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Anne Marie Johnson and Ted Whitwell

In a study examining the potential for production of a field grown wildflower sod, 29 annual and perennial wildflower species were evaluated. Species selection for the study was based on lack of a large taproot, adaptability to the southeastern climate, flowering period, and potential for surviving root undercutting. Species were individually seeded in 1-m2 plots in Fall 1993 and Spring 1994 to determine an optimum planting time. In early Spring 1994, fall seeded plots were undercut at a 5 cm depth with a hand held sod cutter. Spring planted species were undercut in early summer. After undercutting, sod pieces were placed on clear plastic under overhead irrigation for 7 weeks then transplanted to prepared field sites. Ratings for flower appearance, root mat density, top growth vigor and fresh root weights were taken at the time of undercutting and after transplanting. Fall-planted species had a higher survival rate than spring-planted species. Species with the highest ratings and greatest increase in fresh root weights from the time of undercutting to transplanting were yarrow (Achillea millefolium), oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), lance-leaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria), blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata), lemon mint (Monarda citriodora), blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and moss verbena (Verbena tenuisecta).

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Michael W. Smith, Becky S. Cheary, and Becky L. Carroll

Newly planted pecan (Carya illinoinensis Wangenh. C. Koch) trees were grown for 3 years in a tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Shreb. CV. Kentucky 31) sod with vegetation-free circles 0, 0.91, 1.83, 3.66, or 7.32 m in diameter. Trees were irrigated to minimize growth differences associated with water competition from fescue. There were no differences among treatments in total shoot growth after 1 year, but trunk growth was increased by vegetation-free areas. During the second year, trees with a 0.91-m-wide vegetation-free area had twice as much shoot growth, and trunks were twice the size of those without a vegetation-free zone. The third year, trees with a 0.91-m-wide vegetation-free circle had 403% more new shoot growth, and trunks were 202% larger than those without a vegetation-free zone. Cumulative shoot growth was up to 559% greater with vegetation control. Tree growth was similar with a 1.83- or 3.66-m-wide vegetation-free circle, and trees in both treatments were larger than trees with 0- or 0.91-m-wide vegetation-free zones. Extending the vegetation-free zone to 7.32 m wide was not advantageous.

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

Sod heating during storage can limit the distance sod may be shipped. Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of multiple preharvest applications of trinexapac-ethyl [4-cyclopropyl-α-hydroxy-methylene)-3,5-dioxocyclohexanecarboxylic acid methyl ester] at 0.23 kg·ha-1 (0.21 lb/acre) on kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) sod temperatures during the first 24 h of storage. Experimental design was completely randomized with three replications and a 2 (trinexapac-ethyl verses control) × 3 (8-h storage intervals) factorial arrangement of treatments. Trinexapac-ethyl treatments were applied 6 and 2 weeks before harvest in the first experiment and 10, 6, and 2 weeks before harvest in the second experiment. Two and three applications of trinexapac-ethyl reduced sod storage temperatures. The reduction in rate of heating in treated sod became significantly different than untreated sod within 4 h after harvest. Mean sod temperatures in both experiments were 3 °C (6 °F) cooler in treated sod after 12 h of storage than untreated sod. These results suggest that trinexapac-ethyl could be used by sod growers to extend storage times and increase shipping and market areas. A multiple application program can enable sod growers to maximize the enhancement effects of trinexapacethyl on sod storage life.

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Daniel Hargey, Benjamin Wherley, Andrew Malis, James Thomas, and Ambika Chandra

been focused on agronomic factors related to root development during early sod establishment. Amthor and Beard (2014) evaluated effects of transplant timing, receiving soil texture and moisture content, and nitrogen–phosphorus–potassium (N

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John L. Cisar and George H. Snyder

The objective of this experiment was to determine the suitability of a compost obtained from a commercially available solid-waste processing plant for sod production when placed over a plastic barrier. Comparisons were made between compost-grown sod with and without fertilizer and between compost-grown sod and commercially grown sod. Six weeks after seeding or sprigging, both fertilized and nonfertilized compost-grown `Argentine' bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge), `Tifway' bermudagrass (Cynodon transvaalensis × C. dactylon), and `Floratam' St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze.] had discolored leaf blade tissue and poor growth. At 6 weeks, bahiagrass leaf tissue had a low N concentration, which suggested that the compost immobilized fertilizer N. Additionally, initial high salinity of the compost (2.85 dS·m-1) may have contributed to turf discoloration and lack of vigor. However, poor growth and discoloration were temporary. At 3 and 5 months, fertilized compost-grown turfgrasses had higher quality and coverage than nonfertilized sod. At 5 months, fertilized sod had sufficient coverage for harvest, whereas for conventional field production 9 to 24 months generally is required to produce a harvestable product. Compost-grown sod pieces had similar or higher tear resistance than commercially grown sod. One and 3 weeks after transplanting on a sand soil, compost-grown sod produced higher root weight and longer roots in the underlying soil than did commercially grown sod. The solid-waste compost used in this study offers a viable alternative material for producing sod that will benefit solid-waste recycling efforts.

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Susan S. Barton, Jo Mercer, and Charles J. Molnar

Two focus-group sessions were conducted to determine the market potential of a new horticultural product—wildflower sod. One session included homeowners with suburban lots and an interest in wildflowers. Another session included landscape professionals, property managers, and garden center operators. Participants viewed a slide presentation about the uses of wildflowers and wildflower sod, a videotape illustrating wildflower sod installation, and a demonstration plot planted with wildflower sod. The discussion was conducted by an unbiased facilitator. Participants cited the instant effect of wildflower sod as a major advantage. The price was viewed as acceptable for small areas, especially if sod was broken apart and spaced as plugs. Comments from the participants were used to develop an ideal product description and yielded merchandising recommendations.

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P.H. Dernoeden and M.J. Carroll

In this field study, five preemergence and two postemergence herbicides were evaluated for their ability to hasten Meyer zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.) sod development when sod was established from the regrowth of rhizomes, sod strips, and loosened plant debris. Herbicide influence on zoysiagrass re-establishment was examined using two postharvest field preparation procedures as follows: area I was raked to remove most above-ground sod debris, whereas in adjacent area II sod debris was allowed to remain in place. Herbicides that controlled smooth crabgrass [Digitaria ischaemum (Schreb.) Muhl.] generally enhanced zoysiagrass cover by reducing weed competition. Meyer established from rhizomes, sod strips, and loosened plant debris, and treated with herbicides, had a rate of sod formation equivalent to that expected in conventionally tilled, planted, and irrigated Meyer sod fields. Effective smooth crabgrass control was achieved when the rates of most preemergence herbicides were reduced in the 2nd year. Chemical names used: dimethyl 2,3,5,6-tetrachloro-1,4-benzenedicarboxylate (DCPA); 3,5,-pyridinedicarbothioic acid, 2-[difluromethyl]-4-[2-methyl-propyl]-6-(trifluoromethyl)∼S,S-dimethyl ester (dithiopyr); [±]-ethyl 2-[4-[(6-chloro-2-benzoxazolyl)oxy]phenoxy] propanoate (fenoxaprop); 3-[2,4-dichloro-5-(1-methylethoxy)phenyl]-5-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1,3,4-oxadiazol-2-(3H)-one (oxadiazon); N-[1-ethylpropyl)-3,4-dimethyl-2,6-dinitrobenzenamine(pendimethalin);N3,N3-di-n-propyl-2,4-dinitro-6-[trifluromethyl)-m-phenylenediamine (prodiamine); and 3,7-dichloro-8-quinolinecarboxylic acid (quinclorac).

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D.S. Glinski, H.A. Mills, K.J. Karnok, and R.N. Carrow

Root growth of `Penncross' creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) plugs sodded into a sandy loam soil and fertilized with five 1:1, 1:3, and 0:1) were evaluated. Root growth and root: shoot ratios were higher with as the predominant N form. Results from this study indicate should be the predominant N form when rapid and extensive root development is desired for the establishment of sodded bentgrass.

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M.S. Flanagan, R.E. Schmidt, and R.B. Reneau Jr.

The “heavy fraction” portion of a municipal solid waste separation process was evaluated in field experiments as a soil amendment for producing turfgrass sod. Soil organic matter and concentrations of extractable NO3-N, P, K, Ca, and Zn in the soil increased with addition of heavy fraction. Soil incorporation of heavy fraction resulted in greater air, water, and total porosity and lower bulk density of a loamy sandy soil. .Sod strength measurements taken 8.5 and 9.5 months after seeding were higher for Kentucky bluegrass (Poaprutensis L.) grown in heavy-fraction-amended topsoil than for turf grown in topsoil only. The use of this by-product may reduce the time required to produce a marketable sod. Soil incorporation of heavy fraction did not influence post-transplant rooting of Kentucky bluegrass sod but enhanced rooting of bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] sod at the highest rate evaluated. Results of these studies suggest that the use of heavy fraction for sod production may provide cultural benefits in addition to reducing the volume of solid waste deposited in landfills.

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D.M. Glenn and W.V. Welker

Planting sod beneath peach trees (Prunus persica) to control excessive vegetative growth was evaluated from 1987 to 1993 in three field studies. Peach trees were established and maintained in 2.5-m-wide vegetation-free strips for 3 years, and then sod was planted beneath the trees and maintained for 5 to 7 years. Reducing the vegetation-free area beneath established peach trees to a 30- or 60-cm-wide herbicide strip with three grass species (Festuca arundinacae, Festuca rubra, Poa trivialis), reduced total pruning weight/tree in 5 of 16 study-years and weight of canopy suckers in 6 of 7 study-years, while increasing light penetration into the canopy. Fruit yield was reduced by planting sod beneath peach trees in 5 of 18 study-years; however, yield efficiency of total fruit and large fruit (kg yield/cm2 trunk area) were not reduced in one study and in only 1 year in the other two studies. Planting sod beneath peach trees increased available soil water content in all years, and yield efficiency based on evapotranspiration (kg yield/cm soil water use plus precipitation) was the same or greater for trees with sod compared to the 2.5-m-wide herbicide strip. Planting sod beneath peach trees has the potential to increase light penetration into the canopy and may be appropriate for high-density peach production systems where small, efficient trees are needed.