and turf color was at or above the minimum quality standard through most of the growing period. Higher total SCU and URE application rates, previously shown to increase N leaching losses in these experimental conditions, produced significantly more clipping growth and did not appear to intensify color sufficient to warrant the increased risk of N loss.

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M.L. Elliott and M. Prevatte

Petroleum and vegetable oil hydraulic fluids were spread on `Tifgreen' bermudagrass at three volumes (125, 250, and 500 ml) and three temperatures (27, 49, and 94C) to simulate a turfgrass equipment leak. Initial damage, recovery, and effects for a 1-year period were compared among treatments. All hydraulic fluid treatments resulted in 100% leaf necrosis within 10 days of application. Turfgrass recovery was influenced primarily by the fluid volume. After recovery, only plots treated with petroleum hydraulic fluid were periodically chlorotic, resulting in lower turfgrass quality. Long-term negative effects of hydraulic leaks from golf course equipment may be reduced by using vegetable oil hydraulic fluid.

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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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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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Richard H. White and Richard E. Schmidt

Field research was conducted to determine the effects of N, Fe, and benzyladenine (BA) on fall performance, post-dormancy recovery, and storage nonstructural carbohydrate composition of `Midiron' bermudagrass [Cy - nodon dactylon (L.) Pers.]. Fall green color retention and turf quality were superior for 48 than for 24 kg N/ha per month. Nitrogen level did not affect post-dormancy recovery or nonstructural carbohydrate levels in stolons and rhizomes measured in Sept. and Nov. 1983 and 1984. Iron level did not influence turf color and quality during summer months. Biweekly application of 0.6 kg Fe/ha produced better retention of greenness and turf quality during Fall 1983 and 1984 and superior turf color in Spring 1985 than the 0 kg Fe/ha treatment. Better green turf coverage was obtained with the biweekly than the monthly Fe (1.2 kg-ha-l) treatment during Fall 1983. In contrast, monthly Fe produced color and turf quality similar to that of the biweekly Fe treatment during Fall 1984. Nonstructural carbohydrates were similar among Fe levels in 1983 and 1984. The effects of Fe on turf color and quality were similar at each level of N and BA. BA level did not consistently influence turf color or quality and did not affect storage carbohydrate levels. When used in conjunction with moderate summer N fertilization, foliar-applied Fe can extend bermudagrass quality during fall without adversely affecting postdormancy recovery. Chemical name used: N- (phenylmethyl)-lH-purin-6-amine (benzyladenine, BA).

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G.A. Picchioni and Héctor M. Quiroga-Garza

Two greenhouse studies were conducted to trace the fate of fertilizer N in hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy `Tifgreen'], and to estimate total plant N recovery and losses. The first experiment was performed during winter, with artificial light supplementing natural light to provide a photoperiod of 13.6 to 13.8 hours. The second experiment was conducted during summer and fall under only natural light conditions, with a progressively decreasing photoperiod of 13.7 to 11.1 hours. Urea (UR), ammonium sulfate (AS), and ammonium nitrate (AN) were labeled at 2 atom% 15N, and applied at N rates of 100 or 200 kg·ha-1 for 84 days (divided into six equal fractions and applied every 14 days). Fertilizer N source did not affect total dry matter (DM) accumulation by the plant components, but the high N rate increased clipping DM production under the longer photoperiod. Under the decreasing photoperiod, overall DM production was reduced, and clipping DM production was unaffected by increased N rate. Average N concentration of clippings varied between N sources, ranging from a high of 38.6 g·kg-1 DM with AS to a low of 34.7 g·kg-1 for UR. In Expt. 1, the greatest total plant N recovery [clippings, verdure (shoot material remaining after mowing), and thatch plus roots] occurred with AS (78.5%) and the lowest with UR (65.9%). In Expt. 2, these values declined to 53.0% and 38.0%, respectively. Urea fertilization resulted in the greatest N losses as a fraction of the N applied (33.6% to 61.5%) and AS fertilization the lowest (20.7% to 46.3%). In view of the greater N losses, UR may be a less suitable soluble N source for bermudagrass fertilization within the conditions of this study. In addition, late-season N fertilization may result in a significant waste of fertilizer N as bermudagrass progresses into autumnal dormancy when temperature, photoperiod, and irradiance decline and cause reduction in growth and N uptake.

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F. Iriarte, J. Fry, and N. Tisserat

Bermudagrass turf quality is commonly reduced in the transition zone by Ophiosphaerella herpotricha, a root-infecting fungus that causes spring dead spot (SDS). Fungicides applied in autumn typically result in poor to moderate disease suppression. Earlier research has indicated that some cultural practices, including core aerification or fertilization with soil acidifying nitrogen fertilizers, may suppress SDS. Our objective was to evaluate several treatment combinations for reducing disease severity. Treatments were arranged in a split-plot design, with whole plots being aerification + verticutting, or no cultivation. Subplots within whole plots consisted of a factorial arrangement of azoxystrobin (one September application of at 0.6 kg·ha-1), trinexapac-ethyl (three summer applications at 6.1 kg·ha-1), and ammonium sulfate (three summer applications with N at 49 kg·ha-1). After 1 year of treatment, spring turf quality was improved in all treatments that included trinexapac-ethyl. Diseased area was reduced from 34% to 21% in plots receiving azoxystrobin + trinexapac-ethyl.

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M.D. Richardson

Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) turf is often overseeded with a cool-season species such as perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) to provide an improved winter surface for activities such as golf or athletic events. Perennial ryegrass can become a persistent weed in overseeded turf due to the heat and disease tolerance of improved cultivars. Intermediate ryegrass is a relatively new turfgrass that is a hybrid between perennial and annual ryegrass (L. multiflorum Lam.). Very little information is available on intermediate ryegrass as an overseeding turf. Greenhouse, field, and growth chamber studies were designed to compare two cultivars of intermediate ryegrass (`Transist' and `Froghair') with three cultivars of perennial ryegrass (`Jiffie', `Racer', and `Calypso II') and two cultivars of annual ryegrass (`Gulf' and `TAM-90'). In a greenhouse study, the perennial ryegrass cultivars had finer leaf texture (2.9-3.2 mm), shorter collar height (24.7-57.0 mm), and lower weight/tiller (29-39 mg) than the intermediate and annual cultivars. In the field studies, the intermediate cultivar Transist exhibited improved turfgrass quality (6.1-7.1) over the annual cultivars (4.5-5.8) and the other intermediate cultivar Froghair (5.4-5.7). However, neither of the intermediate cultivars had quality equal to the perennial ryegrass cultivars (7.0-7.9). The perennial ryegrass cultivars exhibited slow transition back to the bermudagrass compared to the annual and intermediate ryegrass cultivars. In the growth chamber study, the annual and intermediate cultivars all showed increased high-temperature stress under increasing temperatures compared to the perennial cultivars, which did not show stress until air temperature exceeded 40 °C. Collectively, these studies indicate that the intermediate ryegrass cultivar Transist may have promise as an overseeding turfgrass due to its improved quality compared to annual types and a lack of heat tolerance relative to perennial cultivars, but with transition qualities similar to perennial ryegrass.

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Harrison Hughes and Leigh Towill

There are turfgrasses species that are clonally propagated; notably bermudagrass, buffalograss, and zoysiagrass. Some of the early cultivars of these species are no longer widely grown, and may eventually be lost if not preserved. In order to facilitate studies on the long-term cryopreservation of these species and specific lines of saltgrass, it is necessary to develop suitable micropropagation procedures. We have developed protocol for the isolation and establishment of clean cultures in vitro for all four species. A 1/2-strength MS basal medium with Nitsch & Nitsch vitamins, 5 mg/L of thiamine, 2 mg/L of glycine, 30 g of sucrose, 7 g of agar with varying growth regulators has been used. Explant materials are prewashed in the greenhouse prior to a 15- to 30-min soapy wash in the laboratory. After a 30- to 60-min rinse in running water, nodal sections are surface-disinfested in 10% bleach with Tween 20 for 15 min, followed by three sterile water rinses. This procedure, sometimes with PPM (a proprietary antimicrobial compound), results in 50% or greater clean cultures. Rapidly growing nodal sections work best and preferably those not established in soil. We have tested various growth regulator combinations and have found that 10 mg/L of BA results in proliferation of buffalograss and saltgrass. However, proliferation remains relatively slow, requiring 8 to 12 weeks to develop sufficiently for subculture. Although we have succeeded in obtaining clean cultures of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass, proliferation is minimal, Further research is ongoing to develop a proliferative system with these two species.