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  • Author or Editor: Kehua Wang x
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Waterlogging (WL) affects the growth and physiological responses of turfgrass. The objectives of this study were to compare the relative WL tolerance of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) cultivars and to investigate the physiological responses of shoots and roots to WL. Ten cultivars differing in growth habit were subjected to 30 d of WL. The turf quality (TQ) and soil redox potential (Eh), as well as the chlorophyll concentration (Chl), decreased with increasing periods of WL. Among all cultivars, root dry weight (RDW) decreased 16.7% to 39.9% under 10 d and 30.0% to 60% under 30 d of WL, respectively. Waterlogging increased the root electrolyte leakage (REL) from 0.6% to 53.2% under 10 d and from 29.1% to 98.0% under 30 d of WL for all cultivars, respectively. The best correlations were observed between Eh and TQ (r = 0.74), REL and TQ (r = 0.75), RDW and root water-soluble carbohydrate content (RWSC) (r = 0.74), and root oxidase activity and RWSC (r = 0.63), respectively. ‘Moonlight’, ‘Serene’, and ‘Champagne’ showed better tolerance to short-term WL conditions, whereas ‘Kenblue’ and ‘Eagleton’ were the least tolerant cultivars. ‘Limousine’, ‘Unique’, ‘Awesome’, ‘Julia’, and ‘Midnight II’ ranked in the middle group. Variations in WL tolerance among Kentucky bluegrasses could potentially be used for enhancing turfgrass management.

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Recent advances in bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. var. dactylon] breeding and cultural management practices have enabled its use as a sports surface in U.S. Department of Agriculture cold hardiness zones 5 and 6. Use of these more cold-hardy bermudagrass cultivars further into transition- and cool-season zones increases the probability of freezing injury and increases the need for an improved understanding of physiological responses to chilling and freezing temperatures. Abscisic acid (ABA) has been shown to increase during cold acclimation (CA) and play a role in dehydration tolerance. This study investigated changes in ABA metabolism and dehydrin expression during CA and their association with freezing tolerance in four bermudagrass cultivars. Two cold-tolerant (‘Patriot’ and ‘Riviera’) and two relatively cold-sensitive (‘Tifway’ and ‘Princess’) cultivars were either subjected to CA at 8 °C day/4 °C night with a light intensity of 250 μmol·m−2·s−1 over a 10-h photoperiod for 21 days or maintained at 28 °C day/24 °C night over a 12-h photoperiod. In a separate study, exogenous ABA at 0, 50, 100, and 150 μm was applied to ‘Patriot’ bermudagrass without CA. ABA content in leaf and stolon tissues increased substantially during the first week of CA and remained relatively stable thereafter. ‘Patriot’ and ‘Riviera’ had greater ABA content and less stolon electrolyte leakage (EL) relative to ‘Tifway’ and ‘Princess’. Expression of a 25 kDa dehydrin protein increased during CA in all four cultivars. A significant correlation was found between ABA content and freezing tolerance. Exogenously applying ABA to ‘Patriot’ at 50, 100, and 150 μm significantly increased endogenous ABA content and the 25 kDa dehydrin expression and reduced stolon EL. The results suggest that alteration of ABA metabolism during CA is closely associated with freezing tolerance. Selection and use of cultivars with substantial accumulation of ABA and certain dehydrins during CA or in response to exogenous ABA could improve bermudagrass persistence in transition zone climates.

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Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) experiences quality decline during summer in the United States transition zone and warmer regions. Various bioproducts have been used to improve creeping bentgrass performance and to mitigate effects of summer stress in the United States transition zone. This 2-year study was carried out to examine if foliar application of seaweed extract (SWE; Ascophyllum nodosum)-based biostimulant Utilize® could enhance creeping bentgrass nitrate reductase (NaR) activity, and root viability under heat and drought stress conditions. The Utilize® was sprayed biweekly on creeping bentgrass foliage at 0, 29, 58, 87, and 116 µL⋅m−2, with application volume of 815 L⋅ha−2. Two weeks after first application, plants were exposed to heat (35/25 °C, day/night) and drought stress (40% to 50% evapotranspiration replacement) conditions for 42 days in an environment-controlled growth chamber. In general, the abiotic stress caused turf quality reduction. Foliar application of Utilize® at 58, 87, and 116 µL⋅m−2 increased turf quality, leaf color ratings, leaf chlorophyll, carotenoid content, and net photosynthetic rate (Pn). Utilize® at 58, 87, and 116 µL⋅m−2 increased NaR activity by 26.5%, 16.3%, and 16.3%, respectively, when compared with the control. Utilize® at 58, 87, and 116 µL⋅m−2 increased root biomass, root length, surface area (SA), and root volume when compared with the control. Utilize® at 58 and 87 µL⋅m−2 improved root viability by 16.3% and 30.9%, respectively, when compared with the control. Our data indicate that the SWE-based biostimulant Utilize® improves nitrogen (N) metabolism and root viability. Utilize® treatment at 58 µL⋅m−2 biweekly can be considered an effective approach for improving creeping bentgrass performance during summer stress.

Open Access