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Jack Fry, Randy Taylor, Bob Wolf, Dick Stuntz and Alan Zuk

Turfgrass managers in the transition zone are interested in converting swards of cool-season grasses to cold-hardy seeded bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) in an effort to reduce water and fungicide inputs. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential for establishing ‘Riviera’ bermudagrass in a perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) sward by using a strip-seeding technique, and then to build a machine that would facilitate the process. Four, 2-inch-wide tilled rows, 1 inch deep and 15 inches apart, were created in 6 × 6-ft plots and seeded by hand with ‘Riviera’ bermudagrass at 104 lb/acre pure live seed in July 2002. In one set of strip-seeded plots, a 7-cm-wide overspray of glyphosate (≈0.5 inch on either side of the row) was applied over tilled rows after seeding to suppress perennial ryegrass further. Plots established by the strip-seeding technique exhibited 71% bermudagrass coverage after two growing seasons, and 87% coverage when rows received a glyphosate overspray. Broadcasting ‘Riviera’ seed into perennial ryegrass plots resulted in 60% bermudagrass coverage at the end of the second season of establishment. A strip seeder was constructed and used to seed ‘Riviera’ into existing perennial ryegrass turf in late July 2004 using the aforementioned row configurations and a glyphosate overspray. Coverage evaluated the following spring, before green-up, was 10.3% compared with 0% coverage where ‘Riviera’ was broadcast seeded. At the seeding rates evaluated, 79% less ‘Riviera’ bermudagrass seed was required when using the strip-seeding method, and golfers would consider the surface more amenable to play during the establishment period compared with broadcasting glyphosate and seed. A patent is pending on the strip-seeding equipment and establishment process.