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  • Author or Editor: Bernd Maier x
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A study was conducted at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM, in 2009 and 2010 to investigate the establishment of five turfgrass species {‘Barrister’ kentucky bluegrass [Poa pratensis L.], ‘Barvado’ tall fescue [Festuca arundinacea Schreb.], ‘Premier II’ perennial ryegrass [Lolium perenne L.], ‘Bargusto’ bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × Cynodon. transvalensis Burtt-Davy], and ‘Sea Spray’ seashore paspalum [Paspalum vaginatum O. Swartz]} from coated and uncoated seed. The grasses were irrigated at 100% reference evapotranspiration (ET0) during fall, winter, and spring and at 120% ET0 during summer with either saline [electrical conductivity (EC) = 2.3 dS·m−1] or potable water (EC = 0.6 dS·m−1). Generally, seed coating did not affect seedling emergence negatively when irrigated with saline water. During fall, perennial ryegrass exhibited fastest emergence under both saline and potable irrigation and bermudagrass was the only grass to show greater emergence when irrigated with saline water. Perennial ryegrass and tall fescue were the fastest to emerge in spring, regardless of seed coating or water quality. Seed coating delayed early establishment (less than 50% coverage) but did not affect days to reach 95% coverage (DAS95). Bermudagrass and seashore paspalum required the most DAS95 when seeded in the fall; however, bermudagrass needed fewest DAS95 when seeded in the spring. All grasses established faster when seeded in spring compared with fall. Fall-seeded perennial ryegrass and kentucky bluegrass required similar DAS95, whereas kentucky bluegrass seeded in spring was slower to reach 95% coverage than perennial ryegrass. Saline water had no effect on establishment when grasses were sown in fall. Surprisingly, grasses established in spring and irrigated with saline water reached 95% coverage 26 days faster than plots irrigated with potable water. Moreover, the growing degree-day model used in this study did not produce similar values for the different air temperatures and irrigation water qualities.

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Germination of five turfgrass species [‘Barrister’ kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), ‘Barvado’ tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), ‘Premier II’ perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), ‘Bargusto’ bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L. Pers.), and ‘Sea Spray’ seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum O. Swartz)] from coated (ZEBA® cornstarch coating; Absorbent Technologies Inc., Beaverton, OR) and uncoated seeds was evaluated on both filter paper and agar. Final germination percentage (FGP) and germination rate (GR) were determined at salinity levels of 0.6 (tap water, control), 2.2 (saline groundwater from a local shallow aquifer), and 7.0, 12.5, and 22.5 dS·m−1 [sodium chloride and calcium chloride (1:1, w:w) dissolved in tap water]. Final germination percentage for kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue was greater in agar at all salinity levels but was unaffected by the medium at any of the salinities except for 7 dS·m−1 for bermudagrass and seashore paspalum. Coated seashore paspalum and coated perennial ryegrass seed exhibited greater germination than uncoated seed at four of the five salinity levels. Seed coating had no effect on FGP of bermudagrass at any salinity level and coated kentucky bluegrass seed showed reduced germination at 0.6 and 7.0 dS·m−1. Final germination percentage for seashore paspalum improved from 22% to 54% at 12.5 dS·m−1 and from 8% to 20% at 22.5 dS·m−1 when coated seed was used instead of uncoated seed. Germination rates were unaffected by salinity levels ranging from 0.6 to 12.5 dS·m−1 and were higher on agar (10%/day) than on paper (8%/day). Our study suggests that the choice of medium can influence the outcome of germination tests and that results can also vary depending on the salinity level tested and whether the seed are coated.

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Commercial wine grape (Vitis sp.) production in northwestern New Mexico and the greater Four Corners region is now supported by four wineries. The challenges of growing grape vines in northwestern New Mexico include cold winter temperatures and killing spring frosts exacerbated by a semiarid climate and elevations exceeding 1700 m. Nineteen nongrafted European wine grape (Vitis vinifera) and interspecific hybrid wine grape cultivars were planted in 2007 and evaluated between 2010 and 2012. Among European wine grape cultivars, Agria, Malbec, Sangiovese, Viognier, Müller-Thurgau, and Sauvignon Blanc performed poorly or failed altogether. Interspecific hybrid cultivars Baco Noir, Kozma 55, Leon Millot, Chardonel, Seyval Blanc, Siegfried, Traminette, Valvin Muscat, and Vidal Blanc showed greater adaptability to a high-elevation intermountain western U.S. site, yielding on greater than 71% of their vines in each year (except Kozma 55 which only produced on 38% of its vines in 2012 due to severe spring frost damage). We speculate that fruit-bearing shoots on these vines arose from latent buds that survived when primary buds were killed from spring frost events. Once vines were established, grape berry sugar and pH appeared to be within acceptable ranges (3-year mean above 21% soluble solids and juice pH of 3.2), suggesting regional potential to produce favorable wines within acceptable commercial wine grape production ranges. Selection of sites without considerable frost risk and other mesoclimate variances is critical when considering vineyard establishment at high-elevation locations.

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