As a result of increasing demand for potable water, local and national initiatives to conserve municipal water supplies have been implemented. Many of these initiatives focus on reducing irrigation of turfgrass in urban landscapes and may totally ban irrigation during periods of severe water shortage. Proper selection of adapted turfgrass species and cultivars is vital to long-term water conservation initiatives. Turfgrasses that can survive and recover from extended hot and dry periods under limited to no irrigation would best meet water conservation objectives. The present study was conducted to evaluate the recuperative potential of transplanted plugs of 24 commonly grown cultivars of three warm-season turfgrass species after incremental increases in water stress imposed by withholding all water for up to 60 days. A 2-year field study was conducted consisting of eight blocks containing 25 plots each. Each block was planted with one plot each of eight cultivars of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon sp.), seven cultivars of st. augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum sp.), and nine cultivars of zoysiagrass (five of Zoysia japonica sp. and four of Zoysia matrella sp.). Four blocks were planted on native soil with no restriction to rooting, whereas the other four had an effective root zone of only 10 cm of soil. Cup cutter plugs were collected at predetermined intervals, transported to College Station, TX, replanted, and grown under well-watered conditions. Measurements of the lateral spread of the plugs were taken every 10 to 14 days for the first 60 to 70 days after planting (DAP). The lateral spread of plugs collected after 0 days of summer dry-down (DSD) was greatest for bermudagrass, intermediate for st. augustinegrass, and lowest for zoysiagrass. In most cases there were no consistent differences between cultivars within a species. All species grown on the 10-cm deep root zone were unable to survive the 60-day period without water and died within the first 40 days. For each species, lateral spread was increasingly delayed or reduced with increasing DSD. Although all three species grown on native soil were able to survive and recover from a 60-day period without water, the bermudagrass cultivars had the most rapid recovery rates measured as lateral spread of transplanted plugs.
Kurt Steinke, David R. Chalmers, Richard H. White, Charles H. Fontanier, James C. Thomas and Benjamin G. Wherley
Tim R. Pannkuk, Jacqueline A. Aitkenhead-Peterson, Kurt Steinke, James C. Thomas, David R. Chalmers and Richard H. White
Effective landscape management practices in urban landscapes must include an awareness of nutrient removal from soil caused by leaching, and these practices should be those least damaging to freshwaters. Annual mean dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), nitrate-N, ammonium-N, soluble phosphate, and bicarbonate concentrations and fluxes were quantified in leachate from landscapes planted with different urban horticultural types. Plot vegetation consisted of either a single species or mixed species. The experiment was conducted at two sites in Texas with significantly different irrigation water chemistry. At the two sites, plant species had a significant effect on PO4 3--P flux, and irrigation chemistry had a significant effect on all nutrient fluxes. There was an interaction between plant species and irrigation chemistry for PO4 3--P flux (P < 0.05) only. The relationship between bicarbonate and DOC flux at sites was stronger and significant (0.92; P < 0.05) at the site irrigated with Na-HCO3 municipal tap water than at the site irrigated with Ca-HCO3 municipal tap water (R 2 = 0.76, P = 0.05). Type of irrigation water chemistry may result in lower plant water uptake resulting in increased nutrients lost to leachate.
Tim R. Pannkuk, Richard H. White, Kurt Steinke, Jacqueline A. Aitkenhead-Peterson, David R. Chalmers and James C. Thomas
Urban landscape irrigation is becoming increasingly important from a resource management point of view. Significant water use savings may be achieved if landscape irrigation is based on reference evapotranspiration (ETo). This study measured landscape crop coefficients (KL) for landscapes that are comprised of different vegetation types and irrigation water quality differences affecting KL. The KL was determined from the ratio of actual evapotranspiration to the ETo calculated from the modified Penman-Monteith equation. Irrigation quantity was based on 100% replacement of ETo. The KL values were determined for the following landscape vegetation on a fine sandy loam: St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze.], a single shumard red oak (Quercus shumardii Buckl.), St. Augustinegrass plus red oak, native grasses [Muhlenbergia capillaries (Lam.) Trin. and Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash], and native grasses plus Red Oak in both College Station (CS) and San Antonio (SA), TX. Soil was systematically placed into lysimeters containing a drainage system and soil moisture probes. Lysimeters (1136 L) were placed in-ground in a randomized complete block design with three blocks. Soil moisture measurements were made at 0- to 20-, 20- to 40-, and 40- to 60-cm depths. The KL was determined after a rainfall or irrigation event for periods of 2 to 5 days. During the combined growing seasons of 2007 and 2008, KL in SA increased from early, to mid, to late season. In CS, the KL was unaffected by plant treatment or season. The St. Augustinegrass treatment KL seasonally ranged from 0.45 to 0.62 in SA. In CS, soil sodium accumulation caused decreased KL. These results of KL for mixed-species landscapes on non-sodic sites trend toward seasonal values of 0.5 to 0.7 for irrigation decisions in southern Texas. Landscape coefficients can be used as a tool in irrigation decision-making, which could contribute to water savings in amenity landscapes.