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David Kohanbash, George Kantor, Todd Martin and Lauren Crawford

Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are increasingly becoming a critical tool for growers and researchers. We describe how the technology has advanced, starting with a commercially available WSN node and pushing the technology to make the data more meaningful, actionable and to add advanced irrigation control functionality. User features such as spatial views, custom charts, real-time data access, remote access, irrigation control, alerts, and plant models help create an advanced WSN system that is user centric. Growers and researchers were involved in the design process by directly communicating with the design engineers, and continuously using and testing new features, resulting in a user-centric design and experience. The results of this research are being rolled into a new line of commercial products and is continuously evolving based on user feedback and interaction.

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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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F.B. Iriarte, J.D. Fry, D.L Martin, T.C. Todd and N.A. Tisserat

Spring dead spot (SDS), caused by three root-infecting species of Ophiosphaerella, is a destructive disease of bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.L.C. Rich). We tested the effects of incubation temperature and duration, and exposure to decreasing freezing temperatures on bermudagrass shoot survival following inoculation with SDS pathogens. Inoculated plants exposed to freezing temperatures as high as -2 °C following a two month incubation exhibited extensive shoot mortality and had SDS symptoms consistent with those observed in the field. Lowering the freezing temperature from -2 to -8 °C increased disease severity and shoot mortality on noninoculated bermudagrass. Inoculated bermudagrass incubated for 1 month in the greenhouse, then for an additional month at 4 °C had greater shoot mortality following freezing than plants incubated at 25 °C. Although cold acclimation and freezing intensified SDS symptoms, the technique did not reliably distinguish between resistant and susceptible cultivars.

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William C. Johnson, William C. Johnson, Martin Goffinet, Mary J. Welser, Terence L. Robinson, H. Todd Holleran, Karl J. Niklas and Steve A. Hoying

An increased incidence of graft union failure of apple trees during high wind events has been noted by researchers participating in the NC-140 regional rootstock testing project for certain rootstock-scion combinations. By measuring the strength of graft unions in a survey of mature apple trees in multiple stock-scion combinations, we have determined that there are significant differences. These differences may be attributable to genotype specific characteristics of rootstocks, scions, and/or rootstock-scion interactions. We are presently exploring potential biophysical and anatomical differences related to weak graft unions of apple rootstock and scion varieties. As traits correlated with weak graft unions are identified, they will be useful to help growers avoid the rootstock-scion combinations that are particularly susceptible to tree failure.