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Jack D. Fry

A field study was conducted in southern Louisiana to screen several plant growth regulators (PGRs) for efficacy in suppressing centipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.] vegetative growth and seedhead production. PGRs were applied in three sequential treatments in 1988 and included ethephon, glyphosate, mefluidide, paclobutrazol, sethoxydim, and sulfometuron methyl. Ethephon (5.0 kg·ha-1) suppressed mean centipedegrass vegetative growth by 15% with no turf injury. Mefluidide (0.6 kg·ha-1) and ethephon reduced mean seedhead number by 55% and 61%, respectively. Glyphosate (0.6 kg·ha-1) suppressed vegetative and reproductive growth, but caused unacceptable phytotoxicity and reduced centipedegrass cover and quality during Spring 1989. Use of ethephon or mefluidide to reduce trimming requirements or mower operation in hazardous areas may be an effective means of inhibiting centipedegrass growth. Chemical names used: N -(phosphonomethyl) glycine (glyphosate); N -[2,4-dimethyl-5-[[(trifluromethyl) sulfonyl]amino] phenyl]acetimide (mefluidide); 2-[1-(ethoxyimino)butyl] -5[2-(ethylthio) propyl]-3-hydroxy-2-cycIohexen-l-one (sethoxy-dim); 2-[[[[(4,6-dimethyl-2 -pyrimidinyl) amino] carbonyl]amino] sulfonyl]benzoic acid (sulfometuron methyl); (2-chloroethyl) phosphoric acid (ethephon); (±)-(R*R*)β-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-α-(l,l-dimethylethyl) -1 H -l,2,4-triazole-l-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Yaling Qian and Jack D. Fry

Greenhouse studies were conducted on three warm-season turfgrasses, `Midlawn' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy], `Prairie' buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.], and `Meyer' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.), and a cool-season turfgrass, `Mustang' tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) to determine 1) water relations and drought tolerance characteristics by subjecting container-grown grasses to drought and 2) potential relationships between osmotic adjustment (OA) and turf recovery after severe drought. Tall fescue was clipped at 6.3 cm once weekly, whereas warm-season grasses were clipped at 4.5 cm twice weekly. The threshold volumetric soil water content (SWC) at which a sharp decline in leaf water potential (ψL) occurred was higher for tall fescue than for warm-season grasses. Buffalograss exhibited the lowest and tall fescue exhibited the highest reduction in leaf pressure potential (ψP) per unit decline in ψL during dry down. Ranking of grasses for magnitude of OA was buffalograss (0.84 MPa) = zoysiagrass (0.77 MPa) > bermudagrass (0.60 MPa) > tall fescue (0.34 MPa). Grass coverage 2 weeks after irrigation was resumed was correlated positively with magnitude of OA (r = 0.66, P < 0.05).

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Jinmin Fu, Jack Fry and Bingru Huang

Water requirements for `Meyer' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud., hereafter referred to as zoysia), `Midlawn' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy, hereafter referred to as bermuda], `Falcon II' tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and `Brilliant' kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L., hereafter referred to as bluegrass) were evaluated under a mobile rainout shelter at deficit irrigation levels of 20% to 100% of actual evapotranspiration (ETa), applied twice weekly, between June and September 2001 and 2002. Soil was a river-deposited silt loam (fine, montmorillonitic, mesic Aquic Arquidolls). Minimum annual irrigation amounts required to maintain quality ranged from 244 mm for bermuda to 552 mm for bluegrass. Turfgrass species and respective irrigation levels (% of ETa) at which season-long acceptable turf quality was maintained in each year were bluegrass, 100% (evaluated 2001 only); tall fescue, 60% in 2001 and 80% in 2002; bermuda, 60% in both years; and zoysia, 80% in both years. A landscape manager who could tolerate one week of less-than-acceptable quality could have irrigated tall fescue at 40% ETa (224 mm) in 2001 and 60% ETa (359 mm) in 2002. Likewise, bermuda exhibited unacceptable quality on only one September rating date when irrigated at 40% ETa (163 mm) in 2001. Bermuda was able to tolerate a lower leaf relative water content (LRWC) and higher level of leaf electrolyte leakage (EL) compared to other grasses before quality declined to an unacceptable level.

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Ken Obasa, Jack Fry and Megan Kennelly

Fourteen new zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.) germplasm lines from parental crosses including Z. japonica (Steud.), Z. matrella (L.) Merr., and Z. pacifica (Goudswaard) were evaluated for susceptibility to large patch caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani Kühn anastomosis group (AG) 2-2 LP. The germplasm lines were compared with ‘Meyer’ (Zoysia japonica Steud.), the most widely used cultivar in the transition zone of the United States, under growth chamber and field conditions. Large patch susceptibility in the growth chamber study was estimated five days post-inoculation and thereafter for 25 days. Three pots of each line and ‘Meyer’ were randomly selected and rated for disease incidence by determining the percentage of individual shoots in each pot with distinct, water-soaked brown lesions on the leaf sheath. Field assessment of large patch susceptibility was carried out weekly and was by direct measurement of patch sizes as well as by digital image analysis of plots for the percentage of diseased turf. All 14 progeny had similar disease levels compared with ‘Meyer’ in the growth chamber, but only six consistently had disease levels as low as ‘Meyer’ in the field. Growth chamber results did not correlate to field results.

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Jinmin Fu, Jack Fry and Bingru Huang

Deficit irrigation is increasingly used to conserve water, but its impact on turfgrass rooting has not been well documented. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of deficit irrigation on ‘Falcon II’ tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) root characteristics in the field using a minirhizotron imaging system. The experiment was conducted on a silt loam soil from the first week of June to mid-Sept. 2001 and 2002 using a mobile rainout shelter under which turf received applications of 20%, 60%, or 100% of actual evapotranspiration (ET) twice weekly. Neither soil water content (0 to 25 cm) nor tall fescue rooting between 4.1- and 50.1-cm depths was affected by irrigation at 60% compared with 100% ET. Despite consistently lower soil water content, tall fescue irrigated at 20% ET exhibited an increase in root parameters beginning in July or August. Tall fescue subjected to 20% ET irrigation had greater total root length and surface area on two of five monitoring dates in 2002 compared with that receiving 100% ET. Evaluation of tall fescue rooting by depth indicated that root proliferation at 20% ET was occurring between 8.7- and 36.3-cm depths. As evaluated under the conditions of this experiment, turfgrass managers using deficit irrigation as a water conservation strategy on tall fescue should not be concerned about a reduction in rooting deep in the soil profile, and irrigation at 20% ET may result in root growth enhancement.

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Jinmin Fu, Bingru Huang and Jack Fry

Effects of deficit irrigation applied to home lawns, used as means of water conservation, are an important issue. However, the impact of deficit irrigation on sucrose metabolism in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) is unknown and important because sucrose is the dominant form of carbohydrate transported to developing plant organs. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of deficit irrigation on leaf water content, osmotic potential (ψS), sucrose level, and the activity of sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS; EC 2.4.1.14), sucrose synthase (SS; EC 2.4.1.13), and acid invertase (AI; EC 3.2.1.26) in tall fescue leaves. Sods of ‘Falcon II’ tall fescue were established in polyvinylchloride (PVC) tubes (10 cm diameter × 40 cm long) filled with a mixture of sand and fritted clay [9:1 (v:v)] and then placed in growth chambers. Reference evapotranspiration rate [ETo (millimeters of water per day)] was determined by weighing the PVC tubes containing well-watered turfgrass every 3 days to determine water loss on a daily basis as ETo. Deficit irrigation treatments were applied as follows: well-watered control, mild drought stress (60% ETo), and severe drought stress (20% ETo). Leaf water content was lower at 6, 12, and 20 days of treatment for the 20% ETo treatment and 20 days after treatment began for the 60% ETo treatment. Compared with the well-watered control, ψS was lower in the 60% ETo treatment on all three measurement dates. Sucrose was higher at 8 and 14 days after treatment began in the 60% ETo treatment and on all three measurement dates in the 20% ETo treatment relative to the well-watered control. No difference in sucrose level was observed between the 20% ETo and 60% ETo irrigation regimes at 8 and 14 days of treatment. Beginning 14 days after treatment, tall fescue had a higher level of SPS in the 60% ETo and 20% ETo treatments compared with the well-watered treatment. Tall fescue receiving 60% or 20% ETo had a lower level of AI activity on all measurement dates. Results suggest that the decrease in ψS was accompanied by higher sucrose levels, which were the result of the increased level of SPS and SS activity and a decline in AI activity.

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Jack D. Fry and D. Wayne Wells

Field studies were conducted in south Louisiana to identify plant growth regulators that suppress carpetgrass (Axonopus affinis Chase.) seedhead development. In an initial study, best results were obtained with sethoxydim (0.11 kg·ha-1) and sulfometuron methyl (0.6 kg·ha-1), which reduced seedhead development by 88% and 86%, respectively, compared to untreated plots 21 days after treatment. Sulfometuron methyl caused unacceptable carpetgrass injury, however. Evaluation of seven sethoxydim application levels between 0 and 0.34 kg a.i./ha showed that carpetgrass seedhead number and elongation rate declined with increasing sethoxydim amount [SEEDHEAD NUMBER (m-2) = 515 – 1340 (kg), R 2 = 0.82; ELONGATION (cm) = 25.3 – 151 (kg) + 276 (kg2), R 2 = 0.77]. Carpetgrass seedhead production was restricted up to 6 weeks after sethoxydim (0.17 and 0.22 kg·ha-1) application. Chemical names used: (2-[1-(ethoxyimino)butyl]-5-[2-ethylthio)propyl)-3-hydroxy-2-cyclohexen-1-one) (seth-oxydim); (2-[[[[(4,6-dimethyl-2-pyrimidinyl)amino]carbonyl]amino]sulfonyl]benzoic acid) (sulfometuron methyl).

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Bingru Huang, Jack Fry and Bin Wang

Understanding factors associated with drought resistance and recovery from drought stress in tall fescue (Festuca arundinaces Schreb.) is important for developing resistant cultivars and effective management strategies. Our objective was to investigate water relations, photosynthetic efficiency, and canopy characteristics of tall fescue cultivars (forage-type `Kentucky-31', turf-type `Mustang', and dwarf-type `MIC18') in responses to drought stress and subsequent recovery in the field and greenhouse. During drought stress under field conditions, `MIC18' had lower turf quality, more severe leaf wilting, and higher canopy temperature than `Mustang' and `Kentucky-31', indicating that `MIC18' was more drought-sensitive. The greenhouse study comparing `K-31' and `MIC18' showed that leaf water status, chlorophyll fluorescence, canopy green leaf biomass, and lead area index of both cultivars declined as soil dried. Reductions in relative water content, leaf water potential, chlorophyll fluorescence, canopy green leaf biomass, and leaf area index were more severe and occurred sooner during dry down for `MIC18' than for `Kentucky-31'. After rewatering following 14 days of stress, leaf water deficit and turf growth recovered, to a greater degree for `Kentucky-31' than for `MIC18'. However, soil drying for 21 days caused long-term negative effects on leaf photosynthetic efficiency and canopy characteristics for both cultivars.

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Alan J. Zuk and Jack D. Fry

Establishment of seeded `Zenith' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.) in an existing sward of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) is difficult, and chemicals arising from perennial ryegrass leaf and root tissue may contribute to establishment failure. Experiments were done to evaluate zoysiagrass emergence and growth in soil amended with perennial ryegrass leaves or roots, or after irrigation with water in which perennial ryegrass leaves or roots had previously been soaked. Compared to unamended soil, soil amended with perennial ryegrass leaves at 12% and 23% by weight reduced zoysiagrass seedling number 20% and 26%, respectively; root area and mass were reduced 50% when amendments comprised 12% of soil weight. Similar reductions in zoysiagrass seedling emergence and growth were observed in a second soil amendment study, regardless of whether perennial ryegrass was treated with glyphosate or not. Soil mixed with perennial ryegrass leaves, but not roots, at 12% by weight had a high soil conductivity (5.1 dS·m–1), which could have contributed to reduced zoysiagrass emergence and growth. More than 50% fewer zoysiagrass seedlings emerged and root mass was up to 65% lower when irrigated with water in which perennial ryegrass leaves or roots at 5, 10, or 20 g·L–1 were previously soaked for 48 hours. Zoysiagrass leaf area, and root length and area, were also lower when irrigated with water previously containing perennial ryegrass roots. Perennial ryegrass leaves and roots have the capacity to inhibit emergence and growth of `Zenith' zoysiagrass seedlings, which could negatively affect stand establishment.