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Juming Zhang, Michael Richardson, Douglas Karcher, John McCalla, Jingwen Mai, and Hanfu Luo

Many bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) and zoysiagrass (Zoysia sp.) cultivars are not available as seed and are commonly planted vegetatively using sprigs, especially for sod production or in sand-based systems. Sprig planting is typically done in late spring or early summer, but this can result in an extended grow-in period and delay the use of the turf in the first growing season. The objective of this study was to determine if sprigs of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass could be planted earlier in the year, during the dormancy phase, to hasten establishment. A field study was carried out in Fayetteville, AR, in 2014 and 2016 using ‘Tifway’ hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × Cynodon transvaalensis) and ‘Meyer’ zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica), and in Guangzhou, China, in 2015, using ‘Tifway’ hybrid bermudagrass and ‘Lanyin III’ zoysiagrass (Z. japonica). Sprigs were planted in March (dormant), May (spring) and July (summer) in Fayetteville, and in January (dormant), March (spring) and May (summer) in Guangzhou. Sprigging rates of 30, 60, and 90 m3·ha−1 were tested at both locations and across all planting dates. Bermudagrass was less affected by planting date, with dormant, spring or summer plantings effectively establishing full cover in the first growing season. Zoysiagrass that was sprigged in the dormant season was successfully established by the end of the first growing season while a full zoysiagrass cover was not achieved with either spring or summer plantings in Arkansas. Dormant sprigging reached full coverage as fast or faster than traditional spring or summer planting dates at both locations, indicating that bermudagrass and zoysiagrass establishment can be achieved earlier in the growing season using dormant sprigging methods.