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  • Author or Editor: G. L. Johnson x
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With the exception of the undesirable characteristic of summer dormancy and the accompanying low aesthetic value, crested wheatgrass has many desirable characteristics in semiarid environments, making it a promising candidate for lower water use turf. Using a population of 27 half-sib families, this study characterized the underlying genetics of turf quality (based on a 1–9 rating scale) of crested wheatgrass and compared the performance of crested wheatgrass turf with traditional control cultivars (‘Cody’ buffalograss, ‘Gazelle’ tall fescue, ‘Manhattan 3’ perennial ryegrass, and ‘Midnight’ Kentucky bluegrass) over 2 years under space-planted conditions. Heritability estimates were generally high (h2 = 0.44 to 0.84) and suggested a strong additive genetic component for crested wheatgrass turf quality throughout the summer months. Genotypic correlations among the monthly turf quality scores were very high (greater than 0.90) indicating a strong commonality for the genetics underlying turf quality during any point in the growing season. Thus, a breeding program aimed at improving turf quality in this population of crested wheatgrass would stand a good chance for success. However, primarily as a result of summer dormancy, the crested wheatgrass turf performed poorly compared with the control cultivars during late spring and early summer. Turf quality scores in early July were ≈3 for the crested wheatgrass half-sib families compared with scores between 5 and 6 for the traditional turf species. Thus, crested wheatgrass, for the near future, will likely be a viable turf candidate only in situations in which turf aesthetics are secondary to a desire for low-input requiring species.

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Abstract

A volunteer weather observing network sponsored by the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service has been a valuable asset to horticulturists, agricultural meteorologists, and weather forecasters. Real-time temperature and precipitation data are used to assess microclimates and to compute derived parameters such as chilling hours and growing degree days. The procedures used to establish the network plus an example of its usefulness during a critical frost night are described.

Open Access

As competition for water resources in areas of western North America intensify as a result of increasing human populations, the sustainability of turfgrass irrigation with limited water resources is questionable. A potential part of the solution is the use of recycled wastewater for landscape irrigation. However, as a result of high levels of salt, successful irrigation with recycled wastewater will likely need to be coupled with selection for increased salinity tolerance in turfgrass species. Additionally, salinity-tolerant turfgrass will allow production on soils with inherently high salt levels. The study described here characterized the relative salinity tolerance of 93 accessions of Poa germplasm from the USDA National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). Control cultivars of tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S.J. Darbyshire], perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), and kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) were also evaluated for comparison. Kentucky bluegrass accessions exhibited a wide range of LD50 (salinity dosage necessary to kill 50% of plants) values from 811 ECdays (PI 369296 from Russia) to 1922 ECdays (PI 371768 from the United States). Five kentucky bluegrass accessions exhibited salinity tolerance equal to or better than that of the tall fescue (LD50 = 1815 ECdays) and perennial ryegrass (LD50 = 1754 ECdays) checks. Thus, there is sufficient variation within this species to develop bluegrass with substantially higher salinity tolerance.

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We have been examining the response of maize seedling roots to oxygen stress. Previously, we have shown that maize seedlings with primary root lengths of 10cm or greater require a pretreatment with low oxygen (hypoxia) for survival of greater than 12 hours of anoxia. During the pretreatment there is induction of mRNA and increase in enzymatic activity of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and other enzymes that are necessary for alcoholic fermentation. However, we have found that younger seedlings do not need a pretreatment to survive anoxia. They appear to have high levels of ADH and other enzymes that are needed for anaerobic survival at levels equivalent to those that are induced in older seedlings. These results suggest that, at the time of seedling emergence, seedlings may be more adapted to oxygen stress than during later stages of growth.

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Visual ratings are the standard for evaluating turfgrass quality. However, to provide more objective evaluations and to address statistical concerns, other methods have been developed to measure turfgrass quality, including digital image analysis and measurements of chlorophyll content. These have been largely applied to traditionally used turfgrass species, but here we used these methods to evaluate turfgrass quality of nontraditional species and mixtures that are native or adapted to the intermountain west region of North America. Two fertilizer treatments (1.0 or 2.0 lb/1000 ft2 nitrogen) were applied to 21 different species and species mixtures in North Logan, UT. These plots were irrigated to replace 60% of the local evapotranspiration rate and were mowed at 4 inches. Turfgrass quality ratings were most effective in measuring quality among the diverse species used in this study. Because of the wider variation in acceptable visual characteristics and lower quality expectations for low-maintenance native turf, the objective evaluation methods proved less useful. Generally, chlorophyll meter data, digital image analysis of cover, and digital image analysis of color data were not well correlated with human visual quality ratings in this study. Measurements were well correlated in some species, but not in others. These methods can supplement, but cannot replace, human visual turfgrass quality ratings for comparison of dissimilar grasses.

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Differences in soil microenvironment affect the availability of N in small areas of large turfgrass stands. Optical sensing may provide a method for assessing plant N needs among these small areas and could help improve turfgrass uniformity. The purpose of this study was to determine if optical sensing was useful for measuring turfgrass responses stimulated by N fertilization. Areas of `U3' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], `Midfield' bermudagrass [C. dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy], and `SR1020' creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) were divided into randomized complete blocks and fertilized with different N rates. A spectrometer was used to measure energy reflected from the turfgrass within the experimental units at 350 to1100 nm wavelengths. This spectral information was used to calculate normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and green normalized difference vegetation index (GNDVI). These spectral indices were regressed with tissue N and chlorophyll content determined from turfgrass clippings collected immediately following optical sensing. The coefficients of determination for NDVI and GNDVI regressed with tissue N averaged r 2 = 0.76 and r2 = 0.81, respectively. The coefficients of determination for NDVI and GNDVI regressed with chlorophyll averaged r 2 = 0.70 and r 2 = 0.75, respectively. Optical sensing was equally effective for estimating turfgrass responses to N fertilization as more commonly used evaluations such as shoot growth rate (SGR regressed with tissue N; r 2 = 0.81) and visual color evaluation (color regressed with chlorophyll; r 2 = 0.64).

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Abstract

‘La Festival’ peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] was released to provide a yellow flesh cultivar with a good quality fruit requiring 400 to 500 hr chilling. ‘La Festival’ produces a heavy crop of medium to large freestone fruit that ripen about 25 June, or about 20 days before ‘Elberta’ in southern Louisinna

Open Access

Abstract

‘La Pecher’ peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] was released to provide a good quality yellow flesh cultivar with a 400 to 500 hr chilling requirement. ‘La Pecher’ produces a heavy crop of medium to large semifreestone fruit that ripen 39 days before ‘Elberta’ or about 6 June in southern Louisiana.

Open Access

Abstract

‘La White’ peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] was released to provide a 600-700 hr chilling requirement, low acid, white flesh cultivar adapted to conditions in southeastern Louisiana. ‘La White’ produces a heavy crop of medium to large semi-freestone fruit that ripen 27 days before ‘Elberta’ or about 18 June in southeastern Louisiana.

Open Access

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the U.S.-Canadian Greenhouse Certification Program (USGCP) that was initiated in 1998. A survey consisting of 34 questions was designed and 43 out of ≈48 nurseries in Florida participating in the USGCP were visited. Based on the answers to the questionnaire, most of the nurseries were in compliance with the majority of USGCP requirements, growers were satisfied with the program, and there was an economic benefit to participating in the program. The main problems identified were the ambiguous wording of some of the requirements and the impracticality of keeping imported and domestic plants completely segregated. Moreover, many of the respondents did not have a written description of a pest management plan. Chi square statistical analysis showed that there was almost no difference between nursery groups in their responses to the majority of the survey questions, indicating that the USGCP is a successful program for both large and small nurseries. This quantitative assessment of the USGCP is the first assessment conducted for this program and discussed in a peer-reviewed publication.

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