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  • Author or Editor: Fred H. Yelverton x
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Dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum Poir.) and bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Fluegge) are two of the most troublesome weed species in managed turfgrass. These rhizomatous, perennial grass species affect appearance, texture, and playability of turf in home lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields. The severity and prevalence of these problem species as well as the difficulty of achieving control with herbicide management alone invite the examination of their realized niches for clues to improved management tactics. The distribution of these species was evaluated in both fairways and roughs of three holes on each of two golf courses in North Carolina. Golf courses were selected based on the presence of both weed species. Individual plants were mapped using a high-precision global positioning system unit. This unit was also used to delineate between the rough and fairway height of cut as well as obtain elevation characteristics of each hole. Soil moisture and soil compaction estimates were obtained by sampling on a 9-m grid. Environmental characteristics used for χ2 analysis consisted of mowing height, soil compaction, soil moisture, and elevation. Data were subjected to χ2 analysis to determine if the existing distribution of Paspalum spp. differed from an expected random distribution across all environmental factors. Bahiagrass growth and distribution was more affected by mowing height than dallisgrass. Bahiagrass was predominantly distributed in the rough, whereas dallisgrass occurred at both mowing heights. Similar responses were observed for both species with regard to soil compaction. Higher plant density for both species was observed in moderately compacted soil (40 to 60 N·m−2). Bahiagrass distribution was unaffected by soil moisture. Dallisgrass density was lower in areas with low volumetric soil water content (less than 27%). Although different from an expected uniform distribution on all six holes, the elevation with the highest Paspalum spp. density varied across holes. Results suggest that it may be possible to disadvantage Paspalum spp. in competitive interactions with desirable species through the alteration of landscape attributes. Substrate selection during construction, aeration, and mowing height may help create a landscape that discourages Paspalum spp. infestation.

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Questions exist as to whether growth-inhibiting chemicals mimic the effects of reduced mowing heights on putting green ball roll. An experiment was initiated during Spring 1997 to investigate ball roll and visual quality parameters of putting greens maintained at 3.2, 4.0, or 4.8 mm with plant growth regulator (PGR) treatments applied monthly over the course of 1 year. Additional experiments were conducted during Fall 1995 and 1996 and Spring 1996 to investigate diurnal PGR effects on ball roll. All experiments were conducted on pure stands of `Penncross' creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds). Treatments included trinexapac-ethyl and paclobutrazol, both inhibitors of gibberellin biosynthesis. In the one-year experiment, mowing height was inversely related to ball roll. However, compromises in turfgrass visual quality and shoot density in `Penncross' turf mowed at 3.2 mm make this a questionable mowing height in areas with severe summer conditions. Ball roll during summer months was reduced by PGRs, suggesting that PGRs have little potential as alternatives to decreasing mowing height for increased ball roll. Paclobutrazol reduced turfgrass quality and shoot density during summer months, suggesting that it be used with caution. Other PGRs, particularly trinexapac-ethyl at 0.05 kg·ha–1 a.i., increased afternoon ball roll by as much as 5% to 10% in diurnal experiments. Use of PGRs on creeping bentgrass putting greens may therefore produce short-lived increases in ball roll with subtle to negative effects on bentgrass growth over more extended periods of time. Chemical names used: 4-(cyclopropyl-α-hydroxymethylene)-3,5-dioxocyclohexane carboxylic acid ethylester (trinexapac-ethyl); (+/–)-(R *,R *)-β-[(4-chloro-phenyl)methyl]-α-(1,1dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Turfgrass renovations commonly involve changing cultivars or species that are better suited for a given setting. Common bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] is a perennial turfgrass that is difficult to eradicate before renovations, and poses contaminant concerns for the subsequent stand. Dazomet is a granular soil fumigant that has activity on various pests, including common bermudagrass. Field research was conducted from 2015 to 2016 in Raleigh, NC and College Station, TX to evaluate dazomet treatments including various combinations of soil incorporation (irrigation- or tillage-incorporated) and sealing (tarp or no tarp) methods, application rates [291, 291 followed by (fb) 291, 468, or 583 kg·ha−1], and fluazifop-P [fluazifop (0.4 kg·ha−1)] + glyphosate (2.8 kg·ha−1 acid equivalent) application(s) for established common bermudagrass control. Overall, treatments required fluazifop + glyphosate before dazomet application for acceptable control (>90% cover reduction) at 42 and 46 weeks after initial treatment (WAIT) in Texas and North Carolina, respectively. Soil-incorporation results varied by location, with dazomet application (583 kg·ha−1) fb tillage resulting in ≥88% cover reduction across locations, while acceptable control from irrigation incorporation was only observed in North Carolina. Tarping did not improve efficacy when tillage incorporation at the maximum label application rate provided acceptable control, suggesting practitioners may eliminate this procedure. Information from this research will aid turfgrass managers in developing cost-effective, ecologically sound common bermudagrass eradication programs before renovations.

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Bermudagrass, Cynodon spp. is one of the most commonly grown turfgrass genera in the southern United States having excellent drought tolerance, but poor tolerance to shade. Developing cultivars tolerant to shade would allow bermudagrass to become more prevalent in home lawns or other recreational areas in the southeast, where trees dominate the landscape. In this field study, nine accessions collected from Pretoria, South Africa were evaluated for their ability to grow under shade with varying fertility treatments. These accessions and cultivars ‘Celebration’, ‘TifGrand’, and ‘Tifway’ were evaluated under 0%, 63%, and 80% continuous shade during 2011–12. For both years, significant differences among shade levels, genotypes, and the interaction of the two were observed. As expected, the progression from 0% to 63% to 80% shade reduced normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), percent turfgrass cover (TC), and turf quality (TQ) readings for all accessions. Some genotypes, however, were able to maintain adequate quality and aggressiveness under 63% shade. ‘Celebration’, WIN10F, and STIL03 performed better than ‘Tifway’ (P ≤ 0.05), the susceptible control. Overall, our results indicate that there are promising genotypes among the bermudagrass materials collected from South Africa. These accessions represent additional sources of shade hardiness to be used in bermudagrass breeding. Furthermore, higher nitrogen fertility provided increased NDVI and TQ in some instances suggesting an added benefit of fertility under low-light conditions. However, the increased economic value attributed to the added inputs associated with these increases is outweighed by the low impacts offered.

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