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  • Author or Editor: Bekele G. Abeyo x
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Buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.] use as a fairway turfgrass is limited in northern portions of its adaptation zone by its extended winter dormancy and tan coloration in early spring and late fall. Cool-season grasses mixed with buffalograss could enhance turfgrass appearance and performance in fall and early spring. Research was conducted near Mead, NE, with eight buffalograss genotypes maintained under fairway conditions to determine the effect of blue fescue (Festuca ovina L. var. glauca Lam.) overseeding rate on turfgrass performance. Interactions were nonsignificant in most cases so main effects are emphasized. Differences were observed between seeding rates and genotypes for most traits studied. Overseeding blue fescue enhanced spring green-up, fall color retention, stand density, and turfgrass quality. These effects were most pronounced in late fall and early spring, when buffalograss plants were entering or exiting winter dormancy. The 5 g·m−2 blue fescue overseeding rate improved all performance traits studied when compared with the nonoverseeded buffalograss control and was not different from the 10 g·m−2 seeding rate treatment. Thus, the 5 g·m−2 blue fescue overseeding rate appeared to be near optimum for overall turfgrass performance, offering reduced seed cost and decreased potential for species interference. The ‘Legacy’ buffalograss and ‘SR-3200’ blue fescue mixture had the best performance of the genotypes studied as a result of their visual compatibility in terms of color similarity.

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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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