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Jennifer M. Johnson-Cicalese and C.R. Funk

Studies were conducted on the host plants of four billbug species (Coleoptera:Curculionidae: Sphenophorus parvulus Gyllenhal, S. venatus Chitt., S. inaequalis Say, and S. minimus Hart) found on New Jersey turfgrasses. A collection of 4803 adults from pure stands of various turfgrasses revealed all four billbugs on Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), and S. parvulus, S. venatus, and S. minimus on Chewings fescue (F. rubra L. ssp. commutata Gaud.). Since the presence of larvae, pupae, or teneral adults more accurately indicates the host status of a grass species, immature billbugs were collected from plugs of the various grass species and reared to adults for identification. All four species were reared from immature billbugs found in Kentucky bluegrass turf; immatures of S. venatus, S. inaequalis, and S. minimus were found in tall fescue; S. venatus and S. minimus in perennial ryegrass; and S. inaequalis in strong creeping red fescue (F. rubra L. ssp. rubra). A laboratory experiment was also conducted in which billbug adults were confined in petri dishes with either Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, or bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon Pers.). Only minor differences were found between the four grasses in billbug survival, number of eggs laid, and amount of feeding. In general, bermudagrass was the least favored host and the other grasses were equally adequate hosts. The results of this study indicate a need for updating host-plant lists of these four billbug species.

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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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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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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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Chanjin Chung, Tracy A. Boyer, Marco Palma, and Monika Ghimire

This study estimates potential economic impacts of developing drought- and shade-tolerant bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) turf varieties in five southern states: Texas, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. First, estimates are provided for the market-level crop values of the newly developed two varieties for each state. Then, an economic impact analysis is conducted using an input–output model to assess additional output values (direct, indirect, and induced impacts), value added, and employment due to the new varieties. Our results indicate that the two new varieties would offer significant economic impacts for the central and eastern regions of the United States. Under the assumption of full adoption, the two new products would generate $142.4 million of total output, $91.3 million of value added, and 1258 new jobs. When a lower adoption rate is assumed at 20%, the expected economic impacts would generate $28.5 million of output, $18.3 million of value added, and 252 jobs in the region. Our findings quantify the potential economic benefits of development and adoption of new turfgrass varieties with desirable attributes for residential use. The findings suggest that researchers, producers, and policymakers continue their efforts to meet consumers’ needs, and in doing so, they will also reduce municipal water consumption in regions suited to bermudagrass varieties.

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Mark J. Gatschet, Charles M. Taliaferro, Jeffrey A. Anderson, David R. Porter, and Michael P. Anderson

Cold acclimation (CA) of `Midiron' and `Tifgreen' turf bermudagrasses (Cynodon dactylon L. Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy) induced tolerance to lower freezing temperatures and altered protein synthesis in crowns. LT50 (lethal temperature for 50% of plants) values were lowered ≈5C after 4 weeks in controlled-environment chambers under CA [8/2C (day/night) cycles with a 10-hour photoperiod] vs. non-CA (28/24C) conditions. LT50 values for `Midiron' plants decreased from -6.5 to -11.3C after CA and from -3.6 to -8.5C for `Tifgreen'. Proteins synthesized by isolated crowns were radiolabeled in vivo for 16 hours with 35 S-methionine and 35 S-cysteine. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and fluorography revealed increased synthesis of several cold-regulated (COR) proteins in CA crowns of both cultivars. Synthesis of intermediate molecular weight (MW) (32 to 37 kDa) and low-MW (20 to 26 kDa) COR proteins was greater in `Midiron' than `Tifgreen' crowns.

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Hassan Salehi, Zahra Seddighi, Alexandra N. Kravchenko, and Mariam B. Sticklen

Bermudagrass (Cynodon L.C. Rich.) is grown on more than 4 million ha in the southern United States. The black cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon Hufnagel) is the most commonly encountered pest of bermudagrass, especially on golf course greens. Developing insect-resistant cultivars is a very desirable substitute, both environmentally and economically, to using current synthetic pesticides. Here we report, for the first time, Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of `Arizona Common' common bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] with the Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner cry1Ac gene encoding an endotoxin active against black cutworm. Mature seeds were used for producing embryogenic callus, and calli were transformed with a plasmid containing a synthetic cry1Ac and the kanamycin resistance (nptII) genes. Putative transgenic calli and plantlets were selected on media containing 100 and 50 mg·L-1 G418, respectively. RNA-blot analysis of PCR-positive lines revealed the expression of the cry1Ac transgene in three out of five putative transgenic lines. The larvae fed on transgenic plant leaves experienced highly significant (over 80%) mortality.

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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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Yaling Qian and Jack D. Fry

Greenhouse studies were conducted on three warm-season turfgrasses, `Midlawn' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy], `Prairie' buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.], and `Meyer' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.), and a cool-season turfgrass, `Mustang' tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) to determine 1) water relations and drought tolerance characteristics by subjecting container-grown grasses to drought and 2) potential relationships between osmotic adjustment (OA) and turf recovery after severe drought. Tall fescue was clipped at 6.3 cm once weekly, whereas warm-season grasses were clipped at 4.5 cm twice weekly. The threshold volumetric soil water content (SWC) at which a sharp decline in leaf water potential (ψL) occurred was higher for tall fescue than for warm-season grasses. Buffalograss exhibited the lowest and tall fescue exhibited the highest reduction in leaf pressure potential (ψP) per unit decline in ψL during dry down. Ranking of grasses for magnitude of OA was buffalograss (0.84 MPa) = zoysiagrass (0.77 MPa) > bermudagrass (0.60 MPa) > tall fescue (0.34 MPa). Grass coverage 2 weeks after irrigation was resumed was correlated positively with magnitude of OA (r = 0.66, P < 0.05).

Open access

Alex J. Lindsey, Joseph DeFrank, and Zhiqiang Cheng

The use of nonpotable water for irrigation on various sport venues has led to an increased use of seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) turf in Hawaii. An ongoing challenge many seashore paspalum turf managers struggle with is bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) infestations. Herbicide efficacy studies were conducted at the Hoakalei Country Club [‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum (fairway cut)] and the Magoon Research Station [‘SeaStar’ seashore paspalum (grown in container)] on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Spray applications of the herbicides mesotrione, topramezone, metribuzin, and ethofumesate were evaluated alone and in tank mixtures for bermudagrass suppression and seashore paspalum injury. At the Hoakalei Country Club, maximum bermudagrass injury with minimal seashore paspalum discoloration was obtained with tank mixes of mesotrione (0.06 lb/acre) + metribuzin (0.19 lb/acre) + ethofumesate (1.00 lb/acre) and topramezone (0.02 lb/acre) + metribuzin (0.19 lb/acre) + ethofumesate (1.00 lb/acre). Unacceptable seashore paspalum turf injury was obtained in all treatments that did not include metribuzin. At the Magoon Research Station, maximum selective bermudagrass suppression was achieved with tank mixes of topramezone (0.01 lb/acre) + ethofumesate (1.00 lb/acre) and topramezone (0.01 lb/acre) + metribuzin (0.09 lb/acre) + ethofumesate (1.00 lb/acre). The addition of metribuzin and/or ethofumesate to the tank mix safened (reduced turf discoloration) seashore paspalum to topramezone or mesotrione foliar bleaching. Tank mixes of mesotrione, topramezone, metribuzin, and ethofumesate have the potential for bermudagrass suppression and control of other grassy weeds in seashore paspalum turf.