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William L. Bauerle* and Joe E. Toler

A multiplicative model of stomatal conductance was developed and tested in two functionally distinct ecotypes of Acer rubrum L. (red maple). The model overcomes the main limitation of the commonly used Ball-Berry model by accounting for stomatal behavior under soil drying conditions. It combined the Ball-Berry model with an integrated expression of abscisic acid-based control mechanisms (gfac). The factor gfac = exp(-β[ABA]L) incorporated the stomatal response to abscisic acid (ABA) concentration in the bulk leaf tissue [ABA]L into the Ball-Berry model by down-regulating the slope and coupled physiological changes at the leaf level with those of the root. The stomatal conductance (gs) down regulation is pertinent in situations where soil drying may modify the delivery of chemical signals to leaf stomates. Model testing results indicated that the multiplicative model was capable of predicting stomatal conductance under wide ranges of soil and atmospheric conditions in a woody perennial. Concordance correlation coefficients (rc) were high (between 0.59 and 0.94) for the tested ecotypes under three different environmental conditions (aerial, distal, and minimal stress). The study supported the use of the gfac factor as a gas exchange function that controlled water stress effects on gs and aided in the prediction of gs responses.

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Joe E. Toler, Jason K. Higingbottom, and Lambert B. McCarty

Centipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.] is widely grown throughout the southeastern United States as a low-maintenance turfgrass; however, limited peer-reviewed research is available on “best” cultural practices for established centipedegrass. This research was conducted to examine the long-term effects of mowing height and fertility regimens providing various rates and application times of soil-applied granular Fe and N on centipedegrass quality and surface coverage. Soil type was a Cecil sandy loam (clayey, kaolinitic, thermic Typic Hapludult) with a pH of 5.5. A mowing height of 3.8 cm was equal to or better than the 1.9 cm mowing height throughout the study. The rate of N fertilization played an important role in achieving optimal turfgrass quality and coverage with the two highest rates (97.6 and 195.2 kg·ha−1 N), generally providing similar results when applied as split applications in May and August and mowed at 3.8 cm. These treatments provided turfgrass quality ratings of 8.3–9.0, turfgrass color ratings of 8.1–8.7, and turfgrass coverage of 94% to 98% over a 3-year period. The addition of soil-applied Fe sulfate at a rate of 24.4 kg·ha−1 Fe was not beneficial to centipedegrass performance or color. Results indicate that the addition of 97.6 kg·ha−1 N, using split-applications in May and August and a mowing height of 3.8 cm for established centipedegrass, should achieve acceptable turfgrass quality and coverage.

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Joe E. Toler, Lambert B. McCarty, and Jason K. Higingbottom

Annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.) continues to be a problem in bermudagrass golf greens overseeded with roughstalk bluegrass (Poa trivialis L. `Sabre) due to weed encroachment from adjacent fairways, lack of selective herbicide options, and weed diversity. A 2-year study was conducted on an overseeded `Tifgreen bermudagrass putting green to evaluate effects of herbicide treatments on overseeding and annual bluegrass control. Excellent annual bluegrass control (≥90%) and acceptable turfgrass cover (§70%) was achieved with oxadiazon at 2.2 kg·ha-1 a.i. applied 60 days before overseeding (DBO). Fenarimol (AS) at 4.1 kg·ha-1 a.i. (30 + 15 DBO) followed by 1.4 kg·ha-1 a.i. 60 days after overseeding (DAO) and dithiopyr at 0.6 kg·ha-1 a.i. (60 DBO + 120 DAO) also provided acceptable results. Dithiopyr at 0.4 kg·ha-1 a.i. (30 DBO + 120 DAO), dithiopyr at 0.3 kg·ha-1 a.i. (30 DBO + 30 + 120 DAO), and fenarimol (G) at 2.0 kg·ha-1 a.i. (45 + 30 DBO) followed by 0.8 kg·ha-1 a.i. 60 DAO provided inconsistent annual bluegrass control (55% to 75% in 1999 and 87% to 95% in 2000), but offered acceptable turfgrass cover (§70%) each year. The remaining treatments were generally ineffective and provided <50% annual bluegrass control one or both years. Oxadiazon applied 60 DBO at 2.2 kg·ha-1 a.i. provides an excellent option for annual bluegrass control in overseeded bermudagrass putting greens.

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Jerry B. Dudley, Alton J. Pertuit Jr., and Joe E. Toler

The addition of leonardite may increase, or at least maintain, production quality of ornamental plants and permit reductions in fertilizer inputs. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of a Utah-mined leonardite on early stages of zinnia (Zinnia elegans Jacq. `Small World Pink') and marigold (Tagetes patula L. `Janie Yellow') growth. The Utah leonardite was characterized by comparing it to the International Humic Substances Society's leonardite standard. Zinnia and marigold seedlings and transplants were grown in sand and 1 sand: 1 peat media (by volume) with leonardite additions of 0%, 3.125%, 6.25%, and 12.5%. Both species showed positive growth responses to 3.125% leonardite in each medium compared to fertilizer alone. Plant responses to increased leonardite additions were generally quadratic, and optimal leonardite levels were estimated. For growing zinnias, optimal conditions were determined to be 7.5% leonardite in a sand medium for seedlings and 8% in a sand-peat mixture for transplants. A sand-peat medium containing 7% leonardite was determined to be optimal for growing marigold seedlings and transplants. Addition of leonardite to growing medium offers promise for reducing fertilizer use during production of some ornamental plants.

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A.J. Pertuit Jr., Jerry B. Dudley, and Joe E. Toler

New Mexico-mined raw leonardite was characterized by comparing it with the International Humic Substances Society's Standard Leonardite. In the first experiment, adding as little as 1/64 leonardite (v/v) to a sand medium increased tomato [Lycopersicon esculentum (L.) Mill. `Mountain Pride'] root and shoot growth compared with plants produced with fertilizer alone. Growth increased linearly with increasing leonardite levels, from 0% to 25%; however, 50% leonardite inhibited growth. In a second experiment, leonardite alone had no effect on plant height, shoot or root fresh and dry weight, or total leaf area, but stimulated growth when combined with a complete fertilizer. Adding 1/3 leonardite (v/v) (the highest level) and a complete fertilizer increased plant height 40%, total leaf area 160%, shoot fresh weight 134%, root fresh weight 82%, shoot dry weight 133%, and root dry weight 400%.

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Patrick E. McCullough, Haibo Liu, Lambert B. McCarty, Ted Whitwell, and Joe E. Toler

Dwarf-type bermudagrasses [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davey] tolerate long-term golf green mowing heights but require heavy nitrogen (N) fertilizations. Inhibiting leaf growth with trinexapac-ethyl (TE) could reduce shoot growth competition for root reserves and improve nutrient use efficiency. Two greenhouse experiments evaluated four N levels, 6 (N6), 12 (N12), 18 (N18), and 24 (N24) kg N/ha/week, with TE at 0 and 0.05 kg·ha–1 a.i. every 3 weeks to assess rooting, nutrient allocation, clipping yield, and chlorophyll concentration of `TifEagle' bermudagrass grown in PVC containers built to U.S. Golf Association specification. Trinexapac-ethyl enhanced turf quality on every date after initial application. After 8 weeks, high N rates caused turf quality decline; however, TE treated turf averaged about 25% higher visual quality from nontreated turf, masking quality decline of high N fertility. `TifEagle' bermudagrass treated with TE had clippings reduced 52% to 61% from non-TE treated. After 16 weeks, bermudagrass treated with TE over all N levels had 43% greater root mass and 23% enhanced root length. Compared to non-TE treated turf, leaf N, P, and K concentrations were consistently lower in TE treated turf while Ca and Mg concentrations were increased. Root N concentrations in TE treated turf were 8% to 11% higher for N12, N18, and N24 fertilized turf than respective N rates without TE. Compared to non-TE treated turf, clipping nutrient recoveries were reduced 69% to 79% by TE with 25% to 105% greater nutrients recovered in roots. Bermudagrass treated with TE had higher total chlorophyll concentrations after 8 and 12 weeks. Overall, inhibiting `TifEagle' bermudagrass leaf growth appears to reallocate nutrients to belowground tissues, thus improving nutrient use efficiency and root growth. Chemical name used: trinexapac-ethyl, [4-(cyclopropyl-[α]-hydroxymethylene)-3,5-dioxo-cyclohexane carboxylic acid ethylester].

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Patrick E. McCullough, Haibo Liu, Lambert B. McCarty, and Joe E. Toler

Dwarf-type bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy) putting greens tolerate long-term mowing heights of 3.2 mm but require heavy nitrogen (N) fertilizations that increase ball roll resistance. Applying a plant growth regulator, such as trinexapac-ethyl (TE), could reduce uneven shoot growth from high N fertility and improve putting green ball roll distances. Field experiments were conducted from April to August 2003 and 2004 in Clemson, SC to investigate effects of ammonium nitrate applied at 6, 12, 18, or 24 kg N/ha per week with TE applied at 0 or 0.05 kg a.i. per ha every 3 weeks on `TifEagle' bermudagrass ball roll distances (BRD). BRD were measured weekly with a 38-cm stimpmeter in the morning (900 to 1100 hr) and evening (>1700 hr) beginning 1 wk after initial TE treatments. Interactions were not detected among N, TE, or time of day. TE increased BRD about 15% from non-TE treated. BRD was reduced with increased N rate and from am to pm; however, bermudagrass treated with TE averaged 10% longer PM BRD than am distances of non-TE treated. Overall, increased N fertility and diurnal shoot growth may reduce BRD but TE will be an effective tool for mitigating these effects on bermudagrass putting greens. Chemical name used: [4-(cyclopropyl-[α]-hydroxymethylene)-3,5-dioxo-cyclohexane carboxylic acid ethyl ester] (trinexapac-ethyl).

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Joe E. Toler, Thomas G. Willis, Alan G. Estes, and Lambert B. McCarty

Annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.) can be a troublesome weed to control in established turfgrass stands; it has developed herbicide resistance after repeated use of products with similar modes of action, and several new herbicides have been registered for use on turfgrasses. Four field studies were conducted near Clemson, S.C., from 2003 through 2005 to evaluate postemergence annual bluegrass control in dormant, nonoverseeded bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] turf using various herbicides applied in either December or February of each year and rated in the spring. Annual bluegrass control can be accomplished in dormant, nonoverseeded bermudagrass turf using a wide range of products applied in either December or February. Flazasulfuron, foramsulfuron, glufosinate, glufosinate + clethodim, glufosinate + glyphosate, glyphosate + clethodim, glyphosate + diquat, pronamide, rimsulfuron, and trifloxysulfuron provided 87% or greater annual bluegrass control regardless of application timing. Imazaquin and simazine controlled annual bluegrass greater than 85% when applied in December but less than 80% when applied in February. Glyphosate provided 93% annual bluegrass control when applied in February but only 72% control with December applications. No detrimental effects on bermudagrass spring greenup were observed for any herbicide treatment or application time. The availability of several effective herbicide options with differing modes of action provides turfgrass managers with the opportunity to use herbicide rotations that may prevent, or at least delay, the development of resistant annual bluegrass populations to these chemical products.

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Christian M. Baldwin, Haibo Liu, Lambert B. McCarty, William L. Bauerle, and Joe E. Toler

Studies on bermudagrasses (Cynodon spp.) have demonstrated variability in salinity response among species and cultivars. However, information on ultradwarf bermudagrass cultivars in relative salinity tolerance associated with trinexapac-ethyl (TE) [4-(cyclopropyl-α-hydroxy-methylene)-3,5-dioxocyclohexanecarboxylic acid ethyl ester], a cyclohexanedione type II plant growth regulator (PGR), remains unknown. Therefore, two replicated greenhouse studies were conducted to determine the salinity tolerance of two ultradwarf bermudagrass cultivars treated with TE on turfgrass quality (TQ), total root biomass, and root and shoot tissue nutrient concentration. Turfgrasses included `TifEagle' and `Champion' bermudagrass (Cynodondactylon(L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensisBurtt-Davy). Daily sodium chloride (NaCl) exposure was 0, 12.90 (8,000 ppm), 25.80 (16,000 ppm), and 38.71 dS·m–1 (24,000 ppm). Biweekly TE applications (active ingredient 0.02 kg·ha–1) were initiated 2 weeks after salinity exposure. `Champion' was more salt-tolerant than `TifEagle' based on TQ and root mass. At 12.90, 25.80, and 38.71 dS·m–1 of NaCl, nontreated (without TE) `Champion' consistently outperformed nontreated `TifEagle' with greater TQ on most rating dates. At 12.90 dS·m–1, TE treated `Champion' (8.0) had greater TQ than nontreated `TifEagle' (6.1) at week 10. Regardless of TE application, after 2 weeks of applying 25.80 dS·m–1 of NaCl, both cultivars fell below acceptable TQ (<7). When averaged across all salinity treatments, applying TE four times at 0.02 kg·a.i./ha in two week intervals enhanced root growth for both bermudagrass cultivars by 25%. Also, both cultivars decreased root mass as salinity levels increased. Non TE-treated `TifEagle' had 56% and 40% less root and shoot Na uptake compared to TE treated cultivars at 25.80 dS·m–1. In conclusion, the two bermudagrass cultivars responded differently when exposed to moderate levels of NaCl.

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Lambert B. McCarty, Raymond K. McCauley, Haibo Liu, F. Wesley Totten, and Joe E. Toler

Overseeded perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) aggressively competes with bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] for resources and may adversely affect spring transition by releasing allelochemicals into the environment. Growth chamber studies examined germination and growth of ‘Arizona Common’ bermudagrass in soil amended with 0%, 2%, 12%, or 23% perennial ryegrass root or shoot debris or in soil treated with irrigation water in which perennial ryegrass roots at 0, 5, 10, or 20 g·L−1 or shoots at 0, 10, or 20 g·L−1 had been soaked. Inhibitory effects on bermudagrass germination and growth were most extensive when soil was amended with ryegrass shoot debris, because germination, root ash weight, root length density, and root mass density were reduced 33%, 55%, 30%, and 52%, respectively. Soil amended with ryegrass root debris only inhibited bermudagrass-specific root length. Application of irrigation water containing either ryegrass root or shoot extracts only inhibited bermudagrass-specific root length. In conclusion, results obtained when soil was amended with shoot debris demonstrated perennial ryegrass can inhibit bermudagrass germination and growth in controlled environments.