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Xiaozhong Liu and Bingru Huang

Summer decline in turf quality of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Hud.) is a major problem in golf course green management. The objective of this study was to examine whether seasonal changes and cultivar variations in turf performance are associated with changes in photosynthesis and respiration rates for creeping bentgrass. The study was conducted on a USGA-specification putting green in Manhattan, Kans., during 1997 and 1998. Four creeping bentgrass cultivars, `L-93', `Crenshaw', `Penncross', and `Providence', were examined. Grasses were mowed daily at 4 mm and irrigated on alternate days to replace 100% of daily water loss. In both years, turf quality, canopy net photosynthetic rate (Pn), and leaf photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) were high in May and June and decreased to the lowest levels in July through September. Whole-plant respiration rate (R) and canopy minus air temperature (▵T) increased during summer months. In October, turf quality and Pn increased, whereas R and T decreased. During summer months, turf quality was highest for `L-93', lowest for `Penncross', and intermediate for `Providence' and `Crenshaw'. Seasonal changes and cultivar variations in turf quality were associated with the decreasing photosynthetic rate and increasing respiration rate.

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Zhaolong Wang, Bingru Huang, and Qingzhang Xu

Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important hormone regulating plant response to drought stress. The objective of this study was to investigate effects of exogenous ABA application on turf performance and physiological activities of kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) in response to drought stress. Plants of two kentucky bluegrass cultivars, `Brilliant' (drought susceptible) and `Midnight' (drought tolerant), were treated with ABA (100 μm) or water by foliar application and then grown under drought stress (no irrigation) or well-watered (irrigation on alternate days) conditions in a growth chamber. The two cultivars responded similarly to ABA application under both watering regimes. Foliar application of ABA had no effects on turf quality or physiological parameters under well-watered conditions. ABA application, however, helped maintain higher turf quality and delayed the quality decline during drought stress, compared to the untreated control. ABA-treated plants exposed to drought stress had higher cell membrane stability, as indicated by less electrolyte leakage of leaves, and higher photochemical efficiency, expressed as Fv/Fm, compared to untreated plants. Leaf water potential was not significantly affected, whereas leaf turgor pressure increased with ABA application after 9 and 12 d of drought. Osmotic adjustment increased with ABA application, and was sustained for a longer period of drought in `Midnight' than in `Brilliant'. The results suggested that exogenous ABA application improved turf performance during drought in both drought-sensitive and tolerant cultivars of kentucky bluegrass. This positive effect of ABA could be related to increased osmotic adjustment, cell turgor maintenance, and reduced damage to cell membranes and the photosynthetic system.

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Erik H. Ervin, Xunzhong Zhang, and John H. Fike

High ultraviolet-B (UV-B; 290-320 nm wavelength) radiation may significantly contribute to the quality decline and death of kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) sod during summer transplanting. Antioxidants and protective pigments may be involved in plant defense against oxidative stress caused by UV-B. Selected exogenous hormones may alleviate UV-B damage by upregulating plant defense systems. The objectives of this study were to determine if exogenous hormone or hormone-like substances could alleviate UV-B damage to `Georgetown' kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) under greenhouse conditions. The hormone salicylic acid at 150 mg·m-2 and the hormone-containing substances, humic acid (HA) at 150 mg·m-2 and seaweed extract (SWE) at 50 mg·m-2, were applied to plugs of kentucky bluegrass and then subjected to UV-B radiation (70 μmol·m-2·s-1). The UV-B irradiation stress reduced turf quality by 51% to 66% and photochemical efficiency by 63% to 68% when measured 10 or 12 days after initiation of UV-B. Endogenous alpha-tocopherol (AT) and antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase) were reduced by UV-B stress. Anthocyanin content was increased from day 1 to 5 and then decreased from day 5 to 10 of continuous UV-B irradiation. Application of SA and HA + SWE enhanced photochemical efficiency by 86% and 82%, respectively, when measured 10 or 12 days after UV-B initiation. In addition, application of the hormonal supplements increased AT concentration, SOD, catalase activity, and anthocyanin content when compared to the control at 10 days after UV-B initiation. Bluegrass with greater AT concentration and SOD and catalase activity exhibited better visual quality under UV-B stress. The results of this study suggest that foliar application of SA and HA + SWE may alleviate decline of photochemical efficiency and turf quality associated with increased UV-B light levels during summer.

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Erik H. Ervin, Xunzhong Zhang, and John H. Fike

High ultraviolet-B (UV-B; 290-320nm wavelength) may significantly contribute to kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) sod death at harvest and transplanting. As terrestrial UV-B levels continue to increase due to a depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer this problem may worsen. Epidermal attenuation from pigments and detoxification of reactive oxygen species by antioxidant metabolites and enzymes are involved in plant defense against oxidative stress caused by UV-B. Our objective was to determine whether the attenuation and detoxification systems of kentucky bluegrass could be artificially boosted by exogenous applications of ascorbic acid (AA), alpha-tocopherol (AT), or a colorant before exposure to high levels of UV-B. Ascorbic acid, AT, and the colorant Green Lawnger (GL), were applied to plugs of mature kentucky bluegrass alone or in combination, and then subjected to artificial, continuous UV-B exposure (70 μmol·m-2·s-1); three greenhouse experiments were conducted. By 3 to 5 days after UV-B initiation, visual quality and photochemical efficiency, as measured by chlorophyll fluorescence were significantly reduced. However, in Expt. 1, AA alleviated decline of visual quality, delayed loss of photochemical efficiency, and increased recovery relative to the control. In Expt. 3, decreased endogenous AT and antioxidant enzyme activities were measured due to UV-B stress. Application of AA, AA + AT, or GL partially alleviated photochemical efficiency decline from 4 to 12 days after initiation of UV-B. In addition, application of the chemical treatments increased leaf tissue AT concentrations by 32% to 42%, increased SOD activity by 30% to 33% and increased catalase activity by 37% to 59%, relative to the control as measured 10 days after UV-B initiation. Greater AT concentration and SOD and catalase activities were associated with greater visual quality under UV-B stress. The results of these studies indicate that kentucky bluegrass UV-B tolerance may be increased by supplementing its pigment and antioxidant defense systems with foliar applications of AA, AT or GL.

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Sarah E. Bruce, D. Bradley Rowe, and James A. Flore

Chlorophyll fluorescence over the course of stem cutting propagation was examined in 10 cultivars of Taxus ×media (Taxus baccata L. × T. cuspidata Sieb. & Zucc.), including `Brownii', `Dark Green Pyramidalis', `Dark Green Spreader', `Densiformis', `Densiformis Gem', `Hicksii', `L.C. Bobbink', `Runyan', `Tauntoni', and `Wardii'. The fluorescence value measured was the ratio of variable over maximum chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm). This value reflects the maximum dark-adapted photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (PSII) reaction centers involved in photosynthesis and is an indirect measure of plant stress. The objective of this study was to examine Fv/Fm as a method for stock plant selection and for monitoring rooting progress of various cultivars. Fv/Fm varied significantly (P ≤ 0.05) among cultivars, initially and over time. However, there was significant overlap among some cultivars. The Fv/Fm decreased dramatically during cold storage, but usually returned to original levels after several weeks in the propagation beds. This appeared to be a reflection of the reduction of water stress as the cuttings formed roots. Initial stock plant Fv/Fm was not correlated (P ≤ 0.05) with rooting percentage, root number, root dry weight, or root length, indicating that Fv/Fm is not a reliable indicator of stock plant rooting potential. Visual assessment is just as reliable.

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Xunzhong Zhang, E.H. Ervin, and R.E. Schmidt

Decline of sod quality during the transportation, storage, and transplant stages of sale is a primary economic concern of sod producers. However, the mechanisms of extending sod quality during storage, transportation, and transplantation remain unclear. This study was conducted to investigate the influences of selected plant metabolic enhancers (PMEs) seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum Jol.) extract (SWE), humic acid [93% a.i. (HA)], and propiconazole (PPC), on sod tolerance to stress during storage and posttransplant root growth of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) sod. The SWE + HA, and PPC were applied alone, or in a combination, to tall fescue 2 weeks before harvest. Photochemical efficiency (PE) of photosystem II was measured immediately before harvest. The harvested sod was subjected to high temperature stress (40 °C) for 72 or 96 hours. The heated sod was replanted in the field and posttransplant injury and root strength were determined. On average over 1999 and 2000, application of SWE (50 mg·m-2) + HA (150 mg·m-2), PPC (0.30 mL·m-2), and a combination of SWE + HA with PPC (0.15 mL·m-2), enhanced PE of preharvest sod by 8.5%, 9.1%, and 11.2%, respectively, and increased posttransplant rooting by 20.6%, 34.6%, and 20.2%, respectively. All PME treatments reduced visual injury except SWE + HA and SWE + HA + PPC in 1999. Extension of heat duration from 72 to 96 hours caused significantly more injury to the sod and reduced posttransplant rooting by 22.9% averaged over 2 years. The data suggest that foliar application of SWE + HA, PPC alone, or in a combination with SWE + HA, may reduce shipment heat injury and improve posttransplant rooting and quality of tall fescue sod. Chemical name used: 1-(2-(2,4-dichloropheny)-4-propyl-1,3-dioxolan-2yl)methyl-1-H-1,2,4-triazole [propiconazole (PPC)].

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Qingzhang Xu, Bingru Huang, and Zhaolong Wang

High air and soil temperatures are major factors limiting growth of cool-season grasses. A previous study by the authors reported that a soil temperature reduction of only 3 °C when air temperature was maintained at 35 °C significantly improved shoot and root growth of creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera L. var. palustris (Huds.) Farw. (syn. A. palustris Huds.)]. This study was designed to investigate the responses of photosynthetic activities of creeping bentgrass to lowered root-zone temperatures from the supraoptimal level when shoots were exposed to high air temperature. Two cultivars of creeping bentgrass, `L-93' and `Penncross', were exposed to the following air/root-zone temperature regimes in growth chambers and water baths: 1) optimal air and soil temperatures (20/20 °C, control); 2) lowering soil temperature by 3, 6, and 11 °C from 35 °C at high air temperatures (35/32, 35/29, and 35/24 °C); and 3) high air and soil temperatures (35/35 °C). Soil temperature was reduced from 35 °C by circulating cool water (18 °C) in water baths at variable flow rates. Both cultivars had similar responses to high or low root-zone temperatures with high air temperature. High air and root-zone temperatures caused significant reductions in canopy photosynthetic rate (Pcanopy), single-leaf photosynthetic rate (Pleaf), leaf chlorophyll content, photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) activity, beginning on day 1 of high air and soil temperature stress for Pcanopy and Pleaf, and day 7 for chlorophyll content, Fv/Fm, and Rubisco activity. The 3 °C reduction in root-zone temperature at high air temperature had no effect on those photosynthetic parameters, except chlorophyll content. Reducing root-zone temperature by 6 °C or 11 °C while maintaining air temperature at 35 °C significantly improved Pcanopy, Poleaf, leaf chlorophyll content, Fv/Fm, and Rubisco activity. Single leaf photosynthetic rate at 35/24 °C was not different from the control level, but Pcanopy at 35/24 °C was lower than the control level. A reduction in root-zone temperature enhanced canopy and single-leaf photosynthetic capacity even though shoots were exposed to supraoptimal air temperature, which could contribute to improved turfgrass growth.

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Xunzhong Zhang, E.H. Ervin, and R.E. Schmidt

Ultraviolet-B [UV-B (280-320 nm)] radiation is one of the major factors causing quality decline of transplanted sod. Pigments and antioxidants are associated with plant stress resistance, but their roles in turfgrass tolerance to UV-B damage are not well understood. The objectives of this study were to determine if kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) cultivars with darker green genetic leaf color possessed greater pigment and antioxidant defense capacities and if such characteristics were associated with greater resistance to UV-B. Two cultivars, `Moonlight' (dark green) and `Limerick' (light green), were selected and subjected to continuous, artificial UV-B radiation (70 μmol·m-2·s-1). UV-B irradiation reduced turf quality by 58% (`Moonlight') and 77% (`Limerick') relative to day 1 when measured 10 days after initiation of UV-B exposure. Higher canopy photochemical efficiency (PEc) was found in `Moonlight' relative to `Limerick' under UV-B stress and during recovery. `Moonlight' contained greater levels of chlorophyll (1.5 to1.6-fold), carotenoids (1.3-fold), superoxide dismutase [SOD (1.0-fold)] and catalase [CAT (1.5-fold)] than `Limerick' when measured at 10 days after UV-B initiation. Turfgrass quality and PEc were positively correlated with pigments (chlorophyll and carotenoids) and antioxidant enzymes (SOD and CAT), and negatively correlated with lipid peroxidation. The results suggest that selecting dark-green cultivars with greater pigment content and antioxidant activity may be an effective approach for turfgrass breeders and sod producers to improve tolerance of newly transplanted sod to environments with higher UV-B radiation.

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Desmond R. Layne and J.A. Flore

, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate; SLD, specific leaf density TCA, trunk cross-sectional area; to, photochemical efficiency or quantum yield. 1 Graduate Research Assistant. 2 Professor. We acknowledge the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station for their support

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Desmond R. Layne and J.A. Flore

The source-sink ratio of l-year-old, potted `Montmorency' sour cherry (Prunus cerasus) trees was manipulated by partial defoliation (D) or continuous lighting (CL) to investigate the phenomenon of end-product inhibition of photosynthesis. Within 24 hours of D, net CO2 assimilation rate (A) of the most recently expanded source leaves of D plants was significantly higher than nondefoliated (control) plants throughout the diurnal photoperiod. Between 2 and 7 days after D, A was 30% to 50% higher and stomatal conductance rate (g,) was 50% to 100% higher than in controls. Estimated carboxylation efficiency(k) and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) regeneration rate increased significantly within 2 days and remained consistently higher for up to 9 days after D. Leaf starch concentration and dark respiration rate decreased but sorbitol and sucrose concentration increased after D. The diurnal decline in A in the afternoon after D may have been due to feedback inhibition from accumulation of soluble carbohydrates (sucrose and sorbitol) in the cytosol. This diurnal decline indicated that trees were sink limited. By 9 days after D, photochemical efficiency was significantly higher than in control plants. In the long term, leaf senescence was delayed as indicated by higher A and gs in combination with higher chlorophyll content up to 32 days after D. CL resulted in a significant reduction of A, gs, k, variable chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv), photochemical efficiency, and estimated RuBP regeneration rate of the most recently expanded source leaves within 1 day. During the exposure to CL, A was reduced 2- to 3-fold and k was reduced up to 4-fold. The normal linear relationship between A and gs was uncoupled under CL indicating that A was not primarily limited by gs and since internal CO2 concentration was not significantly affected, the physical limitation to A imposed by the stomata was negligible. The decrease in Fv and photochemical efficiency indicated that leaves were photoinhibited within 1 day. The decrease in instantaneous chlorophyll fluorescence after at least 1 day of CL indicated that there was a reversible regulatory mechanism whereby the damage to photosystem II reaction centers was repaired. Leaf chlorophyll content was not altered by 1,2, or 3 days of exposure to CL, indicating that photooxidation of chlorophytl did not occur. The time to full photosynthetic recovery from CL increased as the duration of exposure increased. CL plants that were photoinhibited accumulated significant starch in the chloroplast in a companion study (Layne and Flore, 1993) and it is possible that an orthophosphate limitation in the chloroplast stroma was occurring. D plants that were continuously illuminated were not photosynthetically inhibited. After 7 days of CL, plants that were then partially defoliated yet remained in CL photosynthetically recovered within 5 days to pre-CL values. Under the conditions of this investigation, end-product inhibition of A occurred in young, potted sour cherry trees but the mechanism of action in D plants was different than in CL plants.