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Ying Liu, Huawei Song, Juming Zhang, and Michael D. Richardson

Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) is widely used for slope protection and water and soil conservation in southern China. The plants develop an extensive root system that plays a crucial role in the protection of both soil and water. However, little is currently known about the factors that influence early root growth in bahiagrass. Here, the effects of boron (B), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), salicylic acid (SA), and melatonin (MLT) on root growth characteristics were examined. Bahiagrass seedlings were grown in 1/25 strength modified Hoagland nutrient solution supplemented with boric acid, calcium chloride, ferric ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (Fe-EDTA), lanthanum chloride, cerium chloride, SA, or MLT. Root lengths, root surface areas, and the number of root tips were analyzed using a root scanning system after 2, 4, and 6 days of treatment. We found significant effects on root growth after some treatments. Thus, 0.270 or 0.360 mm B for 2 days enhanced root tip number, whereas 0.15 mm Fe for 6 days increased root surface area. Although 3 or 5 mm Ca caused an increase in root tip numbers, the root length was reduced. The addition of La to the nutrient solution significantly increased root length and surface area, and addition of Ce increased root surface area and root tip numbers. Root growth characteristics were optimal after 0.3 μm La for 6 days or 1.0 μm La for 4 days. For Ce treatment, optimal root characteristics were observed at 0.5 μm Ce for 6 days. Root tip numbers increased after 0.1 or 1.0 μm MLT for 6 days, whereas SA treatment reduced the root length, surface area, and root tip numbers. Overall, the analyses indicate that treatment with B, Fe, La, Ce, and MLT benefited root growth in bahiagrass seedlings.

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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.