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R.L. Qu, D. Li, R. Du, and R. Qu

Turfgrass, which is widely grown and produces a large amount of biomass, could act as a sink for industrial pollutants in urban and suburban regions. Little research has been conducted regarding heavy metal uptake by turfgrasses. The objective of this study was to evaluate root uptake of lead (Pb) in four turfgrass species. Grasses were grown hydroponically in solutions containing from 0 to 450 mg·L-1 Pb, at either pH 4.5 or 5.5, for 4 or 8 days. A significant quadratic relation existed between Pb accumulation in roots and solution Pb concentration within the tested range. The maximum Pb accumulation in roots of the four species was in the range of 20 mg·g-1 dry root weight. Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and Spartina patens survived at 450 mg·L-1 Pb solution without showing obvious damage while centipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.] and buffalograss [Buchlöe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.] deteriorated or died at this concentration. This study showed that turfgrass plants can absorb heavy metals efficiently and tolerate high Pb concentration in hydroponic solutions and thus may have a potential use in environmental remediation as a biological extractor of lead.

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Suleiman S. Bughrara, David R. Smitley, and David Cappaert

Six grass species representing vegetative and seeded types of native, warm-season and cool-season grasses, and pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica) were evaluated in the greenhouse for resistance to root-feeding grubs of european chafer (Rhizotrogus majalis). Potted bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon), buffalograss (Buchlöe dactyloides), zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica), indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), and pennsylvania sedge grown in a greenhouse were infested at the root zone with 84 grubs per 0.1 m2 or 182 grubs per 0.1 m2. The effects on plant growth, root loss, survival, and weight gain of grubs were determined. Survival rates were similar for low and high grub densities. With comparable densities of grubs, root loss tended to be proportionately less in zoysiagrass and bermudagrass than in other species. European chafer grubs caused greater root loss at higher densities. Grub weight gain and percentage recovery decreased with increasing grub density, suggesting a food limitation even though root systems were not completely devoured. Bermudagrass root weight showed greater tolerance to european chafer grubs; another mechanism is likely involved for zoysiagrass. Variation in susceptibility of plant species to european chafer suggests that differences in the ability of the plants to withstand grub feeding damage may be amenable to improvement by plant selection and breeding.

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Gregory E. Bell, Dennis L. Martin, Kyungjoon Koh, and Holly R. Han

Turfgrass performance can be assessed in terms of visual quality, but evaluators require training and may be distracted by many factors that affect accuracy and consistency. The objectives of this study were to assess a handheld optical sensor (GreenSeeker) for evaluating overall turfgrass quality in three turf species over two growing seasons, and to compare the combined time required for visual evaluation and data entry with the time required for the same functions using the handheld optical sensor. Visual quality ratings and sensor ratings were collected on schedules prescribed by the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program for the 2002 bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.), 2002 buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides), and 2002 zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.) studies in 2003 and 2004. Use of the sensor reduced the time required to complete data collection and data entry by 58% compared with human visual evaluation. Of the three species tested, the bermudagrass evaluation had the strongest correlation between ratings collected by the human evaluator and the sensor [r = 0.79 in 2003 (n = 343), r = 0.85 in 2004 (n = 343)]. The handheld optical sensor provided a consistent, objective evaluation of overall turfgrass quality and required less time than visual evaluation. The handheld optical sensor provides advantages for assessing turfgrass quality that cannot be realized by human evaluation, but the sensor alone is not sufficient for specific evaluations such as color, texture, or density that are routinely characterized by human evaluation.

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Michelle M. Wisdom, Michael D. Richardson, Douglas E. Karcher, Donald C. Steinkraus, and Garry V. McDonald

Early-spring flowering bulbs can increase biodiversity while adding color to lawns and other grassy areas. However, few studies have investigated whether bulbs can flower and persist in warm-season lawns or provide feeding habitat for pollinating insects. Thirty early-spring flowering bulbs, including species of Anemone, Chionodoxa, Crocus, Eranthis, Hyacinthus, Ipheion, Iris, Leucojum, Muscari, and Narcissus, were established in bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L. Pers) and buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) J.T. Columbus] lawns in late autumn 2015 in Fayetteville AR. Bulbs were assessed over three growing seasons for flowering characteristics, persistence, and their ability to attract pollinating insects. A growing degree day model was also developed to predict peak flowering times in our region. Numerous bulb entries produced abundant flowers in bermudagrass and buffalograss lawns in the first year after planting, but persistence and flower production were reduced in both the second and third years of the trial. Five bulbs persisted for multiple years in both turfgrass species and continued to produce flowers, including Crocus flavus Weston ‘Golden Yellow’ (crocus), Leucojum aestivum L. (spring snowflake), Narcissus (daffodil) ‘Baby Moon’, Narcissus ‘Rip Van Winkle’, and Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’. Several bulbs, primarily crocuses and Muscari spp. (grape hyacinth), were also observed to attract pollinating insects, principally honey bees (Apis mellifera). These results demonstrate that some early-spring bulbs can persist in competitive warm-season turfgrasses, while providing pollinator forage, but species and cultivar selection is critical for long-term success.

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Neil L. Heckman, Garald L. Horst, and Roch E. Gaussoin

Buffalograss [Buchloë dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.] is a warm-season perennial grass native to the North American Great Plains region and has been used as a low-maintenance turfgrass. Turf-type buffalograsses are available and are commonly used on nonirrigated land. Our objectives were to determine the deepest planting depth of burrs that would allow acceptable emergence, and to evaluate planting depth effects on buffalograss seedling morphology. Two greenhouse experiments were conducted in Fall 2000. Experimental design was a randomized complete block with 4 replications and a 3 (cultivar) × 6 (planting depth) factorial treatment arrangement. Results showed that buffalograss emergence decreased as planting depth increased. All cultivars had <10% total emergence at planting depths >50 mm. Emergence rate indices were greatest when planting depth was 13 mm and were significantly lower at planting depths of 51 and 76 mm. Average coleoptile length was 11 mm. Coleoptile length was similar between all planting depths except for the 13 mm depth which resulted in 9-mm-long coleoptile. Subcoleoptile internode length increased with planting depth up to 38 mm. Planting depths deeper than 38 mm did not significantly increase subcoleoptile internode length.

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J. Ryan Stewart and Roger Kjelgren

Infrared sensors were used to quantify canopy temperature and thus detect differences in incipient water stress between a cool-season grass [Kentucky bluegrass (KBG) (Poa pratensis)] and a warm-season grass [buffalograss (BG) (Buchloe dactyloides)]. The infrared sensors, connected to a datalogger, measured average hourly leaf–air temperatures (TL–TA) 1 m above eight replicate plots of Kentucky bluegrass and eight replicate plots of buffalograss. Air temperature and relative humidity from a nearby weather station were used to calculate the average hourly vapor pressure deficit (VPD). In late July, we ceased irrigating and measured TL–TA and soil water content while allowing the turf to dry down for 5 weeks. Soil water content was measured with a neutron probe. Both species exhibited a significant relationship between TL–TA and VPD. As the VPD increased, TL–TA decreased in both species (KBG r 2 = 0.73, BG r 2 = 0.71) on the 2nd day after an irrigation during well-watered conditions. An artifact was created on the first day after an irrigation as a result of excessive surface evaporation. KBG and BG were similar under well-watered conditions. KBG had a higher TL–TA after 4 to 5 days without irrigation. By contrast, BG did not have a higher TL–TA until 25 to 30 days without irrigation. Part of BG's drought avoidance was extraction of soil water down to 0.9 m vs. 0.45 m for KBG.

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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).

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R.C. Shearman, H. Budak, S. Severmutlu, and R.E. Gaussoin

Little or no research information exists in the literature regarding recommended seeding rates of improved turf-type buffalograss (Buchloë dactyloides) cultivars, like `Bowie'. This research was conducted to determine the effect of bur seeding rate on turfgrass establishment of `Bowie' buffalograss. Two experiments were initiated on 21 July 2002 on diverse sites at the John Seaton Anderson Turfgrass Research Facility located near Mead, Nebr. Bur seeding rate effects on turfgrass quality, shoot density and cover, and seedling density were evaluated during the 2002 and 2003 growing seasons. Burs were seeded at 2.5, 5, 10, 20, and 40 g·m–2 (0.51, 1.0, 2.0, 4.1, and 8.2 lb/1000 ft2) of pure live seed (PLS). Turfgrass quality ratings increased linearly with bur seeding rate during the first growing season. However, by early in the second growing season, the response was quadratic with little or no difference in quality between 10 and 40 g·m–2. Turfgrass cover ratings responded in a similar manner to the quality ratings. Buffalograss is reported to establish slowly, taking more than one growing season to establish an acceptable level. In this study, `Bowie', a turf-type cultivar, had acceptable turfgrass quality (≥5.0) and cover (≥75%) ratings by 3 months at bur seeding rates of 5 to 40 g·m–2 of PLS, and acceptable quality and cover ratings were obtained at slightly over 1 month at rates of 20 to 40 g·m–2. These results indicate that bur seeding rates of 20 to 40 g·m–2 are advisable where rapid establishment of turf-type buffalograss is desired, and rates as low as 5 g·m–2 can be used when establishment within two growing seasons is deemed reasonable.

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Shuizhang Fei, Paul E. Read, and Terrance P. Riordan

The use of buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm] in home lawns and golf courses has been increasing because of its drought resistance and low growth habit. In vitro regeneration of buffalograss at a high frequency may provide an effective tool to introduce new variation for breeding use. The positive effects of AgNO3 on friable embryogenic callus production and regeneration efficiency is well documented in maize. In order to determine if AgNO3 has the same effect on buffalograss, two vegetatively propagated cultivars, a female `609' and a male `45-3' were tested at three different concentrations of AgNO3 at 5, 10, and 15 mg·L–1 using immature inflorescences as explants. Murashige and Skoog medium supplemented with 2 mg 2,4-D/L was employed as the control medium. Medium containing AgNO3 significantly promoted the production of friable callus for `45-3' with the highest percentage achieved at 10 mg AgNO3/L. AgNO3 medium led to production of significantly larger calli than found for the control. However, no difference was detected among 5, 10, and 15 mg AgNO3/L with regard to the callus formation ability and the size of callus initiated on these three treatments. Calli were then transferred to MS medium supplemented with BA at 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0 mg·L–1 to induce shoot formation. BA at 0.5 mg·L–1 gave the best differentiation response. Calli formed in the absence of AgNO3 produced more shoots per callus, but more calli were produced in the presence of AgNO3, and the overall regeneration efficiency was much higher with AgNO3 at 10 mg·L–1. In contrast, AgNO3 showed no promotive effect on callus production and regeneration for `609'.

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Jack D. Fry, Roch E. Gaussoin, Dan D. Beran, and Robert A. Masters

Field studies were conducted at two sites in Nebraska (NE1 and NE2) and one site in Kansas (KS) in 1994 to determine the influence of selected preemergence herbicides on establishment of seeded `Sharp's Improved' buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.]. Herbicides were applied within 2 days after seeding. Application of imazethapyr at 0.07 kg·ha-1 usually resulted in buffalograss seedling density, vigor, and foliar cover that were superior to buffalograss stands where other herbicides were applied. Buffalograss response to AC 263,222 at 0.07 kg·ha-1 was variable and appeared to be influenced by level of weed interference. Seedling density and vigor of buffalograss on areas treated with AC 263,222 were the same or less than on nontreated areas at KS and NE2, where weed infestations were low and moderate [5% and 45% weed foliar cover 12 weeks after treatment (WAT) on nontreated areas]. In contrast, buffalograss establishment was similar in AC 263,222- and imazethapyr-treated plots at NE1 where the weed infestation was high (>70% weed foliar cover 12 WAT on nontreated areas). At 12 WAT, weed foliar cover was <25 % at NE1 and <1 % at NE2 where imazethapyr and AC 263,222 were applied. Of all herbicides evaluated, imazethapyr at 0.07 kg·ha-1 was superior for suppressing annual grass and broadleaf weeds with no observable deleterious effects on buffalograss establishment from seed. Chemical names used: ±2-[4,5-dihydro-4-methyl-4-(l-methylethyl)-5-oxo-lH-imidazol-2-yl]-5-methyl-pyridine carboxylic acid (AC 263,222); 2-[4,5-dihydro-4-methyl-4-(l-methylethyl)-5-oxo-lH-imidazol-2-yl]-5-ethyl-3-pyridinecarboxylic acid (imazethapyr); 6-chloro-N,N′-diethyl-l,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (simazine).