Drought is a major factor limiting the growth of turfgrasses in many areas. The functional relationship of drought stress and accumulation of various ions in turfgrasses is not well understood. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of drought on root growth and accumulation of several major nutrients in three tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) cultivars varying in drought tolerance (Falcon II = Houndog V > Rebel Jr). Grasses were grown in well-watered or drying (nonirrigated) soil for 35 days in a greenhouse. Drought conditions limited total root length to a greater extent for `Rebel Jr' than for `Falcon II' and `Houndog V', while specific root length (SRL) was greater in `Falcon II' and `Houndog V' than in `Rebel Jr'. Concentrations of N, P, and Mg decreased, whereas those of K, Ca, and Fe increased, in shoots of drought-stressed plants of all three cultivars. Root N was not affected, but root P decreased in `Rebel Jr', and root K decreased in all three cultivars under drought conditions. Drought reduced the proportions of N and P in shoots and increased those in roots, while increasing the proportion of K in shoots and decreasing that in roots. During drought stress, both `Falcon II' and `Houndog V' maintained higher K concentration in shoots, and `Falcon II' in roots, than did `Rebel Jr', but `Rebel Jr' and `Houndog V' had higher Fe concentration in shoots than did `Falcon II'. The higher K and lower Fe accumulations in shoots could contribute to better drought tolerance of tall fescue cultivars.
Patrick Burgess and Bingru Huang
Elevated CO2 may contribute toward plant tolerance to prolonged drought stress. The objective of this study was to investigate changes in protein abundance associated with mitigation of drought stress by elevated CO2 in leaves of a cool-season grass species used as fine turfgrass. Plants of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera cv. Penncross) were grown at either ambient CO2 concentration (400 µL·L−1) or elevated CO2 concentration (800 µL·L−1) for 35 days under well-irrigated and fertilized conditions and then subjected to drought stress for 21 days by withholding irrigation. Plants exposed to elevated CO2 concentration maintained higher leaf water content, membrane stability, and visual turf quality (TQ) under drought stress compared with plants grown under ambient CO2 conditions. The abundance of proteins involved in photosynthetic carbon fixation and assimilation, including chloroplastic glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase A (GAPDH-A) and ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (RuBisCO) decreased less and the abundance of proteins involved in respiratory metabolism (i.e., cytosolic GAPDH) increased less during drought due to elevated CO2. The results suggest that elevated CO2 lessened growth and physiological damages during drought by facilitating ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate regeneration and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production in photosynthesis and downregulating factors contributing to respiratory metabolism.
Yiwei Jiang and Bingru Huang
Heat and drought are two major factors limiting growth of cool-season grasses during summer. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of heat stress alone (H) or in combination with drought (H+D) on photosynthesis, water relations, and root growth of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea L.) vs. perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Grasses were exposed to H (35 °C day/30 °C night) or H+D (induced by withholding irrigation) in growth chambers for 35 days. Soil water content declined under H+D for both grasses but to a greater extent for fescue than for ryegrass. Declines in canopy net photosynthetic rate (Pn), leaf photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), and leaf relative water content (RWC) and the increase in electrolyte leakage (EL) were much more severe and occurred earlier for ryegrass than fescue subjected to both H and H+D and for both species than under H+D then H. Evapotranspiration (ET) rate increased to above the control level within 3 or 6 days of H and H+D for both species, but fescue had a higher ET rate than ryegrass at 3 and 6 days of H and 6 days of H+D. Root dry weight and viability in all soil layers decreased under H and H+D for both species. However, fescue had higher root dry weight and viability than ryegrass in the 20-40 cm layer under H and in both the 0-20 and 20-40 cm layers under H+D. The results indicated that maintenance of higher Pn, Fv/Fm, ET, RWC, and root growth and lower EL would help cool-season turfgrass survive summer stress, and that their characteristics could be used for selecting stress tolerant species or cultivars.
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.
Jinmin Fu and Bingru Huang
Growth of cool-season grasses declines with increasing temperatures. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of elevated night temperature on turf quality, root mortality, and carbohydrate metabolism in creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stoloniferous L. var. palustris (Huds.) Farw (syn. A. palustris Huds.). Plants of `Penncross' were exposed to two night temperature regimes: 24 °C (higher night temperature); and 19 °C (lower temperature control) under the same day temperature (24 °C) in growth chambers for 45 days. Prolonged exposure of plants to higher night temperature reduced turf quality, canopy photosynthetic rate, whole-plant and root respiration rates during the day, translocation of newly fixed 14C assimilate to roots, and total nonstructural carbohydrate content in shoots and roots (including dead and live roots). Elevated night temperature increased root mortality and whole-plant and root respiration rates at night. Our results indicated that a decline in turf quality and increase in root dieback with high night temperature was mainly associated with increased night respiration rates of whole plant and roots and reduced carbohydrate availability.
Xiaozhong Liu and Bingru Huang
Low mowing increases ball roll distance on putting greens, but may affect growth and physiological responses to summer heat stress. The objective of this study was to examine whether the effect of mowing heights on turf summer performance was associated with changes in photosynthetic activities and respiration rate for two creeping bentgrass [Agrostis palustris (L.) Huds] cultivars, `Crenshaw' and `Penncross'. Both cultivars were grown under USGA-specification putting green conditions from 1997 to 1998. Grasses were mowed daily at a 3-mm (low mowing) or 4-mm (high mowing) height. Turf quality, net photosynthesis rate (Pn), and leaf photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) declined, whereas respiration rate of whole plants, canopy minus air temperature, and soil temperatures increased under low mowing compared to those at the high mowing height. The decline or increase in those parameters under low mowing was more pronounced in summer than in spring or fall months. The results showed that turf quality was better at the 4-mm mowing height, especially during summer months. Better quality at the higher mowing height could be related to the maintenance of higher photosynthetic activities and lower respiration rate. Mowing at the lower height had more adverse effects on turf growth and photosynthetic capacity for `Penncross' than `Crenshaw', particularly during summer months.
Qingzhang Xu and Bingru Huang
Roots play important roles in plant responses to environmental changes. The objective of this study was to investigate seasonal changes and cultivar variation in root growth, respiratory activity, nitrogen uptake, and carbon allocation in relation to turf performance for two cultivars of creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera L. var. palustris (Huds.)] under field conditions. Two cultivars, `Penncross' and `L-93', were managed under USGA-specification putting green conditions, with daily irrigation and mowing at a 3-mm height from May to November in 1999 and 2000. Turf quality of both cultivars declined from the highest rating of 7 to 9 in May to 4 to 5 in August and September, and recovered to above 7 in October and November in both years. This corresponded to seasonal changes in root dry weight, dehydrogenase activity, nitrate reductase (NR) activity, carbon allocation to roots, and 15N uptake. Compared to Penncross, L-93 generally maintained better turf quality, as well as higher root dry weight, 15N uptake, NR activity, and carbon allocation during summer months. Previous studies often emphasize the important of a large, extensive root system. The results in the present study demonstrated that root metabolic activities followed the same seasonal pattern and cultivars variation as turf performance, and suggested that decline in root metabolic activities could be contributed to summer decline in turf quality for creeping bentgrass.
Yan Xu and Bingru Huang
Leaf senescence can be induced by many environmental stresses, including supraoptimal temperatures. The objectives of this study were to evaluate leaf senescence induced by heat stress for two Agrostis species contrasting in heat tolerance and to examine whether heat-induced leaf senescence in both species was associated with changes in three major senescence-related hormones: ethylene, abscisic acid (ABA), and cytokinins. Plants of heat-tolerant rough bentgrass (Agrostis scabra Willd.) and heat-sensitive creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) were exposed to 35/30 °C (day/night) (high temperature) or 20/15 °C (control) for 35 d in growth chambers. Turf quality, photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), and the contents of two pigments (chlorophyll and carotenoid) for both species decreased under high temperature; however, heat-tolerant A. scabra exhibited delayed and less severe decline in all parameters compared with heat-sensitive A. stolonifera. Ethylene production rate increased in both species at 35 °C, but the increase was observed 21 days later in A. scabra compared with that in A. stolonifera. ABA content increased at the initiation of heat stress and then declined in both species after prolonged heat stress. However, the timing of the increase was delayed for 7 days and the highest level of ABA content was less in A. scabra (4.0 times that of the control) than that in A. stolonifera (5.9 times that of the control). Decreases in both forms of cytokinins (transzeatin/zeatin riboside and isopentenyl adenosine) were also delayed for 14 days and less pronounced in A. scabra. Correlation analysis revealed that leaf senescence induced by heat stress was negatively correlated to ethylene and ABA accumulation and positively correlated to cytokinin production. Delayed leaf senescence in A. scabra under heat stress could be related to slower and less magnitude of changes in ethylene, ABA, and cytokinins.
Xiaozhong Liu and Bingru Huang
Previous studies found that high soil temperature is more detrimental than high air temperature for the growth of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris L.). The objective of the study was to investigate changes in fatty acid composition and saturation levels in leaves and roots for creeping bentgrass exposed to high soil temperature. Shoots and roots of `Penncross' plants were subjected to a differential air/soil temperature of 20/35 °C in a growth chamber. Soil temperature was controlled at 35 °C using an immersion circulating heater in water bath. Shoot injury induced by high soil temperature was evaluated by measuring level of lipid peroxidation expressed as malonyldialdehyde (MDA) content, chlorophyll content, and photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) of leaves. MDA content increased while chlorophyll content and Fv/Fm decreased at high soil temperature. The content of total fatty acids and different species of fatty acids were analyzed in both leaves and roots. Total fatty acid content in leaves increased initially at 5 days of high soil temperature and then decreased at 15 days, while total fatty acid content in roots decreased, beginning at 5 days. Linolenic acid was the major fatty acid in leaves and linoleic acid and palmitic acid were the major fatty acids in roots of creeping bentgrass. Leaf content of all fatty acid components except oleic acid increased initially and then decreased at high soil temperature. Root content of all fatty acid components except palmitoleic acid and oleic acid decreased, beginning at 5 d of high soil temperature. Oleic acid in leaves and palmitoleic and oleic acid in roots did not change during the entire experimental period. Leaf content of saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids increased during the first 5 to 10 days of high soil temperature and decreased at 15 and 25 days, respectively. Root content of saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids decreased beginning at 5 days of high soil temperature. Double bond index decreased in both leaves and roots. High soil temperature induced changes in fatty acid composition and saturation levels in leaves and roots, and this could be associated with physiological damages in leaves even though only roots were exposed to high temperature.
Yali He and Bingru Huang
Understanding antioxidant mechanisms for heat stress is important for improving heat tolerance in cool-season plant species. The objective of this study was to identify antioxidant enzymes associated with cultivar variations in heat tolerance in kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) by comparing heat responses of activity and isoforms of antioxidant enzymes in two cultivars contrasting in heat tolerance. Plants of heat-tolerant ‘Eagleton’ and heat-sensitive ‘Brilliant’ were exposed to 20 °C (control) or 40 °C (heat stress) for 28 days in growth chambers. Chlorophyll (Chl) a content remained unchanged and Chl b content increased in ‘Eagleton’, while both of them decreased in ‘Brilliant’, and by 28 days, ‘Eagleton’ had significantly higher Chl a and b content than ‘Brilliant’. The activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) were significantly higher in ‘Eagleton’ than in ‘Brilliant’ by 28 days of heat stress. An isozyme SOD2 was induced early during heat stress in ‘Eagleton’, while isozyme SOD3 degraded, to a lesser extent in ‘Eagleton’ than in ‘Brilliant’. Catalase (CAT) activity significantly increased in ‘Brilliant’ but remained constant in ‘Eagleton’, and ‘Brilliant’ had a significantly higher CAT activity and isozyme CAT1 than ‘Eagleton’ during heat stress. Significant increases in ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activities occurred under heat stress, to a greater extent in ‘Eagleton’, whereas isozymes did not exhibit difference between cultivars. Guaiacol-peroxidase (POD) activity declined during heat stress in both cultivars. The intensity of POD isozymes in ‘Brilliant’ remained constant, while ‘Eagleton’ showed a transient increases in POD1 at 7 days of heat stress. Our results indicated that antioxidant defense mechanisms for heat tolerance in kentucky bluegrass could be mainly associated with changes in activity and forms of isozymes of SOD for O2 scavenging and APX activity for H2O2 scavenging under heat stress.