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  • Author or Editor: Charles H. Fontanier x
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Landscape irrigation frequency restrictions are commonly imposed by water purveyors and municipalities to curtail domestic water use and to ensure adequate water supplies for growing populations during times of drought. Currently, published data are lacking concerning irrigation frequency requirements necessary for sustaining acceptable levels of turfgrass quality of commonly used warm-season turfgrass species. The objective of this 3-year field study was to determine comparative turfgrass quality of drought-resistant cultivars of four warm-season lawn species in the south–central United States under irrigation frequency regimes of 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8× monthly. Turfgrasses used in the study were based on previously reported drought resistance and included ‘Riley’s Super Sport’ (Celebration®) bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], ‘Palisades’ zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.), ‘Floratam’ st. augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze], and ‘SeaStar’ seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum Swartz). During each growing season, slightly reduced irrigation volumes and bypassed events resulted from the 8× monthly treatment (34.95 cm, 38.13 cm, and 27.33 cm) compared with the 4× monthly treatment (35.36 cm, 40.84 cm, and 28.70 cm) in years 1, 2, and 3, respectively. For the once weekly treatment, the average fraction of reference evapotranspiration (ETo) supplied by effective rainfall and irrigation during the summer months was 1.22, 0.67, and 0.83 in years 1, 2, and 3, respectively, and was generally adequate to support acceptable turfgrass quality of all warm-season turfgrasses evaluated. Under the less than weekly irrigation frequency, st. augustinegrass and seashore paspalum generally fell to below acceptable quality levels because the average fraction of ETo supplied by effective rainfall and irrigation during the summer months of years 2 and 3 was 0.51, 0.39, and 0.26 for the 2× monthly, 1× monthly, and unirrigated treatments, respectively. Bermudagrass generally outperformed all other species under the most restrictive irrigation frequencies and also did not differ statistically from zoysiagrass. These results show that as irrigation frequency is restricted to less than once per week, species selection becomes an important consideration.

Open Access

As a result of increasing demand for potable water, local and national initiatives to conserve municipal water supplies have been implemented. Many of these initiatives focus on reducing irrigation of turfgrass in urban landscapes and may totally ban irrigation during periods of severe water shortage. Proper selection of adapted turfgrass species and cultivars is vital to long-term water conservation initiatives. Turfgrasses that can survive and recover from extended hot and dry periods under limited to no irrigation would best meet water conservation objectives. The present study was conducted to evaluate the recuperative potential of transplanted plugs of 24 commonly grown cultivars of three warm-season turfgrass species after incremental increases in water stress imposed by withholding all water for up to 60 days. A 2-year field study was conducted consisting of eight blocks containing 25 plots each. Each block was planted with one plot each of eight cultivars of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon sp.), seven cultivars of st. augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum sp.), and nine cultivars of zoysiagrass (five of Zoysia japonica sp. and four of Zoysia matrella sp.). Four blocks were planted on native soil with no restriction to rooting, whereas the other four had an effective root zone of only 10 cm of soil. Cup cutter plugs were collected at predetermined intervals, transported to College Station, TX, replanted, and grown under well-watered conditions. Measurements of the lateral spread of the plugs were taken every 10 to 14 days for the first 60 to 70 days after planting (DAP). The lateral spread of plugs collected after 0 days of summer dry-down (DSD) was greatest for bermudagrass, intermediate for st. augustinegrass, and lowest for zoysiagrass. In most cases there were no consistent differences between cultivars within a species. All species grown on the 10-cm deep root zone were unable to survive the 60-day period without water and died within the first 40 days. For each species, lateral spread was increasingly delayed or reduced with increasing DSD. Although all three species grown on native soil were able to survive and recover from a 60-day period without water, the bermudagrass cultivars had the most rapid recovery rates measured as lateral spread of transplanted plugs.

Free access

Traffic injury caused by foot- or athlete-surface interaction is one of the most critical problems athletic field managers face in maintaining the surface playability and aesthetic quality of athletic fields. Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) is the most widely used turfgrass species on athletic fields in the transitional climatic zone. A 2-year field study was conducted to evaluate nine bermudagrass cultivars for their persistence and surface playability under simulated fall cleat traffic. The experiment was conducted in Stillwater, OK, on a natural loam soil. Treatments were arranged as a split-block design with three replications. Traffic was applied for 6 weeks in Fall 2019 and 2020 using a Baldree traffic simulator, which generated 10 traffic events per week; each traffic event resulted in 678 cleat marks/m2. ‘Bimini’ was generally found to be the most persistent grass under traffic for aesthetic properties, and ‘Astro’ and ‘Tifway’ were the least persistent. Surface playability was affected by simulated traffic stress as shear strength (SS) declined and surface hardness (SH) increased, over time. ‘Bimini’ had greater SS than ‘Astro’ and ‘OKC1131’ (Tahoma 31®) by 1.9 and 1.4 N·m, respectively. SS of ‘DT-1’ (TifTuf®) and Tahoma 31 and SH of ‘OKC1134’ (NorthBridge®) were least affected by simulated traffic stress. Overall, surface playability characteristics of NorthBridge, ‘Bimini’, ‘OKC1119’ (Latitude 36®), TifTuf, Tahoma 31, and ‘Riley Riley’s Super Sport’ (Celebration®) were least affected by traffic. Findings illustrate bermudagrass cultivars can vary in visual persistence and surface playability.

Open Access

Bermudagrasses (Cynodon spp.) are the most preferred turfgrass species for athletic fields in the southern and transition zones of the United States. Developing and using bermudagrasses with superior traffic tolerance and surface playability under trafficked conditions benefits turfgrass managers, athletes, and sport organizations. A 2-year field study was conducted in Stillwater, OK, to quantify the genetic variability of traffic tolerance and surface playability from a population composed of two commercially available and 87 experimental interspecific hybrid bermudagrasses under fall simulated traffic stress. The experiment design was a randomized complete block design with three replications. Plots were subjected to 60 simulated cleat traffic events for 6 weeks in the fall of 2019 and 2020 using a Baldree traffic simulator. Bermudagrasses were evaluated for turfgrass quality (TQ), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), fall percent green cover (FPGC), shear strength (SS), and surface hardness (SH) after 3 and 6 weeks of traffic. Spring green-up percent green cover (SGPGC) was evaluated in the spring of 2020 and 2021. Except for SH, significant entry effects were found for all parameters and reliability estimates were moderate to high (i 2 = 0.49 to 0.68) under simulated trafficked conditions. Experimental entries 17-4200-19X13, 17-4200-19X9, 17-4200-36X19, 17-5200-4X11, 18-7-2, 18-7-6, 18-8-2, 18-8-3, 18-8-7, 18-9-2, OSU1101, and OSU1664, and TifTuf® had excellent traffic tolerance. Entries 18-8-7, OSU1101, OSU1675, TifTuf®, and Tahoma 31® demonstrated high SS. There was a large group of entries that had consistent early spring green-up across both years, including Tilin#5, 18-9-8, OKC1221, OSU1257, OSU1318, OSU1337, OSU1406, OSU1439, OSU1651, OSU1675, Tahoma 31®, and TifTuf®. OSU1101 was the entry ranking in the top statistical grouping most often throughout the study. Findings illustrated the possibility of improving traffic tolerance and SS through breeding and using phenotypic selection could reliably select bermudagrass genotypes with improved traffic tolerance and SS in the transition zone.

Open Access