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  • Author or Editor: Tiffany M. Heng-Moss x
  • HortScience x
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The chinch bug, Blissus occiduus Barber, has been documented as a serious pest of buffalograss, Buchloë dactyloides (Nutall) Engelmann, and zoysiagrass, Zoysia japonica Steudel, turf grown in the Midwest. In addition to these two warm-season turfgrasses, several other warm-season grasses, including bermudagrass, Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers., may also be at risk of B. occiduus infestations. This research evaluated selected bermudagrass and zoysiagrass cultivars for resistance to B. occiduus. Eleven zoysiagrass and four bermudagrass cultivars were evaluated for resistance to B. occiduus using no-choice studies under greenhouse conditions. Based on turfgrass damage ratings, the zoysiagrasses ‘Diamond’, ‘Zoro’, and ‘Emerald’, and bermudagrass ‘Mini Verde’ were identified as moderately resistant to B. occiduus. The zoysiagrasses ‘Zenith’, ‘Meyer’, and ‘Crowne’, and bermudagrasses ‘Tifway 419’ and ‘Tifsport” were characterized as highly to moderately susceptible to B. occiduus. These results provide the first report of resistance to B. occiduus in zoysiagrass and bermudagrass germplasm.

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Hybridization and selection has been one of the methods used to generate turfgrass cultivars in buffalograss improvement. Three half-sib populations were developed by crossing three buffalograss female genotypes, NE 3296, NE 2768, and NE 2769, with NE 2871, a male genotype, to 1) investigate the pattern of genetic variability generated for turfgrass characteristics through hybridization; 2) assess the effect of parental change on the level of genetic variability generated in a buffalograss diploid population; and 3) predict the performance of a progeny generated from two heterozygous parents for turfgrass performance. The four parents and 20 random F1 progeny selected from each population were established in 2006 at the John Seaton Anderson Turfgrass Research Facility located near Mead, NE. A randomized complete block design (RCBD) was used with the progeny nested in the crosses. A visual rating scale of 1–9 was used to evaluate the population. Mean population lateral spread, genetic color, density, and turfgrass quality from early summer to fall ranged from 3.5 to 4.5, 7.1 to 7.9, 6.9 to 8.1, and 5.2 and 6.8, respectively. There were significant differences among the crosses and the parents for all the traits studied except quality in June and August. The progeny nested within crosses differed for turfgrass genetic color and quality. Best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) indicated a high improvement potential for turfgrass lateral spread and spring density in NE 2768 × NE 2871 and for turfgrass genetic color in NE 3296 × NE 2871. From these findings, it can be concluded that hybridization breeding is a worthwhile approach for generating and identifying transgressive segregants for specific buffalograss traits.

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