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Shelley E. Mitchell and Justin Q. Moss

This study examines the impact of a residential horticultural career academy, Camp Tomorrow’s Undergraduates Realizing the Future (TURF), conducted from 2010 to 2016 at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, OK. Each year, up to 25 Oklahoma high school students were engaged in 2 weeks of hands-on activities representing a variety of horticulture-related careers. Instructors for Camp TURF included OSU faculty, staff, and graduate students from the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, related OSU departments, and horticulture and landscape architecture industry professionals. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education sponsored this career academy, which was geared toward potential first-generation college students, and helped to expose students to the university atmosphere as well as expand their knowledge of science- and math-related career fields. Pre- and postassessments given at Camp TURF show significant changes in college readiness and familiarity with horticulture careers, but did not necessarily increase interest in particular horticulture and landscape architecture careers. Upon following up with academy graduates, we learned that the academy has been a positive experience for numerous attendees, with 76.6% going on to higher education and two students majoring in horticulture and landscape architecture-related areas.

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Mingying Xiang, Justin Q. Moss, Dennis L. Martin and Yanqi Wu

Turfgrass managers are using reclaimed water as an irrigation resource because of the decreasing availability and increasing cost of fresh water. Much attention, thereby, has been drawn to select salinity-tolerant turfgrass cultivars. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the relative salinity tolerance of 10 common bermudagrasses (Cynodon dactylon) under a controlled environment in a randomized complete block design with six replications. ‘SeaStar’ seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) was included in this study as a salinity-tolerant standard. All entries were tested under four salinity levels (1.5, 15, 30, and 45 dS·m−1) consecutively using subirrigation systems. The relative salinity tolerance among entries was determined by various parameters, including the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), percentage green cover determined by digital image analysis (DIA), leaf firing (LF), turf quality (TQ), shoot vertical growth (VG), and dark green color index (DGCI). Results indicated that salinity tolerance varied among entries. Except LF, all parameters decreased as the salinity levels of the irrigation water increased. ‘Princess 77’ and ‘Yukon’ provided the highest level of performance among the common bermudagrass entries at the 30 dS·m−1 salinity level. At 45 dS·m−1, the percent green cover as measured using DIA varied from 4.97% to 16.11% among common bermudagrasses, where ‘SeaStar’ with a DIA of 22.92% was higher than all the common bermudagrass entries. The parameters LF, TQ, NDVI, DGCI, VG, and DIA were all correlated with one another. Leaf firing had the highest correlation with other parameters, which defined its value as a relative salinity tolerance measurement for common bermudagrass development and selection.

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Tracy A. Boyer, D. Harshanee W. Jayasekera and Justin Q. Moss

Outdoor irrigation water conservation in the commercial sector has rarely been studied. Periodic drought stress in Oklahoma has forced utilities departments, including the City of Oklahoma City, to seek ways of conserving water in both the residential and nonresidential sectors. Most of these efforts largely targeted the residential sector. In this study, we determined the willingness of commercial businesses in the Oklahoma City metro area to participate in water conservation methods, such as installing soil moisture sensors (SMCs), installing smart irrigation controllers (SICs) for their businesses, and participating in voluntary landscape irrigation assessments (LIA). We conducted a mail survey of 3000 commercial customers in which we used contingent valuation (CV) questions to elicit the financial savings that would induce participation in an LIA or adoption of SIC [n = 381 (13.7% response)]. A subsample experimental group received detailed information about future block rate water increases. Results of the study indicate that at current water utilities rates, commercial businesses are unlikely to adopt these conservation methods, but including information about future rate hikes may induce a subset of individuals to participate.

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Monika Ghimire, Tracy A. Boyer, Chanjin Chung and Justin Q. Moss

This study compares preference shares of stress-tolerant, low-maintenance, and low-cost turfgrass attributes in five states (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas) in the southeastern and midsouthern United States using the discrete choice experiment (DCE) and the best–worst method (BWM). An online survey was conducted and a mixed logit model (MLM) was used to determine the homeowners’ relative preferences for turfgrass attributes. The results of a survey of 1179 household consumers indicate that the most preferred attribute using either of the methods was low maintenance cost in all the states. Although the relative importance (preference share) by the DCE and the BWM for each attribute is statistically different, both methods yield a similar preference ordering for low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and saline-tolerant turf, but a different ordering for shade-tolerant and low purchase–price turf. This study provides a framework for turfgrass researchers and producers to invest and expand outreach on desirable turfgrass attributes for homeowners.

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Mingying Xiang, Justin Q. Moss, Dennis L. Martin, Kemin Su, Bruce L. Dunn and Yanqi Wu

Bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is a highly productive, warm-season, perennial grass that has been grown in the United States for turfgrass, forage, pasture, rangeland, and roadside use. At the same time, many bermudagrass production and reclamation sites across the United States are affected by soil salinity issues. Therefore, identifying bermudagrass with improved salinity tolerance is important for successfully producing bermudagrass and for reclaiming salt-affected sites with saline irrigated water. In this project, the relative salinity tolerance of seven clonal-type bermudagrass was determined, including industry standards and an Oklahoma State University (OSU) experimental line. The experiment was conducted under a controlled environment with six replications of each treatment. Seven bermudagrass entries were exposed to four salinity levels (1.5, 15, 30, and 45 dS·m−1) consecutively via subirrigation systems. The relative salinity tolerance among entries was determined by normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), digital image analysis (DIA), leaf firing (LF), turf quality (TQ), shoot dry weight (SW), visual rating (VR), and dark green color index (DGCI). Results indicated that there were variable responses to salinity stress among the entries studied. As salinity levels of the irrigation water increased, all evaluation criterion decreased, except LF. All entries had acceptable TQ when exposed to 15 dS·m−1. When exposed to 30 dS·m−1, experimental entry OKC1302 had less LF than all other entries except ‘Tifway’, while ‘Midlawn’ showed more LF than all the entries. Leaf firing ranged from 1.0 to 2.7 at 45 dS·m−1, where ‘Tifway’ outperformed all other entries. At 45 dS·m−1, the live green cover as measured using DIA ranged from 3.07% to 24.72%. The parameters LF, TQ, NDVI, DGCI, SW, and DIA were all highly correlated with one another, indicating their usefulness as relative salinity tolerance measurements.

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Kemin Su, Justin Q. Moss, Guolong Zhang, Dennis L. Martin and Yanqi Wu

Drought stress is a major limiting factor for warm-season turfgrass growth during the summer in the U.S. transition zone. Genotypic variation in drought resistance exists among bermudagrasses (Cynodon sp.), but the mechanisms of drought resistance are poorly understood. Our objectives were to investigate physiological changes in three bermudagrass cultivars under a well-watered condition and drought stress. to determine expression differences in soluble protein and dehydrin of the three cultivars under well-watered and drought stress conditions, and to identify the association between dehydrin proteins and drought tolerance. Grasses included a high drought-resistant cultivar, Celebration, a low drought-resistant cultivar, Premier, and a newly released cultivar, Latitude 36. In both well-watered and drought treatments, ‘Latitude 36’ had the highest visual quality and lower or medium electrolyte leakage among three cultivars. In the drought treatment, 16- and 23-kDa dehydrin proteins were observed in ‘Latitude 36’ but not in ‘Celebration’ or ‘Premier’. Our results indicate that the 16- and 23-kDa dehydrin expressions could be associated with drought tolerance and contribute to drought tolerance in bermudagrass.

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Tilin Fang, Yanqi Wu, Shiva Makaju, Todd Tribble, Dennis L. Martin and Justin Q. Moss

Turfgrass varietal identification is critical and allows turfgrass professionals to manage the turf based on the cultural requirements of the variety. On the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Baseball Field (OSUBF) in Stillwater, OK, some bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) plants exhibited desirable traits but their exact identities were unknown due to the installation of multiple varieties over time. Accordingly, the major objective of this study was to identify if the desirable bermudagrass plants were from commercially available known varieties. Recently, the OSU turf bermudagrass breeding program developed and entered three fairway-type clonal bermudagrasses in the 2013 National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) bermudagrass trial: OKC 1131, OKC 1163, and OKC 1302. The secondary objective was to create molecular marker profiles for these three experimental lines. Five OSUBF samples were analyzed using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, along with 24 clonal, commercially available turf bermudagrass varieties widely used in Oklahoma, the three OSU experimental clones, six randomly selected single plants from ‘Riviera’, and two controls for common bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and african bermudagrass (Cynodon transvaalensis). SSR marker genotyping data indicated that the five OSUBF plants were clones of an identical bermudagrass. The OSUBF bermudagrass had the same fingerprint as ‘Astro-DLM’ bermudagrass for 14 out of 16 SSRs genotyped. Fifteen out of 30 additional SSR markers also showed differences between the OSUBF bermudagrass and ‘Astro-DLM’. The three OSU experimental clones were different from each other and had different fingerprints from the other tested varieties based on SSR profiles, indicating they are new breeding lines. These four distinct lines have potential to be released as new varieties if they demonstrate superior turf quality traits and adaptation over time.

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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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Brian M. Schwartz, Wayne W. Hanna, Lisa L. Baxter, Paul L. Raymer, F. Clint Waltz, Alec R. Kowalewski, Ambika Chandra, A. Dennis Genovesi, Benjamin G. Wherley, Grady L. Miller, Susana R. Milla-Lewis, William C. Reynolds, Yanqi Wu, Dennis L. Martin, Justin Q. Moss, Michael P. Kenna, J. Bryan Unruh, Kevin E. Kenworthy, Jing Zhang and Patricio R. Munoz