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  • Author or Editor: Michael Richardson x
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A field study was conducted to determine the relationship between pungency, soluble solids content, and susceptibility to neck rot in onions. `Golden Cascade', `Sweet Amber', `Valdez', and `Vega' onions were planted in a field with low soil S content. Sulfur, as coarse-ground calcium sulfate, was applied as a band before planting. After harvest, yield was determined and a sample of jumbo onions was taken from each plot to determine pungency, dry matter content, and soluble solids content. Healthy bulbs were returned to storage and evaluated for neck rot after 4 months. Yield, grade, and neck rot incidence after storage were not affected by S treatments. However, there was a trend toward lower neck rot incidence at the highest S application rate (160 lb/acre). Pungency of jumbo onions increased after the application of S as gypsum. `Sweet Amber' and `Valdez' were less pungent than `Golden Cascade' or `Vega'. Neck rot susceptibility was evaluated with an inoculation test of detached bulb scales. Growth and sporulation of the neck rot pathogen Botrytis allii were reduced by S application. Pungency and neck rot susceptibility were negatively correlated.

Free access

Most pollinating insects require a season-long succession of floral resources to fulfill life-cycle requirements. Incorporating forbs into turfgrass sites may create a season-long sequence of flowers to support foraging pollinators. However, persistence of forbs in warm-season turfgrasses such as bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) may be affected by the competitive nature of the turfgrass and routine management practices such as mowing. A 2-year study was conducted to evaluate seven forbs (Bellis perennis L., Lotus corniculatus L., Prunella vulgaris L., Trifolium fragiferum L. ‘Fresa’, Trifolium repens L. ‘Durana’ and ‘Resolute’, Trifolium subterraneum L.) for persistence and ability to produce floral resources for pollinating insects in a low maintenance bermudagrass lawn. Plugs of each species were incorporated into ‘Riviera’ bermudagrass in Apr. 2016. Vegetative cover, flower production, flowering period and pollinator foraging were assessed. Prunella vulgaris bloomed July through August and achieved 100% cover (0% bermudagrass) by 2017. Trifolium repens achieved a more balanced competitive density with the bermudagrass and produced flowers from June through August in both years. Trifolium fragiferum persisted over two growing seasons but only bloomed in 2017. Bellis perennis, Lotus corniculatus and Trifolium subterraneum did not persist. Pollinators were observed foraging on all persistent, flowering forbs, including Trifolium repens, Prunella vulgaris, and Trifolium fragiferum. Trifolium repens and Prunella vulgaris produced the most flowers and attracted the most pollinators.

Open Access

In the transition zone, warm-season grasses are often overseeded with diploid perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L., 2n = 2x = 14) to provide a temporary green surface for winter sporting activities. Because improved cultivars of perennial ryegrass will often persist into summer in overseeded turf, alternative cool-season grasses have been developed to facilitate more rapid transition back to the warm-season species. Limited information is available on these alternative species, especially with regard to their germination characteristics under shade and performance under limiting factors, such as low temperature and restricted photoperiod. Greenhouse and growth chamber studies were designed to test four alternative overseeding grasses in comparison with diploid perennial ryegrass, to verify their potential use in the artificial environment of modern stadiums. Meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis Huds.), tetraploid perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L., 2n = 4x = 28), annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.), and spreading diploid perennial ryegrass [Lolium perenne L. subsp. stoloniferum (C. Lawson) Wipff.] were tested. Six different shade treatments were used in the greenhouse study, including 30%, 50%, 70%, 90%, and 100% shade and a nonshaded control (0% shade). Germination was monitored daily over a 21-day period by counting and removing emerged seedlings. The experimental design for this study was a randomized complete block design, with four replications of each species and shade level for a total of 120 experimental units. In the growth chamber study, the same plant material was tested simulating optimal, suboptimal, and critical environmental conditions that can be potentially found within a modern sport facility. In the greenhouse study, the highest final germination was observed with annual ryegrass at 90% shade (98.7%), whereas the lowest for tetraploid perennial ryegrass at 30% shade (58.8%). Annual ryegrass was the fastest emerging species, whereas meadow fescue the slowest. In the growth chamber study, in comparison with perennial ryegrass, the following results may be summarized: 1) meadow fescue and tetraploid ryegrass showed coarser leaf texture, similar growth rates and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) value; 2) annual ryegrass had similar leaf texture, accelerated growth characteristics, and lower NDVI value; and 3) spreading perennial ryegrass displayed finer leaf texture, lower vertical growth, and similar NDVI value.

Open Access

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.

Free access

Traffic resistance of turfgrasses is an essential indicator of urban recreational and sports turf quality (TQ). In our study, four turfgrass species were investigated for their wear resistance. A self-made traffic simulator was used to determine the wear resistance of the study turf area in a 2-year field trial (2019–20). The experimental plots were established using a randomized block design with three replicates. The morphological characteristics, soil physical properties, and physiological indices of the grasses were analyzed. Using the acquired quantitative data, we set the turf cover index (TCI), the turf quality index (TQI), and the shoot density index (SDI) as the wear tolerance index, and assessed the correlations among these morphological characteristics, soil physical properties, physiological indices, and wear tolerance. ‘Lanyin III’ zoysiagrass and ‘Tifgreen’ hybrid bermudagrass provided relatively greater wear tolerance, followed by ‘Qingdao’ zoysiagrass and common bermudagrass after 12 weeks of traffic exposure in 2019 and 2020. Traffic changes the soil physical properties and affects the physiological metabolism of turfgrasses. Leaf morphology characteristics and the mechanical strength of these grasses were related significantly to TCI, TQI, and SDI, and most physiological responses and soil properties correlated significantly with TCI and TQI. Our findings of the correlations among physiological responses, soil properties, leaf morphology, and wear tolerance will allow grass breeders to evaluate their breeding procedures more efficiently.

Open Access